Brendan Przywara on FusionFall Universe Projects Two Years Later

BY JOHN CARTER JR

It’s been two years since the shut down of the FusionFall Universe projects Legacy and Retro, and TMN recently had the opportunity to take a look back and discuss the projects with Brendan “Przzyfied” Przywara, a former contributor to the project.

TMN interviewed Przywara throughout the lifespan of FusionFall Retro and as we approach a decade since the original game’s shut down and once again reached out to Przyware to discuss the project that not only established a community of fans, but allowed that community to revive their beloved game.

John Carter JR (JPCJ)- In April of 2020 Fusionfall Retro and Legacy were issued a DMCA takedown request by Cartoon Network, what was your response and how did you feel at the time?

Brendan Przywara (BP)- When we got the DMCA request, it really did feel like an avalanche in a way. I had been working with the team since 2016 – for four years – four years of work,  passion, highs, lows, and everything in between. All of that was gone in an instant. It was pretty heartbreaking – and I think at the time it was pretty hard for me to deal with. 

I remember my anxiety was flaring like crazy that week, I kinda just ignored everything and tried to distract myself. I remember getting probably hundreds of messages of support from people and I just didn’t have the strength to read them at that point. I ended up going back about two or three weeks later and responded to every single one when everything didn’t feel so overwhelming. 

Looking back at it, now two years later, I think I can appreciate the time I spent working on the project as what it was – rather than what it could have been. FusionFall Universe was an amazing experience, an incredible project, and working on it was something that I will always remember for the rest of my life.

JPCJ- Back in our first 2019 interview we discussed your involvement in the project, you said in late 2016 you were formally invited to join the development team as a storyline writer. What were those early days like and how was your experience with the other developers?

BP- When I was invited to join the project, I was only 17, and I had never done anything remotely like this before (in a professional setting). I was extremely nervous. I think the rest of the team was extremely welcoming and nice when I ended up joining. Jake (dex7322) was already my ‘boss’ in a way because I was a website moderator and he was the community manager – plus I had already interviewed people like Dogon, Jason (Funske), and Ethan (Stopsign43) ahead of this so we already had some rapport. Devan (the project lead) was easily one of the most welcoming people we had on the team, which made it really easy to fit right in.

JPCJ- Being involved with a project for nearly half a decade, 2015-2020, must have given ample interaction with the Fusionfall community, what was it like being part of that community? Was there any negative aspect of that?

BP- The FusionFall community is a place I will always call home no matter what – being active in it for so long kind of has stuck with me like that. It absolutely is one of the most passionate, talented communities I have ever seen. I think what makes it so special is that everyone really just loves the game over anything else, and that energy was something really magical to watch when things are released and revealed. The talent really is off the charts, if you haven’t checked out the FusionFall Zine – absolutely do. The sheer amount of talented artists in this community is mind-blowing.

So I’ll start talking about the negatives by saying it’s been two years since the game shut down. I think all of us have grown since then and any issues we have had have definitely subsided in that time. And I think even the most negative aspects of the community (in my eyes) were all done out of love for the game itself, which I can’t help but respect. 

I will say that one of the hardest things I had to come to terms with while working on the game had to be detaching myself (me, Brendan Przywara) from the project. Obviously, it was a team project – so we won as a team and we lost as a team. But it was hard for a while to differentiate people attacking the project itself and attacking me as a person. I think that just had to do with the fact I was a young inexperienced kid. I think I’m much better with that now that I’ve gone through college, and now when I see people give their hot takes on the old FusionFall Universe games and dev team, I don’t take it personally at all. Because a lot of them are valid, we didn’t even release one of our games.

Long story short, I learned a lot about game development, managing a community, and myself through this. I definitely made a heap of mistakes during my time there – and I learned. Talk to people and forgive, it does everyone a whole lot better than staying upset.

 JPCJ- I watched your playthroughs when they started back in 2017 with the Time Jump Error, was it your intention to make an almost lost media archive of the whole game? How was the viewer interaction?

BP- That’s actually really funny, I had no intention of that when I started uploading the videos. I just wanted to show off the game and hopefully spread the word that the game had returned to more people. Now that the game is gone, I think it’s really cool that there’s a decently made full playthrough of the game archiving every piece of content in the game.

