Get A New Mouse: Redwall Game Is Go (Again)

By Alec Meer on April 23rd, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

Turns out Bethesda have done the smart thing, and announced a crossover between the Elder Scrolls and Dishonored. Redwall will bring the Redguard to the city of Dunwall, as the warriors of Hammerfell use roof-based exploration to uncover a slightly incoherent conspiracy. Pre-order now for the exclusive Pinky Demon character skin.

Just wishful thinking, alas. No fantastical universe crossovers for you, young fellow-me-lady! Perhaps, though, it’s no less preposterous a concept than making a game based on Brian Jacques’ long-running series of children’s books about mice vs rats (and other talking beasts too) in an abbey-based war. Soma games, an Oregon-based Christian developer, have the license, third-person action is the apparent genre, and Kickstarter will provide the funding.

Wrote Soma’s Chris Skaggs, “To long-standing secular Redwall fans: Fear not! We are not making a ‘Christian’ video game. To Soma Games fans who know about our faith: Fear not! We are not making Diablo for Mice.”

But Diablo is already all about using a mouse, silly!

Yes indeed, Soma do the whole faith thing, though they’re at pains to point out that they are “a group of Christians making video games, we’re not what you might call a “Christian Video Game company” and it’s important for us to be very clear about this to avoid inaccurate expectations.” I think it’s fair to say that the likes of Wind-Up Robots and Wind-Up Football aren’t exactly standing outside a shopping centre, waving around a megaphone and bellowing that we’re all going to hell for the crimes of unmarried genital-rubbing and buying smartphones. If you’re interested in more about Soma’s attempts to reconcile church and play, Kotaku ran an interview with them a couple of years ago.

While they’re determined that Redwall will not be overtly influenced by their beliefs, they seem convinced that it shares similar values. “Redwall feels like the spiritual successor to Chronicles of Narnia. While in no way a Christian series the books are deeply spiritual, epic in scope and tone and full of the “right messages” for courage, self-sacrifice, peace and humility.” The Redwall books, as far as I can ascertain, largely avoid specific discussion of religion and faith, although it often talks of a little-detailed afterlife for its anthropomorphic animals. I can appreciate why Redwall fans might be concerned, but it is only fair to give Soma the benefit of the doubt for now. They’re also claiming they won’t do anything which alters the events of the books.

Pretty sure I already knew a badger was bigger than a squirrel, but thanks anyhow

Whether Brian Jacques is comfortable with this arrangement we can’t ever know, as he passed away in 2011 – although Soma’s Skaggs writes that initial discussions about their doing something with the license began just a couple of days before Jacque’s death. Oddly though, Skaggs professes to have never read a Redwall book before starting negotiations – and that’s perhaps a far greater reason for Redwall fans to exercise due caution until more is known.

As for the game itself, we only have concept art to go on so far. However, Soma’s Redwall is actually reviving a slightly earlier attempt to make a game based on Brian Jacque’s war of the rodents. All of this may be subject to change as they shape the game to their own design, but initially the project was known as Redwall: The Warrior Reborn, and claimed to be “a ‘progressive adventure’ designed for multi-platform deployment and an immersive adventure within the storied walls of Redwall Abbey.” Progressive and immersive, eh? That’s a whole lot of ive. It’s from that the concept art stems, so I’d advise against reading much into it just yet.

The next stage is Kickstarter, which means once again there’s the slight discomfort of an already successful license asking for a helping hand. I suppose it has been a couple of decades since a Redwall book was a component part of every other kid’s schoolbag, however.

Look out for that soon, I guess, and as for the finished game, they reckon it’ll emerge in the ” 9-15 month range,” with “PC/Mac as primary experience. Tablets as secondary. A console option is a maybe, we’ll see how it goes.”

Again, they’re keeping details close to their chests, but they’ve laid down some ground rules about what might and might not be possible and the issue of reconciling certain inconsistencies in the books in a follow-up post here.

 

I remain unclear as to what exactly they mean by ‘adventure’, but I’m left thinking that a stealth-centric game of thievery and rat-avoidance might be the better approach. Dishonored with rodents, basically. Oh look, I’ve gone full circle on this post.


Thanks to GM.

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130 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    Those are big mice.

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      Anthile says:

      You could say those gnawers are exceptionally large.

      • Vorphalack says:

        You could even say those are rodents of unusual size.

        • NailBombed says:

          …. I don’t believe they exist.

          • SomaGames says:

            Man – been thinking about gags to put in the game and PB had totally slipped by…inconceivable!

  2. Inigo says:

    Soma’s Skaggs writes that initial discussions about their doing something with the license began just a couple of days before Jacque’s death.

    And involved the phrases “over my dead body”, “no, get away from me, somebody help” and “aaaaargh”.

