Out today from Boom! Studios:
Chaos breaks out when three mega-corporations release their new video game consoles on the exact same day! Before Mordecai and Rigby can decide which gaming platform to buy, they’re drafted into opposing sides of an all-out gaming war chock full of laser beams, Maximum Gloves, and pixelated casualties, and the stakes have never been higher.
So, what kind of shenanigans are Rigby and Mordecai up to in this adventure?
Robert Luckett: One second they’re begging Benson for extra shifts at the park to be able to afford one of the new game consoles, the next Mordecai is suddenly drafted into the army. Not the real army however, but one side of the videogame console wars which have finally bubbled over into full conflict. Rigby doesn’t want to be left behind and miss out on any action so he enlists with the opposing manufacturer. As they both arrive at their respective base-camps they discover this war is fought with modified game hardware. Power gloves shoot lasers that pixelize targets, tanks are oversized retro console stacks with treads and cannons, and special backpacks can spawn characters from videogame cartridges. This isn’t your regular war; it’s anything but.
Rachel Connor: In addition to getting drafted, Mordecai is still shaking off some lingering heartache from parting ways with CJ. On several occasions he’s confronted by stark reminders of her which set him on edge. The previous two Regular Show original graphic novels showed Mordecai in each of his two significant relationships, so we thought it would be interesting to explore the trope of “broken-hearted boy signs up for the army” even though Mordecai isn’t given much of a choice in this instance!
It seems like Clash of Consoles is a commentary on the video game console wars. What aspects of the competition between manufacturers are you particularly poking fun at?
RL: All of it! Executives will suddenly launch into press conference speeches in the middle of a battleground. Each companies’ Research & Development department has more security and secrecy than the CIA and MI6 combined. PR spin on previous hardware failures and bad reviews get turned into boisterous marching chants to lift morale. They’re all copying each other’s technology and use their respective loyalty clubs as a source for new recruits. And players don’t escape the poking either! For the manufacturers it’s just big business on the line, but for the grunts on the frontline you have to question where their unwavering brand loyalty comes from.
RC: We both grew up in playgrounds where kids would literally deck one another in the face over who between Sonic and Mario would win in a fight. To me, it’s about that weird conundrum that due to the tight budgets of our parents, it really was just a case of “pick a side, and pick it over and over again.” There’s a great book that recounts the industry goings on of the ’90s called Console Wars which takes a look at true events sprinkled with a generous dose of Game of Thrones-like backstage politics (minus the beheadings and other…shenanigans). Seems like things got quite nasty back in the day and people invested everything they were into their chosen sides. So in a nutshell, we’re poking fun at humans, and our unshakable need to get behind something, be it a pudgy plumber or a smirking hedgehog.
RL: Throughout the book Mordecai and Rigby feel a little bit weird that the rest of their troops have only ever owned one brand of electronics. In the third act our heroes actually try to tear down some of these boundaries between the brand-obsessed gamers the only way they know how and try to stop the console wars once and for all with an impassioned speech. Oh, and PC players don’t get off scot-free either. With the help of Skips, Benson explores the dark underbelly of free-to-play games and hat economies.
What can you tell us about any new characters we will see pop up in this story?
RL: The boys join different sides of the war so it was absolutely necessary that we rounded out their troops with some wild new faces. Since Rigby enlists he enjoys his pick of the litter when he becomes an almost Captain America-level propaganda figure in the Tonare army. His howling commandos are dangerous prototypes gone wrong and hidden from the public: A.N.D.I and Taury. A.N.D.I is a three-eyed robot laser gun peripheral that was too obsessed with shooting and a little bit too sarcastic to make it onto shop shelves. Taury was a game tester before discovering she was a were-minotaur when the red moonlight from a prototype virtual reality system’s screen initiated her change and became stuck to her face.
