I had the opportunity to interview Jill Murray about their upcoming title, Invincible Presents: Atom Eve! She gave me a great insight into what sort of work went behind creating the game, coming up with the idea, and what inspired the setting and gameplay.
Introduction. Tell me about yourself/the team!
Invincible Presents: Atom Eve was developed by Terrible Posture Games, which is based near the Boston area but operates remotely with devs working from many parts of the US, along with a few international contributors. I'm the Creative Director, Jill Murray; I've previously written for AAA and indie games, and I've also done a lot of writing on this game. And our art director is Rossi Gifford, who comes to us straight from comic books. We're both based in Canada. Skybound Games brought the lot of us together for this game.
What started the idea of Invincible Presents: Atom Eve?
The idea for Invincible Presents: Atom Eve goes way back before my time, to when it was an internal passion project, first for Shawn Kittelsen and then Mike Rogers, who both just really like Atom Eve and story games and thought a game about her would be awesome.
What went behind the decision to make the game's primary genre visual novel?
Atom Eve is an extremely powerful superhero who can transform matter with her mind, but on top of that, she's also a richly complex character with a complicated social life, balancing school, family, dating, and the difficulty of trying to make friends in an aggressively normal world that she's just not made to fit into. The visual novel format allows us to explore both sides of her life and experience the highs and lows with her.
Was it hard to amalgamate turn-based fighting with a visual novel? Building on the previous question, what even inspired the idea of adding combat?
We think turn-based combat is the best way to put Atom Eve's powers and the action-oriented elements of her story into players' hands while still keeping it accessible for those who play more story games. It's also a fun way to interact more with antagonists and discover their personalities and nefarious aims through how they move, fight and trash talk (thanks in large part to our writer, Mary Arroz, who handled all that combat storytelling).
How is the team approaching making the game accessible to newcomers to the comics or Show?
Everything we've seen of the Invincible world so far has been told from Invincible's perspective. So grounding the game in Eve's worldview means that players familiar with Invincible will get a new take on familiar events, plus discover some new ones that aren't in either the comics or the show. Newcomers can just play Eve's story fresh. The game is bound to raise some questions that the show can answer, but it's a self-contained, complete experience that you can enjoy even if you're coming to it for the first time.
Will the cast have some original characters (that aren't currently part of the universe)?
We do have a couple of new characters to discover, and observant readers of the comic books will recognize Universa, who hasn't been seen yet in the show. As a non-canon story, we've also got some brand new story events with familiar characters or remixed story moments that happen in different ways or different times that fit more into the flow of Eve's perspective or into the branching nature of this story. You'll also get to fight some brand new worm enemies, thanks to the combined powers of our art, animation and game design teams. You'll have to play the game to figure out what they even have to do with anything.
Is the story of the game based on any specific comic? If not, did the team draw inspiration from any of them?
At the start of the project, I basically sat down with all the comics up to issue 38 (plus a few later moments that I cherry-picked), as well as season 1 of the Amazon Prime series. I read and watched all of it a few times and then set about decoding how the comic had already been adapted into the show and how we would adapt the show into our game, also using other moments from the comic that weren't in the show (if that sounds confusing, it's because it is.)
I made a comically huge spreadsheet cross-referencing story beats from everywhere to figure out what, out of all of this, would matter to Eve, as well as where we had room to elaborate on new, untold stories about her life. By this point, she had started to become real to me, and I'd begun to think of myself as her biographer.
From deep within this intoxicating pink haze, we settled into a time frame that roughly overlaps season 1 of Invincible on Amazon Prime, adapts additional key moments from the comic, condenses and stretches time to make it work from Eve's perspective, and is exuberantly non-canon, to give the player opportunity to have fun with choice-based dialogue.
How much will choices affect the outcome?
What you can impact the most are Eve's relationships and how she feels about them. Right off the top of episode 1, you can choose whether Eve ever dates Rex Splode at all — which, if you've seen the show, is pretty major. The game is a coming-of-age story that unfolds over 10 episodes, and you also get to shape how Eve evolves (and what weapons and powers she uses!) through the RPG tree. There's lots of optional content that's totally up to you to play or not. And while you do have impact over story outcomes, we didn't build it to be a "try to find all the endings" kind of experience. We're in it for the feels! And the fights. The fights and the feels.
Why did you choose to make Atom Eve the protagonist instead of Invincible? Are there any plans to make similar visual novel titles for the other heroes in the future?
Skybound works in mysterious ways. They wanted me to make an Atom Eve game, presumably because it makes sense if you're familiar with some of my earlier work. And if I am Eve's biographer, then I assume we would need Invincible's biographer to make his game. Who that is? I don't know. Would it even be the same kind of game? I don't know that, either! I think different characters need different mechanics to express their realities. If I had my pick, I'd love to explore the tension and duality of Monster Girl someday.
Lastly, if there's anything I haven't touched on that you'd like for me to mention, feel free to add it here (keep in mind that I will already link to the game's store page and X!)?
Everyone should keep their ears peeled for our incredible soundtrack by Milk & Bone, produced by Skybound Music — serious beats to read and fight to. They've created something really beautiful.
And that’s it! Thanks for reading, and a special thanks to Skybound for the opportunity. Don’t forget to check out the game, as it releases on the 14th of November!