snoopyairace snoopyairace

Snoopy Flying Ace

I’m not a gamer, so I can’t speak for the playability, but the design work by Peter Wagner for the new Xbox Live Arcade game Snoopy Flying Ace works for me. I’m not thrilled by the character voices (see trailer below) but the 3-dimensional realization of the Peanuts characters is right on. Wagner writes:

Smartbomb Interactives team of artists were tasked to re-imagine Snoopy (as the WWI flying ace) and give the cultural icon a fresh new feel. My job was to capture the essence of what it was like to be the fearless beagle, piloting a little red doghouse over Europe during the Great War.

The game comes out on June 2nd.

  • That has all the charm and poignancy of the original comics… Uh. Right. I can see the meeting in heaven… Sparky, meet Ted Geisel. You have a lot in common.

  • GhaleonQ

    It’s actually pretty well respected, especially for a licensed game.

  • Bill Field

    Not bad, not too terribly close to what’s gone before, which is a mixed bag. It reminds me 100% of the Peanuts’ View Master Reels, where the scenes were shot from staged figures, like stop motion, minus the motion

  • Which Schulz heir approved this? What shortage of shoot-things-down games does this address?

    A Peanuts product that carries a “violence” warning.

    That’s ghastly. Snoopy’s flying was charming as a flight of his imagination, but here he is really killing people.

    I can see where this is going. Charlie brown is going to show up in GTA43 banging the Little Red-Haired Girl because someone re-imagined that.

    The CG look would be right on if the characters had originated as inflated balloons.

    When I was little my mom wouldn’t let me have the Peanuts sweater with Snoopy crying “Curse you, Red Baron!”. Not very “nice” she said.

  • Other than the awkwardness of seeing Spoony kill people, I love the idea behind this. The 3-D models of the characters are spot-on, truly capturing the late-Charles Schulz’s art style. I also like the voices used for the characters: they’re bearable, and that’s all I ask for.

    Wish I had an Xbox 360…

  • ADO

    Ye Gods.

    So the Schultz family was outraged by “Schultz and Peanuts” for daring to suggest “Sparky” had human failings and contradictions, but apparently thought he’d have no issue with a GAME putting CHILDREN in a WAR ZONE?

    Sure, there was the “Snoopy and the Red Baron” game for the Atari 2600 ( but that was centered around Snoopy’s fantasies, not kids hanging out in bars and blowing people up!

    What have we learned, Charlie Brown? What have we learned?

  • Peter Wagner

    Lol, I can respect (and agree) that a grittier Snoopy and the gang is a quite a departure from the sunday strip but i can assure you that no Peanuts were harmed and all are equipped with fully functioning parachutes! :)

  • Snoopy looks good, Charlie Brown looks okay, Linus looks awful (although that’s to be expected, given the somewhat abstract design of his hair in the original comics).

    This game seems like while you’re playing, it’ll be easy to forget that it’s even Peanuts-related. Three things that would make me interested:
    – Actually piloting his doghouse (I know he’s imagining it as a plane, but we never see it like that)
    -Having the the backgrounds be more like the bold psychedelic flying scenes in the 60’s Peanuts animation
    -The score being classic Vince Guaraldi music

    Although I don’t like flying games in general, so I probably wouldn’t play it anyway.

  • Karen

    Wow. Incredibly BAD design and direction. Confused approach–neither cartoon nor realistic. Just plain bad. Poor Sparky.

  • It’s not that it looks BAD persay, I could even call it charming, but it’s just too bad the only thing “peanuts” about it is the character’s head and the name.

  • Also:

    “My job was to capture the essence of what it was like to be the fearless beagle, piloting a little red doghouse over Europe during the Great War.”

    Where’s the little red doghouse?

  • Umm…. I’ll pass. Linus’ voice was terrible. I think I’ll wait for the MetLife game to come out. Maybe then I can take Snoopy out on a boat or a blimp and score annuities.

  • “what have we learned, charlie brown?”

    after all those pretty explosions, I hope the in the end cinematic, Linus reads “in Flander’s fields.”

    skip to 2:28:

    In Canada that poem is on our 10$ bill, which is all purty and colourful , eh?

