For comic book fans, Charles Soule made his name through his work on series like “Swamp Thing,” “Superman/Wonder Woman” and “Death of Wolverine.” But Soule recently spent some of his valuable time working on a video game — and not a comic book-inspired one, either. He’s one of three writers — along with “Escape from Hat” author Adam Kline and “BioShock: Infinite” writer Joe Fielder — to work on the survival horror game “Lost Within,” which Amazon Game Studios have just released for iOS and Amazon Fire devices.
But while some might view his work on “Lost Within” as a distraction from his comics work, Soule explains to CBR News that’s not the case. Rather, from his vantage point, this is a dream fulfilled, a chance to work with friends, and an opportunity to flex his horror muscles.
CBR News: You’ve got an impressively full plate with your comics work — what was it about “Lost Within” that got you interested in working on a project in another medium?
Charles Soule: I’ve wanted to get into game writing for some time now, and “Lost Within” seemed like a perfect opportunity to see what it’s all about.
The game has a deep character throughline to it. It’s not just a shoot-’em-up. It gave me an opportunity to write a number of different interesting characters who were already pretty well-defined early on. I like writing characters, and “Lost Within” gave me a great opportunity to do that. Also, it’s super creepy, and I’ve always liked horror stories. In any medium.
The thing is, you’re not the only writer on “Lost Within,” you’re one of three. When you were first approached, did they tell you that you’d be one of three writers on it, or did that come later?
I knew from the start, and it was no problem at all. In particular, I worked with a good friend on this project, Joe Fielder, who’s well-known for working on “BioShock: Infinite,” which is one of my favorite games of all time — and I play a lot of games.
Plus, as I said, since it was my first experience writing for games, I was more than happy to work as part of a team. Any new medium has its particular quirks and challenges, and having Joe and the other folks to help me get up to speed was incredibly helpful.
What exactly did you write for the “Lost Within,” and how, if at all, was it different from what the other guys wrote?
I wrote the last third of the game, more or less. The way “Lost Within” is structured, each act has a distinct feel and vibe, so it made sense to have different writers on each section. Though I wouldn’t say my section is so different from the others, since we all worked hard to make it a unified experience.
For you, what was the biggest adjustment in going from writing a comic script to a game script?
Terminology was certainly a factor. A game script doesn’t look like a comics script. You also need to get in the player’s mind a bit and work towards the idea that events can occur in a number of different ways depending on player choices. So, you script scenes with a certain fluidity. In comics, scenes go as you write them. Still, drama is drama, and horror is horror; you have to think about the atmosphere you’re generating in both mediums, and strongly visualize the finished product. It’s all story, really.
Do you think you learned anything from working on this game that has influenced how you’ll write comic scripts going forward?
Somewhat. I write a lot of comics, and I have a system developed to allow me to stay productive and fast. That said, every writing project of any kind contributes in all sorts of subtle and unsubtle ways to the way I approach the next one, so the influence of “Lost Within” has certainly been felt.
“Lost Within” is a mobile game. Did that have any impact on your decision to get involved? Because I could see how that, and not being the only writer, might be appealing given that this was your first game job.
I don’t think the fact that it was a mobile game really played too much of a role in the decision to take the job. “Lost Within” feels like a big player experience to me, whether it’s mobile or not. I was mostly interested in the kind of story I’d get to tell, and the collaboration I’d have with the developers, and fitting it into my existing workflow.
Having done one now, would you ever want to write a video game again?
I’ve already been approached about doing one — but that’s about all I can say at the moment, though I’d love to work in games again. “Lost Within” was a great experience, and the finished game is really fun.
What about a “Wolverine” game? Has anyone talked to you about that?
Wouldn’t that be fun?
Finally, if you could write the new version of any game, which series would you pick and why?
Wow, big question. Something in the “Elder Scrolls” world maybe, or a “Fallout” installment. I’ve also been having a blast recently with “Sunless Sea” in the “Fallen London” story-verse. Anything with good writing, really. I mean…that’s my thing.
“Lost Within” is currently available on iOS, as well for Amazon’s Fire tablets and phone.
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