Noir-meets-Super-Smash-Brothers web series There Will Be Brawl has joined the ranks of Zero Punctuation and de-rez with the Escapist Magazine, a web publication devoted to video games culture and commentary. Although the deal was announced on the There Will Be Brawl homepage on December 11th, 2008, last Friday marked the re-release of the show on the Escapist’s website.
We first covered There Will Be Brawl on after the first episode, titled “Twilight Ruin,” was released in late September. Since then, the show’s co-creators Matthew Mercer and Zach Grafton disclosed that, while they had made promising progress on the next episode, they needed more funding to continue production. However, when they announced Escapist’s intervention they made it clear that production would continue on a monthly release schedule, meaning that Episode 2 should be due out a month from now at the Escapist.
For those of you out there who didn’t catch it the first time, There Will Be Brawl takes its inspiration from Nintendo’s hit fighting game Super Smash Brothers: Brawl (which is itself a mish-mash of characters from several of Nintendo’s game franchises: Super Mario Brothers, Kirby’s Dream Land, Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, etc.) and classic film noir. The result is an adults-only, more sinister look at the Mario Brothers (with Matt Key as Luigi, Paul Duraso as Mario, Kyle Hebert as Wario, and Katherine Steel as Princess Peach), where power-up mushrooms are peddled in dark alleys, Toad Pimps slap their Toad Hoes, and the once-peaceful Mushroom Kingdom exists only as an unsteady stalemate between ganglords Bowser, Dedede, Ganondorf, and Mewtwo.
So far, the show’s real-life-video-game-characters seem to take a few stylistic cues from CollegeHumor’s Street Fighter: The Later Years, and curiously enough, the noir feel reminds me just a little bit of the universally panned Super Mario Bros. movie from the early ’90s. Of course, There Will Be Brawl‘s roots in video game fandom mean the show is loaded with in-jokes for the gamers among us, but anyone with even a passing familiarity with Nintendo, Mario, or Pokémon ought to be able to enjoy the show.