  3. Jams O'Donnell says:

    You had me thinking Bethesda were making a Redwall game for a moment. I wish Bethesda were making it. :(

  4. PointyShinyBurning says:

    The right format for a Redwall game is clearly Total-War-alike.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      with jesus

    • BooleanBob says:

      Dynasty Warriors-alike imo. At least for the battle scenes; third person action-platformery for the bits where the heroes search for plot-mandated macguffins.

      The main problem for a small dev would be churning out enough assets, especially in a 3d engine. From what I remember of reading the books as a sprog, they were gently Tolkeinesque romps whose main attraction was the variety of places and characters the heroes encountered on their travels.

    • Hyoscine says:

      Or a Cooking Mama style thing.

      • dysphemism says:

        My thoughts exactly. If memory serves, these books were about 15% adventure, 5% medieval warfare, and 80% detailed descriptions of dandelion wine, blackberry cordials, and lemongrass muffins.
        So basically Playskool R.R. Martin.

  5. tehsorrow says:

    /begin nasal voice

    Ahhhh Alec I believe Redguard are from HammerFELL

    /end nasal voice

  6. Ansob says:

    Oddly though, Skaggs professes to have never read a Redwall book before starting negotiations – and that’s perhaps a far greater reason for Redwall fans to exercise due caution until more is known.

    No, this is great – maybe that way the horrible racist undertones will be absent.

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      Lambchops says:

      There were horrible racist undertones? I genuinely can’t remember those. Though I was under the age of 10 when I read them so they may well have gone over my head (much like the overt Christian message of Narnia completely passed me by because I was too busy going “ooh cool talking lion” and stuff like that.

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        Fiyenyaa says:

        I don’t remember ‘em either, but then the last time I read one of those books must have been well over 10 years ago. I’ll be sad to hear if it’s true though :(

      • Vanderdecken says:

        I think it was just the characterisation of entire species as good or evil: rats, stoats, ferrets, foxes, snakes etc. were inherently bad; mice, shrews, otters, hares, moles, owls, badgers and hedgehogs were always good.

        Then again, the Lord of the Rings is no better.

        • Ansob says:

          It’s also horrible racist undertones when LotR does it!

          Tolkien also goes so far as to have everyone from the South/East be predisposed to following Sauron, to make matters even worse. The difference between the two is that Tolkien wrote in the 30s, and Brian Jacques wrote in the 80s.

          Also, Tolkien was pretty adamant about not intending to be racist and I seem to recall (though I can’t find the exact quote) that in some of his letters he later expressed regret for the way he’d portrayed the orcs as genetically evil – but I can’t recall what Brian Jacques ever said about his portrayal of the vermin species in Redwall.

          • solidsquid says:

            I’ll need to go looking for that quote, that sounds really interesting. I wasn’t aware Tolkien had regrets about his depiction of the orcs, and it is one of the main complaints about the Tolkien-verse

          • Bluestormzion says:

            (sigh)

            These aren’t racist undertones, and frankly the entire idea is laughable. This is done merely to deliniate Right vs. Wrong, Good vs. Evil, etc. Some stories are about the nuances of the human condition, about the nature of morality, and others are simply fun stories where the good guys fight the bad guys and the good guys win. I would like to take a moment to point out that no human being is a shrew, a mole, a hare, or an otter. This isn’t racism, this is different SPECIES being DIFFERENT. Snakes aren’t all bigoted toward mice; they’re damn PREDATORS. NATURE says that Snake sees mouse, snake EATS mouse. Good and evil do not enter in, this is simply the natures of the two interacting. It’s ludicrous.

            Nobody pointed at the Allied Forces in World War Two and screamed “RACISTS!” because we were shooting Germans and Japanese almost exclusively. That’s because it wasn’t about killing as many Krauts and Japs as we could, it was about winning a war. In fact, those two terms came about as a way to dehumanize the enemy since our boys, naturally, had difficulty with the violent slaughter of other human beings. Not every thing where something hurts something else is automatically racist.

            And while I am at it, pointing and screaming “RACIST!” is the MOST racist thing I can imagine. When I tell someone that he can’t have a job at my shop, and he calls me racist, he is automatically assuming that there is something wrong with my way of thinking because I am white, and I didn’t give him a job. The simple fact that even I have reduced hours due to budget cuts due to the economy doesn’t enter into his mind. I am making a decision based on facts, he is screaming at me because I’m a white man. You’re KINDA doing the same thing. You’re calling an author a racist without any grounds, simply because his children’s stories about mice don’t delve into the deepest reaches of the human psyche.

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            “These aren’t racist undertones”

            You’re right, they’re technically racist overtones. Ascribing character traits to an entire race is, by definition, racist. See also: nearly all science fiction (Aggressive Klingons! Scheming Romulans!)

            Maybe it doesn’t impact how people relate to each other in the real world, maybe it does. But it is definitely racist, and, at best, lazy writing.

            “And while I am at it, pointing and screaming “RACIST!” is the MOST racist thing I can imagine.”