    Much like in the film Empire of the Sun, a little boys dogfight daydreams don’t match the true horrors of war. To me, Snoopy as the red baron was a symbol of children’s romanticized view of world wars, and the fact they are lucky they will grow up without having to go through one.
    He should be flying his dog house, It’s all in his head anyway.

    Imagine a video game with that level of poignancy? Someday.

  • ADO

    OK, let me get this out while the thread is still young and then I’ll abandon it:

    I don’t care about the character design. Or the voices. Or the art direction or the gameplay or whether the enemy units are animated with parachutes or not.

    I was not being flippant when I wrote, “What have we learned, Charlie Brown?” I was thinking of the TV special of the same name, where Linus and Charlie Brown recalled their trip to France and seeing Omaha Beach. And seeing actual war footage for the first time. And seeing the characters wander amongst sites like the American cemeteries. And every Memorial Day strip that appears in Peanuts each year.

    I’m a gamer. I play plenty of violent war-themed games. I struggle with reconciling the thrill and fantasy of a game with the murderous realities of their subject matter. And this is too much.

    LOL all you want. This is just awful.

  • Anthony D.

    I like it. Speaking of Peanuts, Jerry, are you thinking about making a new book/ultimate guide for the Peanuts’ 60th Anniversary?

  • top cat james

    Where are the Royal Guardsmen when you need them?

    Just awful. Linus using his beloved blanket as a bar rag (0:31)? Don’t think so.

  • Pedro Nakama

    I think a friend of mine worked on this. He told me he got a job at a gaming company and it was very long hours and he was working for Peanuts.

  • Chris


  • Ed Bear

    Good grief. I was a serious Peanuts fan when I was about 9, and I’m having a hard time with this. I’m doing my best to apply my post-modern faux sophisticate situational ethics and I just can’t do it. I don’t think Schulz would have approved.

  • Kevin

    When did PEANUTS become TOP GUN???

  • Douglass Abramson

    I think that the bartender is Rerun, not Linus.

  • Phil

    I like it. I think it’s a great representation of Snoopy’s imaginative fantasy when he’d hop on top of this dog house and take flight after the Red Baron.

  • chris webb

    Good Grief!

    Maybe this will start a trend: Get ready for Ziggy in the next “Grand Theft Auto.”

  • I like it too. Almost a little dark for Snoopy however but clever…

  • The Ghost of Warner Bros. Past

    The designs work for you??? Jerry, I think your eyeballs must’ve fallen out. The Peanuts kids in the bar look hideous.

  • Please,Space Chimps 2 looks better than this.

  • I don’t know. Even though the strip was about Snoopy’s fantasies, it still was a fantasy about being in a war, so I don’t see why it’s so bad to actually visualizing it . They never say this is happening for real, I guess. The tavern scenes are kinda cute, even though Linus doesn’t look or sound very good. Snoopy looks really cute at the end, I loved the dirt in his eyes.

    The war scenes seem a little generic, not very Peanuts-related, though. But it’s still a pretty amusing trailer.

  • I agree – Snoopy SHOULD be flying on top of his red dog house.

    But in all fairness, when Snoopy was flying his WWI missions, his narration was quite gritty – mentioning the “ack-ack” fire, crawling through enemy lines, etc.

    As far as the designs – As kids, my best friend’s father was a toy salesman. We had lots of prototype and limited-run “experimental” toys to try out. One series was a ‘snap-tite’ Snoopy Sopwith Camel and Fokker Triplane. From what I remember (40 years later), the planes in the videogame are very close to what must have been “Schulz-approved” toys.

  • I don’t like this violent turn for the Peanuts franchise. Where’s the soul of the strip here? If there’s one thing Peanuts had going for it, it was soul. There’s no soul in this trailer, just licensed look-alikes.

  • gaastra

    That’s rerun at the bar. I’m betting this whole game is a dream. It will end with snoopy waking up on top of his doghouse.

