Believe it or not, that’s not the worst headline I could come up with. Hollywood actor Thomas Jane (The Punisher, Dreamcatcher) and Eisner Award nominated illustrator Tim Bradstreet have been in business together for a number of years under the banner of RAW Entertainment. One of the most interesting products to come out of the pairing is the comic book Bad Planet.
The story follows an anti-hero known as The Convict (called as such because he’s been incarcerated for a very long time) who has a beef with a race of 12-legged space spiders. Said astrorachnids have invaded Earth much to the chagrin of the human populace. Of course, carnage ensues, limbs go flying and… hey… this would make a cool video game.
The development house has been involved in a number of Wii ports in the past (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, Ghostbusters: The Video Game and… um… Thor: God of Thunder). To their credit, while Thor was viciously torn apart in reviews of the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, the critical take on the waggle-enhanced edition was significantly less murderous (Metacritic score of 58 vs 38 and 39 for 360 and PS3 respectively). As my high school band director used to say, “that’s making chicken salad out of chicken crap.”
Now, in partnership with Jane and Bradstreet, Bad Planet has a chance at making the jump from the pages of a comic book as an episodic, third-person melee game. The studio is requesting support in the amount of $575,000 to develop and publish the first episode using the Unreal Engine. The first outing will follow the key events of the graphic novel’s first volume.
There are a lot of promises made in the pitch, including a great deal of flexible and dynamic customization options for both The Convict and his armaments, experience-based skill upgrades and multiple characters to play as to better emulate the feel of the original work. The scope of the project seems extremely large given the budget, especially when you factor in some of the rewards like two different sculptures, limited edition art prints and hardcover volumes of the comic (plus shipping for all of these things). The $575,000 is only intended to support the first piece of the game though, and it will launch first on Steam before turning toward Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. The latter two are tricky because of the need for a publisher, if the game is successful on Valve’s platform, perhaps finding someone to help bring it to the controller-wielding masses won’t be so difficult.
Provided the numbers have been worked out (and there is enough left over to make the game as promised), the concept is intriguing. If you’re so inclined, check out the pitch video below and decide if you want to help Jane catch his dreams. I promise it won’t feel like punishment. (C’mon. You didn’t think I wasn’t going to be able to restrain myself for the entire story, did you?)