Kung Foo Interview with special guest writer Devin Grayson
Questions by Chen Fo Po (cinderboy), OnRPG Journalist
Kung Foo! is the latest Free-To-Play MMORPG set to be published by Perfect World Entertainment, which already has successful titles like the popular Perfect World Online, Ether Saga and Jade Dynasty. Kung Foo! is expected to hit Closed Beta within the next few weeks.
Today, we have an exclusive interview with Devin Grayson, special guest writer for Kung Foo! Here’s a short introduction on her:
– First female writer to create a Batman series (refer to Batman: Gotham Knights)
– Worked on titles including Batman, Nightwing and X-Men
– Nominated for the Comics Buyer’s Guide Award for Favorite Writer in 1999 and 2000
– Currently working on a secret project for Marvel
– An avid MMORPG player!
So, without further ado, let’s hear what she has to say about the game… and more!
OnRPG: Hello, I am Fo Po (cinderboy), OnRPG’s new journalist. Before getting to the main topic, can you please briefly introduce yourself to the readers?
Hi, Fo Po! My name is Devin, and I’m a professional freelance writer. The majority of my work has been in comics, where I’ve worked predominately with DC and Marvel. I’ve also written a few licensed character novels for DC, including Smallville: City and DCU: Inheritance. All of my life I’ve loved reading and theater and make-believe games, so it’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I grew up fascinated with computer games and MMORPG’s.
I am also an insulin-dependent type 1 diabetic, partnered with an amazing medical alert service dog, Cody. He’s been trained to alert me when my blood sugar levels start to drop and was given to me free of charge by an amazing nonprofit organization, Dogs4Diabetics, where I work in between creative projects. In addition to regularly saving my life, Cody’s been making friends with my coworkers here in the Perfect World office for the duration of this project. Just this morning he saved us all from a giant inflatable snowman that was creeping up on us from behind our Christmas tree.
Devin and Cody
OnRPG: Before getting to the main topic, do you have any favourite Kung Fu / Chinese martial arts show, movie or star?
I’d have to go with Drunken Master (Zui Quan) as my favorite, though I’ve also watched New Police Story way too many times. So I should probably say that Jackie Chan is my favorite star, but instead I’m going to say Jet Li, who I always thought moved a lot like Nightwing would.
OnRPG: What was your first impression of Kung Foo! when you were introduced to the storyline?
My first impression was, “wow, I wish I could read Chinese!” Jumping right into the game, though, I found it funny, expansive, delightfully unpredictable, and a surprisingly classic version of a hero’s journey.
OnRPG: You have worked on famous titles like Batman, Nightwing and X-Men, which are all pretty serious stuff. Did you have any problems fitting yourself into the colorful and wacky world of Kung Foo! while writing the scripts?
Not really. From my work in comics, I’m pretty familiar with telling a story through action, and my personal experience with MMORPGs helped me understand the structure of the game pretty quickly. What is daunting is the sheer length of the game, but I’m getting tons of fantastic support from Perfect World’s stellar QA team, who are working right alongside me.
OnRPG: How much freedom were you given when writing the conversations for Kung Foo!?
Other than keeping ESRB ratings in mind and trying to make fun of everybody while not offending anybody, I’ve been pretty much set loose. The limitations come mostly from the mechanics; character count limitations and the like–though we work with similar constraints in comics.
OnRPG: Where do you draw inspirations from, especially for Kung Foo!?
What inspires me most in my writing is conflict. As humans we’re shaped by so many different elements; our past, our innate characteristics, our desires, competencies and limitations. There’s a lot of great material in just taking a character from one point to another, or putting two characters with opposing goals in the same space.
For KUNG FOO!, we drew inspiration from the fringes of popular culture. We have fun with RPGing itself, with Kung Fu movies, even with the localization process, which is a goldmine of hilarity.
OnRPG: What is the most important thing that you have learned from this experience?
The awesome protective power of GM gear. ;-P
OnRPG: Would you still be interested to continue writing for MMOs in the future?
Definitely. This was a really fun way to get my feet wet, but someday I’d love to start the writing process before the story art and game mechanics were in place.
OnRPG: Other than writing conversation scripts, have you ever thought of doing voice-overs for game characters?
Actually, I thought of that first! How much fun would that be!? I’d do it in a heartbeat.
OnRPG: As a female MMORPG gamer, please say a few words to encourage other female gamers to join you in Kung Foo! (certainly not a ploy to know more female gamers, lol).
Ha! You hear that, ladies? Cinderboy is lonely-meet him in game and he’ll shower you with gold and cheat codes!
Seriously, though, I strongly encourage more females to play. If you think Facebook games are social, wait until you step into an MMO! Sharing photos is nice, but in an MMORPG you can customize your avatar with all kinds of loot found in the game and also buy some truly wild fashion items in the cash boutique. There are Kung Fu clothes, sure, but also emo-wear and punk clothes and wedding dresses and cowgirl duds and steam punk accessories….you can dress like an angel or a devil or a kitten or a bee… MMORPG’s are fantastic places to show sides of yourself that there just isn’t room for in standard social media. RPGs allow you to be as beautiful, brave, strong, kind or bratty, serious or silly as you want to be…I’m working on a fun story to help move you through the game, but all MMO games are, at their core, what the players make them. KUNG FOO is a hip, funny, cool, expansive new world just waiting for a few brave pioneers.
OnRPG: To finish off the interview, please tell us a wacky joke related to Kung Foo! (sniggers).
Wait a minute, wait a minute! I don’t tell jokes, I write them! How about a few random lines of dialog instead?:
“I have a Charisma of 19. Men used to get nosebleeds just looking at me…but apparently I shouldn’t have min-maxed.”
“If you’re here to ask me for a lvl 60 broadsword, you can turn around and go right now.”
“I simply can’t show up at that party without a can of aerosol whip cream.”
Intrigued yet? ;-P
OnRPG: Thank you for your time, Devin, and see you again in Kung Foo!!
I look forward to it, Grasshopper! I’ll be the twink in piggy ears and cowboy boots carrying a BFS…