Startup banking on Penny Arcade game

Newly formed Hothead Games announces a title based on the popular Web comic is in development.

The story behind Penny Arcade is certainly a compelling one. It started in 1998 as a game-focused Web comic strip created by writer Jerry Holkins and artist Mike Krahulik. The following year, the pair launched their own site, www.penny-arcade.com, around the comic and their own commentaries. Since then, the site has become a popular online destination, as well as a source of numerous items celebrating game culture and promoting the comic. In November 2003, Penny Arcade's founders announced they were organizing Child's Play, a charity dedicated to donating games, toys, and money to hospitalized children. In 2005, Holkins and Krahulik famously locked horns with antigame advocate Jack Thompson.

As it turns out, though, drawing comics, helping kids, and irking activists was just the tip of the irreverent iceberg. In 2004, Krahulik and Holkins announced they would stage the first Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), a two-day game event in Bellevue, Washington, with major publisher support and just under 3,500 attendees. In 2005, PAX attendance grew to over 9,500 people, and Penny Arcade business development head Robert Khoo told GameSpot that this year's attendance would top 17,000. The event has gotten so big, in fact, it has been pegged a possible successor to the Electronic Entertainment Expo as North America's top game event.

Given Penny Arcade's success and its enduring popularity among gamers, it was only a matter of time until it became a game itself. As it turns out, that time is now. As PAX 2006 kicked off today, start-up studio Hothead Games announced that is working on a game that will feature the adventures of Holkins and Krahulik's comic alter egos, Tycho Brahe and Jonathan "Gabe" Gabriel.

The deal gives Hothead, which was only formed this past March, exclusive rights to make games based on Penny Arcade. The Vancouver, Canada-based shop plans a series of episodic games following Tycho and Gabe that will come out several times a year.

The initial title, Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, will be a "comic adventure game." Though it did not give a specific date, Hothead said the game will debut via digital distribution for the PC--as well as the Mac OS X and Linux operating systems. The studio also said that those editions would be "followed by a version for next-generation consoles," but did not name a specific platform.

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Discussion

86 comments
dstars44b
dstars44b

dude, penny arcade rocks, its not only a comic website, its got a whole lot of other crap too.

EverAB
EverAB

"Sometimes profanity sets the scene and furthers the punchline" Sometimes profanity is used as a cheap way to garner laughs when you can't be creative. A comedian who can make everyone laugh and have a PG rating is a very creative one. But you're right, all comedians have had a TV14 rating, at the very least.

Ash16
Ash16

It'll be interesting to see how they build a game around a web comic.

gamez-elite
gamez-elite

satjome: Lonely up there on your pedestal? I mean, I for one find PA a hell of a lot funnier than VGcats (although, I do find VG very funny.) Sometimes profanity sets the scene and furthers the punchline... I mean, how many comedians would be successful with a PG rating?

satjome
satjome

lol! vg cats is funnier, (tho, u don't have to be 18 to get into PAX like you do for E3.....) but both comics rely on profanity too much instead of humor. unlike vg cats, PA relies on profanity to be funny...sad.

fmcuk
fmcuk

Penny Arcade = overrated comic. They think it is cool because "f_ck" is their favorite word.

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

Well, if nobody will go after them for the jokes that the game will certainly include, then we are all in for a good experience ... quite possible to be the game of the century if they can make fun of all the games ever made and use humor to get away with it!

boblighte
boblighte

This sounds weird. Hopefully "Tycho" and "Gabe" will be pretty deeply involved. After listening to them complain about games for years, I can't imagine they'd let a piece of trash get produced. But... what will you do in a PA video game?

jtvance
jtvance

I agree. A penny arcade game just doesn't make much sense. Somehow I am having visions of a 3d version of Beavis & Butthead for Genesis/SNES but with different characters. Granted, the Beavis & Butthead game was great (couch fishing anyone?) so it could be something refreshingly different at the same time. Something like Willy Beamish would be cool to.

Xelioth1
Xelioth1

P:A game?! .....this could be bad......granted, it COULD be good, but I can't honestly imagine how....I just can't wait for the comics about the crappiness of the game. that at least should be rather entertaining.

adamfirefist
adamfirefist

"troakun Screw Penny Arcade, give me a VG Cats game. " I'd be happy with just a VG Cats _update_.

KamaKase
KamaKase

I really hope Jack Thompson is a boss.....I really do. What's with the Bacon?

lewser5
lewser5

Ain't this a bit too fast too soon? i wouldn't mind seeing a game of this, but I hope they thought this completely out.

grave_rob
grave_rob

so it's only a matter of time before we read a comic of those two rippin on how bad their game was...

AdityaN
AdityaN

Rather gutsy, i must say. They would need a game that really lives up to their own criticism. If that is not an impossible job, i do not know what is... What genre will the game will be in anyway? A "comic adventure game" dosent really explain much. Many penny arcade fans have rather diverse tastes, from hardcore rpg'ers to hardcore fps'ers. I doubt if any game they make would be able to live up to the expectations of all of their fans. I personally would not mind a game with a touch of their sarcastic humour and featuring their more memorable characters, but i truly wonder just how they are going to pull this one off.

jetfuel888
jetfuel888

Look people, Gabe and Tycho will pull through on the game. They wouldn't want to dissapoint the millions of fans, hell I don't blame them. They have done more for the gaming industry than any other webcomic out there, and viciously defend it from people such as Jack Thompson. This game will rock. Best of luck to the PA crew!

