I don’t want to alarm anybody here, but we’re getting perilously close to 2018. Oh yes indeed.
Time is flying by outrageously, bowel-looseningly fast. It’s like the last time I blinked, it was New Years’ 2016. Where the heck did this year go? Is it just me? I doubt it.
One thing nobody can deny, though, is that 2017 is a super crazy time to be alive. McDonald’s still don’t deliver, drones can deliver our shopping in super quick time, and celebrities are the be all and end-all of modern life.
There was a time when our heroes and heroines were truly accomplished. The brilliant scientists, gifted actors and inspirational politicians of our times. More recently, we’ve relaxed these criteria a bit. Because, after all, a quick fifteen minutes of fame on X Factor or Big Brother is just as good as a Nobel Prize, right?
Fortunately, though, there are still some celebrities who do the whole ‘fame’ thing right. People who try a little of everything, venture into all kinds of avenues, and are super successful at all of them. The true Renaissance men and women of our age, who have ascended to a glorious new plateau of greatness.
Needless to say, Kanye West is one of them. From spouting brilliantly bizarre nonsense on Twitter to rapping (and the whole Kardashians thing), there is nothing this man can’t do. Except make a successful video game. What is Kanye’s title Only One, and how did it go so wrong? Buckle up and let’s take a look.
15 It Is Not: A Kanye Quest Sequel (Sadly)
Now, I’m the kind of guy who likes a little snarky parody action here and there. I’ve been a fan of Weird Al Yankovic’s send-ups of modern music for as long as I can remember (and lord knows, the guy’s been doing this for a long time now). When Grand Theft Auto makes reference to today’s consumerism-heavy culture, I’m totally down for that too.
As you’d imagine, then, Kanye Quest was something I definitely got behind. It’s a 2D Ye Olde style indie RPG, which sees Kanye sucked through a wormhole as he’s taking out the garbage one night. He’ll solve puzzles, collect items and battle the huge, terrifying, disembodies heads of Jay-Z and Eminem, among other things. Needless to say, this was not an official Yeezus-branded product, and his own title is in no way related.
14 It Is: Named After One Of His Songs
For all kinds of creative people, be they games designers, songwriters, authors, there’s a certain stumbling block that can be super tough to overcome: naming your latest work. Sometimes, the title can be the last thing that you come up with. It can also change entirely during the process. Several times.
Fortunately, for the great, omnipotent Yeezus, this isn’t much of an issue. When he decided to name his video game after one of his songs, he had a great and glorious bounty to choose from. Over the course of his career, Kanye has treated our eyes and ears to songs like A Mesmeric Journey, Bittersweet Poetry, Dark Fantasy, and Strugglin’.
Any one of these, of course, would be a perfect title for a game (especially that last as the subtitle for a new Dark Souls entry), but Kanye eventually settled on naming it Only One.
13 It Is NOT: All About Kanye (For Once)
If there’s one thing we all know for darn sure about the legend that is Yeezus, it’s that he’s not the most modest of dudes. Like all of today’s celebrities, he thrives on attention. He is powered by attention. He wakes up in the morning, drinks a sweet, sweet steaming cup of attention to wake his ass up, gets dressed (clothing 99% attention, 1% cotton, do not tumble dry) and heads off to… do whatever it is that Kanye does all day.
As such, the cynics among us might assume that he would put himself and his ego right at the forefront of any video game he makes. Kanye’s Kanye Adventure Through The Kanye Streets Of Kanyeville, that sort of thing (GOTY Edition with thrice the Kanye coming later). Well, you’d better stop with that slanderous talk, because this one isn’t about the man himself at all.
12 It Is: About His Dear Departed Mama, Donda West, ‘Travelling Through The Gates Of Heaven’
Now, a lot of people have said a lot of snarky things about Kanye. Making jokes at the guy’s expense is pretty well shooting fish in a barrel. What with that questionable little beard, his douchey man-scarf-centric clothing line or his general reputation for being an a-hole, you can really take your pick.
