Penny Arcade Adventures — Trailer, Preview, & Rant

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: April 12th, 2007

Here is the first trailer for Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Loquaciousness, Episode One, Chapter 17, Version Beta. (Penny Arcade’s first game.)

[Prepare for BMcC Rant mode in the extended! -Derek]

In summary:

  • The game is a 3D action/adventure RPG (with 2D cutscenes) set in an alternate universe called New Arcadia.
  • You create your own character who plays alongside Gabe and Tycho, rather than playing as them.
  • There are no random battles, voice acting, or alternate storyline paths.
  • The game is being developed with the Torque engine for Windows, Mac, and Linux — with other platforms remaining a possibility.
  • The developer is Hothead Games, a company formed by some folks that made such average tie-in games as The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction and The Simpsons: Hit & Run.
  • Tycho and Gabe are involved in the development day to day, as well as doing all the writing and some of the art.
  • The Penny Arcade Adventures series will be episodic, with each episode being priced at less than $20 USD. (But that probably means $19.99.)
  • Lovecraftian?

Here’s a detailed FAQ if you still crave informations.

My thoughts: The trailer is pretty uninspiring. And, personally, I’d rather see the entire game done in the style of the flash intro (i.e., like the comic) than this newfangled 3D stuff, but that’d be too much work for poor old Gabe, I guess?

Also (here comes the rant), looking at Hothead’s website, of course their bloody About section has to be titled “Innovation in Gameplay.” Is that supposed to be funny? Hothead. YOU MAKE TIE-IN GAMES. I innovate more during my morning leak.

In fact, I’m willing to bet there won’t be a single gameplay innovation in the PA series. Maybe their experience with other people’s IP was considered a positive at first, but with Tycho and Gabe being so directly involved, it’s kind of a moot point. I could name a bunch of folks in this very community that I’m sure could do a better job… but they’re busy making their own games.

But whatever. It should still be fun for fans of the comic, which is as much as they’re hoping for, I’m sure.


Why am I channeling Tim W. all of a sudden?

  • Aubrey

    “The developer is Hothead Games, a company formed by some folks that made such average tie-in games as The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction ”

    Wait a fucking second. Have you played that? It’s a fucking diamond in the rough of IP based games if you ask me. The combat and throwing mechanics are certainly better than Crackdown’s. And the movement is loooovely and fluid.

    And who’s to say you can’t innovate *despite* using intellectual property? IP is a *theme*. It’s not a blueprint for game play.

    Unfair ranting, I’d say, but I’ll hold off an opinion until blah blah blah.

  • BMcC

    I have! And I actually own Simpsons Hit & Run.

    But yeah, ranting isn’t really my _thing_, so sorry if it’s unfair. I’m just in a mood. ::shrugs::

    Re: Innovating Despite Using Others’ IP — Oh, you’re absolutely right. But come on… look at their past games and look at where this is going. Do you really think a single innovation will be found? Let alone a “commitment to innovation in gameplay?”

    It sounds like you want to take me up on that bet… ;)

  • Rz.


  • BMcC

    Hahaha, MAYBE.

  • Rz.

    i equate rants with rage, be it open or deep-seated and festering in one’s soul’s bowel system, all festerin’ n shit.

  • Meh

    Crappy trailer.

  • Derek

    I’m not sure I agree with that jab about Gabe not putting in enough work, considering how hard it is to manage people who are working with your IP, and all the stress involved in that.

    That said, I don’t exactly have high hopes for the game after seeing this trailer. It’s true: the 3d part looks really really bad. Although Gabe and Tycho have addressed that, basically saying that they knew it wasn’t up to par, but they didn’t want anyone to think it was a 2d game… it’s still missing a lot of that energy that comes through in their comics.

  • PoV

    The cutscene looks great. But the in game models for Gabe and Tycho need work. Fruit F*cker looks good in both worlds.

  • Anthony Flack

    Just as long as the game isn’t funny, it will capture the spirit close enough I reckon.

  • moi


  • Joseph

    They should have made it 2d. Hopefully the 3d junk gets more polished.

  • ZeroNumber

    I’d rather have them make a stand-alone comic book than this game. That way they could have complete control over the process without this three-dee crap. I mean, I read Penny Arcade: The Webcomic. Why force it into another format?

  • dawg

    i am excited, personally. i think i am the only person who is.

  • caht


  • Shih Tzu


    It looks like it’ll have plenty of fanservice, and since that’s pretty much what I like least about Penny Arcade, I’m not exactly crapping my pants in anticipation. They do great satire and vulgar banter. I have to admit if it sounded more like a Sam & Max Hit the Road type of thing I might change my mind.

