Tag Archives: David

CHARIOT of the GODS author to be at GenCon, ALIEN RPG pre-orders closing August 11th!

alien3.png“A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.”

AUGUST 1st4th. GENCON is here! I will be at the show to help promote the work I did on Free League’s new ALIEN RPG game. You can find me at on panels and at the Free League booth (#2664). Feel free to message me on Facebook to connect while I’m there—I‘m looking forward to hearing about gamers’ ALIEN RPG: Chariot of the Gods RPG experiences!!

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ALIEN-RPG-Set-Fria-Ligan-1024x768Also, I this went out today in the ALIEN RPG Newsletter from Free League and wanted to remind people to pre-order now!

Pre-Order ALIEN RPG Before August 11 to Gain Early Access

Hello!

This is just a friendly reminder that the end of the exclusive pre-order of the upcoming official ALIEN roleplaying game is approaching fast. The revised deadline is  August 11. If you didn’t already do so, hurry over to at ALIEN-RPG.COM and pre-order before it’s too late. And if you already did–tell your friends!

When you pre-order, you get access to a 168-page Cinematic Starter Kit PDF including the complete cinematic scenario Chariot of the Gods by sci-fi author Andrew E.C. Gaska within days after purchase and can start playing immediately – no need to wait until the official release in December!

PS. If you’re coming to Gen Con this weekend, swing by the Free League booth (#2664) to say hi and discuss all things ALIEN with the design team!

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Gets yours now or wait an eternity.

Hope to see you at GenCon!

—Andrew E. C. Gaska

An author, designer, game-writer, and graphic novelist with twenty years of industry experience, Gaska is the creative force behind BLAM! Ventures and has worked as a freelance consultant to 20th Century Fox and Rockstar Games. In addition to being the Senior Development Editor for Lion Forge comics and animation, he is a contributor to both their game division and their licensing team. 

blamventures.com | Twitter: @andrewecgaska | Facebook: AndrewECGaska

All images are ©2017 20th Century Fox and are used for the purposes of commentary or review only unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.

ALIEN: COVENANT REIMAGINES A FAMILIAR EVIL AS A NEW VILLAIN FOR OUR TIMES… AND IT’S NOT THE ALIEN

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This article, replete with typos, was written by me and originally published by Slice of Sci-Fi May 26, 2017. I’ve updated it and attempted to clean it up for inclusion on this essay site.

Warning: two-year-old article is two-years-old. Two-year-old spoilers ahead.

Just in case you have been living on the barren wastes of LV-426, Alien: Covenant is the 2017 follow up to Ridley Scott’s 2012 Alien non-prequel, Prometheus. A film described by the filmmaker himself as having the DNA of Alien while being its own animal, Prometheus promised to explore the origins of the beloved Alien he first introduced to moviegoers nearly forty years earlier. Instead, it left confused viewers with more questions than answers. In contrast, Covenant is full of solutions.

Regardless, the film is somewhat puzzling in its own right. In a conscious attempt to rectify Prometheus’ conundrums, Covenant leaves almost no mystery. It is rife with exposition, and while many of the reveals are intriguing, most of them are told rather than shown to us. At the end of the film, we are still left with one question:

Why?

In Covenant, David has taken it upon himself to murder his creators, as well as their creators before them. In the process, he has taken to tinkering with the xenovirus and hybridization of the creatures that are the result of it in order to create the perfect killing machine.

But again, why?

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ANDROIDS DREAM OF XENOMORPHIC SHEEP

David is not only narcissistic but psychopathic to boot. His confusion over the works of Shelley and Byron show his programming is corrupted, his mind unraveled. In addition to the Engineers, he murdered Shaw and experimented with her bodydespite proclaiming his love for her and remarking repeatedly on her kindness. Murderous androids are not unknown in the Alien franchise. Ash begat Davidor is it the other way around? Additionally, the themes in Covenant mirror those of Scott’s other masterpieceBlade Runnerbut with a Shyamalan twist.

Ridley has suggested that Blade Runner and Alien might inhabit the same universe. In both franchises, human replicasin Alien machines, in Blade Runner, more organic alternativesstruggle to come to terms with their creators. In David’s case, barring permanent damage, he will live foreversomething that Blade Runner’s Roy Batty would have coveted.

It is this longevity that makes David as arrogant as he is, that makes him consider himself more god than his gods or their gods as well. David is far more than mortal. David is something far more sinister.

The Covenant’s interim captain, Oram, tells David that he saw the face of the devil at a very young age. Ironic that he then allows the devil that is David to lure him to his own demise. If the Engineer’s homeworld (or colony, it is never made clear) was indeed paradise before the xenovirus altered it, then David is indeed the serpent in the garden.

