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Q&A: GameTap's Sanchez Talks Tomb Raider Re\Visioned

GameTap recently announced the Re\Visioned game-based online animated series, which will feature Aeon Flux's Peter Chung and others interpreting Lara Croft, Tomb Raider - we talk to

Jason Dobson, Blogger

June 19, 2007

5 Min Read

Turner's PC gaming service GameTap recently announced the online-viewable Re\Visioned game-based animated series, which will debut next month and feature Aeon Flux's Peter Chung interpreting Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. Among those enlisted to contribute for the first season of Re\Visioned were Peter Chung, Jim Lee, Warren Ellis, Cully Hamner, Gail Simone, David Alvarez, Michael Stackpole, Brian Pulido, and Christos Gage. The first episode will be released for free on July 10 on the Gametap website, with new episodes, 10 in all, running through August 23 - there's a teaser available on GameTap's official website in the Watch/Animation section. Gamasutra had a chance to talk to Ricardo Sanchez, VP of content for GameTap, about the series, revealing Turner's motivations behind the concept and possible topics for subsequent seasons of the online show. What was the inspiration for the project? Why bring a game-based animated series to GameTap? The origin of the Re\Visioned animated series goes back to really the genesis of GameTap itself, and our desire to create an appeal not just to gamers, but really to anyone who engages in the video game lifestyle... GameTap TV provides a way for us to bring lifestyle content into a video game experience. Being Turner, we have this really wonderful animation DNA already, and we been able to showcase our talent with GameTap. With Tomb Raider, we were talking with Eidos, and decided that it would be really cool to do Re\Visioned with Lara Croft...she's one of the most recognized characters in video games today. Granted, more people probably recognize Mario, but it would be hard to do much with that character from a story perspective... Lara Croft opens up more story possibilities. Re\Visioned lets us bring different perspectives to existing IP, and with this first series of episodes we have a lot of talented people each bringing their own unique take on Lara Croft's adventures. So will each season offer something different? Each season will be grouped thematically. For example, the second season is quite different from the first, as it will feature six different IP that share a common theme, explored and created by different creative teams. Season three is about exploring a single IP, with a single team doing a multi-part story. This is about asking what have you not seen this IP do before now. So why kick the series off with Tomb Raider? It was opportunistic, and really the stars just aligned perfectly for it to happen. With the launch of all of these things like the Tomb Raider game and the documentary, it set up a sequence of events, and it all just really gelled for us. Did you or the artists have any creative input from the Tomb Raider: Anniversary developers at Crystal Dynamics? No, not really. The thing about Tomb Raider and Lara Croft is most everyone has heard of her, and has at least some idea of who she is and what she is about. Re\Visioned is not about retelling any particular game story, but rather about letting the creative teams have the freedom to explore these characters. What they got was a CD with the same source material that all creators are given, but after that they had free reign. You are not going to find much in common with any of the stories, in content or style. However, most had some affinity or ties with Lara Croft already, and only a couple of the artists were not fans of the games, but were instead fans of the movies or comic books. Was it difficult to lure talent to a project such as this, what with having to work within the boundaries of an established IP? The only real challenge was their availability. Those who we approached who were available jumped on board with it instantly. One of the reasons for this is that Lara Croft is so well known. She's like Wonder Woman or Batman. She's an iconic characters, so there is this fantastic appeal to realize her in animation. How was GameTap was able to secure a day and date release for Tomb Raider: Anniversary alongside brick and mortar stores? There was never any resistance to the simultaneous release of Tomb Raider. Honestly, I don't believe it ever really occurred to Eidos as a possibility, but once we laid it out for them, they agreed. This is certainly the beginning of a trend for GameTap, and we'll soon see more day and date releases from more publishers...that's going to happen. Eidos was a fantastic partner with us from the beginning...they let us have a lot of creative freedom, and were open to let us try to do a lot of stuff with their brand and IP. Finally, what does an artist such as Peter Chung, who most probably recognize for his groundbreaking work on MTV's Aeon Flux, bring to the Re\Visioned project? When we were first looking into bringing bring people on, we were thinking about those artists with experience with iconic female characters...a strong heroine, not just an exaggerated Barbie doll. This, of course, led us to think about Peter Chung and Aeon Flux. We know he can make really good animation, and has a tremendous style that's very unique. In a broader sense, people seem very enthusiastic about this project. When we first brought it up, we were asked questions like 'You're not going to create another House of the Dead are you?' It's all about engaging what people find wonderful about games.

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