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Battle Chasers returning as a game and comic book

Matt Leone has written about games for three decades, focusing on behind-the-scenes coverage of the industry, including books on Final Fantasy 7 and Street Fighter 2.

Fourteen years after putting the ninth issue of comic book Battle Chasers to bed, Joe Madureira is pulling it out of retirement. And he's bringing it back as both a comic and a game.

In the late '90s, Madureira created the hardcore favorite comic series, known for its distinctive art and inconsistent schedule. As the years went on, the series faded away and Madureira shifted to a career in games, co-founding developer Vigil and overseeing the Darksiders action series.

Now Madureira and Vigil co-founder Ryan Stefanelli are digging into Madureira's past for their new company, Airship Syndicate.

Speaking to Polygon, Madureira and Stefanelli say they aren't ready to describe the Battle Chasers game in detail yet, but that it will be a role-playing game, players will get to control classic Battle Chasers characters including Garrison, Gully and Calibretto and the game will feature a sense of adventure similar to the Darksiders games. [Update: In the original version of this story, we reported Airship saying it was targeting PC and tablets. Shortly after we posted this story, Airship contacted Polygon to say that it is targeting PC and consoles, and "considering" a tablet version.]

"Even though the game mechanically is going to be very different from Darksiders, I think we're still really going to be doing everything we can to make sure that the dungeon exploration side of the game is soaked with lots of fun adventurous elements," says Stefanelli.

Stefanelli adds that he hopes to keep the development team small, between 10 and 15 people, to make a game that is "kind of classic and old school but presented with some new modern twists."

For the comic, Madureira doesn't have a publisher or a release date to announce, and says part of the appeal for him at this point is seeing the franchise evolve as his tastes have evolved. "I partially just want to update it," he says. "I think it's going to get a visual overhaul too. My art style and storytelling style, everything's sort of changed and evolved over the years."

Madureira says he's thinking of the new comic run in three-issue arcs. The first of those will wrap up the story he left dangling in 2001 — "so people can finally stop asking," he jokes — and tie into the game. After that, he says he'd like to do further three-issue arcs but he's waiting to see how everything shakes out before committing to more.

At the moment, Airship is looking for funding for the game, and hasn't decided whether that will be from an investor, a publisher or Kickstarter. "We're going to sort of let fate decide for us exactly how we should best pay for the game," says Stefanelli.

And while Madureira and Stefanelli say they expect the game will occupy the majority of their time, they are also interested in making Battle Chasers into a franchise with other branches, should the right opportunities come along.

"I've always wanted to do an animated series, possibly, so there's a couple of different options that we're pursuing for bringing the franchise back in a big way," says Madureira.

Airship Syndicate hasn't announced a release timeframe yet for the comic or game, given that both are still in early stages. Check out the gallery above for a first look at concept art for the game.

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