            Since you’re apparently literate, I honestly doubt it’s the most racist thing you can imagine, especially since it’s not racist at all, because racists aren’t a race. Oh but wait you’re saying that daring to accuse a white person of being racist (gasp, clutch pearls) is more racist than anything. Which verges dangerously close to the old “reverse racism” canard… which is definitely racist. See, we can all play this game. But let’s not, maybe.

            ” The simple fact that even I have reduced hours due to budget cuts due to the economy doesn’t enter into his mind.”

            And the simple fact that maybe he’s been discriminated against for most of his life and is (often quite rightly) disposed to see racism operating doesn’t enter into yours. Let it go. If you’re not being racist, why do you care about the opinion of someone you’re not ever going to see again?

          • Berzee says:

            “Ascribing character traits to an entire race is, by definition, racist.”

            See: D&D racial attribute bonuses.

          • honky mcgee says:

            Breeze: “Ascribing character traits to an entire race is, by definition, racist.”

            I believe the word you’re looking for is ‘stereotype.’ And lemme tell…it can be a real time saver!

            Sir, please go purchase a dictionary. Please understand that using words incorrectly or out of context (e.g. racist) only serves to devalue the power or impact of the word such that it ultimately becomes ignored.

          • Shard1697 says:

            Berzee: DnD does have these same issues as well, largely because much of it is based on Tolkien, like most fantasy nowadays.

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            honky mcgee, berzee was actually quoting me, and I stand by what I said.

            Discussions about how racism (and other forms of oppression) operate have advanced a bit beyond what can be contained in a dictionary, astounding as that may sound.

          • Berzee says:

            >Sir, please go purchase a dictionary.

            Mr. McCaffrey already cleared this up but — sir, please go purchase whatever sort of book it’s called wot will teach you what quotation marks mean. I have used an angly bracket this time to avoid confusion.

          • iridescence says:

            The Orcs don’t have free will. They are corrupted and tortured elves who only exist to serve Sauron (remember when the One Ring is destroyed all the orcs just stop fighting.) How is that comparable to a human race? I guess you could blame Tolkien for making the Haradrim (described as swarthy eastern humans) amongst the most evil and corrupted of the human races in Middle Earth but it is a fantastical story. I don’t see why it’s not permissible to have evil races in fantasy. Not everything has to be a perfect allegory to or statement about the real world.

          • Nick says:

            Could have sworn racism refered to humanity, not animals, anthropomorphic or otherwise. Unless these books are allegorical calling them racist is fucking stupid.

          • JackShandy says:

            The “Races” of middle earth and D&D are really different species. Ascribing physical traits to an entire species is not racist. I hope you do not consider me racist, for example, if I say that birds can fly better than cats.

            Elves are crazy magic people who live forever. Saying that they, as a species, are better at perception and don’t need to sleep is not like saying all Africans can run better than all Europeans.

            (Maybe I’m being ableist here – what about birds with broken wings? Well, D&D lets you play a blind elf.)

          • Tagiri says:

            @JackShandy: Ascribing different physical traits to different species isn’t racist, no, but “all members of this species think in this one manner no exceptions” is pushing it, and “every pale species is good and magical and every dark-skinned species is evil” is pretty racist.

            ETA: And if we’re talking D&D, I’m pretty sure there’s a sub-race of elves whose skin actually darkened when they turned evil, which is side-eye-worthy.

        • Voon says:

          Personally, I hated the stereotyping of mice/other “cute and vulnerable” creatures as inherently good while others like rats should always be inherently evil because they look slightly filthier or big.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I think it was more that he wrote a character and then assigned it to be an animal he most thought it was like. I don’t think that Cluny was a rat until the character was fleshed out and then Jaques thought that in his mind, the traits were rat like.

          • Voon says:

            @sheng-ji

            I never read any of the Redwall books per se but is Cluny a rat because of his physical traits or his peraonal traits?

          • Geen says:

            He’s cunning, but a bit of a coward, and willing to betray anyone at the drop of a hat. He’s also rather greedy.

        • dysphemism says:

          Yeah, the species-ism is rendered pretty explicitly in Outcast of Redwall, where a weasel (ferret? stoat? There were like a million of these things) is raised by “good” creatures and still turns out quite bad for the most part (nature > nurture).

          You have to view it as a product of the times. Sci-fi and fantasy writing were rife with this sort of thing, but I think now that we as both readers and writers are more aware of such things, this kind of manichean attitude towards race in fantasy lit is fading. All for the good, I’d say.

      • Lucas Says says:

        Basically, rats/stoats/weasels are always chaotic evil, and mice are always lawful good. Which is kind of a racist trope.

        This is going to be a disaster. Calling it now.

        • DyingFlutchman says:

          Just to be a smartass, isn’t the distinction about species rather than race?

          Anyway, Lord of the Rings was very black/white in its portrayal of species as well, and I never heard of it having inspired genocidal rampages.

        • iucounu says:

          Seems to be OK if it’s mustelids. The weasels were all evil in The Wind in the Willows, too.

