Earlier this week, Joystiq reported about an L.A.-themed computer/videogame (following in the footsteps of other L.A.-themed games such as Burnout 2: Point of Impact, Midnight Club II, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and True Crime: Street of L.A.) called Bad Day L.A. that will be released on August 28th:
For those of you who were quick to dismiss American McGee and his street cred, now is the time for you to check out the man’s work for yourself. A PC demo of Bad Day LA can be downloaded over at MTV, of all places.
If you’re unfamiliar with the game, here’s a quick rundown of what it is:
- You play as Anthony Williams during the worst day in L.A. history
- It’s a cel shaded, third-person action/adventure game
- Comedy seems to be priority number one
Check out the demo and either continue to bash McGee or praise him for an original effort.
IGNPC: How did you get the idea for Bad Day L.A.?
American McGee: First off, there was the infamous Sunset Blvd billboard from the Department of Homeland Security: “Bio-chemical terror attack! Are you prepared?” Sitting in midday traffic with my windows rolled down and a nice Los Angeles breeze blowing through my car, I thought, “No. No, I am not, and neither is anyone else.” And why should we be? If you look into it, you’ll realize that you have a higher chance of being killed by a pig than by any form of terrorist attack on US soil.
For me, that billboard was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Suddenly, I felt an overwhelming urge to do something about this issue. If I were a film director or a political blog writer, I would have been inspired to go off and make a movie or write an article… But seeing as how I make video games for a living, I felt that I had to find a way to inject this ageless message into a game: We have nothing to fear but fear itself.
…I have to be careful not to make it seem like the game is overly political or message-based. Sure, the political undercurrents are there, but it is still a 3rd person action adventure video game before it is anything else.
So what we have is something like “Day After Tomorrow” meets “Mad Max” with a main character in the spirit of Dave Chapelle and Ali G. Yes, there’s some political theme to it, but there are also insane disasters, ridiculous missions, and a hero who’s often more concerned with hitting on hot babes than he is in saving people.
GS: The game focuses on how homeless person Anthony Williams (your character) battles his way out of LA on the worst day possible. Give us a recap of the horrible things happen to LA that day.
AM: The day starts with a terrorist attack that spreads zombie-creating biochemical gas clouds over the city. Soon after the city is hit by earthquakes, meteors, fires, riots, and a tsunami, and the Mexican army invades and tries to take Los Angeles back for Mexico. All of these disasters compound on top of each other, so by the end of the day the city is fully trashed.
GS: The violence in Bad Day L.A. is obviously satirical, but people don’t always recognize satire when it’s staring them in the face. Do you still feel the same way about the kind of controversy the game is intended to generate as you did when the game’s development first started–especially in light of the many video game-related violence stories that have made the headlines in the past 12 months or so?
AM: Originally I had hoped that the violent content in Bad Day L.A. would spur debate over the use of violence in art, movies, music, and other forms of expression, and help to validate video games as an artistic medium where the human condition can be exploded and explored. These days I can see that there is a hidden agenda behind all the “video game violence” propaganda, and I doubt that any real debate will come out of the release of Bad Day L.A. or any other video game for any time to come.