It’s a game based on a crowdfunded series you can only watch on streaming media featuring the stars of Firefly. So, yeah, it’s right in the Lost Remote wheelhouse. Con Man: The Game is out (it’s an app for iOS and Android) and it’s based on Con Man, the web series created by Alan Tudyk (Firefly’s “Wash”). The full Con Man experience shows us how stars are going around the TV production system using social media and, now, gaming.
Let’s back up a sec. “Con Man” (the series) is about Tudyk’s character, “Wray Nerely,” the onetime star of a short-lived but beloved sci-fi show. (Similarities to Firefly are purely intentional.) Nerely has a hard time getting acting work, so he makes money by selling autographs at sci-fi fan conventions. He hates every minute of it. His former co-star from his old show, played by Nathan Fillion (Firefly’s “Captain Reynolds) is now a big success. The whole situation makes Wray slowly lose his mind.
“Con Man” was a crowdfunding success. Tudyk raised $3.1 million on Indiegogo last year for its initial run. Its original goal was just $425,000. The 12-episode series premiered last September on Vimeo as a pay-to-view show. (Indiegogo backers had the rights to stream for no additional cost.) Each episode is about 10-15 minutes. The show was a hit, and season two is in production right now.
Which brings us to Con Man: The Game. You create a convention and have to keep it running smoothly, in the face of unpredictable crowds, questionable sanitation and the ever-present possibility of an alien attack. (Of course.) Here—let them explain:
As part of the original crowdfunding campaign, the group promised to create a game if it raised $3 million. They didn’t expect it, although Alan Tudyk tells Game Informer he should have seen it coming:
“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.”
It’s interesting to note that this all came about because Tudyk’s original pitch was dropped by a production company after it had been in development. He went to the fans. Firefly fans are a rabid bunch (this Browncoat included) and the prospect of seeing a Firefly meta-sendup brought in the bucks. Diehard sci-fi fans are willing to pay their favorite stars directly to get what they want, and with Con Man, we’re seeing a multimedia experience that’s both a parody and a tribute to that very fanbase.
The game launched with Tudyk and co-star Felicia Day playing live on Twitch.tv, the livestreaming site for gaming. (Archived, now only available to subscribers.)
On Facebook Live, more than 20 thousand people have watched a video of Tudyk and Fillion playing the game and joking around. Enjoy: