Yesterday, alongside a report that the Double Take comics line published by Take-2 Games would be closing, Bleeding Cool also ran a report, looking at the origins of the comics line in three Take-2 properties, X-Com, Civilisation and Bioshock. And that they which would have formed the backbone of the original shared universe of the comic book line. So what happened to the original vision that ex-Marvel Comics President was hired to manage?
A prominent industry source got in touch to share their version of what went down.
Bill Jemas was friends with the Chairman of Take2 Interactive (Strauss Zelnick) and the original plan was to do books based on the games. Strauss set Jemas up with the financing to start it up, and work was started on books based on the games.
The hiccup was that the game division did not want the outsider (Jemas) working on their properties and pushed him away. This caused a lot of issues…. Strauss had to move Jemas and his team out of the Take2 offices and get them a separate office. Work on the game comics was scrapped, and Jemas had to figure out another plan from scratch.
Strauss had committed to launching the comic division for Jemas… But that left them with no properties to work with. Strapped for time and with nothing to work with (all of which is insane), Bill latched onto the Night of the Living Dead idea.
It was public domain… And zombies were all the rage. All their efforts were redirected towards this new plan… With the hope that if Double aTke could prove themselves, then Strauss and Bill could push back on the game division to give them the properties. Bill thought he could build an audience off the zombie craze and lead people into a superhero universe.
The conflict with the game division from the start was evident. Jemas was thrown to the wolves, and did not have the support of the sales and marketing team.
Think about how many units the game division sells… If Bill had their support, he would have had the strongest marketing push of any comic company in the market. Digital codes in games, a built-in audience, distribution into game stores, etc…
The problem was the game people wanted nothing to do with Bill and his team. So… Bill did what he could…. With the limited resources at his disposal. And… clearly Double Take was not the huge success Bill had hoped for… and the money has to run out sometime.
The official announcement has yet to be made though the likes of PC Gamer are picking up on the story.