The video game industry s about to be injected with a dose of Quebec humour, a niche that is still little exploited.
“Papier Julien” is a role-playing game (RPG, role-playing game, in English).
What do video games EarthBound have in common?, the Virtual Boy console and a castle of sausages? These three elements form the cornerstone of Papier Julien, a role-playing video game (RPG) imagined by humorist Joël Martel and based on the unusual universe of comedian Julien Bernatchez.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Joël Martel learned the ropes of programming. Intuitively, he thought of exercising through the creation of a role-playing video game starring his friend Julien Bernatchez, member of the absurd style comedy group Pic-Bois, and co-host, among others, of the crazy podcast Ifs and rais, online for 11 years.
I had no choice but to say yes. When Joël informed me of his intentions, he had already started working, says Julien Bernatchez, bursting into laughter.
What initially was just a hobby for Joël Martel, known in particular for perfectly imitating the Quebec accent, took on unexpected proportions in February 2021: five other people joined the project, to form – unofficially – Studio Cornet.
“It's a real honor to have a video game inspired by me. I was able to toss around a few ideas, and then they went with it. »
— Julien Bernatchez
The story of Papier Julien revolves around the pixelated character of Julien Bernatchez who has obtained a cursed copy of 'a game called VirtualDude. Sucked into his world, the comedian must find an ATM in order to pay his ransom to get out.
The title, Papier Julien, reminiscent of the popular Paper Mario series of role-playing games, launched in 2000 on the Nintendo 64 console. It is also a nod to the game creation engine RPG Paper Maker video, used by Joël Martel at the beginning of the project.
Start of the widget. Skip widget?End of widget. Back to top of widget?
Although Papier Julien draws inspiration from his interests, Julien Bernatchez does not work on production.
The game, I will discover it at the same time as everyone when it is released in December, he says. He was still able to try a 15-minute demo of the role-playing game recently.
The game will be much longer than a quarter of an hour, according to what the production team, which estimates that a player will take 4 to 5 hours to complete the game.
On the menu: nostalgia, insult fights , easter eggs (easter eggs), an exploded plot and references to Ifs and rais and Pic-Bois characters.
In the game, several winks are made to people around Julien Bernatchez.
The game is not airtight, launches the comedian.
You may not know Julien Bernatchez and have a lot of fun, adds Sophie Croteau, production coordinator for Studio Cornet and member of the podcastDes si et des rais.
Julien Bernatchez stood out during his appearance on the show An almost perfect supper in 2016, when he served his guests a of sausages. This dish has a special place in Papier Julien. This is where players must go to find the famous ATM.
“Papier Julien” is very reminiscent of the design of the game “EarthBound”.
The first images unveiled are an assumed design reminder of the game EarthBound, released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in 1994, and recently remastered for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers with the extension of classic games.
The plot does not fail to wink at sometimes hidden techno gadgets, including the Nintendo Virtual Boy console, a pioneer of virtual reality for the video game industry, but which did not have the expected success.
The game – which does not skimp on coronations or Franglais – also has its own soundtrack, signed by saxophonist Valérie Saxyval Lachance -Quote.
“I wanted it to sound as cheap possible, but cheapassumed, worked. »
— Valérie Lachance-Guillemette
The musician, recently graduated in jazz interpretation, ventured off the beaten track to create an original soundtrack of some 35 tracks different, in which she does not blow a single note of her instrument of the brass family.
I downloaded some free virtual instruments, and I mixed that, she says, adding that she was inspired a lot by the soundtrack of the game [farm simulation] Stardew Valley.
Two of his compositions can already be heard on Bandcamp, and Studio Cornet also plans to produce a vinyl. But it all depends on how the crowdfunding campaign launched by the team, which is working on the project on a voluntary basis, goes.
Studio Cornet has achieved the first goal of its online campaign with La Ruche, which was to raise $1,000 to cover expenses related to their presence at Montreal Comiccon this weekend. The team obtained a booth to present Papier Julien during this event by participating in Loto-Québec's Indie series, which gives a boost to independent video game studios.
“Papier Julien” is very inspired by role-playing games from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) console.
The goal was reached in a single day!, Sophie Croteau is still surprised. Which allows them to dream for the next fifty or so days of the campaign: if the studio manages to raise a sufficient amount, it could expand the development of the video game for consoles – Papier Julien being designed for the time than for PC and Mac computers.
The Studio Cornet team is working hard to release the first episode of the gamePapier Julien in time for time holidays, and says he already has a lot of ideas for a second episode… and not only.
Quebec humor is very present in TV series and in movies, but not really in the video game industry. That's what we want to develop, Quebec and humorous games, explains Sophie Croteau.