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THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS

The original title for Covenant was to be Paradise Lost, named after Milton’s 17th-century epic poem. In the poem, Satan is a sinister yet somewhat sympathetic protagonist, determined to take what he considers an arrogant God down a notch. He manages to corrupt mankind, but his coup in heaven is ultimately put down by God.

In Alien: Covenant, the devil has won.

David has positioned himself as Lucifer–and he and his Xenoshis fallen angel followers–-have not only beaten god (the Engineers) but have begun the corruption of mankind as well.

Covenant is the story of Paradise Lost with another twistSatan and his hordes have already defeated god, only to find themselves trapped in the Garden of Eden. Here, it is man’s entrance into the paradise that provides Satan with his means of escape, and the chance to bring his corruption and demons to a new world.

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AN IDLE ANDROID MAKES FOR A DULL ANDROID

David, in this manner, is responsible for the entire Alien saga. We live in an age when villains often serve as protagonists, offering an alternative view on our belief systems. Like Satan in Paradise Lost, David is a fully developed and relatable figure, despite his obvious Machiavellian tendencies. Also like Satan, he offers his brother android, Walter, a choice postulated from Paradise Losteither reign in Hell or serve in Heaven. When the film ends with David in control of the Covenant, you aren’t sure if you should cheer or jeer.

Prior to the Covenant’s arrival in paradise, David wasn’t just sitting on his hands. After murdering mankind’s gods, he experimented with the Engineers’ xenovirus for a decade to create that perfect organism. It’s not an easy task. The virus created by the Engineers mutates life into obscene parodies of it, but there is no rhyme nor reason to its transformations. In Alien, the transition from egg to chestburster to adult Xeno was logical, for all its alien-ness. This is not the case with the Engineer’s black goothe creatures it creates in Covenant are very different than the random permutations in Prometheus. David appears as intrigued by the xeno-virus’ chaotic nature as the audience is perplexed by it. His experiments seem determined to make sense of and bring order to it. And despite initial appearances, the fruits of his labors are not as alien as you might hope.

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ALIEN BESTIARY

Call them what you will–protomorphs, neomorphs, ultramorphsthe aliens appearing in Covenant are animals. They react like a rage-filled tiger and are not the cold calculating stalkers from the original three Alien films. As such, they are easier to kill. Take the film’s climactic scene of the new “alien” being tricked into the truck hangar on the Covenant. The beast hesitates upon entering the room. As soon as it realizes female protagonist Daniel’s location, it hisses like a rabid animal and leaps toward her in a frenzy. The alien we know from the past would have tilted its head and blended into the shadows creating an element of fear and terror rather than shock.

Much to the die-hard fans chagrin, the alien-ness of its behavior is gone.

Behind the scenes, there is a reason for the difference in behavior. As it turns out, the way the Xeno in Covenant moves is exactly the way Ridley had originally wanted the Alien to act.

“…when Dallas first sees [the alien in the air ducts],” Scott told Cinefex, it [was going to be] standing on the roof of this giant wind tunnel, suspended upside down. Then I was going to have it roar down the tunnel toward him, running and jumping full-circle around the walls.”

They couldn’t make it workthe problem was in the limitations of the suit. There was little flexibility in the costume, and that led to the deliberate and, quite frankly, alien movements of the original Alien.

“Ridley was forced to stage around the physical awkwardness of it,” Alien writer/creator Dan O’Bannon said in an interview with Fantastic Films, “but the visual appearance of power and grace was retained, quite striking.”

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Alien screen test, 1979

One must wonder if the creature would have become as iconic had it behaved more animalistic than just odd.

From an in-universe perspective, it appears David hasn’t quite achieved his goals yethis alien still has some growing to go.

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Unlike H.R. Giger’s original biomechanical nightmare, there is no mechanical influence on any of the creatures in Prometheus and Covenant. While the final creature in the new film does have a carapace, its body appears to be all flesh and acid. Its size and position of its dorsal tubes are different than the original Xeno, as well. Nor does it have metal teeth.

It’s not the same animal.

David’s been working towards the perfect killing machine, but he isn’t there yet. One might postulate that the key to successand the creation of the Alien we all know and love, is to create a synthesis of flesh and machineif David himself must somehow meld with his creations to achieve their ultimate form.

An evil android’s work is never done.

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JUST LIKE THE CREATURES APPEARING IN THE FILM, ALIEN COVENANT IS A NEW ANIMAL

Ultimately, the answer to the question ‘why’ is a bitter drive to be a better god than God himself. It is what drove Satan in Paradise Lostthe idea that he could govern heaven better than God could. David wants to create life that destroys the life that created him.

