New video game magazine. 188 pages dedicated to Spec Ops : The Line (93 pages), Alessandro Taini (Art Director), multiple subjects.
About this project
Allow me to introduce myself : my name is Aurélien, founder of the french video game magazineIcarus (Icare in french). This is a publication I run alone, meaning I do the writing – including collaborations with François Coulon (Spec Ops), Sheldon Pacotti (Deus Ex) and Jordy Rodriguez (Micy Roll) -, the layout (close to an artbook), manage the budget, the accounting, the publishing, the communication and the shipping. Given that the issue I’m proposing is 188 pages long, you can imagine how personal and independent this project is. Of course, if it’s successfull, I’ll bring the Deus Ex Issue which I am very proud of.
Therefore, I’m launching this on Kickstarter so that you can finance the American version of this particular issue and receive it at home, wherever you are (from Australia to the USA, UK, Canada, Scandinavia, China, Japan, South Africa, Argentina…). That presentation got the same prism : American english.
Half of this issue is dedicated to the game Spec Ops : The Line (93 pages) as well as to artistic director Alessandro Taini (35 pages) and various other themes (christianism, war). More precisely, I think you will enjoy this magazine as much for its exclusivities (for example the article on the cancelled DLC in which Sergent Adams survived and was looking for a way out of Dubai) as for its themes and the way they are treated.
On a side note, the developers themselves encouraged me to launch this American version. And since I don’t have the money required to do so, crowdfunding was the most obvious way to go. So the only way to get the magazine is to buy it on kickstarter. Concretely, what are the specifics of this issue ?
– First, you will find documented articles that bring a completely new take on the game Spec Ops : The Line, while focusing, on a larger scale, on war games. The part dedicated to Spec Ops consists in 93 pages of analysis, deciphering, reflection and exclusivities. I am talking about war, choice, psychology but also rock’n’roll, illusion, cinema, religion (Spec Ops is a religious game). You will also find the tale of the game’s creation narrated by François Coulon, co-lead designer and executive producer.
° Here is the first extract. Every game is a miracle: https://fr.scribd.com/doc/315127063/Every-Game-is-a-Miracle
° And here are a few translated pages on the topics of heroism, rock, illusion and religion (you will find more extracts below) knowing that the biggest article is dedicated to the exploitation of Dubaï.
Apocalypse Woodstock: https://fr.scribd.com/doc/315127619/Apocalypse-Woodstock
The illusion of darkness: https://fr.scribd.com/doc/315127711/The-illusion-of-Darkness
The religion under the sand: https://fr.scribd.com/doc/315127793/The-Religion-Under-the-Sand
You will also find exceptional collaborations. First, an exclusive exchange since Alessandro Taini, former artistic director at Ninja Theory (Enslaved, DmC, Hellblade) illustrates Spec Opson the front cover while Mathias Wiese, artistic director at Yager (Spec Ops, Dreadnought) illustrated Enslaved. In fact, to read the icareview, you’ll have to flip the magazine, and by doing so you will see another cover.
– Let us not forget a few surprises, such as the participation of Sheldon Pacotti (scenarist of the first two Deus Ex) who gives us his vision of the 21st century and compares it to what he himself imagined in Deus Ex. You will also get to read a piece by Jordy Rodriguez, creator of the indie game Micy Roll.
– 33 pages are dedicated to the former artistic director at Ninja Theory (and an artist himself) Alessandro Taini, who accepted to give a very long interview. We spent more than 11 hours on Skype to come up with this result. Thus, you will get to learn about the career and vision of the one who worked on Heavenly Sword, Enslaved : Odyssey to the West, the latest Devil May Cry and Hellblade. I’m immensely proud to have had the opportunity to lead this interview with Alessandro, a man with an incredible personality.
° You can read an extract of the Icareview (or the Icarusview, I don’t know wich one sounds better) here : https://fr.scribd.com/doc/315129300/Icareview-of-Alessandro-Taini
– The magazine also focuses on several themes : a textbook case of Christian religion in video games, the Americanization of war games, the traditional novella. Speaking of which, the magazine also has a literary side since I am writing, in the meantime, a science fiction novel (Threnes) that will be published in 2017. And the story is part of its universe. Icarus is also ahybrid between a video game magazine and an artbook. The visual aspect is very important. The interview of Alessandro is also strewn with illustrations. Basically, with 188 pages, not only do you have a magazine dedicated to Spec Ops (93 pages) but also a more standard video game magazine and an artbook. Three birds with one stone, as it were.
