Copy That Blue Leader

On November 8th I lost my faith in a large portion of the human race.

Like so many others, I felt horror creep over me slowly as I realized that America was about to send an openly racist, misogynistic sexual predator to the highest office in the land because, hey, at least he wasn’t a woman.

I’m aware there’s other narratives and opinions out there as to why people voted for him. Jerbs. Economy. A feeling of being left behind. And for some, that was certainly the case. But let’s not pull punches. Donny boy’s largest qualification to a large segment of the population was his tiny, inadequate dick.

Husbands and fathers showed that a man sexually assaulting women and bragging about it wasn’t enough to disqualify someone from being president. 19-year-old boys proudly declared that they didn’t vote for anyone “to send a message to both parties”, and openly hoping that the world would burn so that something better would rise from the ashes.

So, yeah, I lost my faith. In many friends. In many family members. In America. Possibly in the human race. I was alternatingly angry and numb.

Just days prior I was in a creative tear, bringing out numerous fun little games through my Project <3 experiment and working on Waypoint, my much more ambitious urban fantasy RPG at a feverish pace.

Then it was all gone. Not a single drop of creative juice. It wasn’t a block, it was a drought.

But I realized over time that the world needs laughter, entertainment, and escape especially in days like this. And I decided I couldn’t just sit there and stare at walls.

I spent most of December working on a project called Kingfisher. It’s a game where the protagonists fish in the aftermath of a great tragedy, lacking the potency to do anything else. I’m actually pretty fond of it, and I think it’s going to be a fun, strange game once it’s finished. Much of it revolves around dealing with powerful forces when one seemingly has no personal power. And there’s a lot of fishing.

But the theme’s heavy undertones made me feel the need for a breather. And that’s when I needed it the most there came the mustache.

Have Mustache, Will Travel

Rogue One isn’t a perfect film. Of its main heroes only K-2SO, the robot for Pete’s sake, showed any real character growth. The final moments of several of the characters amounted to “untimely grenade”. Yet, it was in the end Star Wars, and there was spectacles to witness and battle scenes to get your blood pumping and a message of revolution in the face of a seemingly unbeatable empire.

The secondary characters were, other than K-2SO, my favorite parts of the film. In particular the Churchill-like Admiral Raddus, and the earnest General Merrick, AKA Blue Leader. He grinned with unbridled enthusiasm as he lead Blue Squadron through the Shield Gate at Scarif on a suicidal charge to buy Jyn’s team more time to broadcast the Death Star plans.

And he had that amazing mustache that was part of Rogue One‘s deliberate retro-future tone to match it to A New Hope‘s 70s sensibilities.

Merrick made me happy just by being there on the screen. Even with the dark tones of the movie’s final scenes, I felt more enthused than I had in a month.

I’ve been obsessed with Blue Leader and his short-lived screen time ever since. And an idea began to percolate in my head over the holiday season as I thought about starfighter pilots with old fashioned style and deep bonds that connect them.

This is what got me creating in enthusiastic earnestness again. I’m working on a remix and enhancement of my “mechs and hearts” RPG Lanceheart on a new title called Blue Wing. Mustaches, romance, and run down starfighters in a lopsided fight for freedom. It clearly draws major inspiration from the fighter pilots and space combat of the Star Wars saga, as well as the relationship tension and desperate pilots of Battlestar Galactica, the romance of Wing Commander (the movie, really!), and of course the volleyball-laden Top Gun.

Like Lanceheart, in Blue Wing the players will take on the role of pilots, this time for starfighters over mechs, and engaged against a powerful galactic government instead of hideous aliens. The relationship system in Blue Wing will be a more complex affair, compelling more scenes of building camraderie and romance in between combat missions, giving better balance between battles and matters of the heart.

Blue Wing won’t be ready for a little longer yet. So until then, keep those ‘stache’s waxed and those hearts open. The world isn’t going to get better without both.