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Nikopol US Deal: Turn On The Bright Lights?

My move to London hasn't been kind.

Curious. Got Game Entertainment have announced they’re doing the US distribution of White Birds Productions‘ Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals. Which – er – doesn’t appear to have a website yet. It’s an adventure game based on Enki Bilal‘s series of graphic novels which… okay, I’m going to spin off here. Basically, Bilal – along with people like Moebius – is one of the most striking influences on traditional (read: weird) French development. When a game like Fahrenheit (aka Indigo Prophecy) goes a bit odd, it’s them guys they’re aping. What strikes me about the initial set of shots is by how much they’ve missed the mark. Let’s do a quick compare and contrast…

For example, take this example page from the Nikopol collected edition…
I hate it when Rhinos get on the train. I FUCKING HATE IT.

Note the distinctive characters, the life and colour and general Bilal-ness. Now, two screenshots, which are the most imaginative and interesting ones which have been released…

JUSTICE playing live. Tickets still available!

Sexy grubs.

Which are just about okay, but they could be any videogame released in the last five years. When you’re paid money to licence one of European comics’ most distinctive visual stylists, getting a flash of his visual style would be – you’d think – the first port of call. At least for me, Bilal isn’t interesting in terms of his plots – my favourite Bilal works are those in which he was the illustrator, like The Hunting Party which I recommend highly – but the enormous panache with which he pulls them off. He’s a visual stylist. We need visual style. Look at the character in the opening screen and then any of Bilal’s characters – you just can’t imagine him existing in Bilal’s world.

Which is odd when they do something like this…
Sigh. So pretty.

And show Bilal’s pictures in the world, which just creates an odd disconnect between how good he is and how resolutely mediocre the frame of the game actually is.

So, yeah. Not optimistic, but I’ll keep one eye on it as it approaches its launch in August. Alien-Egyptian-Gods floating over cities has a certain appeal. Also: Ra in his underpants.

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Kieron Gillen

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Kieron Gillen is robo-crazy.

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