Hit narrative adventure game To the Moon is being adapted into an animated feature film with help from “pretty big players” in the Japanese animation industry.
“After a couple of years of hard work, we can finally say that ‘To The Moon’ will get an animated feature film,” Canadian game designer Kan Gao has announced.
The touching 2011 adventure saw two doctors help an elderly patient fulfil his last wish by means of a mysterious memory implantation device.
The project is a Japanese co-production between Chinese and Japanese companies, with China’s Ultron Event Horizon named as the principal backer. Gao remains involved in a scriptwriting, editing and supervisory capacity.
“I’m not allowed to say which specific companies are involved,” he said of the movie’s Japanese partners, “but they are pretty big players in the animation industry.”
Ultron CEO Danyang Zhao was instrumental in bringing the enormously successful animated movie “Your Name” to China.
Released in 2016, “Your Name” made an astonishing US$190m in Japan as well as US$81m in China and a total of US$358m worldwide.
Following a tremendous critical reception, somewhat controversially it was left out of the running for an Oscar, but took three prizes at the Japanese Academy Awards.
Gao also noted that the “To The Moon” feature would have a budget in excess of that for “Your Name.”
Part of the “Your Name” magic is that it was made on a relatively low budget (per The Hollywood Reporter,) though Gao noted that “for a film of its category, that’s pretty great.”
He also advised fans of the game to expect some alterations as “To The Moon” makes its way towards a new format, in order to convey the same experience that made fans regard it so fondly.
As Freebird Games’ breakthrough release, “To the Moon” debuted on Windows PC before migrating to Mac, Linux, and then Android and iOS.
It used a widely available and fairly straightforward free game engine, primarily associated with fan-made projects, but managed to tell a sophisticated and emotionally involved story.
Interquel “A Bird Story” arrived on computers in 2014 with “Finding Paradise” debuting in 2017.
Gao intends to continue with game development and is actively working on his next project.