Unbound Saga – Creating a Playable Comic Book

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Unbound Saga

Comics. The best and worst kind of addiction, almost as bad as a good video game habit. If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent a shameful amount of time inside your local comic shop, browsing the racks of alluring colorful imagery, following the siren song of a thousand different adventures calling you into their vortex of fantasy. You might also have several long-boxes full of your fondest memories stashed away for future revisiting (or for your kid’s college fund, if you used the same deluded justification I did). My addiction was further complicated by a part-time job in a comic shop throughout high school — too much access to too much colorful temptation. It was glorious. The only thing that stood a chance against that beast was video gaming. Together, those activities formed a punch-kick combo that had my parents wondering how I’d ever make a living out in the real world.

Well, like peanut butter and chocolate, those activities proved to be two great tastes that taste great together. In the early days of developing Unbound Saga, we knew we wanted to sprinkle some 2D love back into our 3D brawler, and all of the ideas we came up with reflected back on our 4-color first-love, comics. By this point in our careers, we had managed to build up a decent network of connections in the comic industry, originally as fans, but in many cases as creators, with a fair number of published titles under our own belts. Video games made a great day job, but for some of us, comics provided a nocturnal shot of creative energy that kept our gray matter strong and healthy. It seemed like a no-brainer to roll those connections and energy into the project we would be spending a large amount of our waking life working on for the next year-plus-whatever. So that’s what we did: game-comic-mashup!

Once the concept, story, and characters had been fleshed out, we called up some old friends at Dark Horse Comics to give our fake comic some real credentials. First on board was artist Cliff Richards, who some of you might know from his extensive run on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or DC’s recent Huntress miniseries. He turned our cutscene script into 22 pages of illustrated gold, which were then turned into the various voiced-over motion comics unlocked throughout our campaign. Without a doubt, he brought an authentic style to the story and characters, which we supported with all of the comic-like elements you see throughout gameplay: the visible sound effects, the word balloons, the panel-to-panel layout, etc. We wanted to make this feel like a comic book come to life, and we think the team hit those goals on the nose, or at least somewhere on the face fairly close to the nose. Nothing digital can ever replicate the smell of newsprint or the feel of a nice glossy cover in your hands, but hopefully we captured a good amount of the fun and nostalgia.

But what about that tactile element, that physical comic you can roll up and stuff in your back pocket (gasp) or double bag and backboard in a fine Mylar sleeve (whew)? We wanted that too. I mean, we were making a game about a 30 year old comic book, so it made sense to have an actual comic book out there to support our bogus backstory, right? Rosemary, get Dark Horse on the line! Dark Horse? It’s Vogster! Let’s put this baby on the shelves! Whataya say ta them apples?

Unbound Saga

They said “awesome”. Well, I donno if that was the exact word they used, but I’d like to believe that’s what they were thinking. They went forth and assembled a collection of rockstar artists to help bring the world of Toxopolis to life. Joseph Michael Linsner (Dawn, Dark Ivory), Leinil Yu (New Avengers, Secret Invasion), Steve Pugh (Hotwire, Hellgate: London), Al Rio (Gen13, DV8), and of course, Cliff Richards. Together they cranked out the first issue (of what we hope will become many issues) of the Unbound Saga comic, on sale July 1st. Just in time for San Diego Comic-Con!

Hey, if you’re planning to attend this year, stop by the Dark Horse booth and get your copy signed by the creators! Then box it away in a climate controlled storage unit so that it might someday put your kid through college! (Disclaimer: Vogster cannot guarantee the investment value of this comic.)

In the next entry, we’ll talk about digital distribution, and our decision to bypass the brick-and-mortar market to reach YOU, the consumer, directly.

Comments are closed.


18 Author Replies

  • This PSP game looks pretty sick… in the good way!

    • \’Good way\’ meaning \”lots of bed-rest and an excuse to stay home and play video games\”, right? I LOVE that sorta sick!

  • To my knowledge, Comix Zone is the only game to ever really get this right, and that game is incredible. Good Luck Vogster, I’m pulling for you.

  • Will this game come out on PSP Go! as a downloadable game? The game looks awesome though! Thanks a lot for the information.

    • This game will be PERFECT for your GO, and will be on the PSNetwork just waiting patiently to in habit that new bad boy when it eventually comes out.

  • First I’ve heard of this title… looks kind of cool, though brawlers aren’t my usual cup of tea. Any news on release date and price?

  • i miss comic books… :\

  • Do you actually use models for the women figures (they are always really hot as I remember in my teen years) or are they just from your ideal women?

    • Seems a lot of artists use different approaches. For the Unbound Saga comic, each artist based their interpretation of Lori on the basic character design, but gave her their own spin based on their style. If they were working from live models, I\’m totally jealous.



  • ThreeLeggedFreak

    Is the PSN/PSP comic store, that was announced to be coming out in Japan, coming out in the US?

  • The game looks great. :D

  • Game is looking really good. I hope it’s priced right, cause I really want to give it a chance!

    • Considering how many PSP titles released on PSN these days are at $19.99, we\’re hoping that OUR pricepoint of $14.99 makes it a bargain worth nabbing!

  • Planning on watching this closely, might just pick it up. Oh and by the way, before you guys get flamed for choosing digital distribution I want to state that I understand you decision and support the idea of receiving the game in this manner.

    Here’s hoping for a smooth launch!

    • Thanks, KiD! Yeah, it\’s an interesting era we\’re living in, and hopefully the digital direction proves solid. (Sony seems to think it has legs, considering the design of the PSP-GO…)

  • Looks sweet. You can tell they have put the time and effort into getting this game right.

  • Man I really liked this article lol. I saw the fold it up in the back pocket and I was really like (gasp) luckily you saved your self.I’m a big comic collector got several boxes stacked up behind me. From the looks of it this game look and sound of it this game looks great. And I will deffinetly try to budget the comic onto my list of mostly dark reigns. keep up the good work!

    • Thanks! Hope you grabbed your copy of the comic when it hit last week! I hear its moving like hotcakes! (And if ya have trouble finding it, demand your local shop reorder toot sweet!)

  • “In the next entry, we’ll talk about digital distribution, and our decision to bypass the brick-and-mortar market to reach YOU, the consumer, directly.”

    Screw that. Digital distribution only = no sale. I passed on Patapon 2 for the same reason and I will continue to not buy any games that decide to go this route. As a collector of games, I only want games that I can own a physical copy of. Looks like it is time to sell my PSP…

    • How about if we design up a box-cover that you could print out and stuff in a PSP sleeve yourself? Sorry dude… we\’ll miss you in the future! We\’ll all have rocket packs and robot dogs!

  • this could be a fail can it?

  • How do you add people to your playstation Friends list

  • Looks good, I’m getting it.

  • @15

    let me guess, you still watch vhs videos on your old sd tube tv…come on evole with the times or you will be easily left behind

  • Yow, a fella takes a weekend off to celebrate going gold (does a game still ‘go gold’ when its download only?), and the boards blow up! Thanks for responding so positively, everyone!

  • It doesn’t mattr what some of these users think about this game. I think this is awesome and they put a lot of effort into it. I dnt read comics like i used 2. It just sucks that this is 4 da psp cause i dnt have one. Oh well, keep it up Vogster Entertainment!!!

  • there’s a background glitch in episode 10

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