Review and Interview w/Kimberly Unger, CEO of Bushi-go, the developer and publisher/Executive Producer!
Released: October 16, 2015
MSRP: The first segment or “appisode” is free to download from these outlets:
Veiled Alliances is an episodic, interactive viewing experience for the tablet or phone that is a prequel to Kevin J. Anderson’s best-selling “Saga of Seven Suns” series of novels.
I have downloaded the app to my phone and have watched the first segment. I am impressed with the cinematic qualities of this app, particularly the quality of sound design apparent throughout the ‘appisode.’ Kudos to Will Roget for a job well done, I really enjoyed his orchestral interludes throughout.
I must admit, I am somewhat of a novice to the Space Opera genre as a whole, my only prior exposure being Roddenberry (the “Star Trek” series in its various incarnations) and Clarke. That being said, I do look forward to future installations in this series, and like the idea of being able to immerse myself in this story, one small, manageably crafted portion at a time.
It is the perfect size, easily able to fit into those times when we find ourselves standing in line, waiting on an order, you name it. The various and sundry items that fill a day can be quite random indeed. These small doses make the app a very easy fit into an overscheduled day, where you might not be able to sit down and consume a full episode of a television show. Applying undivided attention to something for that long just may not be a possibility.
Revisiting my “Star Trek” comment, the voice acting in this app is superb, and of course, some of the voices ring quite familiar. But I will gladly address that later.
Because now, I’m very happy to introduce Kimberly Unger, CEO of Bushi-go, the developer and publisher/Executive Producer of Veiled Alliances!
Hi Leah! Thanks for taking the time to check out our app!
Kim, I have noticed this format is quite different when compared to Bushi-Go’s game content. Would you care to elaborate on what led to the widening of Bushi-Go’s traditional format?
Overall, we try to focus on story-driven content. Thing is, a story doesn’t have to be restricted to just one kind of game, or just one kind of media, so with Kevin’s Veiled Alliances storyline, we wanted to build out in a format that would appeal to non-core players, the kinds of people who might want to pick up a good book when they have an hour to kill, but who might not be as interested in a hardcore shootery-type game on their phone or tablet when they have 5 or 10 minutes in line for the bus.
I really enjoyed the way that the content was presented, what difficulties presented themselves in transferring ideas from the written page to a script; spoken and acted out on the digital stage?
There were a couple of interesting bits we had to work with. One of the nice things about Kevin’s work is that a lot of the dialogue is “speakable”, it naturally flows for voice acting. We had a few bits here and there that Doug (Douglas Sun, Co-Founder/Lead Writer) had to adjust to bring some of the internal dialogue of the characters out where the audience could “hear” it, but you’ll find most of the dialogue is very true to the novella.
Kevin writes very vivid worlds with a lot of internal dialogue, so a good percentage of that had to be translated by Justin (Justin Jackson, character animator), into the body language and facial expressions of the characters. Little things like a roll of the eyes or a character leaning away from another character when the conversation gets a little pointy can go a long way towards showing the things that aren’t being said out loud. It’s not a place that smaller game studios usually have the team experience to dig into, but we knew from the outset that we wanted to focus on bringing a deeper story to a smaller screen.
Was there any specific reason that you had in mind when you opted for the shorter format of the pilot ‘appisode?’
There were a couple of factors in play. The biggest one was that we are trying something kind of new, so we are expecting to need to make adjustments. We wanted to see how the Appisode was received by fans of Kevin’s novella, and have the flexibility to take their feedback and make changes going forward.
When can we expect more ‘appisodes’ to become available? I am not familiar with the ‘Saga of the Seven Suns’ series of novels and I am now interested in watching how this drama plays out.
It’s going to take a little while for the next one, we are looking for a publisher to help back the production of the rest of the series.
Some of the voices in this ‘appisode’ are very familiar to me – and I’m certain other viewers will find them quite familiar, too. Were you able to work with these voice actors directly during that process? (Robert Picardo – ‘the Doctor’ “Star Trek: Voyager”, Kyle Herbert – ‘Gohan’ “Dragonball Z”) I know fans of their previous works would love to hear all about what that experience was like.
I didn’t get to be there for the recording sessions (I KNOW! I’ve been kicking myself ever since!), those were handled by Doug and Morgan (Morgan Bailey Keaton, Audio/VO Producer). The sessions were a blast, we gave the Actors free rein to add their own spin to the characters. All the Actors gave us a great performance!
Oh I love these! The first thing that comes to mind is the character of the Mage Imperator. The Ildirans all have a sort of collective consciousness called the “Thism” and the Mage Imperator sits at the heart of that. Through the Thism, he can keep tabs on everything in the Empire, every thought, every action, every experience. He’s kind of a biologic, benevolent “Big Brother” and this ability to communicate instantly across huge distances in space is one of the reasons the Ildiran Empire has held together for so long.
Is there anything else we should know about coming from Bushi-Go?
We have a couple of projects in the works, first up is “Smashtastic” which is a visceral screen-mashing game that we are building for the b-Spot platform, look for that in about two months or so. The gameplay mechanic grew out of a minigame we were developing for our cyberpunk mobile game “Agiliste”. Second up is going to be a game based on Mike Resnik’s “The Doctor and…” series of books, those are a Weird West version of the adventures of Doc Holliday and Thomas Edison, so we are having a ton of fun building out the character designs and set pieces.
Leah, thank you very much for taking the time to review Veiled Alliances!