          I think what with the rampant cultural-shorthand metaphor system we use where animals are concerned (foxes are crafty, owls are wise) this isn’t really what you’d call racism. It’s folk-tale stuff.

          • DerNebel says:

            This, I believe, is the most potent argument in favour of the Redwall books. We, as humans, ascribe human character traits unto animals based on how they look and live. In our mind’s eye, the owl is smart because of it’s big eyes, the fox is sly because it hides and steals our chickens, the snake is cunning because it wriggles across the ground and the rats are evil because they are filthy and the harbingers of disease. These “racist” anthropomorphisms are weaved into our folklore, our cultural inheritance, so firmly, that we will subconsciously accept books where whole societies take on these traits. Note that this is inherently a terrible, racist thing to do, but do also note that we are connecting it with folklore and not the germans, the jews or the muslims. The connotations are there, but the mental connections are absent.

            Rikki Tikki Tavi can be seen as a deeply racist story where snakes are always evil, or it can be seen as a story of a pet protecting it’s family from danger. You can decide what you will see, but when I was a kid I never even considered that I might be supposed to hate other groups for being different.

          • JackShandy says:

            Talking animal races are a metaphor for a certain type of person. It’s not saying that all snakes are evil, it’s using snakes to represent anyone who’s evil.

            Red Riding Hood is not about wolves.

      • Ansob says:

        All vermin are irredeemably and irrevocably evil, without fail. Even if they’re trying to be on the good guys’ side, their character shortcomings will always come back and bite the good characters in the ass, if the vermin don’t simply betray them, because malice, cowardliness and sadism are inherent to the vermin species’ character.

        • Shard1697 says:

          Let’s be fair here-not ALL of them. Nearly all, but there were a couple good rats, cats, and other ‘vermin’.
          It could be argued that living in such terrible conditions, in hordes that need to plunder to survive with leaders that kill them on a whim at any sign of disobedience, is the cause of the behavior of most of them, and removed from that they wouldn’t be predisposed towards theft, murder, etc.

        • Elicas says:

          Now you’re outright lying. Just taking the first two books (Redwall and Mossflower) as examples;

          Squire Julian Gingivere – last descendent of a long line of wildcats, vegetarian, ally of the Redwall mice.
          Verdauga Greeneyes – Wildcat King from Mossflower, rules the countryside with an iron fist, but treats the woodland ‘peasantfolk’ with a degree of kindness and treats Martin with respect, ruling that he shouldn’t be executed for his crimes.
          Warbeak of the Sparra (Sparrows) – a notoriously warlike and aggressive race, Warbeak allies herself and the tribe with the Redwall mice and they all learn to live harmoniously for several books.

          There are other examples throughout the books, though I can’t be bothered to dig them out and actually look into it in too much detail. I distinctly remember a/some friendly Sea Rat(s?) in one book, though I don’t remember which.

          • mattscout007 says:

            Yeah, you’re right about the sea rats. In one of the books, they allow two sea rats into the abbey, something they always offer to do even to armies which are obviously evil, and one of them ends up being betraying the abbey’s hospitality, while the other ends up killing the evil rat and becoming a somewhat recurring friendly presence for a few books (I think he goes to live on a beach and other characters encounter him). So yeah, there are plenty of examples of Jacques’ “races” not being treated as just good or evil.

      • mondomau says:

        I suspect he’s either referring to the spurious (to put it kindly) assertion that the ‘good’ creatures are all paler colours and the ‘bad’ ones are dark or black, or the idea that Jacques pigeonholes certain species as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, albeit with exceptions. Frankly, the whole thing is asinine in the extreme – it’s a children’s book with simplistic interpretations of good and evil.

        EDIT: Yup.

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          Fiyenyaa says:

          Isn’t a children’s book a pretty worrying place for that kind of message to be though? I don’t think children are as mutable and suggestible as some, but a book that has the idea that one group are always or almost always evil, whilst the opposite is true for another group? It seems on shaky ground at best, really.

          • mondomau says:

            Quite apart from the fact that there are ‘good ‘ villains and ‘bad’ good guys in the books (just not that many) we are talking about a fantasy book about wildlife, there are no parallels here, and I honestly think people are reading too much into it. I understand your point about overly-simplistic assertions but I wonder where we draw the line – should The Lord of the Rings be withheld from children because all orcs are portrayed as unequivocably evil? What about Disney’s Robin Hood – All Rhinos are dumb thugs, snakes are untrustworthy liars and Vultures cowardly morons. Racism!

          • bhagan says:

            RIP Romsca, Captain of the Waveworm

            Never forget.

          • valz says:

            The Disney bit isn’t very convincing. Disney has often been (seemingly) intentionally racist, as in Dumbo (the crows.)

            Just because something seems pleasant and innocent doesn’t mean that it isn’t harmful.

            (Despite that, I personally find no racism problem with Redwall or the LOTR. The orcs aren’t a race so much as a species, and Redwall species are a bit more like the ones in Maus than they are racist, to my thinking.)

