Fans of the hit mobile game Summoners War are slowly anticipating a brand new comic book series based on the title. Produced by Skybound Entertainment and published by Image Comics, Summoners War: Legacy is a prequel story to the game that takes place 35 years prior to the events players experience. And while there are some familiar faces, they will be introduced to events and people who help shape what the world around them will be. As the first issue came out last week, we had a chance to chat a little with writer Justin Jordan, talking about the series and the work he put into bringing this established world to life.
BC: Hey Justin, how are you and how have you been holding up during the pandemic?
JJ: I'm good! The pandemic has been….weird. On one hand, I've avoided COVID-19 and my family has come through all this fine, and it's actually been a pretty good year careerwise. On the other hand, I've seen two friends, twice, and have not otherwise not seen anyone in person for the last fourteen odd months, and the sheer stress of all of that has not been awesome. But on the whole, things are going pretty okay.
Aside from what we're talking about today, what have you been working on lately?
As is typical for me, a bunch of stuff. Summoners War, for one, and Urban Animal, my comic over at Webtoon. I'm just about to wrap up two unannounced mini-series, starting a new ongoing thing, and working on the Strode movie and a television thing. I stay busy.
How did the opportunity come about to work on Summoners War?
I'm not entirely sure, because I've never asked. But I assume it came about because I've had a good working relationship with Skybound going back a good few years now, and because, I think, I'm good at world-building type stuff. My role in all this is a little bigger than just writing the comics; I'm also part of the writer's room for fleshing out the SW world generally, which has been pretty awesome.
Did you know much about the game before diving in? What did you think about it when you tried it out?
Not much, but I found it to be pretty fun and a rad world to play around in.
What kind of groundwork did you need to do for the comics series considering the creators already had a story out there?
Being part of the writer's room was really handy. There wasn't a lot of story when I came in, but there was a tremendous amount of lore. Hundreds of pages. Thankfully as an old school RPG nerd, I was used to absorbing a world's worth of information. But it was a lot of work prepping for the book just because of the sheer scale of everything.
How was it for you to take these established characters and messing with this world a bit?
Fun! While Rai and Tomas have an established role in the canon, the actual specifics of their life were for me to create. The biggest challenge, actually, is keeping who's doing what when in a multi-decade timeline straight.
Considering the comics are being released in line with the next game, what kind of a challenge was it lining everything up with the game writers so that each made sense to the other?
It's been reasonably smooth, but I have an advantage of when the comic is taking place, which is not an accident. We designed it so I'd have maximum freedom for what I can do with the comic because, well, it needs to work AS a comic.
Tell us a little bit about the story for this series for people who have never played the series before.
Basically, the Summoners War is what happened when the various nations of Alea, the world where the game and series discovered they could use mana crystals to fuel magic, so they went to war using their most powerful weapon: Summoners, who can, as the name would indicate, summon monsters to do battle for them. In the current timeline of the game, this has given way to dueling in the arena, but our series takes place a couple of decades before the current time of the series, where Raiyeh Holder and Tomas Dredger end up stuck deeeeeep behind enemies lines, with no idea who they can trust, and are responsible for a secret that can change the world. Which is just a great position for two teenagers to be in.
What do you hope gamers and fans of the franchise take from the series?
I hope they enjoy it, since entertaining people is what I'm here to do. But I also hope it adds a lot of depth to the world and the game for them. If we're doing our job right, they'll be able to enjoy the game more after reading the comic.