Game Front 1-on-1: ‘Marauder Shields’ Creator Koobismo
Game Front 1-on-1 is a continuing series featuring interviews with and personality profiles on a variety of people in the vast and diverse community of gaming, including creative fans, passionate players, amateur developers and everyone in between.
WARNING: There are probably spoilers from Mass Effect 3 herein, as well as the “Marauder Shields” web comic. Read at your own risk.
For him, the story won’t be concluded for, roughly, 33 weeks; because that’s how long it’ll take him to create the ending he, and a whole lot of viewers, wanted to see from BioWare’s sci-fi saga.
The 26-year-old Koobismo is the creator, writer and artist behind the extremely popular “Marauder Shields” web comic and audio book series. Born of the aftermath of Mass Effect 3′s ending controversy, the comic started as a joke, riffing on the “His Name is Marauder Shields” YouTube video and the meme that followed.
Six episodes into the strip, though, something changed. “Marauder Shields” stopped being a comedy about a meme and started being something more. The comic’s distinctive style and writing echoed the feel of the game so well that it began to seem as though Koobismo was actually writing not just a piece of fan fiction, but something that could have been produced by developer BioWare itself. “Marauder Shields” started to feel like a piece of the world of Mass Effect.
“Up until Episode 6, it was just a comedy series, taking jabs at the original finale, which I loathed,” Koobismo said in an email interivew with Game Front (he prefers to use his DeviantArt handle over his real name, as that’s how people have come to know him). “As a friend of mine described it: ‘it’s just Koobs being a dick.’ But I really needed more. Mass Effect was the best sci-fi experience of my nerdy little life and I really didn’t want it to end with a nonsensical twist coming out of nowhere, casting a long, long shadow on the whole series, arbitrarily cancelling out its themes, breaking its backbone and laughing maniacally while doing so. For me, Mass Effect wasn’t finished, someone just took a 15-minute sequence out of a different story and pasted it into the wrong document.
“So, I’ve decided to do something about it… The initial target audience was ‘me,’ but if other people enjoyed it — then so be it. And so my alternative ending was born -– a 47-page-long scenario, closing off almost a hundred loose ends, plotholes and lore inconsistencies I found while playing Mass Effect 3.”
Already, “Marauder Shields” includes 27 episodes, with a new one created each week. Koobismo does all the writing and art for the series, although he’s not an artist: in fact, he’s a game writer and designer, lately working as a secondary game producer on casual games. And his native language? Polish.
“Although I create all the art for the Marauder Shields comic, I wouldn’t really call myself an artist — a storyteller, sure, but the art is just something I throw together to tell the story I’m weaving. And no, I haven’t done any pretty pictures before this project, nothing really worth showing. This is my first, and I’m learning a lot of new tricks with each and every episode.
“The art of the ‘Marauder Shields’ comics isn’t really something I put too much thought into initially — most of the shots are based on game screenshots, 3-D models or royalty-free photos that I then drag through a lengthy post-processing routine and finally overpaint and recolor to get the look I want. One of my main concerns was to keep the comics as close to the feel of the game as possible, which is the reason behind all the over-the-top lighting. Let’s just say it’s no accident the comic sometimes looks like a J.J. Abrams-directed Christmas Special.”