          • Brun says:

            The orcs aren’t a race so much as a species

            Not to mention the fact that the orcs and were meant to represent industrialization and modernization – they are one of only two societies in LotR that implement industrial concepts like mass production and clear-cutting, and are fundamentally corrupted by it, leading to their downfall (the other “industrial” society is dwarves).

          • Sheng-ji says:

            “Not to mention the fact that the orcs and were meant to represent industrialization ”

            Tolkein repeatedly and strenuously denied this.

          • valz says:

            Brun: it helps to look into things at least a little before making up nonsense.

  7. KingFunk says:

    OK, so I never read the books so I can’t comment on the presence/lack of a religious subtext, but personally, I think the likes of Redwall should be held up as examples of how society can be less b*stardly and come up with good values without the need for a guiding doctrine. I mean, rather than us letting overtly religious types use it as an example of why their religious values are good.

    If I wrote a book (and weren’t dead) and somebody hijacked my nicey-nice message to support their own religious beliefs, I’d be peeved.

    I know it’s just fiction, but still…

    • valz says:

      They claim they’re not doing that, so Jacques shouldn’t be peeved yet.

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    Lambchops says:

    Hmm . . . not really sure about the dev’s pedigree – all I can see on their site is Wind Up Robots and a bunch of game ideas that sound interesting enough but haven’t been released.

    That said, I’ve always said I’d love to see a Redwall game, so I’m happy to wait and see what comes of it – though I doubt I’d contribute to Kickstarter without some sort of demo or at least a lot more info on how the game is going to work. The name alone, much as it delights my nostalgia centers, isn’t enough for me to jump right inl

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    Skeletor68 says:

    I read some of these years ago when reviewing books as a lad. With the right art style it could be a really nice kids game. It was a little violent IIRC though. Would be mad if they went full Watership Down on this one!

  10. Lanfranc says:

    Never heard of the Redwall books. Are they along the lines of Watership Down and/or Mouse Guard?

    • iucounu says:

      Not so much like Watership Down – less gritty, less mythic. More like Mouse Guard, I guess (though I only know MG through Fables.)

  11. MrThingy says:

    What is it with rabbits wearing jackets but demonstrating a complete refusal to wear pants?

    It’s obscene. Won’t someone PLEASE think of the children???

    • Lanfranc says:

      Perhaps all their naughty bits are on their torsos? They’re rabbits wearing jackets, after all, so who knows?

  12. Atrophy says:

    Out of curiosity… what does it matter if they are all Christian? I mean…. there are quite a few of them in the world… would the same two paragraphs be taken if it was an all women dev team?

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Education time:
      Being a woman has nothing to do with religious philosophy. You may think it’s a choice, but women are born female.

      This, on the other hand, is going to be Redwall from the Christian perspective. And that means things about ethos and ideas and whatever…not stuff like vaginas and boobs that they were born with, but stuff they were taught/indocrinated with.

      Hopefully they abandon their Christianness when they make this game, but they probably believe that’s a sin, so….

      • iucounu says:

        Like I said, I think Redwall has a Christian ethos to begin with, so actually I think a Christian perspective wouldn’t be at all inappropriate.

      • Atrophy says:

        I could care less about whether it is a choice or if it is something someone is born with. I used women because RPS has been championing them for some time now in the gaming industry (which I applaud and am happy about).

        Pick a group: Muslim, Canadien, Brazilian, Christian, Atheist, Hispanic, Women, Men, Students, etc. I am not attempting to specify a women vs. Christian type of argument. :) I get that Christian games generally suck (really….really suck), but it seemed like the focus of the article was really on the fact that they are Christian and Christian games suck. Maybe I am reading too much into this, but I was just somewhat confused that it was specified to such a degree. I also don’t usually care about the background of the developers making a game because a good game is a good game (shocker I know) and a bad game…. is a bad game.

        Dungeonland was made by a Brazilian group of indie developers…. Brazil has almost no history of making games (or at least none that are any good), but I didn’t really hear anything about that. :)

        One last thing…. reading the comments of bigoted jerks is getting tiresome any time religion is mentioned. It is a bit like if someone in Florida who has never met an someone with an Asiatic background said “Asians are all short, unsocial math geeks.” It is irritating. :)

    • solidsquid says:

      It’s the difference between a team of developers who are women and a women dev team. The latter incorporates being entirely made up of women into the identity of the team and this will most likely find it’s way into the work that they do (more likely to pitch heroine than other dev teams, plot could go in a different direction, etc). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact it’s probably a good thing in most cases.