Ridley Scott has broken new ground with Alien: Covenant. On the surface, however, it is ground that the fanbase had preferred left undisturbed. Covenant is not a horror film despite the promotional material promising that it was returning Alien to its roots. In many ways, it felt like a space adventure film that just so happened to have our favorite Xenos along for the ride. This is not necessarily a bad thing, simply an unexpected one. While there were many enjoyable moments in Covenantnotably David and his machinationsI found myself less than satisfied upon the first viewing. Once it was available for home consumption, however, I saw it in a different light. It’s not the first Alien film to delve into different genres. While the original Alien was space horror, Cameron’s follow-up was, in fact, a space action flick, the third movie was apocalyptic, the fourth a dark comedy (shudder), and Prometheus was about faith.

The beauty of the Alien saga has always been its ability to support multiple genres and Covenant is no exception. It opens up new possibilities for the Alien Universe. It may not be the Alien film we wanted, but depending on what comes next, it may be the Alien film the series needed.

—Andrew E. C. Gaska

An author, designer, game-writer, and graphic novelist with twenty years of industry experience, Gaska is the creative force behind BLAM! Ventures and has worked as a freelance consultant to 20th Century Fox and Rockstar Games. In addition to being the Senior Development Editor for Lion Forge comics and animation, he is a contributor to both their game division and their licensing team. 

blamventures.com | Twitter: @andrewecgaska | Facebook: AndrewECGaska

All images are ©2017 20th Century Fox and are used for the purposes of commentary or review only unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.

SPACE IS HELL: ALIEN TABLETOP RPG IS COMING

 

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Free League has announced an ALIEN Tabletop Role Playing Game series and I am proud to be integrally involved with this project. Free League explains my role as thus:

FROM THE FACEBOOK ANNOUNCEMENT:

The lead writer of the setting chapters is Andrew E.C. Gaska – author, senior development editor at Lion Forge Comics, and franchise consultant on ALIEN, Predator, and Planet of the Apes for 20th Century Fox.

With total attention to the minute details of the ALIEN lore from decades of movies, games, books, and comics, Drew’s work is to preserve the essence of the expanded material and bring it in line with hardcore canon, filling in gaps where needed. In addition to his setting design, Drew is the lead writer of the introductory scenario Chariot of the Gods.

For more information, sign up for Free League’s free newsletter at alien-rpg.com. The ALIEN universe is dear to my heart and I can not wait to see you clutching this massive book in one hand with your motion tracker in the other. Until then, enjoy some beautiful art from the upcoming game, as well as the official press release below.

—Andrew E. C. Gaska

An author, designer, game-writer, and graphic novelist with twenty years of industry experience, Gaska has worked as a freelance consultant to 20th Century Fox and Rockstar Games. In addition to being the Senior Development Editor for Lion Forge comics and animation, he is a contributor to both their Quillion gaming department and their licensing team. 

blamventures.com | Twitter: @andrewecgaska | Facebook: AndrewECGaska

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All images are ©2019 Martin Grip, Free League Publishing and 20th Century Fox and are used for the purposes of commentary or review only unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.

FROM THE PRESS RELEASE:

LOS ANGELES, CA (April 26, 2019) – Forty years ago, Alien shocked and inspired the world with a horrific sci-fi universe that forever changed the genre. In celebration of its 40th anniversary, Free League Publishing has announced today that fans can soon explore that iconic universe for themselves with an official line of tabletop role-playing games.

The long-term licensing partnership with 20th Century Fox Consumer Products will kick off in late 2019, launching an ongoing tabletop RPG series drawing upon four decades of world-building within this beloved universe. Free League is renowned for its own world-building in science fiction, with their best-selling sci-fi RPG Tales from the Loop sweeping the 2017 ENnie Awards for Best Setting, Best Writing, Best Art, Best Game, and Product of the Year. Tomas Härenstam, Free League co-founder and game director of their sci-fi RPGs Tales from the Loop and Mutant: Year Zero, will oversee game design, with original artwork from esteemed artists Martin Grip, John Mullaney and Axel Torvenius.

Taking place shortly after the events of Aliens, the first RPG will propel players into the vast possibilities of the Outer Rim Frontier. From the pioneering colonists and scientists to the ever-present Company reps and Colonial Marines, the game promises a diverse range of characters and gameplay experiences far beyond the staple cat-and-mouse suspense and survival horror of the franchise.

“The Alien saga isn’t about superheroes with superior firepower,” says game director Härenstam. “It’s about placing ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and testing the endurance of the human spirit against inhuman atrocities and impossible odds. Such a harsh yet hopeful universe has captured our imagination for 40 years with good reason, and we’re excited to explore new stories and perspectives as players must face their demons (in a true and metaphoric sense) and brave the horrors of the unknown.”

