Hayaino Daisuki Vocalist Goes DIY for Video Game
It’s no secret that Hayaino Daisuki vocalist Jon Chang is not a fan of touring. Truthfully, all the grind and speed metal is just an art project compared to his day job of running Echelon Software, a video game and digital design company he’s helmed since it formed in 2006. When we caught up with Chang, he was facing a mountain of work to launch a beta version of the video game ‘Black Powder Red Earth.’
“It’s been a process. I’ve been working on this thing for five years now,” he told Noisecreep. Part of the ongoing process of this game has been changing it. The first design of the game was a first person shooter. “We had some really strong ideas on what we were going to do based on some demos we did with some unreal software,” Chang recalled. But when they took the primordial form to publishers, some problems rushed in, with one big one leading the change: the announcement of ‘Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.’ “They had every feature we had in the game. I was like, ‘Ah f–!’
“We ran into one of two situations: The publisher wants to own all of the intellectual property and just pay for the game.” This a horrible deal, it’s like a record deal where the label gets all the cash and the band thinks of selling sexual favors to keep touring, but is very common for a first game deal. “The other thing is a lot of publishers weren’t invested in the PC market, but that’s a situation that’s starting to turn around now.”
To keep the dream of ‘Black Powder Red Earth’ going, Chang and his team went the DIY route, which much like the musical version is all about doing whatever you can to get the needed money in the door. For Chang, it was taking on marketing, illustration and programming projects. “You name it, we work on it. We’ve paid our dues and have done this whole game ourselves at this point.”
Currently, the game is in a private beta form on Facebook getting any bugs worked out; when the game shifted in style, it was reformatted as a game to play in the social networking site — much like ‘Mafia Wars’ — but Chang explained there is much more to his growing digital five year old, as the game plays out in a graphic novel style. “It adds a whole story and character development to it in a deeper combat system,” he said.
‘Black Powder Red Earth’ — which was originally a sci-fi game, but they kept the name even though scenarios changed — plays out in the fighting of the Middle East in a plausible 10-year future from now. “You’re a contractor, but you’re not working for a government per-se,” Chang points out. “But a contracting style of company — but not a big one like a Blackwater kind of thing. Your located in what is the current Basra area. There are a lot of competing forces in that region that have very invested interest in Basra becoming its own state at some point.”
Over the years of working on this game, much time was spent interviewing and consulting with professionals who have worked security and various other duties in Afghanistan and Iraq in order to give the game a true to life story. “It’s all based on real stuff … if you play the game, you’ll learn a lot about what’s going on in Iraq actually,” Chang said.