      The difference between that and Christian development companies is that, at least in the past, Christian devs tended to go straight for the overly preachy style of Christianity, even if it was detrimental to the games they produced. As a result people tend to be a bit wary of it when it comes to games (in fact the linked interview has these particular developers recognising this as having been a problem, which is encouraging)

    • Berzee says:

      “Christian Game” has the fairly well-deserved implied meaning, “Cheap Knock-off Of Popular, Game, With Bible Trivia Between Levels”. =P I don’t think this is as true nowadays as it was 10-15 years ago, but I understand why they’re quick to disassociate themselves from that legacy and clarify that they actually make game games instead of edutainment softwares. =)

      To take a similar situation in the book world…you’ve got the authors who write “Inspirational Fiction” which mostly either means glum Amish renditions of Jane Austen, or else some kind of Moses-in-blue-jeans (granted, these can sometimes be pretty good). On the other hand, you’ve got authors who write “Plain Old Fiction Books” but after you’ve read like three of their books you check the About The Author section and are mildly surprised to see that he’s a pastor of some Baptist church somewhere, and maybe it gives you a new insight into the books’ structure or some of the protagonists’ ideals.

      I get the feeling Soma are trying to say that they’re in the latter category, and their Christian Company status is largely a way of reassuring people that if you buy a Soma game it won’t secretly be the next Bulletstorm or have a surprise ending where God dies of old age and some 14-year-olds save the universe by smooching (which are reassurances that some potential players would care about =).

      • Shuck says:

        Frankly I think it is still true (if it weren’t, why would they be so eager to distance themselves from the label?). And unlike an individual who has many facets to their personality, a company that deliberate identifies a certain way and hires accordingly is defining what’s of primary importance to them.

        • Atrophy says:

          Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that Christian centered games are any good (as far as I know… maybe there is a sleeper hit out there)… I just thought it a bit odd that the article seemed focused on it, but I may be reading into it too much. I just felt like proposing a possible thought of mine on these fine interwebs we have here. :)

    • Cryo says:

      A Christian company isn’t a company where everyone is a Christian (though I suppose that is presumed), it’s a company that markets itself as Christian.

    • Lev Astov says:

      Came here to say the same thing. Why was it even brought up? There are plenty of Christian developers and all that generally means is they won’t add sex and swearing (and in some cases alcohol).

      • Cryo says:

        It’s relevant because Christian developers/musicians/writers are aiming for an audience that doesn’t care about quality as long as they are properly pandered to ideologically. Which is why their product is usually a bit shit.

        • valz says:

          As a Christian, I completely agree with Cryo, except to note that there are exceptions within the music and writing genres (though rare.)

          Example exceptions: many classical composers, J. R. R.Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Flannery O’Connor

        • MentatYP says:

          Another Christian here, and I also agree with Cryo. “Christian Contemporary Music” is mostly garbage because it is often produced based on the principle that as long as it mentions Jesus it’s good. There are exceptions of course, but by and large the genre is useless musically speaking. Same with Christian games.

          There is a long history of Christian artists producing outstanding work while also being overtly Christian. There’s no excuse for the garbage they’re peddling these days in the name of God, and IMO it’s actually being a terrible witness for your faith when you do so.

          • Atrophy says:

            Yes, the contemporary stuff is just awful. I have friends who like it and I simply cannot grasp the concept of enjoying the current music. Once you go back in time a bit the music does get better.

          • Berzee says:

            Yeah, there has been some good stuff (for example, the vast majority of Michael Card songs!) but the current selection feels like it’s gotten a bit samey.

            Not sure how much of that is because I am involuntarily becoming a crotchety “remember the 90s” man, though.

          • valz says:

            The 80’s and 90’s were at least as bad as now. Michael Card’s music was always largely fakely-instrumented, drum machine, tripe. I grew up in that time and knew that then, even though I had friends who were listening to it.

          • Berzee says:

            Hmm, I quite like his songs. They cover a much wider range (both of topics and of melodies) than most other singerfolk I have heard. (I don’t find drum machines inherently offensive though, so I think we may have different priorities =).

          • valz says:

            You’re right, we have very different tastes if you think topics are even connected to music. They’re certainly not part of it.

            Melodies are quite important though! I’m not sure I can judge Michael Card’s melodic ability. His songs all sound very similar to me, but that might be the production rather than the melodies.

  13. Jamesworkshop says:

    Pretty sure I already knew a badger was bigger than a squirrel, but thanks anyhow

    That fact was discovered by Ron Davies in 2003.

  14. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    Don’t worry seculars, it’s not christian! Don’t worry Christians, it’s not secular!
    Sounds like a recipe for shit.

    • Premium User Badge

      Fiyenyaa says:

      Not really what they’re saying though, is it?
      If you actually read what they are saying, then the message is: “secular-types, we are not making a proselytising game. Religious types, we are not making a game that’s going to be full of stuff you don’t want to see”.
      Those two aims are perfectly able to coexist.

      • solidsquid says:

        I never really got the objections to Doom or Diablo from the Christian right. With a very small number of exceptions (Dungeon Keeper for example), games involving the devil or demons are almost entirely about fighting against them and saving the world. Hell, Doom is about you going to Mars and driving back Hell’s armies, and Diablo is pretty much the same concept. Surely these would be something to be lauded?

