In 1983 you, like us, would have played a Commodore 64. It was also the year you could have picked up a copy of 2000AD in the UK, to read it for Skizz written by a young Alan Moore. Twenty-five years later, the worlds of comics and games have definitively separated in terms of experience - so why do we see so many of our favorite comic creator names appearing in the credits of certain games? Rebellion bought 2000AD and Judge Dredd Magazine, Top Cow is half-owned by Eidos and Rockstar’s marketers end up as bright new comic stars. What’s going on?
Paul Jenkins has a heavy writer’s workload creating comics such as Civil War Frontline, The Darkness and Hellblazer - and games like God of War, The Darkness and Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, as well as screenplays. But Jenkins sees the appeal of a comic writer as far greater than a screenplay writer to the games industry. “A screenplay writer walks into the room like the world owes him a living. Comic book people are given tasks all the time, certainly at Marvel, and writing thirty to forty comics a year to deadlines, they have to be able to adapt and collaborate with artists.”
Jenkins sees the need for the industry to bring in external writers for storytelling purposes, but only ones that are or can be respectful to the medium and who really understand it. When working on Hulk, Jenkins said that the publisher recognized that they’d previously had problems making the player feel involved.
“They wanted to make sure that this time, players felt big and powerful. That was the driving force behind the game. Developers are so much smarter now at engineering emotions in players. This may sound pretentious, but it all goes back to Greek drama, being a cathartic experience that purges you of emotions. That has never been more true of videogames.”