With such titles as "Gotham Central," "Queen & Country," and "Wonder Woman" in his oeuvre, Greg Rucka has long been one of comic's most accomplished and regarded writers. What readers of his monthly comics might not realize, however, is that he's also no stranger to the realm of video games. Rucka not only contributed to the story for the 2007 game "Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow," but he's also penning a "Dragon Age" comic book called "Magekiller."
His latest game work is "AR-K: The Great Escape," a point & click adventure game made by Spain's Gato Salvaje Studio. What's unusual about Rucka's work on "AR-K" is that the game is being released in four episodes, but he only wrote the last two. With his first, episode 3, recently released on PC, iOS, and Android, CBR News spoke to him about working on the just the latter half of a game, if "AR-K's" genre influenced his other writing and if he'd ever want to write a game of his own.
CBR News: In a nutshell, what is the story of "AR-K: The Great Escape"?
Greg Rucka: It's the story of a young woman, Alicia Van Volish, who finds herself embroiled in a mystery adventure in a sci-fi setting on this world called The AR-K.
How did you get involved with writing "AR-K: The Great Escape"?
Sergio Prieto, who's the lead writer and designer of the game, and his brother Fernando, who are the core of the studio, reached out to me. I can't remember exactly how it came about, but I think they emailed me and asked if I'd be interested, and it sounded pretty cool. They were fans of my work, and saw similarities between Alicia and some of the female protagonists I'd written.
Do you remember which ones?
I think it was Renee [Montoya from "Gotham Central"]. Yeah, I think it was Renee, and to a lesser extent, Kate [Kane from "Batwoman"] and Diana [Wonder Woman].
I assume when they first approached you that they told you they already had the first two episodes written, and wanted you to write the other two. Did they have a sense of where they wanted the story to go?
Yeah, Sergio had a very good idea of where it was it was going. But one of the fun things about it is that he hasn't been rigid about it -- which is good, because when I read the story, there were questions I came up with and things that Sergio hadn't considered, and that led to us developing things further. They had a good idea for episode three, though maybe not how to get there, and it wasn't really until we finished episode three that we hit upon a really good idea for the fourth.
Was it hard for you to come into a story that was half done, or did you view it as a challenge?
Oh, it was a challenge, but a positive challenge. I like collaborating, I enjoy that, I always have. It's one of the reasons why I like working in comics. It is, to me, an inherently collaborative medium. And this was about me looking at what they wanted to do, and figuring out a way to achieve it.
And I would think that your experience in comics would help in this situation. When you started writing "Wonder Woman," you came to it after decades of other people writing her stories.
Right. Working, as I have, at the big two on large books -- and even now, working on "Stumptown" for Oni Press, as well as "Lazarus" and "Black Magick" for Image -- you have to know how to collaborate. It's a necessary professional skill, though it helps that I actually enjoy it and have for a very long time.
"AR-K: The Great Escape" is a point and click adventure game. Did that impact how you constructed the story?
Yeah. You serve... how do I put this? You want to tell the story using the tools at your disposal. If "AR-K" was a first-person shooter, it would be a very different game.
Are there any plans to turn the story of "AR-K: The Great Escape" into a comic book?
None whatsoever. Not interested.
Along with your work on "AR-K: The Great Escape," you just published the novel "Star Wars: Smuggler's Run." I assume this is not some weird hybrid of "Star Wars" and those "Smuggler's Run" games that Rockstar Games made in 2000 and 2001, right?
No. It's set after the events of the first movie, "[Star Wars:] A New Hope," and it follows Han and Chewie as they get involved in another misadventure. It's technically a young adult book, though I think if you're forty that you'll still enjoy it.
"AR-K: The Great Escape" is not the first game you've worked on. You previously worked on 2007's "Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow." Have you ever thought of writing your own game?
I have thought it would be a cool thing to do, but knowing what I know about the process of making a game, I don't think I have the patience or the discipline to put the years into it. I would not be averse to the right opportunity, but the sheer amount of effort that goes into a game as relatively small as "AR-K," let alone anything, good lord, that BioWare puts out, for instance. Those projects take so much more work and effort and time than the people who play them could ever conceive. I'm in enviable spot; I get invited to work on these things, and it's relatively short term.
Though I would like to say that if "Lazarus" ever did get made into a video game, I'd want to be involved.
Episodes one through three of "AR-K: The Great Escape" are available now for PC, iOS, and Android.