      • Sheng-ji says:

        “Those two aims are perfectly able to coexist.”

        And exactly what I’d want to hear from the IP holders! I really hope they do a good job, I loved the books when I was young and it would be nice to see a good game come out of it. If it’s a game written with values of decency and ethics in mind, all the better!

        Worst comes to worst, we always have Mice and Mystics which is properly good and as close to redwall as can be without treading on the IP, even if it does fall into the girl needs rescuing pit!

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      As the old saying goes ‘The Devil is in the detail’ so can we expect low res textures?

      • SomaGames says:

        High res textures, but perhaps little devils in the steganography…that’d be fair right?

  15. InternetBatman says:

    I don’t really have a problem with Christian influences; Christianity permeates American life and American culture, and I say this as an atheist. I have a bigger problem with the undistinguishable dark hordes…

    Just for fun:
    http://www.somethingawful.com/d/news/bargain-book-bin-3.php

    • mondomau says:

      That was really very funny, but it’s still overly-analytical horseshit.

      Except for the bit about the food.

    • TheMopeSquad says:

      I lost it at “Hurr di burr, oi’m a mole,” classic, those simple mole folk are salt of the earth but obviously couldn’t survive in Redwall without having the white ma~ errr mice… there to do all the pesky heavy thinking for them.

  16. uh20 says:

    interesting, redwall was one of those books that l was hoping to read completely, but never did.

    like i said, never read the whole thing, but from what i know, it is a really good series to base a game on, perhaps the best series to base a game on.

  17. SominiTheCommenter says:

    Christians calling themselves Soma games. Aldous Huxley would be proud.

    • frightlever says:

      Soma is the opiate of the masses.

    • klmx says:

      No love for Vedic Hinduism?

    • valz says:

      So weird. If their game is any good, I’ll declare them fakes.

    • SomaGames says:

      You are the only, ONLY person to get that joke. I’ve been waiting 7 years for somebody to get our joke and you’re the first! Huzzah!

    • MaXimillion says:

      It gets much weirder if you’ve watched Seikon no Qwaser

  18. communisthamster says:

    I didn’t know Brian Jacques had passed away, how sad. I spent many hours in early secondary school in the school library reading all the Redwall they had. About the time I finished their stock I realised all the stories were pretty much the same, but there we go. They were great at the time. I’d play this.

    As for religion, the books were never specific, but it was obviously a benevolent, vaguely medieval Christian abbey. I’m not even sure they ever mentioned god.

    • mondomau says:

      Not to mention some of the plot lines, character names and narrative devices are strongly reminiscent of some old testament material.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I’m sure I saw an interview with him where he stated that he wanted to keep religion out of his books but still draw on the wholesome aspects of Christianity, hence calling Redwall an abbey and it being a place of healing.

    • Geen says:

      Good times, good times. Way back in second grade, Redwall basically got me into reading. My school library had just around every single one of them, so I spent many an afternoon reading.

  19. iucounu says:

    Hey, Redwall was pretty damn Christian to begin with. It’s set in an abbey, first off, and the whole story of Martin the Warrior etc has heavy religious overtones. Seems like a good fit, in fact.

  20. StranaMente says:

    Since I think I’m not the only one, this game remembered me of the other one with a mouse as a protagonist that is going on with a indiegogo campaign, named Ghost of a Tale. So, if you’re looking for that one you can check it right here. Fixed funding campaign, 21 days left, 16,380€ of 45.000€. Still interesting, worth a look at.

  21. theoriginaled says:

    As long as the game has long overly glorified descriptions of food Im fine with it.

    • Berzee says:

      Gosh, yes. That’s the main thing I remember from these books besides “Logalogalogalogalog”. The man had an unearthly talent for making an entirely vegetarian meal sound intolerably mouthwatering. (Ok, they also ate fish for some reason, but I’m not a big fish eater myself so that didn’t usually factor into my reactions =).

    • BarneyL says:

      I think you’re in luck, the following is in one of the linked posts:

      Food is Essential
      This might sound like a strange detail to include here but the feasts of Redwall are legendary and many fans have made it clear – a Redwall without some significant attention to food is an Epic Fail. We hear you. Who’s up for a ‘make me a sandwich’ mini-game?

  22. Shadrach says:

    Though I would love a game set in the Mouse Guard (David Petersen), I really have no relation to this Redwall series. I understand it’s quite well known in the UK and possibly the US?

    The Mouse Guard would make a great setting for a critter-based game though.

    • finbikkifin says:

      Redwall is like Mouse Guard, except not really anything like Mouse Guard except for having mice, and a bit rubbish. I say this as someone who read all the damn books.

      A good Mouse Guard RPG would be one of the greatest games of the decade. I just can’t decide whether I’d want it made by Bethesioware for the Big Open World RPG Feel, or From, because Mouse Souls would be incredible.

  23. zeekthegeek says:

    There has never been a company that outwardly called themselves a Christian studio that has produced a good product, even once.

