Out of nowhere comes Zallag, a French publisher founded in late November 2009 with big ideas. Ideas like: "The future of games lies in the downloadable arena," "Games should stop taking themselves so seriously; we're playing them to have fun," and, "Comic books and video games are deeply linked." (I'm paraphrasing here; bear with me.)
Their ideas are not unfounded. All current-gen consoles have downloadable game capability - even the handhelds - and Sony's recent PSPgo is download-only. There are plenty of benefits to downloadable games:
- Cheaper to develop, no packaging/shipping costs
- Price controlled, and more money goes to the developers
- Much lower environmental impact
And, don't forget the most important:
- All games are on a level footing with each other
Small developers and huge corporations get the same amount of space to sell you something great, and people - not companies - are able to single-handedly change the face of gaming. Just ask James Silva or Jonathan Blow. That's where Zallag comes in.
Zallag is the publisher, and their new deal with French development studio Artefacts (Moto Racer DS, Stuntman Ignition, Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Assassin's Creed II) has already resulted in the announcement of three upcoming WiiWare-exclusive games (they're planning on making games for all digital platforms, but their plan for world domination is starting with Nintendo):
- Racers' Islands: Crazy Races - A racing game utilizing a unique drive-with-one-hand-while-shooting-with-the-Wii-mote mechanic
- Racers' Islands: Crazy Arena - a party game shrouded in internet mystery
- Gods vs. Humans - a strategy game described as an "unlikely but effective mix of Lemmings, Populous, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord"
What will set these games apart besides their promise not to take themselves too seriously? Well, the art style, for one. Zallag is going all-out with their new projects: both the Racers' Island and the Gods vs. Humans universes will release side-by-side with a comic book expanding the history of the titles. Guess what else? The comics will be digitally distributed as well.
They're lookin' pretty sharp, and Zallag found some pros to create them too. The GvH comic will be done by Pierre Chatillon and Piccolo from Studio 109, and the RI comic will be penned by Hubert Chardot
(scriptwriter of Alone in the Dark 1, 2 and 3) and also penned by Studio 109. Will Zallag give us the multimedia bombardment of other games like Pokemon and .hack? They sure seem to be trying, but there's no TV show in the works... yet.
But wait, there's more! Zallag is also starting a new weekly webcomic about the life of a video game developer. It's adorable, and publishers/developers/programmers around the world now have something to unite around. Yay! They don't have a site (yet) and it's not for money or trying to sell anything... but isn't that how all great ideas start?
Check out the first three comics and a bunch of concept art from the upcoming games below, and stay tuned to VGChartz to see if that "TBA" WiiWare release date changes to something a little more tangible in the near future. For now, enjoy!
Comics: (Click on the comic to see full-size.)
Concept Art for Racers' Islands: (See more here.)
And Concept Art for Gods vs. Humans: (See more here!)