– There is no advertising (the magazine is completely independent). It takes about 7 or 8 hours to read it from cover to cover.
– The french version obtained a 100% very positive feedback, knowing that the readership is composed as follows : 1/3 developers, 1/3 students (video games, journalism, art history…) and 1/3 gamers. I highlighted reviews by developers but keep in mind that, of course, the magazine is accessible to all. I hope you will get to see that in the various extracts.
– This is not a magazine singing the praise of Spec Ops, or any other game for that matter. The tone is very critical. Some readers are surprised by this aspect so I thought I would tell it right away, just in case. Moreover, about 15 pages are essentially dedicated to game design.
– I just put one extract from the psychological part in order to preserve it. There, you can find the beginning of the testimony of an american sergent who served in Iraq and who weaves parallels between his soldier life and Spec Ops : The Line.
° We can be good : https://fr.scribd.com/doc/315127890/We-can-be-good
It is followed by the interview of an army psychiatrist, an article about the choices and another one on the player’s commitment (those two show the great subtility of Spec Op).
– You can listen to my reading of the last letter written to retrace the story of the character John Konrad. It is the subtitled french (don’t forget to activate those subtitles) version of the portrait opening the magazine. In fact, the magazine opens on letters by John Konrad, which permits to bring back to mind the story, the stakes, the themes of the game. And that matches its creative, literary side. (the articles answer to each other, communicate, fuel each other).
– One last thing. There is a book on Spec Ops entitled Killing is Harmless : a critical reading, written by Australian journalist Brendan Keogh. Even if you have read it, Icarus will change your perception of the game for good. French people who have read both have confirmed it with no hesitation. What I’m proposing is an unseen dive into the heart of one of the most fascinating games I’ve ever played. Quite a wild ride.
– Thanks to Matthew and Mathieu for the translation, their kindness. Thanks to Natalie Wilhelm and Jeffrey Yohalem for their great rereading and comments. And thanks to Erwann, Jacopo, Dhiman and Ben Rogers for their help.
And thank you all for your trust !
P.S. The magazine will be fully translated. Before the printing I will choose 2 people among you to read it (if they agree) and give me commentaries about the translation. It must be perfect.
P.P.S I have recorded two fake trailers in english. If you think it’s ok, understable and good enough, I’ll do an english version for the past and future videos on my youtube channel : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPOGan3-KKd-bsK_UNqe717m0reRjYxf1
Risks and challenges
Concretely speaking, I need 18 000 dollars, which roughly converts into 16 000 euros. I do offer a digital version of the magazine but I prioritize the reading on the paper format (the layout is built on double-pages). So, the budget is split as follows :
– 6 000 euros to pay the two translators : Mathieu (a French student who majored in English literature and has been following the magazine for a while now) and Matthew (former programmer at Ubisoft and a fan of the magazine).
– 4 500 euros for printing.
– 4 000 euros for the shipping fees (that will amount to 6 euros wherever you live thanks to a partnership with the French mailing service).
– The 9% that go to Kickstarter + Paypal, about 1 500 euros. If there is more than 16 000 euros, I will pay the translators better (3000 euros is not much), and if there is still more, I’ll get paid. Therefore, I need 800 orders to make this project a success. Or less if some take the versions with posters or the ones that have been signed. Of course, if the orders exceed 800, I will print more magazines.
One last thing I want to add : I will do all the shipping and mailing myself. If some of you do or did that job : you know the pain 😉
Finally, if the kickstarter succeeds, I will propose the first two issues dedicated to Deux Ex (huge exclusivity on Deus Ex : Insurrection) and God of War as well as the issue on Afterfall Insanity (quite a story about the development of this one) I am currently working on (the one dedicated to Afterfall is scheduled for next April and the Assassin’s Creed one for the year after).
Also, I am working on a novel (I encourage you to check my biography on kickstarter), on several comic books. I am still looking for an artist for the one I want to publish first (it’s difficult to find the good one) but i get some reviews of the script from the two developers who reviewed the magazine for the crowfunding :
Francois Emery / Game Director (Ubisoft) : Comics super nice, with a real voice, a religious side heartfelt and a writing style that I love. In the end, Marmosa Mexicana lies somewhere between the video game Guacamelee and the RPG In Nomine Satanis / Magna Veritas.
Louis David Tremblay / Game Designer (Eidos ) : This is a comic with black humor and sarcasm very successful , fresh and original , driven by an arrogant main character, to the almost surreal irreverence. A bit like Stephen King and Quentin Tarantino came up with a project together .