Fair’s fair, though, his song Only One touched my crusty old heart. It’s a tribute to KimYe’s daughter, North, sung from the perspective of his late mother, Donda West. When it comes to the video game of the same name, dear old ma is again in the spotlight.
At the hype party for Yeezus’s new album and clothing range last February, he announced the game with the words, “I worked on a video game and I wanted to show y’all… the idea of the game is, my mom travelling through the gates of heaven.”
11 It Is NOT: Easy To Make A Darn Video Game; Kanye Told Us So
As I think I’ve already addressed, our all-powerful lord and master Yeezus is one impressive dude. Rapper, singer, songwriter, fashion designer, record producer, writer of the greatest and most hilariously bizarre tweets you could ever squeeze into 140 characters… the man is a veritable juggernaut of success and raging brilliance. He is unstoppable, he has no bedtime, and sometimes he doesn’t even have to wait for Kimmy to give him his pocket money before he goes shopping.
It’s tough to be this constantly incredible, though. It takes a toll on the best of us. Sometimes we just don’t get the recognition we deserve. When Kanye revealed the trailer for his video game, the reception was not as overwhelmingly positive as he thought it should have been. His response? To whine, “That’s not easy to do, man! Y’all just be acting like that s**t is regular!” Before playing the trailer again.
10 It IS: Darn Hype, Though
These are the kinds of triumph-over-adversity stories that great movies are made of. Forget Slumdog Millionaire. Just forget about it. Put those eight Oscars down, Slumdog, because nobody cares anymore. Kanye’s here, and he’s got a truly inspiring story to tell: the story of the super-privileged millionaire and his struggle to get a video game made on the beautiful, sun-kissed streets of San Francisco.
As I say, Kanye didn’t feel the response to his announcement was as ticker-tape-parade-y and he’d have liked. So he stoked the hype fires a little, reminding everyone what a success story this was: “No, you don’t understand. I go out and meet with everybody in San Fran, and they’ll diss the [blank] out of me. And I’ll be like, ‘I wanna make a game,’ and they’ll be like, ‘'[blank] YOU.’ That was hard to do, bro!”
9 It Is Not: Too Early To Start Using Phrases Like Development Hell
Anyway, this whole ego-stroking event happened a year and a half ago. So where the heck is Only One, already? You’d think the almighty Yeezus would have had this one ready, from conception to release, in about a lunch break. Sadly, though, it seems that there are some forces on Earth even the great and powerful Kanye isn’t immune to.
Games development isn’t easy, as he’s just told us, but some titles have an easier ride than others. Since that trailer release (it’s amazing, and we’ll see it later) last February, Only One has disappeared from the map. It is currently languishing in the dreaded depths of development hell, thanks to a couple of snags it hit along the way. Let’s take a closer look at the state of play.
8 It IS: A Matter Of The Almighty Dollar
As I’m sure Kanye himself will tell you (if you happen to bump into him while he’s out shopping for solid gold helicopters), money really does make the world go round. After publicly acknowledging that he was millions of dollars in debt last year, Kanye knows this as well as anyone. Now, it seems that his game has run afoul of money issues too.
According to Business Insider, the game hasn’t been in active development since last Summer. Apparently, funding for the Only One game has long since fallen through, and shake-ups at the developers has left the team greatly depleted and/or shifting focus from other projects. For his part, I’m sure that Kanye is outraged by the very idea of anybody shifting their attention from him.
7 It Is Not: Dead, Though, Apparently
Now, granted, that’s a darn bleak picture to paint. At face value, Only One’s future looks about as bright as Abraham Lincoln’s did when he picked up his tickets at the box office. As is often the case in these sorts of situations, though, the team themselves have a face-saving PR statement ready to hand.
"Development of the game continues," one of Kanye’s representatives told Business Insider. "Kanye is an artist whose creative process takes time, and he is lucky to be doing work in a medium that naturally lends itself to an elongated, constantly evolving creative processes. He is steadily continuing work on the game, and will deliver more updated visuals and progress as they grow ready."
Down and out? Heck no. Kanye’s hit rock bottom plenty of times, but he’s always managed to bounce somehow.
