This week Con Man: The Game launched as a free-to-play game
on iOS and Google Play. The simulation title lets you run your own convention and is based off the web series starring Alan Tudyk. The show is a
lighthearted take on Tudyk’s experience in the con circle after Firefly. Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day
also appear on the show. As fans know, this isn’t the first time these names
have worked together (actors in Joss Whedon shows always stay connected),
but Con Man is the first video game they’ve been in together. Developed by Frima Studios,
all three had input on the mobile title with Day even serving as producer. We
chatted with the three about the game and learned everything from why they made
Joss Whedon the janitor to their love for the con scene to how much crazier
season two of Con Man gets.
Con Man: The Game
became possible thanks to reaching the $3 million tier of your Indiegogo
campaign to create the show. Did you expect the outpour you received for Con Man?
Tudyk: No, and I don’t know why. It’s always a mistake to
underestimate the fans. We had never done any type of crowdfunding before, and
there are crowdfunding managers who will give you every nightmare scenario of a
campaign, so we had those in the back our minds as we launched. The fans
immediately broke records with the fastest to a million dollars for any online
series. Being the incredible businessman that I am, I’m like, “Alright, pull
the plug. We got it. We’re making the show. That’s what we wanted to do and
we’re going to do it.” First of all, you
can’t do that. Indiegogo said to stop [trying to end it].
We had, through the two years of shopping the idea around to
traditional production companies in Los Angeles, daydreamed about other ways
that we could have fun in the world of conventions, and one of the them was
this game. It’s one that has been in-process before Con Man the series
[debuted]. To see it out now is oh-so-exciting and to be so proud of it. It’s
fun to play, and I hope that the people who funded it are just as excited by it
as we are. Felicia, you have a little history with gaming. What do you think?
Day: [laughs] I do have a little history with gaming. I
think because I got to be a producer on this game – as a voice actor and appear
in it very cutely – that was a really great perspective and experience. To have
input on the final product as a fan for so many years that’s the
first time I’ve been able to do that. (A) Just seeing how hard it is to put a
game together and (B) just being able to have input was just kind of awesome. I
think the first time I ever heard about the game was on the set when P.J.
[Haarsma], the producer, was playing Fallout Shelter obsessively. We shared that
obsession together and I said, “I hate to admit it, but this is kind of my
favorite kind of game right now.” And he said, “Well that’s kind of what we
want the Con Man game to be.” I was like, “Wow, really?” From that moment on, I
was really invested because P.J. is a true gamer too, and the studio itself
[Frima] has made some great games. They made Chariot, which is one of my
favorite games in the last few years as a co-op game, so to me…
Fillion comes into the
Fillion: Hello! Hello! Hello! Hi! Nathan Fillion just
Day: Oh, hello! That’s the end of what I was saying anyway,
and to Nathan!
Fillion: And good morning, Felicia!
Tudyk: It’s me also!
Fillion: Oh, I didn’t know Alan was going to be here.
Tudyk: Funny, funny. I emailed you about it.
I know Felicia is
producer, but did you all have input on the game?
Day: Yeah, I would not exaggerate my input, but I did have
the say in what I [wanted] to tweak.
Fillion: I had a lot of input. I was very hands-on with it,
especially with what the Jack Moore character’s hair was going to look like. It
took a lot of weeks of trial and error, a lot of meetings, a lot of vision
boards, but I think we really came to something great.
Tudyk: It’s surprising how much time we spent on that, but I
think the proof is in the puddin’.
Fillion: More than half of the R&D money went into that…
Day: And it’s really the best cartoon hair I’ve ever seen.
Fillion: It’s money well spent.
Did you all get to
approve your video game form for this?
Tudyk: Oh yeah.
Fillion: That’s why we’re all good looking.
Tudyk: And [we approved] all of the expressions.
Day: My feet are the size of my ears, which is actually [how
it is] in real life if you look. [Everyone starts laughing]. I’m very unsteady.
You could push me over in real life easily.
Fillion: I only found out Felicia had feet like two years
Day: Well nobody really looks there. It’s all about my ears,
which are kind of weird.
Tudyk: A lot of our input on the game over the course of
[development] was, “We set out what we achieved to do, but now let’s make the
game more challenging.” “What if Felicia says this instead of this.” “What if
her role was more of guide?” “What if Nathan’s character is more involved?”
At first it was like Jack Moore’s character just showed up
when you were lucky and would go away and bestow gifts upon you. Now he still
does that, but you can hire Jack Moore to come into your con and boost your
crowd numbers and also give away the best gifts. All those things and in
addition to that, “When I kill rats can the guts be green instead of this
yellowy color?” At first, the streaker was a man, and I was like, “That’s not
as good as an octogenarian old lady streaking.” Like the tennis balls we put on
the front of her walker that just makes it a little more authentic and fun.
Day: I think those are the touches Alan that really make it
special. It’s very Fallout Shelter-like. I think if you’ve ever been to a con
those people are going to love it. The booth design is so clever, and you have
this taco vending thing and I’m like, “Why isn’t that really at a con?” So I think if you’ve ever been to a con
especially, you’d think, “I’d really love to be at a con like this.”
Tudyk: The name of the taco place is Diablo Taco Mexican
Food. Nathan, what was our name when we played Halo as a team?
Fillion: El Diablo Robotico. That’s a reference to an old
episode of Angel. “Did you know the
devil built the robot? Ah, El Diablo Robotico.”
Tudyk: We got to put a lot of the little things that were
fun from gaming and any ridiculous ideas we had in it.
Fillion: I was going to say what’s great about a convention
game is it kinds of build itself. The framework of trying to organize a con
lends itself so easily to multiple challenges, from garbage cans filling up to
bathrooms backing up to keeping people happy to that one guy who keeps losing
his pills…boy, if I could throttle anybody. [Everyone starts laughing.]
Tudyk: He’s sick! He’s sick, Nathan and you’re going after
Fillion: His sickness is he needs attention because he keeps
losing those pills.
Tudyk: What’s great is there’s a character in the second
season of Con Man that is trying to
find his medicine. So we bring stuff
from the series into the game. And then there are aliens [in the game], which
I’ve never seen at a con, burning down booths, but that’s my favorite part.
You’ve got the sim sort of side to it and then the other side which is battling
rogue aliens burning down the con.
Day: Who’s idea was it to have Joss Whedon as a janitor?
Because when I was playing it and that popped up, I just freaked out. I
Fillion: I think that’s some kind of twisted fantasy of
Tudyk: When he comes over, he’s very..he’s that guy at the
party who’s constantly going, “Is everyone finished with this?” You know,
cleaning the party as he goes. It just made sense. He’s that considerate
party-goer that is a host even when it’s not his party.
Click to page two to see Nathan Fillion get sentimental, their love for con culture, and what’s in store for season two of the show….