  • I’m glad Smart Bomb is finally going to release this title. I had a chat with them about it back in November 2008 and they seemed genuinely jazzed about it. As I recall, Smart Bomb produced Snoopy vs. the Red Baron in 2006… after which, the company wanted to give Snoopy an adequate CG treatment (but not on the budget they were given for the Namco-Bandai game. They initially secured an independent license from United Media to develop a videogame without a publisher, which allowed Smart Bomb to essentially take the story in whichever creative direction they pleased without the budget and schedule constraints previously imposed, which I think is a great idea.

  • Scarabim

    I think this game is yet another example of how converting a 2D entity to a 3D version does it no favors.

    Snoopy looks okay. The kids look awful. Just awful.

  • Mark

    Too bad Smart Bomb ruined the property with really bad design, lame game play, and ugliness. Their license should be stripped.

  • Wow, I must be from another planet today, because I really liked all of this. I’m surrounded by video games daily and I’ll say this is a very attractive looking game for all the junk that’s out there, and a very good representation of the Peanuts characters for CG (and remind me of fun collectible vinyl toys…maybe Smartbomb can make some for us??!!).

    My only qualm (besides the struggling kid’s voice acting) was that the framing was too tight on all the kids. With such round, simple heads it makes them look over-sized and boring, cluttering the scene. If the camera was pulled back more and the kids scaled down to mesh with the backgrounds a little differently it would feel more comfortable.

    It is a little dark and violent for a “Peanuts” franchise, but it didn’t strike me as uncomfortably so. There’s still an element of cartooniness throughout (I love all those planes in that second image), and I’m loving the color and atmosphere in each scene. I can’t really tell who exactly Snoopy fights, so it might be something a little more forgivable for characters to shoot down than other humans. I run into 10 year old’s in Killzone multiplayer, so this is pretty tame.

    I’ll try and check this out when it’s released and test it’s playability!

  • Yeah, Jessica is right about everything.

    I don’t know if Mr. Schulz would have approved it but I’m sure Snoopy would approve it. It makes him look like the epic, legendary hero he has always dreamt to be. I’m not too much into videogames but I wouldn’t mind to see a movie adaptation of this, if it made it clear that it was all Snoopy’s fantasy. It could be a good mixture of action and humor, pretty different to most animated movies today.

  • Titanius Anglesmith, Fancy Man of Cornwood

    Um…I see Snoopy shooting down a lot of aircraft, but I don’t see him specifically killing anyone directly. There’s a difference there. Of course, I only have a DS Lite anyhow, so I guess it’s neither here nor there personally.

    Maybe next time they ought to just stick with Snoopy as the “world-famous hockey player.” Lot of good possibilities there.

  • Also, for those who say that character is Rerun instead of Linus, you may be right, after all I’ve always found hard to distinguish those two characters, but I still think it’s Linus because 1/he’s more popular than Rerun 2/ his role here seems pretty adequate to Linus’ personality, cause he’s usually the one that has a tendency to know-it-all-ism and it’s capable of using big words in an epic narration.

    His hair looks weird in 3D either way, even if he were Rerun.

  • Ken Adams

    I’m sorry to disagree with most of you… but I loved everything about this and will buy the game for sure… Snoopy is a bad a** and I LOVED seeing him in this environment.

  • Rat

    Sorry, the spirit of Peanuts is completely lost.

    Why is this a pew=pew=pew action videogame with power-ups and lightning blasters?

    That’s the furthest thing from Peanuts that ever was.

    What’s next, a videogame based on the poetry of Emily Dickenson?

  • John A

    I’m almost positive Schulz would have never approved this. Most of you probably don’t remember that Sparky breifly retired Snoopy’s WWI flying ace around the end of the war in Vietnam as his own form of protest against the war. He didn’t want to appear that he was glorifying violence.

  • doesn’t work for me…it should be a Snoopy VS. Gromet dogfight game.
    But, this has nothing to do with the Snoopy (or Peanuts) I know. He’s an impostor!

