Last night I got to chat with Adventure Time creator Pen Ward about the upcoming 3DS game he's co-writing. It's called Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!
As a huge fan of Pen Ward's beloved animated series, I know this game could be awesome. Think about it: You can lead the dynamic duo protagonists Finn the Human and Jake the Dog on their adventures, soaking in more of Pen Ward's silly/quirky humour and stretching Jake into a bunch of awesome shapes.
Hang on, that sounds like it could be complicated too. How far does Jake's stretching go? You can turn his hands into all sorts of things, says Ward. Like an umbrella, or an anvil. My mind wandered off to Scribblenauts, day-dreaming about open-ended possibilities with Jake. Of course, it won't be exactly as robust as that. But the trademark Adventure Time humour should counteract that missing depth in the game. At least that's the hope.
"We'll make a joke out of it," explains Ward. "Whenever Jake doesn't wanna stretch up it's because he's sleepy or he's not feeling confident enough and Finn needs to encourage him in some way." But don't think that will hold the game back. "Whenever Jake doesn't do anything it will be funny." Ward promises that the charm of the show will remain intact, helping to compensate for the mechanical limitations of a video game versus the more open medium of the show.
"Yeah, OK," you might be saying. Maybe these lofty promises are making you sceptical. But when Pen Ward described a scene that he wrote the night before our conversation — a scene that may or may not actually end up in the game — I felt reassured that the game will indeed maintain the charm of the show I love so much. Check it out for yourself:
At some point in the game, Jake needs to be a bridge to carry you across into a new section of the game. But you have to wait until Jake wants to be a bridge in order to do it. The dialogue I wrote around it — which I'm not sure if this is going to end up in the game because I just wrote this the other day and it was kind of late — [is as follows:]
- Hot Dog Princess would say, "Jake, before you go can you do me a kindness?"
- Jake would say, "Sure HDP."
- And Hot Dog Princess would say, "Make your body into a bridge for me. A goopy flesh bridge so I can walk all over you. I wanna smoosh my tiny hot dog feet into your nasty back!"
- Jake says, "No that's super weird."
- And she says, "Please just think about it. Keep it in your mind."
- Jake says, "Well now I have to, because it's gross."
- And then when you get to the bridge portion of the game, Jake will freak out and remember this crazy Hot Dog bridge fantasy and say, "Oh Glob! Hot Dog Princess' bridge fantasy is eating away at my psyche. I have to know if I'm into being a bridge. Finn, walk across my back."
- And Finn says, "I am comfortable with this."
- And then they walk across the bridge together and Jake says, "Phew, I can safely say I'm not into being a bridge. It's not a bad thing, but it's not something I'd want to do over gorges willy nilly. What I'm saying is: I'll be a bridge. Only sometimes, at designated markers."
- And Finn says, "Ok, that's very helpful."
- And Jake interrupts and says, "But I don't like it. I don't like being a bridge. I don't like it."
Sounds like good old Jake to me.
Fun fact: Ward mentioned to me that some of the dialogue was inspired by watching an episode of My Little Pony, an activity he partook in to determine whether or not he's a Brony. He's not, turns out. Sorry, Fahey.
Oh, and then I asked Pen Ward to draw something for Kotaku. So he drew me, melting Mario. (He's been drawing quite a lot of Mario GIFs over on his new Tumblr.)