Hail to the Chimp

I'm a producer at Wideload Games, an independent game developer in Chicago, IL, founded by Halo game legend, Alex Seropian. We're currently hard at work on "Hail to the Chimp," a politically-charged party game set to release on the Xbox360 and PlayStation 3 in the Spring of '08. I'll be providing insight into what it takes to create a AAA video game all the way from concept to completion.

First, let me put the rumors to rest: no, I am not that Michael Mann. I was only seven when Miami Vice was all the rage, so I didn't get to rock the white loafers/no-socks combo, but I do own a Crockett and Tubbs lunch box.

Now to your other question: what is "Hail to the Chimp" all about? Well, in a nutshell, it's a video game that offers a comic look at politics through the eyes of a motley crew of animal candidates all vying to become the leader of the free animal world. The game is set in a lush, interactive environment and filled with non-stop action. While we aim to be non-partisan, it's all there -- the flawed election process, the political alliances and back-stabbing, the self-possessed newscasters and pundits, fundraising with the fat cats and the inane political ads.

The inspiration behind "Hail to the Chimp" was to create a different kind of game, one that, allows you and your friends and family to take a break from the political nonsense of the 2008 election with a politically nonsensical game. The premise of the game is that the lion, sovereign ruler of all animals since time immemorial, has been ousted from office in a scandal that shook the very foundations of the animal kingdom. With the monarchy in ruins, the animals decide to embrace democracy and hold a series of elections to decide who will take power.

Players choose their character from a pool of qualified animals ranging from the crafty octopus, Toshiro, to the health-conscious sloth, Bean. Every region from the ocean to the desert has sent forth their nominated candidate. The election process will feel very familiar to people who follow politics; candidates run around like crazy and team up to trounce the competition, sling mud while trying to avoid the stench of corruption, and basically beat the tar out of each other. At the end, the candidate with the most clams wins. It's a lot like politics as you know it, but with cuter contenders.

In the coming weeks I'll cover everything from the delicate nature of politics in video games to the armadillo candidate's war on road-kill.

Next time I'll introduce all of the candidates...stay tuned!