6 It Is: An Endless Runner
But hey, enough of the mystery, intrigue and business shenanigans around Only One. A lot of that remains to be seen, but let’s focus on the things we do know. The here and now.
The endless runner is a genre that perfectly fits the mobile market. They’re quick, they’re simple to play and control, and you can hop straight back in for another run at the tap of a button. Most importantly, the likes of Temple Run have been huge success stories.
For all of these reasons, when Kanye saw his wife’s success in the mobile market and wanted to hop right on in there, it makes sense that he opted to make an endless runner. If controlling Donda West and dodging around various obstacles on your journey to heaven doesn’t sound like GOTY material, you’re just far too darn difficult to please.
5 It Is NOT: Like Any Endless Runner You’ve Played Before
So, yep. The naysayers have always slated Yeezus, and I’m sure they always will. Anyone in the public eye is going to get a fair amount of mud slung at them, and that goes double for controversial characters like Kanye.
Whatever the haters may say, though, there’s one thing nobody can deny: This guy’s not afraid to step out of the box a little. Call it creativity, call it eccentricity, call it what you will. Yeezus sure does have a knack for taking something and making it all his own.
We know that Only One is set to be an endless runner type title, and we also know that it’s got some pretty funky and out-there presentation going on. Stay tuned; this is like nothing you’ve seen before.
4 It IS: Being Developed By LA’s Encyclopedia Pictura
Now, let’s be real here. The great and glorious Kanye has descended from the lofty heights of Mount Ego to bestow a video game on us all. This is, of course, a thrilling prospect, and one that we should all be eternally grateful for.
This being the incredible undertaking it is, even Kanye can’t handle it alone. Besides, he’s great at delegating. The development team chosen, then, was Encyclopedia Pictua. This Los Angeles-based studio is not known for video games, rather animation and film, but that’s probably the point. As anyone who’s seen his music videos will tell you, Kanye is big on all things visual, so it follows that he wants such a group to lend their talents to Only One. How much of the team is still at work on the game --and how far the work has gone-- is still in doubt, but there it is.
3 It Is Not: Clear When We’ll Ever See The Game
The gaming industry can be a super tricksy one at times. Nothing’s ever really certain around here. We’ve seen titles that was set on course for cast-iron release dates, only to be hit by delay after delay. Some were simply disappointingly, rage-all-over-internet-forums-y late, while others were canceled entirely. It’s a sad state of affairs, but it happens.
So what of the Only One crisis? We touched on the trouble that the title’s in earlier, but nobody quite seems able to make up their minds. Business Insider suggested that a budget shortfall and re-allocation of members of the dev team may have seen the game canceled, but there’s hope yet. Snafus with companies, after all, will be familiar to an entrepreneur like our Yeezy. Let’s hope he’s just dotting I’s and crossing T’s.
2 Its Trailer IS One Of The Most Beautifully Bizarre Things I’ve Ever Seen
In this day and age, creativity is something to admire. We live in a time of rehashes, re-releases and copy and pasted comments begging for likes. All too often, success means following the crowd and recycling others’ success. I might be a miserable old dude, but that’s just what I’m seeing.
So, yes. Yet again, I totally get that this is Kanye. I remember that time I spoke about earlier, when he played the game’s trailer again just because he wasn’t satisfied with the reaction the first time around. That’s the kind of raptastic craptastic guy we’re talking about here.
All of that bandwagon hate aside, though, there’s one thing we shouldn’t overlook. The trailer is one heck of sight. Feast your eyes, friends.
1 It Is Not: Going Down Without A Fight
Right about now, I’m sure most of you have some mixed feelings about this whole thing. The long and short of it is, this is Kanye West we’re talking about, and the man tends to make people feel a certain way. Whatever else you might think about this whole project, there’s just no getting away from that fact. He’s one of the most controversial figures in A-list celebrity culture right now.
Does the gaming industry need an injection of Kanye, then? Some would say the world has more than enough of the guy as it is. Still, I guess this walking publicity magnet could bring new attention to gaming. I guess. If you’re a glass-half-full sort of person. Work does still seem to be going ahead on the title, and it’s worth keeping one morbidly curious eye on in my view.