By Nikayla Goddard, April 24 2020 —
This article contains spoilers for Part 2 and Part 5 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Two UCalgary students are making the most of their free time spent in isolation, gathering two teams to work on two different projects based on the anime JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Project lead Juvraj Garha, a finance major, and lead writer Indvir Dhillon, a double major in political science and law and society, discussed the beginnings of a passion project when they realized they would be in quarantine for some time.
Garha explained, “What are we doing in quarantine? We’re just sitting here, letting every day pass, and I thought about getting a game development started. Why don’t we be the solution to the problem? So I talked with Indvir about it and he just came right away with two amazing ideas within like 24 hours.”
Dhillon elaborated, “We both like JoJo’s, I thought of two characters I thought were underutilized in the original series, and I was just fleshing them out in my mind. Wrote a lot of it down on paper… and here we are.”
Project A is a visual novel, a story-centric game that focuses on blending the art style of JoJo’s as well as another anime, Violet Evergarden, and takes place in a cyberpunk 2070s setting, 70 years after the end of the anime. It will focus on the character Diavolo and explore his fate of rebirths and deaths infinitely, taking place after years of being tortured in this manner and forgetting everything but these deaths.
“We’re looking at these aspects in a futuristic world, how there’s going to be artificial identities, people duplicating each other’s identities, and themes of conformity, obedience and totalitarianism as well,” Dhillon described, adding that the visual style will be a contrast of a shiny city and dark skies.
Project B is a 2D side scroller, focussed on a retro art-style that was a part of Part 2. The game will take place right after the ending of the series unlike the futuristic take of Project A, focussing on Rudol von Stroheim, a character portrayed as a Nazi searching for ways to enhance the German military.
Dhillon said, “The genre’s been making a comeback recently out of fueling nostalgia, so we’re taking a lot of inspiration from old-school 2D side-scroller shooter games, like Contra, even Doom to an extent but in 2D platforming. This character is really allowing us to develop the ‘bizarre’ part of the series. Whereas Part 5 is a lot more intricate and based off of identity, Part 2 is going to be a lot more gameplay based but also based off of a really controversial idea.
“And we obviously don’t condone the ideas that Rudol has leading into the gameplay where it starts, but essentially, a change in heart has him abandoning his original allegiance to the Axis powers and joining the Allies in World War II,” he explained.
The duo and their team hope to release both of the projects by September, with an official start date as May 1. They have currently around fifteen members gathered, a mix of computer science majors, engineering majors, artists and others who are just passionate about the anime, Dhillon said. “It was a really vast and different group of people that just came together to say ‘Hey, you know what, let’s make this happen.’ A lot of the people on our work base right now are all fans of the JoJo series, or they just love the bizarre and really vivid art style that the series has.
“They’re both projects that promote creativity as well. A lot of the code staff is having a lot of fun with the [side scroller project], because they are just trying to make it as crazy as possible. Part A is a lot more writing and art based, so our art team is sending in almost daily sketches and daily concept art too because we already have people that are so invested in the project,” Dhillon said.
Both of the projects will be patreon funded and personal funded, Dhillon said, adding, “I for one, I’ve decided to do both projects free of charge simply because they are purely out of passion.”
The projects are still welcoming people to join, especially artists that enjoy the anime art style or retro 2D styles, music composers, coders, writers and others that have a passion for JoJo’s. Garha said that he can be reached through his Instagram page, @Juvrajg.
Dhillon concluded the interview by saying, “My word of advice is that we’re probably going to be in quarantine for a bit longer than May, so if you have any projects you want to start on yourself, you might as well get to it.”