To best capture the Alien experience, the RPG will provide more than the framework for continuous, open-world campaigns. Beyond the sandbox campaign game mode, Free League is also designing a “Cinematic” mode, with pre-generated scenarios that players must complete within a single session. Emulating the dramatic arc of an Alien film, these survival challenges promise escalating stakes and fast (often brutal) gameplay where most players aren’t expected to last the night. Their first cinematic scenario, Chariot of the Gods written by sci-fi novelist Andrew E.C. Gaska (Death of the Planet of the Apes), is included in the core manual. Gaska is also the setting writer and canon consultant for the RPG series. More cinematic modules and game expansions are already in production, with direct tie-ins to Fox’s future plans for the franchise slated for 2020 and beyond.

The Fox-Free League licensing deal was brokered by Joe LeFavi of Genuine Entertainment, who will manage the license on behalf of Free League and serve as an editor on the game series. Alien is the latest in a slew of high-profile tabletop deals by LeFavi, including the master tabletop gaming license for Dune, the tabletop RPG series for Altered Carbon, and multiple brand extensions of World of Darkness.

For more news and previews on the Alien RPG series, visit alien-rpg.com. Then follow Free League Publishing on Twitter and Facebook, where fans can discover art and gameplay development ahead of the game’s release.

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ABOUT 20TH CENTURY FOX CONSUMER PRODUCTS

20th Century Fox Consumer Products licenses and markets properties worldwide on behalf of 20th Century Fox Film, 20th Century Fox Television and FX Networks, as well as third party lines. The division is aligned with 20th Century Fox Television, the flagship studio leading the industry in supplying award-winning and blockbuster primetime television programming and entertainment content and 20th Century Fox Film, one of the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion pictures throughout the world. For more information on all Alien products and activities, go to www.AlienUniverse.com.

ABOUT FREE LEAGUE PUBLISHING

Free League is a critically acclaimed Swedish publisher of speculative fiction, dedicated to publishing award-winning tabletop role-playing games, board games, and art books set in strange and wondrous worlds. Our best-selling RPG Tales from the Loop swept the 2017 ENnie Awards, winning five Gold ENnies for Best Setting, Best Writing, Best Art, Best Game, and Product of the Year. The game is inspired by a series of iconic art books published by Free League – Tales from the Loop, Things from the Flood, and The Electric State – exploring artist Simon Stålenhag’s original sci-fi universe soon to be realized in the upcoming TV series from Amazon Studios. Most recently, our fantasy RPG Forbidden Lands became the 3rd most successful RPG Kickstarter of 2017 and dubbed one of the best RPGs of 2018. Other tabletop work includes the post-apocalyptic RPG Mutant: Year Zero, the sci-fi RPG Coriolis – The Third Horizon, the fantasy RPG Symbaroum, and the Crusader Kings board game. To learn more, visit freeleaguepublishing.com.

ABOUT GENUINE ENTERTAINMENT

Genuine Entertainment is an award-winning producer and paladin in genre entertainment, specializing in strategic licensing for entertainment franchises and fandoms that demand quality and authenticity in equal measure. It’s our mission to build brands by building worlds and fan communities, making meaningful contributions with premium content and consumer products that extend brands into new markets and genuinely connect with fans across multiple categories. Recent collaborations include such genre greats as Alien, Altered Carbon, Avengers: Infinity War, Blade Runner 2049, Dune, Game of Thrones, and World of Darkness. For more, visit: www.genuineent.com.

ABOUT ANDREW E.C. GASKA

With over two decades of experience in the comics and video game industries, author Andrew E.C. Gaska is the Senior Development Editor at Lion Forge Comics and Animation. He is the founder/creative director of the guerrilla integrated-media studio BLAM! Ventures and a freelance franchise consultant to 20TH CENTURY FOX, writing series bibles for the legacy franchises of ALIEN, Predator, and Planet of the Apes. He served as a visual consultant to Rockstar Games on GTA and all other releases. His written works include Space: 1999, HAWKEN, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and the new novel Death of the Planet of the Apes. For more info visit blamventures.com.

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LV 4.26 ALIEN DAY

Happy Chest Burstday.

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The Big four-oh.

1979-2019

An author, designer, game-writer, and graphic novelist with twenty years of industry experience, Andrew E.C. Gaska is the creative force behind BLAM! Ventures and has worked as a freelance consultant to 20th Century Fox and Rockstar Games. In addition to being the Senior Development Editor for Lion Forge comics and animation, he is a contributor to both their game division and their licensing team. 

blamventures.com | Twitter: @andrewecgaska | Facebook: AndrewECGaska

All images are ©2019 20th Century Fox and are used for the purposes of commentary or review only unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.