ARMSmasters is a 2D animation project intended to produce a western action-adventure cartoon with certain anime aesthetics in the vein of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Young Justice. It’s a high-fantasy magical world where mythical, powerful heroes perform incredible deeds. This project caught my eye for how reminiscent it was of certain RPG products we all know that possess similar conceits. Dungeons And Dragons 4th Edition and White Wolf’s Exalted products spring to mind as examples of this setup: a group of powerful and extraordinary heroes must band together and depend on one another as they take on a landscape of larger-than-life villains in order to secure powerful artifacts that could shake the status quo of the world. This is the kind of world you’d see in a Final Fantasy title, with its magical technology and superpowered fantasy heroes, but that seems pretty scarce on TV, despite the amount of fantasy headspace that these concepts consume in the culture at large.
ARMSmasters is inspired by action anime, western superhero animations and comics, manga and gaming. It explores the relationships and dynamics of a group of characters as they rely on one another to survive thrilling adventures in a world where magic Is a common thing and superhuman warriors dot the landscape and engage in mythic deeds. Action, drama and humor are all elements here and we know that there will be something in The ARMSmasters Project for everyone.
The project promises to put to work local talent in Michigan, such as through working student animators and artists, which is really admirable. A lot of young creatives will have a venue to gain experience working on something special and real, but humble, as far as animation goes, and I think that’s something very valuable. As corporate media grows more global and finds avenues for cutting costs by shopping for talent in cheaper markets, I think a natural reaction for indie people should be to grow more local microcosms of creative output, banding together to produce with people in their area.
Pledging to ARMSmasters can put your name on the credits in a variety of ways. You could be a special sponsor or even an executive producer! Plus you could receive post cards, art prints, a preview book or all of the above depending on your pledge level, each showcasing some of the art of the ARMSmasters project. These credits could end up on IMDB so you can earn some bragging rights as well as support a locally-produced cartoon series and the creative output of a fellow gamer.
I contacted Michael Winn, the brain behind ARMSmasters, wanting to know a little more about him as a gamer, and whether my hunches were correct. Michael told me he’s been playing RPGs for some time, and some of the character ideas came out of his RPG experiences. Like me, Michael has played much of his tabletop RPGs online rather than face to face. He’s had a lot of experiences with MUD, MUSH and MUX games online such as Tenebrae, one which he founded (though he has since passed it on to others, given he is currently quite busy!). Michael’s got a passion for RPG games of all kinds, both tabletop and video.
Talking with him has made me quite interested in trying a MUD out myself, as it’s the one online area of roleplaying I’ve yet to experience. I’ve done chat, forums, freeform, even twitter roleplay, but something about this greatly intrigues me! Michael sounds like a great and friendly guy with a lot of passion and the acumen and skill to get something out of it, and I can’t help but to cheer for him after hearing some of his story and looking through his kickstarter and the blog for the project. If you’d like to see more varied American-made action-adventure series hit the market, Michael could use your help.