    This post took only um twelve minutes to key in! Nintendo is what Genesisn’t!

  • Radix

    That’s a point. It might be tolerable with some amusing dialogue. Odds are they’ll go the ‘kid-friendly’ route instead though.

  • haowan

    It’ll suck (unless they drop the 3D), and PA will lose grace as videogame commentators because their own shit will suddenly stink.

  • Sergio

    Kid-friendly? But the trailer featured so much fruit-fucking.

  • juice

    The flash animation bit looked superb; the 3d game bit looked pants. Except for FF2000, natch:)

  • BMcC

    @Rz.: Yes, my rage meter is quite full. :|

    @Derek: Ah, that’s not what I meant! I’m sure he’s doing plenty of work. But it would be a _much_ heavier load on him if the game were entirely 2D, don’t you agree?

    @Shih Tzu: Wii browser posts FTW! That seems like a while, though… Are you not using the auto-complete feature?

    @haowan: I think they may have made a comic about this… It’ll be interesting to see how things actually pan out.

    @Radix: No, it isn’t going to be kid-friendly. It’s going to have the same violence and vulgarity you know and love (or hate, as it were) from the comic, sayeth Gabe.

    BTW, I wanna say, I was harsh on this not ’cause I resent PA or anything, but ’cause I _really_ want the game to be good. If I had something against PA, I would wait until the game was out to bash it, instead of criticizing it now when they still have time to do things right.

    Not that I’m sure they’re doing things wrong… Time will tell, I guess! It could turn out _awesome._ That would be, erm, awesome.

  • Shih Tzu

    bmCc: I used auto-complete but it still took a while. Of course, part of that was also figuring out what I wanted to say, because I’m anal and agonize over how to phrase three-line throwaway posts on message boards.

    Incidentally, I don’t think going full-2D would be any more or less work on the creators. It may look like it (and he chortled over this in a post), but Gabe didn’t draw the 2D stuff. The artists are just really really good at duplicating his style.

  • BMcC

    Yeah, I know that. :)

    But it took a lot of analysis and drawing keyframes and whatnot on Gabe’s part, didn’t it?

  • Derek

    Yeah, it’ll take more analysis to get those ugly 3d models looking right, though. ;)

  • Joe

    Can’t they do some kind of stylish cel-shading magic to get it looking more like the comic?

  • PoV

    Magic costs extra.

  • Derek

    The Gabe model kind of reminds me of Popeye to me, for some reason!

    But yeah, I’m going to stop bashing the 3d, because they’re obviously not satisfied with it at this point, either. But yeah, interested to see how it turns out. I think at the very worst, it could be mediocre. (Which sometimes is worse than just making a balls out horrible game.) ^___^

  • Zaphos

    “Can’t they do some kind of stylish cel-shading magic to get it looking more like the comic?”

    Yes, they plan to. The trailer was just made way too early.

  • Segadult

    Wait a second. Hothead games made Simpsons: Hit and Run and Hulk: Ultimate Destruction? I’m not sure about that. I worked in Vancouver with the company that created those games, Radical Entertainment. If your credit is incorrect, please fix it.

  • Segadult

    Oh sorry, I see now “Formed by some of the folks”. Maybe Hothead games has some former Radical Entertainment employees, but they don’t have the lead designer of Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, which was pretty damn good.

  • BMcC

    Yeah, it’s just some folks from that company I guess… It’d be interesting to know what their positions were — would you happen to know? (Their names are on the Hothead site.)

  • Hmm

    Simpsons: Road Rage was absolute crap.

    It was by Radical.

  • schiebs

    Well, the Penny Arcade comic frequently points out how shitty some games are on a somewhat frequent basis. I find it hard to believe that they would release a terrible game after all the harsh criticisms of other games.

  • Anthony Flack

    I don’t think anybody ever intends to make a terrible game, but it’s actually quite hard not to. I could easily imagine them getting swept up in the excitement of having their comic strip turned into an ACTUAL VIDEOGAME, and then being in a state of semi-apologetic half-denial when it doesn’t turn out so well, but it is too difficult to fix. It’s a lot easier to dump on something when you are an outside observer; but when it’s YOUR game – when you can’t just chuck it away and play something else instead – it can be heartbreaking.

    Still, time will tell I guess. But I can’t say I’m exactly thrilled at the prospect of this. Or any PA game for that matter; it seems like a doomed idea, really. BUT YOU NEVER KNOW. Although I’m only saying that to be fair.

  • Advenith

    I’m not a huge PA fan (good comic, but I keep up on too many others to get hooked on it), but it doesn’t look terrible. I agree with the “mediocre at worst” statement. It’ll probably be a decent, rental-worthy game at the least.