DreamWorks is set for the family adventure project The Defenders, conceived by Heroes actor Masi Oka, with D.J. Caruso in negotiations to direct. Gary Whitta will write the script, that will be produced by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the story centers on a group of mostly teenagers from around the world who are involved in a multiplayer video game, each unaware of who they really are behind the cover of their consoles and avatars. They are forced to come together for a real adventure, becoming inadvertent heroes in the process.
DreamWorks will develop a video game simultaneously with the feature.
Oka, who will exec produce, came up with idea while playing MMORPGs -- massively multiplayer online role-playing games, in that world's parlance.
"You can be whoever you want to be," he said. "The question came to me: What if you had to live up to the person you created in the virtual world?"
The pair was looking for "the kinds of movies that Amblin used to do, that combined an innocence with the adventure," Orci said.
Added Kurtzman, "We are staunch believers there are ways to update the tone of these movies."
Once Oka, also a fan of those movies -- epitomized by The Goonies -- learned that, he pitched Kurtzman and Orci his idea. The duo went for it, and Oka has honed the concept for the past year, collaborating with them as they worked on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Kurtzman/Orci's Mandy Safavi also helped develop "Defenders" and will oversee for the company.
Oka and Whitta, who also plays online games, bonded over their love of the medium's "World of Warcraft." Kurtzman and Orci ensnared Caruso, with whom they worked on the 2008 thriller Eagle Eye.
No production date has been set.