  • This is nothing new. Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron came out for the PS2 in 06.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Much as ADO has said earlier, it is kinda interesting how the family dissed the book I thought was interesting for an opinion on Sparky’s life, yet approve of a game that seems to have questioning opinions by many here. And yes, I remember “What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?” and what it meant to me having first seeing that 27 years ago and being introduced into the concept of war and it’s causes (questions that a 5-6 year old shouldn’t really be thinking that young about I guess but I had). It was quite a moving special and far from the usual patten Peanuts specials went before or after it.

    As some have stated, and what I had in mind while watching the trailer, that this whole thing is essentially Snoopy’s imaginative fantasy given a visual atmosphere in itself, and we’re partaking in this experience through the realm of playing the adventure. Of course I haven’t been much into these sort of games anymore so I really don’t fit in with the kind of people who would definitely play this. The E-10+ rating certainly isn’t that bad (at least it didn’t dip into the T territory). It would be nice if there was some hint or reason for this being a dream if they do put in that hint or something at the end of the game to validate any thoughts about it (not that this couldn’t be a alternate universe on it’s own, but now I’m just getting off-topic on that).

  • It’s a shame that talented modern day animators have to go to work every day and desecrate the memories of their childhood heros.

  • Remember when the Schultz family announced that they wouldn’t be letting another cartoonist take over the strip because Peanuts was too close to Charles Schultz’s heart? I guess a little long green took care of those sentiments.

  • I think continuing the strip would be a sacrilege in this case but I don’t see the same problem with adaptations like this. Especially with a character like Snoopy, which has been adapted to multiple forms of merchandising before.

  • So it’s OK to create crappy licensed stuff in another medium as long as crappy merchandise has already been sold? I guess that means we can make gory Looney Tunes zombie xbox360 shootemups because Chuck Jones once made a bad limited edition cel.

  • I see Snoopy shooting down a lot of aircraft, but I don’t see him specifically killing anyone directly. There’s a difference there.

    I shudder to think what you might say about the footage of the planes crashing into the WTC.

  • When I teach comic book history, I inevitably get a student who only knows of Little Nemo from the game that came out around the time of the feature film. That student is astounded to discover that there was anything before the game, that it was different and that it had more depth.
    I fear the same fate will befall Peanuts. While this may or may not be a good game to play, it strips all the charm and imagination away from the characters. Tragic.

  • Bob


  • To Stephen Worth:

    I think we have to separate the quality from the tone. It seems you don’t like either in this example. But something I find especially odd is that people who are friends of John K. would be so offended about a classic cartoon portrayed in violent situations. Isn’t John K. all about giving cartoons real personalities and not watered down versions? Fred Flinstone has a pretty sexist attitude for modern standards, but I would reather see him acting like that rather than seeing a watered version of itself.

    The gory Looney Tunes thing is not a good comparison-although Clampett eventually included some fake-blood and kind of gruesome jokes. Still if you talk about a serious terrorific take, then it would be pretty much like Loonatics or something similarly horrible.

    Now, Peanuts were not violent, but Snoopy did dream about being at war. This only makes his fantasy real. Snoopy looks really cute at the end of the clip, his energic entry, his proud pose, the little gag with Woodstock being in flames, the happy expression in Charlie Brown’s face when he sees the dog…all that seems pretty faithful to the personalities of the characters to me.

    Videogames, especially war games, have always been about shooting and destroying things. You can even say that Space Invaders was about killing some life forms. It’s not like they have turned Peanuts into Resident Evil or something.

    No matter how pacifist you are wars are interesting for stories and movies. Steven Spielberg and Ford Coppola didn’t make war movies because they like to see people being killed, but there is a certain epic in it that it’s useful for the story.

    Charles Schulz maybe retired The Flying Ace for some time but he created that facet of Snoopy to begin with and he told war stories even though they were only in Snoopy’s head. Cause war stories are interesting to read.

    Disclaimer: I’m pretty much a pacifist myself and I can’t even get angry easily. But the war genre exists for a reason.

