Story Concepts & Development for Novels, Comics, Games, Film and TV

From Inspiration to Concept

Here is a little bit more about how inspiration from the series producers led to the concept for Young Justice: Legacy.


As I mentioned in my first post, Little Orbit was looking for a “Season 1.5” game story. They were planning for an action-RPG with puzzle elements, and were clear about wanting a global, dungeon crawl-like feel where the player travelled through a variety of different environments.

As an action-adventure writer, I felt like the project fit nicely in my wheelhouse, but to be honest, I was nervous about pleasing the publisher, WB, and Greg and Brandon in particular.

Like every other fan of the show, I had some serious questions as to the hows and whys of some of the changes that had taken place by Season Two, so in the early story meetings, I asked the show producers how much of the “important stuff” we would be able to use for the game. [Historically, licensors don’t generally give game publishers access to important canon stories, as they might unknowingly create something that contradicts or limits an upcoming storyline, or interpret characters in a way the licensors don’t like.]

Their answer surprised the entire team. Not only was WB prepared to let us use pretty much anything we wanted from the 5-year gap, but emphasized that they wanted a storyline that would, like the Young Justice comic books, become part of the YJ canon. With all the industry hype about “transmedia” properties, I expect publishers will be seeing more deals like ours, but up until now, I had never been given this kind of “access” by a licensor before.

The prospect was very exciting.

Young Justice is a story-driven IP and Little Orbit wanted to treat the game similarly (another unique attribute of this game publisher), which meant that, with the exception of some general action RPG-style game mechanics, the development team couldn’t begin the “real work” on the game until we had story concept approval. Heroes, villains, locations, and the like would all be dependent on where we ultimately went with the story.

Of course, we made an initial wish list of heroes and villains we wanted to see in the game, what locations to use, and how to incorporate Justice League members (if at all). In fact, one of the most-debated topics was whether to make any of the Justice League members playable in the game. By this time in the storyline (about a year before the events of the Season Two), the Team had grown in maturity, and was working alongside the Justice League as more of a covert ops team rather than as a group of “sidekicks” still finding their feet.

Ultimately, we felt that making Justice League members playable in the game would diminish our effort to make a faithful Young Justice title. But we also wanted them to have a presence in the game. This led to the designing of several “mentor missions”, where the YJ Team would work alongside a Justice League member, emphasizing the mutual respect and collaboration between the two superhero teams.

So, with those discussions in mind, and with the support from WB, it was time to get to work on some possible story concepts…

Tune in next time when I detail the story-building process for YJ:L, and my reaction to The Note That Changed Everything.

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