Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

I love Michel Gagne’s work – either as still drawings or animated. Here’s his latest animated piece:

Gagne writes more about this forthcoming video game project on his blog.


  • Matthew Gerber

    It looks like a great game. Reminds me a lot of this:

    http://www.fastgames.com/littlewheel.html

  • Josh Scherr

    Hey, maybe now the folks who post comments on CB will stop using “it looks like a videogame” in the pejorative sense. :)

    Gagne’s been working on this for a few years now, but last I heard they were still looking for a publisher. Given the game looks incredible and unique, I’m sure it’ll be picked up soon. Fingers crossed!

  • http://hand-drawn-animation.blogspot.com David Nethery

    Looks great ! I’m not a gamer , but I can appreciate this purely on the “look” . Love Michel Gagne’s style.

  • Oluseyi

    Its visual style looks like a cross between Patapon and PixelJunk Eden. I’ll keep an eye out for this.

    @Josh Scherr:
    Even though I love games and I understand where you’re coming from, I don’t think the “it looks like a video game” criticism is ambiguous. It is increasingly dated, and eventually it will be fully anachronistic, but it refers to a certain plasticness of rendering and woodenness of motion that have been common in low-to-medium-budget video games of the past five years or so.

    Don’t worry. “Our time is coming!” :-P

  • Matt Hems

    Wow, I didn’t even realize it was a game until about halfway through the video! It looks so fantastic. I just thought it was an insanely well done Flash animation at first! I’ll be sure to follow the game’s development now. Lest I miss out on buying this game the second it becomes available to the eager public.

  • Ricardo

    Wow, a real visual treat.

  • http://tomboycomics.blogspot.com Emily

    I’ve never been a great fan of video gaming, but I’d surely try this one. I want to explore that world Gagne’s created…it intrigues me.

  • Isaac

    @Josh Scherr: This videogame doesn’t look like a videogame. For the most part. The parts that do are the (anime) slow-out explosion at the start of the video; the (also anime) wiggling stream of fire or lightning or energy; and a few baddies here and there that deflate (à la Super Mario) when they die.

    Videogame animation, to me, is “skeletal systems” and “deformable meshes”. Most characters in videogames move like robotic arms in assembly lines, because they’re not animated by artists, they’re moved around by skeletal systems controlled by engineers. This saves time and money, but it doesn’t make up for realism or believability.

    @Oluseyi: It’s not the budget, it’s the artists. Crysis is a very high-budget game and very technically advanced, but with for all of its characters’ oily skin and subtle veins and facial bone structure, they still move like a motorized garage door. On the other hand there’s Brütal Legend, a game where it’s obvious the characters were mostly hand-crafted.

    Videogame animation is very much like animatronics. More gears and cogs and levers and makeup on the mannequin’s face help, but only up to a point. Eventually you’re going to have to make it act out a character. For that, you need someone who knows how to… make characters act.

  • Walty

    Good God!!! Michel has melted my mind!! Beeeeeeautiful!! Really mind numbing animation!!

  • Ben

    Wow, this looks awesome! Reminds me a lot of a game called “Limbo” that was in development ages ago but as far as I know never got made.

    http://www.limbogame.org

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I wouldn’t mind giving this game a shot if it gets ported to the PSP!

  • Jason

    FanFreakingTastic!!!!!

  • Oluseyi

    @Isaac:
    Interesting argument. I was actually just comparing video game cut scenes (particularly the in-engine variety, which ARE animated by artists), not the real-time interactive animation which we know has the constraints of needing to be programmatically responsive.

    Creating smooth, natural motion for real-time twitch response is extremely hard. You can’t ease in or ease out, and transitions need to be instantaneous – it’s even worse if the game is to be played over the network, needing to accommodate lag. It’s all doable, but you need a game conceit that allows for the slightly less responsive controls.

    In video games, control is typically paramount. It’s a forced compromise that games must make to fulfill their essential function, so to criticize them for it seems unfair. To criticize animation for unintentionally exhibiting the constraints of video games, however, is entirely fair.

  • Karen

    I’d love to see Gagne do some character animation some day. The fx work is nice, if a bit repetative. And beautiful!

  • Josh Scherr

    @Oluseyi – thanks for the thoughtful response, you pretty much hit the nail on the head. Creating player animations that are both responsive and fluid is incredibly difficult, especially if you’re working on a game with realistically proportioned characters. Of course, just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean more companies shouldn’t strive to do better. Fact is though, taking that time and care can get super-expensive, and frankly a lot of people who play videogames don’t really care. They’ll notice when you put in the extra effort, but a fun game is a fun game regardless.

    But anyway: looking forward to this… hoping they have it showing at Comicon…

  • Jay Sabicer

    @Karen:
    check out Gagne’s Prelude to Eden, some great character, along with the efx animation that blows people away.

    http://www.gagneint.com/Final%20site/misc/Prelude%20to%20Eden/Prelude.htm

  • dave

    I think the video game comparison is fair – it reminded me of R-type – and several games of that type. That said – I loved the film – the style, movement and design were all very well done and showed a great deal of flair and ability. I’m sure the comparisons to video games were intentional and not poor imagination in any way. I am going to look out for more of his work.
    Thanks for bringing it to my attention

  • http://www.milowerx.com Mike Milo

    Holy CRAP! That kicked f-ing ASS! I’d love to play that game. I too would love to see Michel do some character acting but I think his true forte is in the mechanical realm.

  • http://chrissokalofsky.com Chris Sokalofsky

    Been following the production of this game for over a year now, and all the hard work that’s gone into it is finally coming to fruition. Looks absolutely fantastic.

  • http://www.cementimental.com Tim Drage

    I think the video game comparison is fair – it reminded me of R-type – and several games of that type.
    I think you’ve missed the point that it actually IS a game!

    Looks great.

  • dave

    Cheers Tim – yes I did completely miss the point on that – in that case 0 it looks a really cool game! – I hadn’t spotted that it was on gametrailers etc – will pay more attention next time.

  • http://www.cannedgeek.com/ Kyle

    Beautiful stuff -and the editing deserves admiration too, what with the way it gradually reveals that it’s a side scrolling game. At first I thought it was just a short film – then I realised what it actually was. Either way it looks brilliant.