Monday, 23 May 2011

Project Announcement: Evil Dead App

Today I've had the go ahead from the marketing machine to unveil my latest project, Evil Dead for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch. If you know anything about my interests as a writer (horror, dark humor, zombies) you'll be able to guess my joy at being let loose with the franchise. I even got to say yes to the project while we-are-not-worthy-ing the Army of Darkness poster on my studio wall. The developer, Trigger - which specialises in promotional apps and website games - has a somewhat diabolical standard contract clause which denies freelancers the right to reference their involvement with a project (presumably due to the big name licences they're working with), let alone discuss it, so I'm lucky to have been granted a reprieve.

As ever, the question for fans is going to be whether or not this is a faithful tribute or a cheap cash-in, and the best way to answer that is to check out this trailer comparison. Trigger have remade the original theatrical trailer almost shot for shot in the game engine, and it's an impressive labour of love that convinced me this was something worth getting involved with. There's also some coverage at Kotaku.

The first thing you'll notice are the cutesie Mii-style graphics. You'll love them or hate them. I think they're ludicrous, and therefore thoroughly Evil Dead.

The game itself is a by-the-numbers 3D third-person hack-and-slash. It'd be hard to say it's stretching any gameplay boundaries, so it's an experience that'll live or die on its polish. Fingers crossed for the final version.

What I can comment on more conclusively is the passion that Trigger and I have for the source material, and in communicating it via the writing. That trailer really says it all. It's been commissioned by Ghost House, Sam Raimi's studio, and this is very much an Evil Dead game, rather than a Dead by Dawn or Army of Darkness concern; Trigger knows the difference. It's darker, more focused on Ash trying to hold things together despite his complete lack of heroic qualities. Not to say that this is literary fiction, but we've not gone the cheap route of just throwing in boomstick references every five seconds. Crafty dig at the competition there. Shame on me.

The first third of the game retells the original film's plot. It's a very faithful adaptation where I've tried to deliver the same sense of Evil-Dead-in-ten-minutes-flat that's presented as a catch up for new viewers at the start of each sequel. The rest of the game is new plotting developed at Trigger following an alternate timeline that branches off after the first film.

Look out for Evil Dead in the App Store come June, pending the usual Apple review shenanigans.

1 comment:

  1. This is the first iPhone game I've written for (I did a short stint as an assistant producer for a mobile studio some time ago), and it's great being able to balance the big console stuff like Binary Domain with more fun, lightweight projects like this that will wind up hitting a broader audience.

    So, are you a fan of the franchise? Got a perspective on the Mii-style graphics, good or bad?