I really enjoyed interacting with the viewers as the series was going. Each episode, I would take a nano loadout suggestion from the comments and show a picture of the comment that suggested it. I thought it was a really cool way to reward people for watching the videos by allowing them an opportunity to get shoutout out each episode while getting a chance to affect the way I play the game.

JPCJ- Do you ever think FusionFall or something like it will come back again, and would you ever want to be involved with a project like it?

BP- In terms of an official Cartoon Network-developed game? Never. I would be genuinely shocked if they ever look at that specific concept again. But for a fan-made project there’s a bunch. OpenFusion has basically already revived the game, Saturday Morning Invasion is giving us a legacy-esque “fanmade remastered FusionFall”, and there are plenty of other projects going on as well. I think one of them followed me last week.

The point being, I don’t think FusionFall will ever die. The community is resilient, they are creative, and they are determined to see this game return again and again. I am already loosely involved in Saturday Morning Invasion, but I’m not 100% sure if I will ever work on someone else’s FusionFall fan project as hands-on as I did with FusionFall Universe.

JPCJ- Recently been enjoying your legends Arceus Streams will you be doing more video game content and will you do more content on the YouTube platform?

BP- Thank you. Streaming has always been extremely fun for me, and I’m really excited to keep doing it. It’s been a great way to keep connected with old friends from the FusionFall community, as well as seeing them interact with people from other aspects of my life (school, Survivor ORGs, Smite, etc) is really fun. I don’t know if I would like to be a huge streamer or anything, I kind of like the smaller community I’m building right now, but I definitely plan on keeping the streams going.

As for YouTube, I have a pretty loose plan that I would like to act on soon as I’ll be graduating and heading into the real world. I’ve been drafting up plans for a series of videos I will be making that I can put a lot of time and production value into that I think will be fun for people to watch. The only hint I’ll give is that it’s all FusionFall-related. 

I also recognize that I owe people a couple of videos as well about “what could have been” for Legacy. I plan on getting those made and out along with the project I mentioned previously. I am also making plans to get some of my Twitch content onto YouTube, but that most likely will be on a separate channel. 

JPCJ- Where do you see yourself moving forward and what is on the horizon?

BP- Well for one, I am graduating from Michigan State University in about a month with two degrees, one in Digital Storytelling and the other in Games and Interactive Media. My two passions are video production and video games, so I hopefully will be able to use those together to find an incredible job in the industry. I already have a part-time job as the community manager on an indie game called Plunder Panic that is already a step in the right direction for what I want to do. My other job (a teaching assistant) is also ending soon along with my graduation, so I will be looking for ways to do what I love while also being able to afford food and rent [lol]. 

In the same vein, I have been working on an unnamed project on and off for the past few months that I hopefully will have the time to start working on full time soon. I mentioned it in an earlier question, but this is a project that I am extremely passionate about and cannot wait to share with people when the time is right. It will feature my YouTube channel quite heavily, so that is the best place to be in regards to updates on it. My goal with this project is not only to entertain, but teach as well.

JPCJ- How has being a part of this project affected your life?

BP- It’s taught me a lot about a lot of things. I think one of the most important things that it has done is reaffirm that this is what I want to do with my life (in terms of video games and video production), as well as make me a much better version of myself. These projects have taught me a lot about my own limits, communication, writing, game design, growing thicker skin, and so so so much more. I truly believe I would be in a much worse position in my life if it was not for these projects. It was FusionFall that gave me the confidence to switch out of the original major I hated (and in all honesty, would have dropped out of college if I had continued), and follow my passion of video production and game design. And for that, I am forever thankful.

JPCJ- If there is anything that you would like the Fusion Fall community to remember either about the game or the times the community shared what would you say?

BP- I think you said this better than I could have. I would just remind them to remember the fun, the speculation, the reveals, and the good times we all shared. I don’t think anyone will be able to capture that same atmosphere we had again. I would like to thank everyone for how passionate you are about FusionFall, and it is only thanks to passionate people like us that the game is still very much alive.

If you’re a fan of me, stay tuned because I have a lot I want to do. If you’re just interested in the game, keep involved and stay creating. Thank you, everyone.

Thank you Przzyfied for the interview and to The FusionFall community “The time is now the hero is you”

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