Nightdive Studios and Valiant discuss Shadow Man Remaster game

Making his debut in the Valiant universe, Shadow Man has grown into one of the most distinguished figures in the publisher’s universe – attracting talent ranging from Steve Englehart to Garth Ennis. Modern incarnations of Shadow Man were created by Andy Diggle and Cullen Bunn, bringing new stories of how a New Orleans native found himself cursed with mystical abilities and the defender of the world from the evil forces of Deadside. The character rose to prominence in video games in a 1999 adaptation for Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Dreamcast, and PC titled Shadow Man, which quickly became a critical and commercial success.

In 2021, the game was remastered by Nightdive Studios for a new audience and to coincide with a new incarnation of the Shadow Man comic series. In an exclusive interview with CBR, Nightdive Studios CEO Stephen Kick, Nightdive Studios Business Development Director Larry Kuperman and Valiant Entertainment Editor Fred Pierce took a look at Shadow Manback to the game and reflected on the modern take on the character.

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CBR: One of the innate challenges of bringing back Shadow Man in game form, especially in terms of remastering the original, needs to appease audiences who have come back for nostalgia while also making it accessible to new audiences who don’t have that kind of connection to the original. What was it like to balance these elements?

Larry Kuperman: We’ve been doing this for a while. So on the technical side, we know what it’s supposed to look like, and we know when it needs to adapt to modern hardware, how to support widescreen displays, how to support much higher resolutions than ‘at the time. The challenge is always to stay true and make it happen … It’s a mantra at Nightdive, that our goal is to make the games not look like they were back then, but look like they were. the way you remember it like rediscovering that experience.

One of the most exciting elements of Shadow Man, especially just on the comic book side, do Shadow Man attracted so many talents and revealed new storytelling potential. Now, with the release of the remastered game, how does it feel to see the character so adopted by the current generation of fans?

Fred pierce: I’ll tell you, as one of the veterans of Valiant in the 90s, and Valiant now since the current launch … There is such a mystique around Valiant.

Bob Hall and I just spoke the other day … He was on the original Shadow Man. So we discussed it. Shadow Man was one of those characters that I refer to in my life all the time because every time you work you try to be a shield against evil. The love they put into it, which Nightdive puts into our game, cannot be matched. It’s something they love to do. It’s not something that they are [phoning in]. You can see it when you watch the game and when you watch the trailers. It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing.

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The reception of the remastered version of the game has been so uniformly positive, especially on Steam. What was it like – as fans of the property and as the people who worked on this incarnation of it – to see audiences receiving this remaster with such enthusiasm?

Steven Kick: What’s worth it for me is seeing people enjoying the games again. As Larry said, our main focus was to bring the games back and present them in a way you remember, not necessarily the exact same way they were.

When we see the kind of reception we’ve had with Shadow Man, we know we’ve done our job. It’s really special to us, because we get a lot of fan mail, both in the form of social media comments, but also just … I actually got a physical fan mail for the first one. times, for Shadow Man. It was a real trip for me because it was from a gentleman who, sharing a story about how this is the game he played with his father, and it meant something very special to them . Now, for the first time in 20 years, they can enjoy it together again with something as easy as downloading it from Steam or GOG. It’s that kind of thing that really continually drives what I do.

I played a lot of these games with my dad, and they were really wonderful memories that I had. Knowing that we can not only fondly remember our own memories, but create new ones with our children, enjoying the games they had when they were our age.

Larry Kuperman: There’s one word that’s probably overused in games, the word immersive … If you’d told me when I was a kid – when I lived and died for the comics – if you’d told me back then that a technology would come that would put me in the comics that I read, that I could be the character that I read, I would have said, “Sign me up.”

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Why was this the perfect time to bring Shadow Man back for the public, especially in game form?

Steven Kick: Well I have a boring answer and I have a better answer. The annoying thing is that we just found the source code when we were looking for it. It was at a time when we had the bandwidth to tackle it as a team. It was something we’ve always wanted to do, just because of our love of the game and our previous release deal with Valiant for the Steam version.

But the other more interesting answer is that it’s a game that has a very rabid fan base, but it’s still relatively small in terms of … if you compare it to something like Dark souls Where Loss, or something like that. It takes him to that next level where someone who may not have heard it before will be interested just by hearing it. That community aspect … people say, “Hey, if you really like Metroidvania-style games, third-person action, horror, good storytelling games, there’s this game you don’t have. maybe not heard of and just came out. ” And that was a really strong indicator that people were just waiting for something like this to happen. Something more accessible, something that wasn’t as complicated or demanding as most new AAA titles. Something that, too, is really affordable that has a lot of gameplay. There is an element of value there.

Maybe the most important thing is probably just the cast of the characters. We have Redd Pepper reprising the role of Mike LeRoi, who is an African American character. What you usually didn’t see a lot in the 90s. And it’s more important than ever that everyone be represented to some extent in the medium they love. I feel like, bringing that back, or showing that if there was a performance before 2020, or 2010, and it was powerful and it was really good. I think that’s a really good example of how to handle it.

Larry Kuperman: I will also touch on the somewhat more general theme of the revival of classic games.

Steve and I have been working together since 2014. Steve actually started the business. It was in 2012 when Shock System 2 first appeared on GOG … We have always had work from Valiant but we have approached other IP owners. [People asked], “Why do you want to bring these games back? I mean, these are old games. Why do you want to bring them back?” And it’s funny, people don’t ask the same questions about other arts. Why do you want to go see the paintings in the Louvre? They are old paintings. There are new things coming out.

But we are in a period of rebirth. It is well known that over the past two years we have made misfortune 64 and earthquake for Bethesda. The Turok the games continue to resonate with us. These are now available on all platforms. These things really resonate with an audience. And again, the idea that Marvel and DC both use the term universe, but the idea that you can experience different characters through different media is really powerful.

Fred pierce: It helps diffuse in both directions. I read comics, I watch movies, I read novels. And you can see the same thing, the same characters in all these different aspects, and you get a different feeling. And the difference between a character in a TV series and a character in a movie, and a character in a novel, even that is different. But when you play the game, you interact with it. When you watch a movie, it’s more passive. But if I play the Shadow Man game, I’m Shadowman. I can lose. In the movie, I’m not going to lose, in general, because they want to have a sequel. But in the game, you could lose. True, you hit the restart button. But it’s a wonderful interaction with her.

Look, there are some Valiant characters that I love the most. I didn’t love all of my children the same. I won’t tell you which one, but I loved it Shadow Man, I loved Eternal warrior… I wrote Magnus 20 in the day, just to let you know. Bob Layton asked me to do it. But listen, I just pulled this out for this conversation: I have with me Valiant universe, 1994. And if you watch it, it’s the launch of the original Shadow Man. Who knew these two pages would become all of this. And that’s the beauty of intellectual property. IP is not just limited to IP. Intellectual property is about the worlds it creates.

Shadow Man Remastered is currently available through Steam and GOG, with console versions arriving in the near future.

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