Kanye West’s new game caps off his long and bizarre Only One saga

Kanye West (now known as Ye) is one of those celebrities with a penchant for controversy and unpredictability. He crushed Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for her Best Female Video award at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, turned to gospel music, tried to run for president with Elon Musk as his political adviser, pestered Pete Davidson on social media to date ex-wife Kim Kardashian after their divorce, and strangely enough, developed a video game. Her fashion company Yeezy Gap and Balenciaga released a new mobile game to promote her new fashion line, to the surprise of fans.

In this untitled game, you set your avatar’s skin tone and gender, select any outfit from the Yeezy Gap Balenciaga clothing line, ranging from a jumpsuit to a Gap hoodie with boots, and hover at the above the sky, swinging your phone left and right to collect as many doves as possible to stay afloat without falling back into the post-apocalyptic landscape. It’s quite simple, but particularly bizarre. Not only does this game have no title, but the mechanics are based on the principle of Only onea never-before-seen iOS game based on his song of the same name with Paul McCartney in which Kanye’s late mother, Donda West, ascends to heaven.

Tying this simple, post-apocalyptic mobile game to the latest fashion line may seem like a great marketing strategy in the eyes of stakeholders, but in practice it’s a disappointing culmination of Kanye’s long and bizarre saga across the game industry.

First gaming adventures and Only One

Kanye initially wanted to develop video games instead of producing music somehow. According GameRant, he attempted to make a Mario-style game when he was 12 years old. The content of the game was sexual in nature, which would surely have drawn the ire of many parents in 1989. The game did not see the light of day, but it managed to lead Kanye to discover his musical talents while composing the band original of it.

Flash forward deep into her successful music career. During an interview on 105.1 FM The breakfast club in February 2015, Kanye announced that he was creating the Only one video game. Like the song from which it takes its name, the game was created to honor the memory of his mother, who died in 2007 of coronary heart disease and complications resulting from cosmetic surgery. Kanye explained that Only one would be a linear game of guiding his mother to the gates of paradise. The premise mirrors that of Journeyin that only the player travels through the clouds.

Pictura Encyclopedia

At E3 2015, Kanye approached Nintendo Director Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé at the show and showed off a prototype for Only one, which was set to a self-directed soundtrack. Former IGN reporter Zachary Ryan confirmed the story on a Twitter feed, saying that Miyamoto described the game as very interesting and moving. Kanye asked to speak with Fils-Aimé to get the game started, and soon enough they met at the office of Kanye’s fashion company. As Fils-Aimé explained in the podcast Conversation games with Reggie and Harold, he told Kanye that Nintendo is a very strict video game company and had so many game projects pending at the time that a collaboration between Kanye and Nintendo was not on the cards. Two weeks later, Kanye announced Only one at a Yeezy fashion show in New York.

The following year, Kanye showed the trailer for Only one at the Yeezy Season 3 fashion event, Pablo’s life album listening party and at E3 2016. The trailer showed his mother flying through the sky on a white horse before gaining her angel wings to enter heaven.

Manufacturing for Only one was managed by Encyclopedia Pictura, a Los Angeles-based film and animation studio. The studio included 14 staff members who worked on the game from late 2014 through the summer of 2016. The game never saw the light of day.

According to Business Insider (via TheGamer), sources familiar with the Only one The project said in 2019 that the game had not been in production since that summer because its funding failed. The Pictura Encyclopedia denied this claim with a statement saying in part: “We worked continuously on the project, through various stages of development, production, prototyping, redevelopment, more prototyping, then more production, before and after E3 2016.” When TheGamer contacted the studio for an update shortly after, he claimed he was no longer working on the game and said nothing further.

The trailer gave fans the impression that the production of Only one was done, or at least a lock of hair was almost done. However, Encyclopedia Pictura explained on the game’s design page that he left the project even after completing the initial version and developing a prototype due to Kanye being hospitalized for exhaustion, which forced him to cancel. the rest of his tour in Saint Pablo.

“We completed a version that was never released because Kanye wanted to expand the scope,” the studio said. “We built a prototype of this larger game, but following the events of November 2016, we parted ways with the project.”

Yeezy Gap resurrects Only One (sort of)

A selection of Yeezy Gap x Balenciaga outfits featured in the untitled mobile game.

The mobile game released by Yeezy Gap and Balenciaga is a kind of resurrection of Only one, with things like motion controls, camera orientation for the avatar, and collection of doves for flight maintenance. His concepts are right on the money, and the rotation of the avatar with the swinging motion of the phone in a superhero pose is reminiscent of a scene in his Run away music video where the phoenix girl soars to the skies she came from. The only thing missing are the angel wings needed to stay airborne.

It’s a clunky app that straddles the line between gaming and elaborate advertising, but it surprised fans given that the celeb seemed to have given up developing games in his spare time following the failure of Only one. However, this game is the product of his persistence in spreading his video game ideas to the world at all costs, despite the gaming industry being seemingly impervious to celebrity influence. Despite being one of the biggest celebrities in the world, he wasn’t big enough to force Nintendo executives to release his game. Instead, he had to bypass the industry entirely to make it happen. produce.

It’s hard to say if Only one dropped to Earth so this game could soar. Maybe it’s meant to be a teaser for the game, to test the waters and gauge player interest in more Ye games. Either way, it’s nice to see the artist’s passion project realized in some form, no matter how disappointing.

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