In hugely surprising news, John Carter: Warlord of Mars is on its way to a PC or console near you. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. is collaborating with FNCPR and lead developer Tanglewood Games to release a first-person adventure game based on the literary hero, with the Kickstarter campaign launching on April 19, and there’s even test footage for your perusal.
The principal voice cast is in place, with David Elliot voicing John Carter, Brian Bovell on board as Tars Tarkas and Kezia Burrows set as Princess of Mars Dejah Thoris. Development is already well underway, with the story set in 1945 as soldier John Carter works on a mission to find Hitler’s secret projects general, Hans Kammler. Stumbling upon experimental technology, Carter finds himself transported to the far-flung land of Barsoom.
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ creation is the star of some of the most important and influential sci-fi stories in history, with John Carter’s adventures on Mars inspiring everything from George Lucas’ Star Wars to James Cameron’s Avatar, Flash Gordon, the works of Ray Bradbury and almost everything in between. Disney’s live-action adaptation was an infamous box office bomb, barely recouping the mammoth $263 million budget in theaters thanks in part to a generic title and muddled marketing campaign that ironically made it look derivative of the very movies it inspired in the first place.
It remains an underrated slice of expansive intergalactic world-building, but John Carter could be set to find himself a whole new generation of fans if the project takes off as everyone hopes. To celebrate the announcement, FNCPR’s Frazer Nash teased what Warlord of Mars will have in store for gamers.
“In many ways, John Carter is the original fantasy action hero, thrilling readers and fans well before the likes of Flash Gordon, Superman and Luke Skywalker. Most superheroes have already made their transition into the gaming world; it is high time that John Carter makes his debut. The action follows Carter as he meets the weird and wonderful natives of Barsoom, acclimatising himself to Martian gravity, the local customs and Martian languages. His mission includes meeting the mighty Thark warrior, Tars Tarkas, fighting with giant ape-like monsters, and falling in love with the beautiful Princess of Mars, Dejah Thoris. It’s over a century since these characters were created, and we’re excited to find a new way of bringing them to life.”
A World War II adventure game that suddenly pivots into sci-fi territory sounds like exciting stuff, especially if John Carter: Warlord of Mars dives headfirst into the weird, wonderful and often downright bizarre mythology of Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series. The collection spanned eleven installments between 1912 and 1964, so there’s no shortage of inspiration for FNCPR to draw inspiration from when it comes to building the game, but the early test footage makes it look as though things are surprisingly far along already.
The Kickstarter campaign launches in three weeks, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on how John Carter: Warlord of Mars fares as it begins the arduous journey to hopefully becoming the kick-ass next-gen favorite it has the undoubted potential to be. To see how things are coming together, you can check out the announcement teaser below.