  24. valz says:

    Have there been any good games from a specifically Christian developer since the NES?

    • Berzee says:

      Alas, it’s true. =P I don’t quite know why, but perhaps it’s partly because “Christian games” have historically been edutainment-style games targeted at parents instead of players, and partly because games seem to work best when any meaning they might carry is conveyed by Atmospheres and Indirect Suggestions, which is at odds with a Christian studio’s probable goal of being as clear and concise and directly meaningful as possible.

      In the olden days, they were content to just let you chuck a tower of oxen at a boat and work out the significance for yourself. =P (Notwithstanding the obligatory Bible Trivia edutainment segments, of course).

  25. Premium User Badge

    strangeloup says:

    I’ve never read any of the Redwall books, and I can’t say that the prospect of a game based on it excites me, but I’m rather puzzled by the Badass Armoured Rat guy in the species size comparison apparently being called ‘Cluny’. (EDIT: And then I googled and it’s apparently a character, and I feel silly.)

    I like that the badger is going “grrr” though. They’re like that.

    • Berzee says:

      You’ll notice there’s no Beaver on that chart. You might think it’s because Beavers don’t exist in Redwall but you’d be wrong. If my memory serves me properly, there is in actual fact usually A Beaver in Redwall. Sometimes no Beavers, but sometimes a single Beaver. Never more than that. It’s a different Beaver in different books. Where it comes from and why it’s alone, I don’t know. Possibly the Beaver is sort of like Dr. Who but less plot-critical.

      (Disclaimer: the newer Redwall books might have hordes of Beavers in; I haven’t kept up to date on them).

  26. blademouse says:

    Apparently from the original Redwall The Adventure Game FB site Sean Rubin is involved.
    Anyone familiar with Sean’s background should know that his involvement would make certain that much of Brian’s vision would be maintained. I would advise googling Sean and gain some knowledge regarding his art history education along with his long history working with Redwall. Also Brian wasn’t totally against the game concept always, but rather there was a short time where he was. He didn’t sell the rights to this under duress by any means.

  27. fishyboy says:

    I was a big fan of the Redwall series, and definitely thought that it would make a good video game on many occasions, especially a Zelda-like. The developer doesn’t really inspire confidence, but it’d be awesome if they did a good job with it.

  28. WHS says:

    Um, aren’t the Chronicles of Narnia more-or-less explicitly Christian? It’s a bit troubling that these guys can’t recognize that.

    EDIT: oh, I see, he was referring to Redwall. Ambiguous antecedents strike again!

    • Berzee says:

      You’re right about Narnia, but Liam Neeson doesn’t know that. =P OR SO I HEARD ON INTERNET

  29. noom says:

    Well, reading through all these comments has totally destroyed my childhood memories of the Redwall books. Although I must admit those memories had already taken a big hit when I tried re-reading Redwall a few years back…

  30. themindstream says:

    The sad fact is that Brian Jacques was very anti video games.

    In my younger years I was involved at a staff level with a MUCK set in the Redwall universe (still existing today, although much diminished – at peak times there could be as many as 50-100 people on at once). The guy who started it got written permission from Jacques to use the Redwall universe, only to have him “rediscover” it a year or so later and tell them to stop, claiming he never granted that permission. The only reason the MUCK was able to go back to using the Redwall universe was convincing him that a text-based, free-form roleplaying chat was different from a video game, which he considered a pox, waste of time, thing stopping kids from reading books and playing out side, and all those other old, tired arguments. There was also a second shutdown threat that actually happened during my time on staff, when an angry parent complained to him about someone cursing while their kid was playing (if she’d come to us instead, she’d have learned that we enforced our G rating very seriously). It became a non-issue mostly because within a week of the incident, Jacques suffered a stroke and promptly forgot about us again.

    That said, if his estate is much more lenient with entertaining the idea of a game based on Redwall, I congratulate them for wanting to give it a go. Jacques was a good storyteller and the books were critically important to my childhood, but “open minded” and “forward thinking” were probably not terms that could be applied to him.

  31. wodin says:

    We need a game based on the Borribles novels…

  32. blademouse says:

    Sean Rubin’s blog addresses some of topics in this discussion. Definitely a must read!

    “The Redwall stories aren’t about race, but they’re not entirely about animals, either. They’re about villains sly as foxes, heroes quick and clever as mice, soldiers gregarious and noble as hares. In other words, Redwall is about people, and children most of all.”

    http://seanrubin.blogspot.com/2013/04/redwall-on-racism-and-animal-stories.html

  33. Beefeater1980 says:

    There are a few popular and overtly Christian fantasy authors out there, and they make an interesting palate cleanser set against the bleaker sort of fantasy. I remember having devoured all of David Gemmell’s novels, which were of wildly varying quality but generally a lot of fun and which were explicitly intended to have a non-preachy Christian message. I think Legend was the one that got me started.

    Redwall was after my time, might take a look once my kids get old enough for it.