LOUD on Planet X, is an arcade style music rhythm game that combines elements of Rock Band, and Plants vs. Zombies into an exciting, yet bizarre adventure. You play as one of 12 top indie artists who use to power of rock to defend the earth from an invading alien horde.
With the help of FACTOR, a Canadian non-profit organization devoted to providing assistance towards the growth and development of the Canadian music industry, Pop Sandbox has amassed an incredible pool of talent including Metric, F*ckd Up, July Talk, Lights, Metz, Austra, Tegan and Sara, and Cadence Weapon, with plans of expanding this star-studded lineup. Availability on Steam, iOs, Android and Playstation Network, means that music lovers everywhere will be able to experience fantastic Canadian music in an epic, fun to play game.
On May 5th, Pop Sandbox launched LOUD’s Kickstarter campaign. With a strong start of the campaign, it is already two-fifth of the way to their $50 000 goal. CGM had a chance to talk to Alex Jansen, the creative producer on LOUD, about the project, music and Pop Sandbox.
Comics Gaming Magazine: When FACTOR became involved, did they already have a list of bands they wanted you to go with? Or did you have to come to the table with ideas?
Alex Jansen: It was funny actually, since we were well into development before the program came up, it was pretty serendipitous that it worked out the way it did.
It's actually funny the first band that was on board was F*cked Up because they worked with us on Pipe Trouble. Then we kind of went through a long development process of doing fundraising , piecing the game together, getting the team together and then getting the Greenlight, which happened this time around last January. But when FACTOR joined, it allowed us to be able to handle all the different licenses for the different artists. Right now we're sitting at 8 artists with 2 tracks each, so 16 tracks. With Kickstarter our goal is to get 12 artists with 24 tracks by the time we launch.
On top of that, we'll have some kind of original components. We're doing an original score with Mike and Jonah, from F*cked Up. Brandon Canning and Justin Peroff from Broken Social Scene are doing an alternate score. We're in talks of doing a third one and pressing the score as a green 7 inch vinyl with sleeve art by comic artist Michael Deforge, which will be really cool for the Kickstarter campaign.
CGM: How did that work?
AJ: It was interesting. It was tied to a documentary feature film, looking at issues along the Peace River Region in British Columbia, and the ongoing exploitation of natural gas. It was licensed by TVO, who has an older audience. So what we were doing with the videogame was looking at a way to try to engage the younger audience demographic into the same issue with blatant over the top satire to explore ongoing issue on the exploitation of Natural Gas.It was in the same vein as the McDonald's game with some of the more industrial stuff. It was a way of getting a new audience to become aware of some of the issues. That was the first time we collaborated with Jonah and Mike from F*cked Up who did the original score for Pipe Trouble, and they were the first band on this one.
Oddly, this game is departure for us because everything up until this point has been non-fiction, social issue based, and then this is just a fun silly music game, which is great. It’s a refreshing departure.
Although, it doesn’t necessarily hit with the social issues stuff, I think what it has the power to do is, ideally, provide a new way of discovering new music, specifically Canadian music. It’s exciting to me because, at least in this case initially at launch, it’s all Canadian artists. The lineup we put together which is through support from FACTOR, and they have a really forward thinking program around their digital marketing front, which is all around getting Canadian Music to more audiences but through digital means. It's an interesting programme.
CGM: So what lead you into that departure from social justice issues and going into something more light?
AJ: It was, oddly enough, already in production. It ended up being in this crazy controversy with Pipe Trouble. In the end but it worked great for getting more people involved in the discussion that it was intended to. But it’s nice to see our next project end up in a different vein.
[LOUD] is funny because for me as a player, what I would do a lot of the time is play old classic games and turn off the [in-game] music and play my own music. So I’d be playing Pac-Man with my own music and I think that’s where the initial thoughts came from. I just loved playing with music in a more immersive way. I’m a huge fan of Plants V.S Zombies style of tower defence, so inspired by that, our initial concept for LOUD was more of a tower defence with 60/40 tower defence to rhythm tap. Now it’s more a 60/40 shooter/rhythm tap based game with tower defence elements. It became game I wanted to play more than anything.
CGM: So how does the game combine the bands and gameplay? And will you have to playthrough to unlock all the bands?
AJ: The first level will be a tutorial of you playing in a live show in a small club. You learn the mechanic by tapping 'B' in order to fire the music to make the crowd happy. The audience will be all the Kickstarter backers which will great! Then the portal opens and they get transported to the alien planet. And at that point, when you get to the actual planet, you'll get all the bands. You are working through the game to unlock new towers, power-ups or second tracks for all the bands. You’re moving through the whole planet with all these different types of aliens with some that teleport and what not, en route to unlocking this portal so you can have a final showdown with the original boss back at the club.
LOUD on Planet X will be running its Kickstarter campaign until June 5th. Click here if you’d like to support the project, and let us know what you think in the comments section bellow.