RC: Mordecai’s troop in contrast is a bit more everyman than Rigby’s troop. They grew up with their chosen manufacturer as their digital babysitter and a special place has been engraved in their heart as a result. They’re also a gang of wind-up merchants, and quickly sniff out Mordecai’s tendency to take himself a little too seriously. They’re good peeps however, helping Mordecai to consider aspects of his friendship with Rigby that he may not have stumbled on before.
What were your inspirations in creating some of the “games” in the story like Rapide the Gemhog, Ice Cuzzo’s, and Dig Champs?
RL: Going back to the very first episode of the show, fake retro games that pay homage to real ones have been at the core of many episodes. Dig Champs is one of those and we always love incorporating little things like that to please hardcore fans. Before we started writing the graphic novel, the only canon game company that existed for sure in the show was Tonare, who seemed like a fusion of Nintendo and Atari. Similarly, we created other fused game companies (Not-S and Macrosty) and thus had to give them mascot characters of their own. Rapide’s source of inspiration is probably pretty obvious and there’s winks and nods to countless games throughout the book.
RC: The Ice Cuzzo’s actually turned up in the first Regular Show original graphic novel we wrote, Hydration. It’s a fun little callback that sort of creates our own mini-continuity I guess! For Hydration, we needed a situation that presented a stark contrast to what Mordo and Rigbone were dealing with (inescapable heat) and what better way to do that then get them playing a game set in ice wastelands that just reminds them how boiling and miserable they are? I sat down with Rob to decide what retro game characters would fit well and we couldn’t decide between the Ice Climbers or Snow Bros. And so another fusion was born!
Are the two of you gamers? What are your consoles of choice, and your favorite games on them?
RL: I bleed videogames. As a kid I started out with a Commodore 64 but after getting a Game Gear became all “Sega ‘til I die!” Then Sega actually died while I was a Dreamcast-obsessed teenager. I was forced into a life of multi-console ownership from that moment forth and never looked back. I try my best to accumulate all the consoles now for the platform-exclusive gems that can be found on each and every one. I also play a fair bit on PC and used to frequent arcades a lot back in the day. If I wasn’t camping at a Marvel vs Capcom cabinet I was at home fighting the Empire online in X-Wing Alliance. As for favorite games, let’s go straight into list war mode: Shenmue, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Dark Souls, Super Metroid, and Gunstar Heroes. For current stuff this year’s gonna be tough to decide my Game of the Year between Dark Souls 3, Uncharted 4, No Man’s Sky, Final Fantasy XV, and hopefully, if they make it, The Last Guardian and Persona 5.
RC: Rob is definitely a bigger gamer than me these days but both Sega and Nintendo played a huge role in my childhood. My early years were dominated by my NES and stalwarts such as Mario and Link with the occasional obscure dungeon crawler such as Swords and Serpents and Shadowgate. (I specifically blame those two games for the medieval leanings that I’d develop in later life, but that’s another story). Later came the Megadrive and endless summer nights staying up all night playing Streets of Rage, Sonic, and Golden Axe. The game that will always carry a special place in my heart however is Dungeon Keeper, a game where you could build your own lair of evil and set your minion horde on invading bands of heroes. When Rob and I first started going out he introduced me to another dungeon crawler breed of game with the Persona series as well as beautiful action games such as Bayonetta and Okami.
Any final teases you can spill for readers to pick up this book?
RL: Muscle Man and the Baby Ducks also find themselves on the third side of the war and transform into a new form for a huge battle between all three factions. A new character only appears in the book for a few panels to help take them down but remains a personal highlight for me: Large the Dogbutt. Getting to write out such a character name in panel descriptions is one of my crowning achievements. Accept Large the Dogbutt into your life.
RC: One thing I’m proud of when it comes to the graphic novels is that they’ve each featured at least one of the ladies from the original cast playing an integral role to the story. I can promise you that Eileen will bring the noise in a big way. There are also several other new strong females adding their might to the cause on both sides of the fence!
RL: I’m not sure we specified Large’s gender in the dialogue script did we? Man, I just can’t wait for people to see this Dogbutt!