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Morning Star Alpha Digital Comic Gets A Cover By Superstar Artist, Mike Choi

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on February 19th, 2013

Morning Star, the upcoming FPS from Industrial Toys and a dream team of video game, sci fi, and comic creators, is also going to have a prequel digital graphic novel called Morning Star Alpha, written by John Scalzi and illustrated by Mike Choi. Not only that, but the prequel digital comic will have interactive elements, in which you'll get to make choices about characters and stories, which will then inform your actual game play when Morning Star is released later this year. Woah, right? Here's the first peek at the cover art for this upcoming digital comic, from amazing artist Mike Choi, best known for his work on Witchblade and X-Force.

Here's what author John Scalzi has to say about it:

“What is Morning Star Alpha? The simplest explanation is that it’s a graphic novel, written by me and illustrated by Mike Choi, which ties into the events of the Morning Star game. But please note that this “simplest explanation” really is too simple. For one thing, Morning Star Alpha is its own app; you explore it on your tablet, and we’ve built the app and the story to take advantage of the medium we’re working in — which means it’s a pretty cool new graphic novel experience. You can make choices in Morning Star Alpha which affect the storytelling, and your actions while exploring inMorning Star Alpha can have an impact in the Morning Star game (and vice versa). You’ll learn more about the characters who populate the Morning Star universe, and what motivates them to action.”

As you can see, Morning Star gonna be a pretty fantastic cross-media experience. And Morning Star Alpha, as president Tim Harris says, won't be one of those crappy motion graphic "bad cartoons." Plan on a real digital comic built by the best comics folks in the business, all up in your iPad. Slick!

Source: Industrial Toys

Best-Selling Author John Scalzi Chats About The Storyline of Industrial Toys' Upcoming SciFi Shooter, Morning Star

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on January 2nd, 2013

If you haven't heard, all-star game development team, Industrial Toys, is putting out a new first person shooter for mobile devices, titled Morning Star. The team includes best-selling author, John Scalzi (pictured right), who--along with Industrial Toys' CEO, Alex Seropian--spent a few minutes talking with 148Apps about the story behind the upcoming game. In addition to his authorial creds, Scalzi is also apparently a master of saying things without actually revealing anything about the upcoming game. Luckily, his answers are still entertaining, so we decided to go ahead and share them here, as well.

John Scalzi and Alex Seropian have worked together in the past, so when it came time to find a writer for his upcoming science fictional shooter game, Morning Star, Seropian contacted author Scalzi (Redshirts, Old Man's War). Scalzi says his novels have always been influenced by video games, including Half Life, and that he's always wanted to work in the medium. His favorite genre? First person shooters.

"Alex and I have been gamers for a very long time," he said. "Marathon was my first FPS. We've been living these games for the last 15 years. You can't be a writer without being a reader, and you need to do the same thing as a gamer/game writer. For example, Half Life was the first video game that I went back and re-read. The narrative and the gameplay made me go back again and again. System Shock two - scared the shit out of me. Bioshock, most recently, which is a commentary about one man standing alone. All of that goes into the pot."

Scalzi doesn't want to do the same old thing, however. "Shooters are a very rich field for SF and fantasy," he said, "(so) a lot of the low hanging fruit has already been done." He wanted to do something original, not use the same set up as other games in the genre. He started by looking at other games to see which elements haven't been overused and overplayed to inform his own work for Morning Star. This gave him a set of concepts and ideas that he could use in novel ways. "It's like doing improv," he told us, "you've got a wrench, a Ciera, and Nietche: put them together and go! As a storyteller, that's actually fun. Limitations aren't limiting: the combinations will make or break a story."

Scalzi notes that writing for a video game is a lot different than writing for a novel. The technology included in the game must tie in with the story, must drive the storytelling. He didn't want to work to create a game that would simply show off cool technology, either, "like a movie with awesome special effects but a crap story." Instead, he says that the platform itself informs the storytelling, in terms of what can be done that makes sense within that story. "We wanted to make a seamless connection between story and technology," he said.

The process he and the Industrial Toys team worked out includes a lot of back and forth collaboration. While Scalzi spent some time putting together the universe of the game and the overarching themes, the actual storytelling is happening in deep connection with the development team.

"We figured out what the universe is, the races, the mechanics, etc." said Seropian, chiming in. Both men said they didn't want to just deliver story via cutscenes. "In examples of games that work," Seropian said, "I agree with John--they programmatically move the story forward, rather than just using pre-written prose. This adds multiple layers of texture. We can deliver story through combat dialog, spurious conversation, and stuff you find in the world."

Scalzi is also quick to point out that even though the technology is groundbreaking, and the story original, that there will be familiar things to help gamers feel comfortable, at least initially. "The game play mechanics will be innovative, but one thing you also want to do is give people some comfort to hang on to," he said. "The set up for the story is familiar on purpose."

Scalzi pointed out that even the movie, Avatar, with its groundbreaking visual and movie-making technology, had to have a story that was within a comfort zone for the audience, who needs to be able to understand what's going on. Because of that, he said, "some elements (of Morning Star) will seem familiar, because of the FPS format: there will be shooting, there will be malevolent aliens, etc. Once the audience is connected, thought, there will be new game play and story elements that have been underutilized heretofore. We want to be incredible, but absolutely in our own time."

Bottom line, both Scalzi and Seropian are putting their hearts and minds into the creation of this game. What's next on the horizon for Morning Star? Seropian said that the team is currently working on how music will fit into the universe and the gameplay.

Scalzi says there will me more reveals in terms of the content of the story, and that there will be some cool surprises ahead. "It's gonna be worth it," he said. "We want you to play the game and love the world we're creating as well."

The Shooter Redefined: Morning Star Revealed By All Star Dev Team At Industrial Toys

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on December 11th, 2012

This is it - the first ever look at Industrial Toys' upcoming sci-fi shooter, Morning Star, a core gaming experience made just for the iPad by industry vets Alex Seropian (Bungie, Disney) and Tim Harris (Denuo, Alley Cat Comics), as well as a superstar team of music, art, and story, including comic artist Mike Choi (Marvel/DC) and author John Scalzi (Old Man's War, Redshirts).

The trailer shows us a maddeningly brief look at the universe of Morning Star, including the depths of space, the skip ship Joplin, and some scary-ass aliens that we seriously just want to shoot in their toothy faces.

“With Morning Star, we’re looking to change expectations for what kind of experience core gamers get from their mobile devices,” said Industrial Toys CEO Alex Seropian. “We’re breaking new ground on everything from the visuals to the story to the ongoing support we’ll provide in the way of content, events and player involvement. It’s gonna be nuts.”

The development team promises a reimagining of the sci-fi shooter, a no-brainer considering that Seropian was one of the co-founders of Bungie, responsible for Marathon and Halo. They've made it their mission to create an exciting, action-packed game with controls, community and competitive multiplayer features designed directly for mobile platforms like the iPad. It also uses the Unreal Engine to make it look super amazing and badass gorgeous.

Set 120 years into our future, Morning Star takes players aboard the MSRV-Joplin, a research vessel newly outfitted with military weaponry to explore a mysterious signal coming from within our Solar System. When inevitable disaster strikes, they’re transported across the cosmos to take part in an epic war that is not their own to undo a bunch of awfulness that goes down.

For more info, check out the official website of the game, which is expected to release sometime in Spring 2013. Hit the jump for even more screens and concept art.

Source: Morning Star Game Website