Riding in the Wasteland

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  • UW44-smallI love the Mad Max movies and the apocalyptic, dystopian landscape that infests them.

    What’s not to love? The movies have a young, pre-meltdown Mel Gibson playing the ultimate anti-hero (though it’s not until the second film, The Road Warrior, that he settles into that characterization). They have one of the baddest cars to grace the silver screen, the Interceptor, AKA the Ford Falcon XB Coupe – Australia’s answer to the Mustang. They also contain a cast of colorful villains that show up vivid against the desolate landscape.

    At E3 2013, I previewed gameplay from Mad Max, the upcoming free-roaming car combat game from Warner Brothers Interactive and Avalanche Studios. Avalanche previously dabbled in open world games with the Just Cause series, and the open world is where Max belongs – where Max is going, he doesn’t need roads. There hasn’t been a game about the original road warrior since the NES days, unless you want to count Outlander. What took everyone so long?

    It is hard to say where the videogame fits in to the existing franchise, though. While it is set to be released in September of this year, no doubt to coincide with the release of George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, the developers deny any correlation to the film franchise. They stated numerous times that the game is its own beast, but I find it hard to believe that we won’t get to run into some old friends like the Gyro Captain or Aunty Entity. And looking at recent gameplay footage, many of the gang members strongly resemble the scavengers of Fury Road. Whatever the case, Avalanche is staying tight lipped.

    In the film Mad Max, our hero is a high-speed vehicular cop in the Australian outback who loses his wife, child and best friend/partner to a depraved biker gang that are exacting revenge for the death on him for killing a legendary member called Nightrider. At the end of that movie, Max obtains his iconic vehicle, the Interceptor, and his infamous leg brace after his leg is shot and run over by the gang. Only then does he begin to seep into his role as anti-hero.

    When we get to The Road Warrior, the apocalypse has already happened. Our anti-hero is roaming the wasteland, scavenging for shotgun shells and gasoline. I’ve always wondered what happened between those two movies and I think this game will finally shed some light on at least one of Max’s adventures.

    You’ve been reading an excerpt from Unwinnable Monthly Issue 44.

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