    I haven’t played this game and the main parts seem too much like a generic war game to me, but the clips when we actually see the characters seem to be done with a certain love for their personalities. And they are cute and cartoony, certainly not a dark re-imagination a la The Dark Night. They just portray what Snoopy normally imagines happening for real, which is useful for a type of videogame, plane flight simulator.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Much of what Diana Green said about a student who didn’t know about Little Nemo past the NES game could also be applied to Peanuts in some way if one was to have discover it in this fashion as opposed to reading the original strips penned by Schulz, since we have seen the franchise carry on in this fashion for quite some time, and seeing different things added or subtracted in it due to the limited exposure these creations do get in later years. Peanuts could end up like Little Nemo if we’re not careful.

  • Andrew Leal

    Just for the record, while I agree the explosions are over the top, look closely. The clip shows the German pilots parachuting out when a plane is hit, and I expect that’s how it will be in the final game (the trailer is edited so rapid fire, like the *real* Command and Conquer and other historical wartime gimes, that it’s hard to catch unless you pause closely).

  • Kevin Dougherty

    I know it’s not the most lucrative area to develop games for but maybe “Peanuts” should be relegated to a younger audience than the shoot-em-up crowd. I was on the fence about the design but the context was awful and inappropriate.

  • I have the PC version of the first game, SNOOPY VS. THE RED BARON (which Mom and Sissy got me for Christmas), and as a Peanuts fan and video game player, I still play it and enjoy it.

    Snoopy does shoot down enemy aircraft, but just so I can clear up the air here, NOBODY GETS KILLED!!!!! You see the pilots falling out of the explosions via parachute. I doubt the Schulz family would have accepted deaths in a Peanuts-related project, of which there are absolutely none in this game. So it’s all handled acceptably.

    SNOOPY: FLYING ACE looks even better! The cinematics look more far more refined from the first game, and it looks to have more action (Snoopy stayed in the Sopwith Camel in the first game, whereas it looks like he’ll be doing some out-of-plane action in the new game)! The “dark” atmosphere is played with absolute parody, and again, I seriously doubt that characters will die here. I can’t think of that happening in an official Peanuts project.

    I think there’s a bit too much oversensitivity here.

  • Chas

    Come on people. There is absolutely nothing violent about this game. You act as if you hear screams of pain as the planes catch fire or body parts come flying at your windshield after an explosion. After any plane explodes in the game, a parachute appears, indicating that the pilot is okay. I highly doubt that any of you have ever played a videogame before which would explain how you could possibly be even the slightest bit disturbed by this. Perhaps Snoopy grew up. Maybe he watched all of the propaganda that we watched and decided he would be doing a GOOD thing by joining the military and killing people. My point is that you should be more open to change. If you don’t like this depiction of Snoopy, then I recommend that you don’t buy the game. Stick with the comics. Thanks

  • JD

    This is where CG and 2D should have never collided. What’s next? Wizard Of Id like you’ve never seen it before. Yuck!

    I’m thankful Bill Watterson keeps Calvin And Hobbes untouched.

  • I wanted to write in since I work for the Charles Schulz studio in Santa Rosa CA and had a hand in approving the Flying Ace video game. I’d just like to say that we’ve worked closely with the crew at Smartbomb in helping them craft a game that’s both innovative and remains true to the spirit of Snoopy’s Flying Ace persona and PEANUTS in general.

    To address some earlier points about the violence level of the game: Snoopy isn’t killing anyone in this game. Any pilots that get shot down (Snoopy included) parachute to safety, only to respawn and fly again. The events that take place in the game are fantasy and derive purely from Snoopy’s active imagination–the game is inspired by the (over 400!) strips Schulz did featuring the Flying Ace.

    Reading those strips it’s pretty evident that Schulz was having a lot of fun letting Snoopy run wild in a World War I setting and Smartbomb carries on that idea in an interactive setting. The gameplay is intuitive and the environments are lively and cartoony–those who have actually played the game mention how fun it is to look at and to play.