Bio_Spark
Bio_Spark

Though the quality of the comic has deminished in the past couple years, it should prove to be WAAAAAAY better than Ctrl+Alt+Del's "Premium Content." (Man, what a joke that is.)

nazgu1_slayr
nazgu1_slayr

As much as I love PA, i really don't think a game of a bunch of references to the comic could be great. Still, if CTS is in it, I'm buying : )

muscrat_01
muscrat_01

FRUIT FU**ER VS. JACK THOMSON!!!! WOOT!!!

t-bag11
t-bag11

i agree vg cats is way better. penny arcade isn't too bad though.

burningzilla
burningzilla

Just let me control the Cardboard Tube Samuari with a certain fruit juicer sidekick and fight against a horde of Jack Thomson's and I am in!

scythe0925
scythe0925

OMFG this is seriously one o fthe coolest things ever! Way to go guys, way to go!

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

LOL. A weird idea, but I'll bite. Penny Arcade is one of the best web comics. Gabe and Tycho just "get it" when it comes to games.

troakun
troakun

Screw Penny Arcade, give me a VG Cats game.

Vroomfondel84
Vroomfondel84

Penny Arcade is a great webcomic. I love the fact that Gabe and Tycho don't really put up with nonsense from anyone, basically saying "This is our opinion, if you don't like it, you don't have to read it." I don't think PA's getting too big; considering that it's Mike and Jerry's business, they have a right to try to expand. As for a PA-themed game, well, it could go either way. Here's to hoping. -Vroom

Rawksawce
Rawksawce

Penny Arcade? As a children's game? You, sir, have obviously not read much into PA.

nemes1s3000
nemes1s3000

I really don't find them funny at all, I think this is a bad idea that'll just end up as a kiddie game.

vaejas
vaejas

Cross-platform? Very very smart. The article doesn't mention the few "fan-built" games and mods that have come before. Typically they have had promotion, if not outright endorsement, on the site's front page. I have been looking forward to a finished Cardboard Tube Samurai mod for years now, but all the love in the world can't magickally conjure volunteer hours.

khfffan13
khfffan13

I never even heard of Penny Arcade.

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

Dr_Corndog A video game based on a web comic? So, how about a Homestar Runner video game? They do! The thing is it's being developed for that Atari 2600 (good thing I have one =D)

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

They are leet they understand the uberness of teh linux!! But as leet ninjas they should realize not to put it on Apple! ACHTUNG! Real geeks use Windows and Linux (don't get mad at me my opnion is worth just as much as yours....nothing =/ )

StrikerGold
StrikerGold

Won't this cause an endless loop of gaming and gaming critique that could signal the end of the gaming world as we know it, leaving nothing but mindless fanboy zombies to roam the earth? Heck of a way to go! I'll enjoy the ride! And to the poster below... a sidescroller would be icing on the cake! Something like Viewtiful Joe... maybe that's too easy. Although I would accept a 3D game in the vein of Serious Sam.

LINKTHECHAMPION
LINKTHECHAMPION

They're taking a big risk, this could turn out good or bad. All we can do is wait....

Slifer2909
Slifer2909

This better be a Joke.... I really dont think that penny arcade Deserves a game... Heck i dont think any webcomic deserves one and even if some did the wouldnt be Penny arcade P.S Ctrl-Alt-Del Much Better then penny arcade

mrblah00
mrblah00

Pretty risky considering how extremely critical they are of games that are actually considered good. This has a 99% chance of sucking horribly. If they try to make this a "real" game instead of some intentionally half assed freeware game thats hard to compare to bigger games then I think irony is going to them harder than a 100lb sack of crap.

Dr_Corndog
Dr_Corndog

A video game based on a web comic? So, how about a Homestar Runner video game?

thisissami
thisissami

"this game could dethrone MGS 4 AND HALO 3" imo, halo 3 won't ever get to the throne, and neither have halo 1 or 2.... MGS4 might get there, and the penny arcade game might dethrone that (odn't know anything about penny arcade), but nothing could ever dethrone FFXIII!!! except maybe FF Versus XIII and/or FFXIV

daser4454
daser4454

waht the hell is penny arcade ill check it out

VegetaMaelstrom
VegetaMaelstrom

Finally, a game that seems like it would be a natural fit for episodic content, not like that crap being slapped together that goes by the name of Alone in the Dark. I'll still pass on this one though.

waleedarshad
waleedarshad

this game could dethrone MGS 4 AND HALO 3

pitt4ever
pitt4ever

I thought online videos or a TV show would be the next step for PA, but this could potentially work out.

kinglink2
kinglink2

Crap. To me this is sounding like Futurama or simpsons. Why do I hear "side scrolling" in the back of my mind. Penny arcade has definatly grown too big, their comics are funny at times but they get into storylines and try to develop characters and that's not what drew the fans in, in the first place.

DarkKefka
DarkKefka

Given the popularity of those characters the game could be a success, but there's always the chance of the developers ruining the game because they "couldn't capture the essence of the characters".