As part of the imminent cell phone/iPod revolution many large corporations are sinking money into creating comics that can easily be morphed into cartoons or movies, or hybrids of the same. The flipside is animating existing comics into something more flashy, and we’ve had several people showing us their special software on iPods lately. Looks like the race is on!
Among these hybrids, the recent Fox Atomic Comics 28 Days Trailer is one example. Now here’s something a lot more complicated: Jonas Moore. We were alerted to it via an email from TheOneRing’s Michael Regina:
Heya, it’s Mike Regina, I’m working on a brand new project and want to tell you about it. It is called ‘The Many Worlds of Jonas Moore’ and stars James Bond & Resident Evil star Colin Salmon as the title character.
What makes this project unique is the format in which it tells the story, it is a relatively new technique using CGI, live action & 2D animation in a comic book style setting. All elements are meshed together to tell a great story set in an alternative England, where gaming has become a way of life, where characters and games are so realistic they seem to take on a life of their own.
A bit of poking around reveals animated photos, drawings, special effects and even some CGI for what might charitably be called a mishmash. We haven’t had time to actually watch or read or whatever it is you do with the thing. The spots are co-sponsored by Triumph, hence the motorcycle-heavy content, but we’re fine with Colin Salmon on a bike, to be honest. There are also actual comics on the site, with art by Mick Trimble.
We found this interview/PR with creator Howard Webster, and a blizzard of new media buzzwords ushers in the project:
“Branded content and fan generated content is a vast, evolving beast with huge metrics emerging from the web. The business models that drove the revenue big media agencies and global advertising agencies is collapsing, The easy relationship between big media buyers and media agencies and the net and gross fees that earned them massive paydays is thankfully dying.
It was, in my opinion, a snug cartel based upon suspect metrics that didn’t actually take into account how people actually interact with media. All it favoured was a justification of the media spend on the part of the manager who sanctioned it and the fees. In an effort to reinvent themselves the global media agencies are trying to claim they are now somehow experts in the field of branded content; the new content digerati. They’re not. In branded content terms they are the embarrassing father drunk at a wedding trying to look hip on the dance floor dancing to sounds of the 80s. The global media agencies are simply trying to copy what teenagers and web-heads are already doing in their millions with content on the web and are attempting to charge brand directors huge sums of money to do it.
Translation: Ads must look more like content in the future.
However, this hybrid format is not being embraced like a cuddly kitten, at least not according to this article in Macworld which says that “visual novels” are already the rage in–where else?–Japan but face an uphill battle in the US:
Visual novels feature rich color graphics and soundtracks with some of Japan’s best-known voice actors speaking character dialogue. They aren’t as interactive as games, but they’re not totally passive like e-books or movies, either. Visual novels often provide users with decision-making capabilities that will affect the story’s outcome. The pacing is slower than a game or a movie, but offers a rewarding payoff for enthusiasts who like the unique experience.
When visual novels are prepared for American audiences, the original Japanese language track and all the original story is maintained, but a subtitle track may be included so English speakers can understand what’s going on, which may turn off some casual users who don’t want to have to read.
Sometimes visual novels are equated with “dating sims,” a genre of largely erotic interactive entertainment where the goal is to disrobe a woman or to have sex, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Hirameki, for example, markets products safe for teens and others. In 2006, the company began offering Mac-compatible titles as well, first with a gothic horror novel called “Animamundi: Dark Alchemist” and more recently with “Yo-Jin-Bo,” a story set in feudal Japan. Both titles leverage Adobe Flash to achieve cross-platform compatibility.
Will the “visual novel” format ever take off? Maybe when it gets its own Griffith or Kirby. In the meantime it has two factors going for its eventual adoption here in the US: 1) advertisers will keep sinking money into it and 2) as goes Japan, so goes America. It’s inevitable.