Shawn French, Writer of “Escape From Jesus Island”, Returns to Talk About EFJI the Video Game!

Who wants to play as the Anti-Christ? Show of hands!

Shawn French is the writer for the indie horror comic “Escape From Jesus Island”, an awesome book about an island filled to the brim with evil, mutant clones of Jesus. Last time Shawn joined us for an interview (HERE), we discussed the comic in general and his future plans for the story. Well, he is actively working on making one of those goals a reality and that is adapting the EFJI universe into a video game! And today Shawn joined me to tell us all about it!

John Lepper: Thanks again for returning for another interview, Mr. French. Last time we talked, you were elbow deep in pushing forward with your Escape from Jesus Island comic book, even trying to expand into other mediums. Have there been any new developments?

Shawn French: Thanks, John. Always good catching up with you.

As Mortimer Glum is cranking out pages on Episode 3, the vast majority of my waking hours are focused on the Escape From Jesus Island mobile game we’re currently developing. An EFJI video game has been one of our major goals from the start and we’re thrilled to working with designer Eric Pavone to turn our story into a turn-based POV dungeon crawler for all the major mobile platforms.

Our working title is Escape From Jesus Island: Rise of the Antichrist and It will serve as a prequel to the comics. Players will control a teenage Yeshua (the Antichrist) and three other custom-made mutant freaks. It’s going to be all kinds of wrong, plus it gives us a chance to unveil some of the mountains of backstory we’ll never get to in the comics themselves.

JL: Sounds awesome! About how far along are you guys with it?

SF: We’re still early in development. Eric and I are currently designing the base mechanics to best fit our story world. Stats, abilities, spells, skill, the loot system, that sort of thing.

Player characters come in four classes of mutants: Brute, Aberration, Skirmisher or Zealot. Each of those can be highly specialized using a system of mutation-based perks, as well as whether you focus on the Science or Divinity skill trees when leveling up. We want to give as much possible freedom for folks to create precisely the mutants they want. There will also be some major players from the comics who might be persuaded to join Yeshua’s crew.

Since money is meaningless to a crew of cannibalistic mutants living in the tunnels beneath the Malsum Island Research Facility, we’re developing a carnage-based loot system. Using the Dismember skill, Yeshua and his mutant followers can carve various cuts of meat from their kills. Meat Loot serves many purposes in the game. It can be eaten for a quick health boost, traded to the traveling vendor Meat Wagon for special gear, used to solve puzzles, or collected for use in character advancement. If an Aberration-class mutant wants to add another arm upon leveling up (yep, you can do that), you’ll have to have a usable arm in stock.

Skirmisher class mutants with the Butcher ability or Zealots skilled in Surgery are more adept at getting higher quality cuts of meat from their kills, as well as looting non-diseased meat from diseased creatures. Brute class mutants with the Iron Gut skill can gain health from eating anything, diseased or otherwise.

We’re giving the classic roleplaying genre a dark and twisted overhaul. It will be a deeply strange game.

JL: Strange is good and I love RPGs! So, aside from it being a prequel, is there anything more you can tell us about the plot?

SF: It predates Episode 1 of the comics by several years and tells the story of the first mutant uprising on Malsum Island. Readers have seen the burned out, boarded-up wing of ReGen Corp’s otherwise modern hospital. This is the tale of how that happened.

I’ve always thought Yeshua hitting his teens was one of the most interesting times in this adventure and I knew I would one day rewind to tell that story in some medium. The game provides a perfect opportunity to do so.

When we meet Yeshua in Episode 1, he is already coming into his power. He has a base of sorts in the tunnels and dozens of mutant followers. He is a force to be reckoned with.

We’re backing up to when his true powers are just starting to manifest and he makes the decision to start secretly rescuing mutants from ReGen’s brutal testing program. Our game will follow the story of Yeshua’s rise, the assembling of his army and his first big move against ReGen Corp.

JL: That sounds very cool! I love multimedia story projects. Any clue on when we’ll see a release?

SF: Too early to tell. Eric, Mortimer and I are getting together in a couple weeks to work face to face and hammer out our respective To Do Lists. One of the huge advantages of doing everything ourselves is that we get to make precisely the game we want to make. We don’t have to get anything past a committee. The down side, of course, is that we have to do everything ourselves and that takes time.

We’re very fortunate to have a designer like Eric Pavone in the Wisdumb family now to guide us through this process. He’s worked on a bunch of AAA titles and was senior designer on Spider-Man 2: The Movie, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Army of Two. Having someone with Eric’s experience and expertise in the crew is invaluable. It frees me up to focus on the story.

JL: I’m very much looking forward to seeing this! It sounds like it’s going to be a great game with a lot of thought put into it. It was great talking to you again. Before I let you go, do you have anything else to add?

 

SF: Thanks, John. We’re psyched with how it’s all coming together. Episode 3 is going to be a blast and it features one of my favorite moments in all of Act One. And the game is a dream come true. I am having entirely too much fun working on this thing. I cannot wait to unleash it on the world.

JL: And I can’t wait to have it unleashed upon me. Lol. Great! Thanks once again, Mr. French. Keep us posted!

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And check out all the official EFJI sites!
Facebook: https://facebook.com/jesusisland
Twitter: @Jesus_island
Official Website: jesusisland.com

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