2000 AD, home of Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog and Flesh, is opening up its characters for licensing opportunities. Acknowledging that they can't create games based on all of the characters and setting, 2000 AD owners Rebellion stated on Saturday that they hope to license out the properties, including Dredd and related characters. Rebellion are now best known for the Sniper Elite series but have owned 2000 AD since...well, 2000 AD. In that time there have only been two 2000 AD games*, 2003's Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death and Rogue Trooper in 2006 (updated for Wii in 2009), but this move should open the floodgates. Or at least the faucets.
This seems like a very good thing to me. The announcement was made at the 40 Years Of Thrill Power Festival, which took place on my birthday even though I'm not a 2000 AD character. I do like 2000 AD a lot though and have since I first read Dredd as a kid, when a comic about satirical violence that was so distinctly British was just about the most exciting thing on my shelf. There are no details on how licensing agreements might work, but Bleeding Cool, who first reported this, say that Rebellion CEO and historical cosplayer extraordinaire Jason Kingsley is expecting "dozens rather than hundreds of inquiries but sees four to five games possibly developed from other publishers in the near future."
Considering that I'm likely to send in dozens of inquiries by tomorrow morning (a Burger Wars tactical skirmish game, a management game based on Flesh and a Strontium Dog RPG for starters), he's either misjudged the appeal of these licenses, or he's only referring to serious inquiries from people who know how to make games.
With Games Workshop, White Wolf and now 2000 AD potentially working with top developers and/or exciting upcoming indies, this is an exciting time for nineties Adam. These are a few of my favourite things, and given how Marvel and DC have been hogging the pop culture limelight in recent years, I'd love it if Dredd did in games what Marvel have done on the telly and in cinemas. Stranger things have happened.
A decade ago, if you'd suggested that a big interconnected Marvel cinematic universe, with proper actors and massive budgets, would be one of the dominant forces in blockbusting cinema, people might have thought you were taking the piss. And if you'd gone on to say that 95% of new television shows were either comic book inspired or directly based on either Marvel or DC characters, they'd have started calling you Notstrodamus because of your terrible predictions. Well, who's laughing now?
It's you. You're laughing, even though you're quietly concerned that the first Iron Man is still the best of the bunch, and that the initial appeal of those street level Netflix heroes is going to be washed away in the push toward Big Team Up. You'll still be laughing, through the tears, when Batman tears Lois Lane's face off over on the DC channel. He's cross because she wrote an article about the poisonous knock-on effect of vigilante culture. "FAKE NEWS", he growled as he kicked the door in.
Later, when Lex Luthor resurrected her as a sentient viral internet program, Lane would adopt 'Fake News' as her nom de guerre.