In Limp Bizkit’s immortal words, “It’s just one of those days / When you don’t wanna wake up / It’s all screwed up / Everybody sucks / You don’t really know why / But you want to justify / Tear someone up ‘a go. “

Maybe it’s the fact that we’re quickly heading into two full years of COVID-related lockdowns, stacked on a seemingly endless chain of racial and social injustice, a real estate bubble that refuses to burst, let alone the holidays. looming season and all the stress that goes with it, but it sure looks like people’s fuses are shorter than ever these days.

Which is probably why, earlier this month, a video game trailer released by a local Toronto indie developer ended up touching such a deal with Torontonians.

In Dawn of the Monsters, an upcoming cooperative beat-’em-up from Toronto’s 13AM Games and US publisher WayForward, players can tear it apart with giant monsters in the shell of a destroyed downtown Toronto like something a Godzilla movie. An old-fashioned 2.5D side-scroller reminiscent of the arcade classic Carnage, Dawn is slated for release on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, and PC in early 2022.

“In the future, downtown Toronto will be overrun by these giant monsters called the Nephilim,” 13AM CEO and Creative Director Alex Rushdy told me earlier this week. From there, he said, the 6ix is ​​walled from High Park to the DVP and Eglinton to the water, leaving the rest to the Monsters, Mississauga and Etobicoke becoming “New Toronto”. (So, in other words, exactly the same exodus the city is seeing now, only with people escaping the kaiju hordes as opposed to out of control housing prices.)

“People really got hooked on it. At first, it was only a few people on Twitter that we noticed, saying, “Oh, this is in Toronto. I would love to crush the Gardiner, so that’s awesome.

The game then takes players to South America, Egypt, and Tokyo over 35 missions and roughly eight hours of gameplay in total (not including unlocking all Easter Eggs and rewards). But it was Toronto’s appeal in the trailer that got the whole city talking, which Rushdy said surprised the team a bit, calling the mention a “throwaway line.”

“People really got hooked on that,” he said of the reaction to the trailer’s release. “At first, it was only a few people on Twitter that we noticed, saying, ‘Oh, this is in Toronto. I would love to crush the Gardiner, so that’s awesome.

Rushdy believes part of the reason the trailer is so connected to the folks at 6ix is ​​because the city rarely gets a chance to star in pop culture. (Example: in 2013, Pacific Rim, the most successful piece of original kaiju intellectual property since Cloverfield, used Toronto to replace Tokyo.) This certainly does not happen in Dawn, he promised. “For us it’s like, no, it’s Toronto. This is the CN Tower, this is the Town Hall.

“There’s a bunch of little Easter eggs that we’ve put in-game through billboards and so on, like Tom Norton’s,” he teased, sharing a few exclusive snaps from Dawnof Toronto with Complex Canada. You can even grab the TTC trams and beat the eternal crap of the other monsters with them. (Warning: anyone who has ever dreamed of doing the same while driving the 504 King during rush hour.)

Regarding the look of the game, Rushdy said they tried to do something a little more stylized, to make Dawn the impression that it was ripped from the pages of a comic book: “When you perform certain attacks or detonate things, you will actually see Japanese characters, Japanese onomatopoeias, like comic book onomatopoeias, appear. “

He described the art as a mix of manga and Mike Mignola, best known for creating the Hellboy series: “It has such a unique style, and such a distinct, colorful and bold look that once we decided to go with a stylized course, but still aimed at an older audience, it was a pretty easy decision to make. take.

Image via Publicist

But above all, the 13AM team wanted to ensure Dawn had what Rushdy called “kaiju cred”. It meant reaching out to people like legendary Godzilla character creator Shinji Nishikawa, Godzilla comic book artist Matt Frank, and Transformers and Ultraman illustrator EJ Su for contributing illustrations and monster designs.

That credit, along with the fact that it was a fun giant monster beat-’em-up in a video game landscape that was largely devoid of that sort of thing, made Dawn highly anticipated outside of Toronto as well – a first limited edition soft vinyl toy made by Seismic Toys (of which Rushdy is a co-owner) sold out quickly. “We’ve already had a few offers on graphic novels and stuff,” he revealed. “I think he has a lot of potential.”

As to why there haven’t really been a lot of great giant monster games since the OG CarnageRushdy thinks they’re either too realistic, making the monsters too slow and not really fun, “or they’re trying to make them look like strategy games,” he explained. “Manage the units, defend the cities. But I think anyone who wants a giant monster game, they just want to smash some city shit, rip other monsters’ heads off and go crazy.

This is exactly what 13AM hopes to deliver with Dawn. “I think the most successful giant monster games are the ones that focus on a fun game with a giant monster aesthetic first. And it was definitely something that was close to our hearts, ”said Rushdy. “You can juggle enemies like it’s a Tekken Game. The exaggerated sense of destruction was important.

Monsters destroy Toronto in Dawn of the Monsters
Image via Publicist

“If you can get close to it, you can break it,” he promised. “You can pick up buildings and you can run them over guys. You can run over the guys through the buildings.

The prospect of what makes Torontonians and kaiju fans the Predator even a handshake at the prospect of being able to live out their fantasies of giant monsters in downtown Toronto.

“When they were making some of the first Godzilla movies, in the beginning, a lot of cities would say, “Hey, don’t destroy our city. Don’t destroy our buildings. Don’t destroy our brands, ”Rushdy recalled. “Then the movies brought so much tourism to these areas that they then begged Toho, like, ‘Please destroy our town, we will put a big Bandai sign over there, ask them to destroy it. “. Have them destroy the Toyota factory, please! he laughs. “So that’s our way of showing some love in Toronto.”