The Great Escape is a World War II film in which a group of Allied POWs conceive the most audacious escape ever attempted from a Nazi prison camp. Or, as publisher Gotham Games reasoned in 2003, “something World War II, something something profits.” While the film focuses on Steve McQueen’s Capt. Virgil Hilts, the game is more of an ensemble affair, detailing the backstories of Hilts’ core crew in great detail, but it ends with all four characters achieving a Great Escape, just like the title said they would.
SPOILERS for the the 50 year-old film: only one of the four would-be escapees actually makes it out alive, and it ain’t Steve McQueen. In the decades between the release of the movie and the game, you’d think someone would’ve worked out how to depict heroic failure within a video game, but here we are. In fact, this was the second Great Escape video game license: an earlier and far looser adaptation had been released by Ocean in 1986, and there were several ways of playing through that game--all of them also ending in your character’s successful escape. Happy endings all around.