The man who took out the criminal scum in The Punisher wants you to help him make a video game, Bad Planet. You might recognize Thomas Jane from TV and the big screen, but you probably don’t know that he’s also a comic book writer who’s been working on a story about a prisoner from out of space and a whole lot of spiders.
Bad Planet is the story of two alien forces crashing to Earth. One turns out to be a destructive organism destined to lay waste to the human race. The other turns out to be an alien warrior, our only hope for life and salvation. With the help of Steve Niles, the master of comic book horror, they turned this tale into a six-issue run.
And now, Thomas wants to turn that comic into a game.
With the help of Kickstarter, you can help make turn this dream into a reality. And thanks to the man behind the project, we got to ask him a couple of questions about the Kickstarter and taking on the alien horde. Hit the jump to find out more about the game and the man behind it leading the charge.
How close is the game to the comic?
Absolutely close. We're adapting it straight from the comics. Any differences will be in the form of enhancements to the characters or their abilities, basically getting deeper into who these characters are, and exploring things we didn't have time to explore in the comic series. The characters themselves are spot on. Red Fly pays special attention to the details, the Convict is TERRIFIC; all those amazing textures on the skin, the multiple eyes, right down to the armor. It's all spot on. It's very much like the characters and environments have leapt off the page into reality.
What are some of the main themes that you see running through Bad Planet?
There's a great love theme actually, One of my favorite things about Bad Planet is the relationship between The Convict, this 7-foot alien humanoid dinosaur warrior, and Anon, a little orphan boy whose entire village has been wiped out by disease. The Convict should be absolutely frightening to this little kid yet Anon senses nobility in this beast. He's not scared of him.
Anon's a pretty special kid, super intelligent, gifted, surprisingly so considering the poverty he exists in. The Convict and Anon share something, they've both had everyone they love ripped from them, in a way they are kindred spirits and I feel very much that there's a father/son relationship there we're still exploring. Also, it's alien apocalypse, man. As a society we're very quick to shit on our fellow man, but when it's 12-legged Deathspiders coming down on humanity it comes together. Solidarity. Us VS them. We got the guns, but they got the numbers. We'll fight amongst ourselves all day long but when the chips are down it's really cool to see people from all walks of life unite.
What kind of story are you hoping to tell in the game that readers won't be able to experience in the comics?
It's basically the same story; we're just expanding things. In the comic, we have a great little chapter about the Convict escaping from the prison asteroid where he's been incarcerated for 700 years. We tell that escape story pretty fast. It's like an 8-12 page sequence. When you think in terms of video game then you've got a whole adventure, and massive gameplay potential with that escape story. So everything is expanded and we have engaging gameplay happening in these different environments, running missions to achieve the same goals we created in the comic series.
You get to be these characters in their world. We also hope to explore some things like Anon and his abilities with the little homemade computer that he uses here and there in the comic. Like The Convict is in trouble, he's down, unconscious. So we switch characters to Anon and Anon's has to use his brain and his computer to save them. No armor, no weapons, so the gameplay changes from brute force to a game of wits and stealth. Basically, we’re expanding things across the board.
With the game gaining Kickstarter funding, what can you do with the game that you couldn't do going through the typical process?
We can do anything we want. We don't have 7 department heads or suits we have to convince whenever we want to make a change or introduce ideas and concepts. The creators are calling the shots. It's like a dream workflow scenario. We don't have to 'friendly' anything up or dumb things down to answer to a demographic. We have a dynamic situation where we have the creators in charge and the only limits are our imaginations. With crowd-funding, the backers empower us towards that independence. It's absolutely liberating 'cause you feel like the handcuffs are off!
What's the experience been like seeing your vision turned into a comic book?
Terrific! I've been a fan of comics since I was a kid when I picked up my first Mad Magazine. Love reading the stories and I'm a real big fan of the art. I wanted to be a comic artist when I was younger, but then I got into the acting. It's all storytelling, right? There's something uniquely cool about graphic storytelling. It's always had its hooks in me, you know?
The most amazing thing about that experience is to see your idea evolve into reality practically right before your eyes. Writing it, editing it, watching the art start with sketched out thumbnails, then morphing into the pencils and finished inks. So cool. Then it's colored, and there's a whole process to that. How the colors can key certain sequences and affect the whole mood of the scenes.
I got to work with some of my heroes! Dave Stevens, Bernie Wrightson, Michael Wm. Kaluta, Mark Schultz, Basil Gogos, Bradstreet and Daly! I mean WOW, was that cool. Creating a comic from a crazy idea, nurturing it along, and then seeing it come out on the stands is like rearing a child and seeing that child succeed. It's really that gratifying.
For gamers still on the fence about giving, what one thing would you say to them to get them to donate to your project?
Tim and I would never have agreed to do this if it was going to be halfway or if we couldn't elevate this material across the board. We have very high standards, and on this game we've raised that bar even higher. Red Fly has the opportunity to break out and show what they can really do when they are unfettered from the shackles of studio filtering. Man, I wanna see that!
This kind of project, among the creators we have here, isn't about making massive amounts of money and eclipsing our 3rd quarter profit. Our objectives have no such caveat; it's about sharing a vision we CARE about. So what you end up with is an immersive adventure that is the direct result of that unfiltered vision. We recently had a similar opportunity to show what we could achieve when given the autonomy. The result was a little short film called Dirty Laundry we premiered this year at the San Diego Comic Con. You can check it out on Youtube. Fan response has been beyond our wildest expectations. All we need is the chance to show what we can do. If the backers step up and fund us we aim to knock it outta the park.