Matt Groening and David X.Cohen’s Sci-Fi comedy Masterpiece Futurama has had an interesting ride. One of the first high-profile victims of TV-exec voodoo, it was dropped by FOX (who have a nasty habit of strangling good Science fiction at birth cough–Firefly-cough) before a comedy central resurrection. First as a series of films, before coming back to the small screen. While it might have been starting to show its age towards the end of its 140-odd episode run, it never outstayed its welcome, and It’s loyal (if not rabid) fan base are still clamouring for more, four years later.
Speaking to USA Today, developers JamCity have just announced that they are working on a Futurama mobile game entitled Futurama: World of Tomorrow. The game is scheduled for release in the Summer of this year. It will be a Freemium title meaning that, although the game itself will be free, it will be full of in-app purchases that make the playing experience that much more enjoyable (or they get you hooked with freebies and then make it near-impossible to play on without coughing up, if you want to be cynical).
And cough up people undoubtedly will. There’s been no Futurama on our screens since 2013, and the series’ devoted following have been crying out for more ever since. As Josh Yguado, JamCity co-founder states:
“Fans can’t get Futurama on TV. This is the place to continue the story and interact with your favorite characters.”
As for what we know about the game’s content, the developers promise that the intention of World of Tomorrow is to recreate the beloved, if slightly insane, universe of Futurama. Co-Developer of the show David X. Cohen has promised that the game will re-unite fans with a host of familiar faces and, perhaps more importantly, familiar voices. Billy west, who voiced Fry, Zoidberg and The Professor is on board, as is John DiMaggio, the voice of Bender. Other cast members and writers from the original series will also be involved. All we know about the plot or mechanics of the game is that it involves sending Futurama characters to alien worlds where they’ll do battle with other characters from the TV series.
JamCity have a track record of adapting animations into free-to-play games. Their back catalogue includes The Book of Life: Sugar Smash, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff and they recently bagged the contract for an upcoming game based on Peanuts. Futurama won’t be the only Groening property to have ventured into the world of mobile gaming, with The Simpsons: Tapped Out giving players the chance to build and run their own Sim City-like version of Springfield.
Frankly, we’re in two minds on this one. Mobile gaming is an incredibly lucrative sector of the gaming industry at the moment, but even the most popular titles tend to see huge surge in downloads before their popularity takes a sharp downward turn. The short shelf-life of mobile games means that this new hand-held Futurama is unlikely to have the longevity that fans may have hoped for and certainly won’t create the momentum necessary to get Futurama back onto our screens.
That said, with the talent involved and the commitment to capturing the spirit of the series that is being displayed even this early in development, this may well be the closest that fans get to more Futurama. We’re hoping for a game with all the wit and invention of the original series, and with writers and voice talent attached, that may be what we get. Fingers crossed it’s not all squirrelled away behind paywalls.