A little while back, a Facebook friend shared a link on my page. It was a petition to add Oderus Urungus as a playable character in the upcoming Mortal Kombat X. For those not in the know, Oderus was the lead singer of the band GWAR – a heavy-metal outfit made up of marauding space barbarians. They’re still around; in fact, I was a part of their fall tour. I was one of the slaves, humans who either volunteered or were captured and forced to work for their masters, GWAR. I manned the blood tanks, got my head chopped off, and at times played a 10-foot long dinosaur.
Oderus was played by Dave Brockie, an artistic genius and hell of a guy. Sadly, Brockie died last March – only weeks after the band’s first shows in Japan. I was extremely fortunate to be there as sort of a Japanese liaison, because my sliver of Japanese knowledge was better than their near-total ignorance. Dave and I had push-up contests and long talks about his future plans. It was basically a good old-fashioned bro-down. You can read about it on my Kindle travelogue, by the way.
The fans, in their infinite wisdom, think Oderus would fit right in among Scorpion, Raiden and the rest of the Mortal Kombat kast. I can’t disagree. They’re both violent, artistic and your mom doesn’t understand why you would waste your time much less your money on either of them. But did you know that GWAR has had a long-standing relationship with the video-game industry?
The Beavis & Butthead 16-bit video games revolved around the two dolts making their way to a GWAR concert and ultimately getting onstage with the band. GWAR, whose members are as much artists as musicians, even helped with the graphical assets. I can’t say I ever made it that far personally, though I played the Genesis version more than once.
One of my myriad previous lives was as a jack-of-all-trades for THQ‘s WWE game franchise. I wrote and designed the single-player “Road to WrestleMania” mode and even directed the cutscenes and motion-capture. For WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011, I needed a voice for the created character as he pursued the fearsome Undertaker. I thought of Brockie. We got him in the VO booth with me on the other side, and I’m pretty proud of what came out. It was Brockie being Brockie, rather than Oderus.
And finally, when it came time for Tim Schafer and Double Fine to debut their Jack Black-led metal homage known as Brütal Legend, they got GWAR to play the launch party. I’m told it was a rousing success for all involved. Except maybe the EA accountants. “Why does one band cost this much to play one show?!”
Brockie had always wanted a GWAR game. Before I even reviewed games professionally – as a humble GWAR fan and gaming enthusiast – I tried to help bring this dream to fruition. However, it just never happened. I sent a new treatment to Brockie just a couple years back. I’m told there have been other attempts as well.
GWAR continues on without Brockie or Oderus, but it’s no easy feat. He may never take the stage to slaughter the latest president or slay another gore-filled monstrosity, but it would be pretty darn cool to see him kick Johnny Cage in the balls.