    I think Smartbomb did a good job taking Schulz’s very unique 2D strip and translating it to CG. Sure, not everything is spot on, but it works quite well for this idiom and it’s fun to see Snoopy and Woodstock interact in an arena where other characters like Ratchet & Clank have dominated. It’s a natural pairing and may even spur kids who aren’t as familiar with Snoopy (blasphemy, I know, but they do exist) to seek out the strip.

    The intent of the game is to bring the fun and excitement of the Snoopy’s Flying Ace persona into a new medium and I think it succeeds. I can’t speak for Sparky, but I think he would have gotten a kick out it.

    PS: I think players CAN play on the doghouse once they win the game!

  • This is just UGLY.

  • stikkbomber

    2d to 3d is always tough. preconceived notions are very hard to shake off, and once you see something in one form, it’s often times hard to consider another interpretation. still, i’d like to see what some of the esteemed critics here would do with this, if given the task of making these characters 3d…

    haters gonna hate, i guess. worse still, despite the game not being in the public’s hands yet, these same haters all make these outlandish assumptions about its setting. if it’s anything like the game from 2007 for the playstation 2, it’s all ***FANTASY***. it’s all in snoopy dreams, made abundantly clear in the first five minutes of the game, no one dies in that game, and you eventually “unlocked” snoppy’s doghouse as a playable aircraft. i’m assuming this game’s mechnaics and style are very similar to that 2007 game, though. that game was a good seller, so i can’t imagine them tinkering with the formula too much.

    and hypocrisy, thy name is nostalgia. no one here seems to complain about the dogfight scenes in the original peanuts halloween special. but now all i hear is “children in warzones; ghastly depictions” regarding this game…whatever, the good old days weren’t, plain and simple…

  • Charles

    LOL. I doubt Schulz would have authorized the concept of this video game. Did Xbox threaten to go public with new dirt on Schulz if the Schulz family didn’t comply to their demands? Schulz was the antithesis of violence and destruction. A baseball game, in line with the comic strip, would have been a much better concept.

  • Titanius Anglesmith, Fancy Man of Cornwood

    Steven Worth, you’re comparing a real life tragedy and terrorist attack with animation from a video game?!!? I hear Wal-Mart is having a sale on perspective—pick yourself up a few gallons.

  • Extremists without experiencing should be sidelined

    Loads of extremists on here that seem to be closely “related” to Schulz. :) Or at least – wish to be…

    The license was left to the wife and sons of Charles along with United Media who made a decision on how the game needed to modernized – I think they know more than others upon the direction needed to take Snoopy in order to take it to a broader audience rather than the ones who “remember” the Sunday comic strip. The action is based upon Snoopy’s Dream. Snoopy dreams over and over fighting the red baron where you would here gun fire, smoke and bullet hole billowing and pelting the side of his trusty doghouse.

    Harsh to criticize yet criticizing based upon no experience to the game, just a short video clip. I did snag the game and am loving it. It’s a mixture of classic, modern, and fun game play. It is a lot of action, but that suits Snoopy very well for this genre. I for 1 am very pleased with the direction (after experiencing – rather than criticizing from the side lines).

    I think it suits the license well and as Peter Wagner said above, “i can assure you that no Peanuts were harmed and all are equipped with fully functioning parachutes! :)”

    All characters do parachute to safety. The weaponry in the game borders fantasy with realistic sfx.

    I just look forward to playing another one, perhaps getting Snoopy walking around on foot or maybe to the seas?

    FYI – Players can fly on the doghouse if they get a 9 streak. Woodstock is also obtained by a 4 streak.

  • Peter Wagner

    I just wanted to say thank you for the comments that had constructive criticisms and to let you know that so far, and despite its flaws, Snoopy Flying Ace has been a huge success for our little studio! We have yet to hear final numbers but it looks like we might have broken some sales records for the first day :)

    Check it out if you like, if you have a Xbox 360 you can download the demo and play 30 minutes for free!

  • ColumbiaCartoons

    I kind of prefer Charlie Brown been the main comic hero and Snoopy’s WW1 flying ace been the main comic villain much better than this Snoopy vs The Red Baron crap.

  • Alan Muller

    I’d agree, Charlie Brown and the gang look okay. The dog look awful. Just awful.