Meet the Sonic the Hedgehog Comic Writer Who Helped Write Indivisible

Meet the Sonic the Hedgehog Comic Writer Who Helped Write Indivisible

We talk to veteran comic writer Ian Flynn about his role in bringing Indivisible's characters to life.

Lab Zero Games' Indivisible is an action RPG that nods at Valkyrie Profile, a long-lost PlayStation cult favorite from Square Enix. It follows a young girl named Ajna as she travels the world to seal away a newly awakened evil. Like all good adventures, the tale Indivisible tells isn't just about Ajna's quest to save all of creation from oblivion. It's really about the friends she makes along the way—and oh boy, does she ever have a colorful passel of pals following her around.

Colorful characters is what Indivisible writer Ian Flynn knows best: He's been the main writer for the Sonic the Hedgehog comic for much of its record-breaking run. He was also the writer for Archie's critically acclaimed Mega Man comic. After years of writing about boy robots and Sonic the Hedgehog's candy-colored friends, bringing life to Indivisible's unique cast was a breeze.

Well, not exactly. Writing is not an easy act of creation, and it turns out penning a game's story and characters is quite different from scripting comic pages. I talked to Flynn about his role on Indivisible (disclosure: We're friends), what he enjoyed most about the process, and how writing for games is different from writing for comics.

USgamer: Can you tell me how deep your involvement was with Indivisible? Were you "assigned' to write certain characters, or did you help out with many of them to some extent?

Ian Flynn: I was one of three writers brought on somewhere in 2016 to write the story content for the game. That was story beats and dialogue. At the time the game was divided into twelve distinct portions, so we each got four. I was assigned the Prologue, Iron Kingdom, Inner Realm and Warped Inner Realm.

Hilariously, in the finished product, two of those were scaled back considerably, but so it goes. In early 2017—I think, it's been a while—our work was given to a single writer to bring it all into one, unified voice. And going by what I've seen of the final product, considerable revisions to characters and pacing happened along the way.

Indivisible's cast is a strange bunch with stranger combat abilities. | Lab Zero Games/505 Games

One of the coolest things about Indivisible is how each character and setting is inspired by a real world locale—e.g. Thailand, London, etc. What kind of challenges did you face writing for so many diverse locales and characters?

Thankfully all I had to focus on was Iron Kingdom, which was familiar territory – a little bit of Victorian England, a little bit of steampunk. Everything else was self-contained or completely character focused.

Speaking of challenges: You're a comic writer by trade. What's different about writing for comics versus video games?

All of my comic writing is driven from the ground up; I pitch the story ideas and they're adjusted by the editors and licensors. For Indivisible it was driven from the top down: the game developers had the story, characters and such already prepared. Instead of laying the foundation I was tasked with connecting the dots.

What's the same, if anything?

The basics of writing are universal: finding the voices of the characters, keeping to the themes of the property, finding the story arc and so on. And being that I'm writing for a videogame licensor, it's a matter of making sure what I'm writing fits with what the license holder wants for their IP.

Why fight monsters with swords when you can use a big boofer? | Lab Zero Games/505 Games

Who was your favorite character to write? And/or what was your favorite event to bring to life through your dialogue?

Ajna and Dhar as a unit. That's kind of a cheat answer, but I'm sticking to it. Figuring out how they tolerate each other, never mind function, was a lot of fun.

What was your favorite part of the whole video game writing process?

Writing for a videogame! How cool is that? I can't code and I can't draw, so my avenues into the industry is rather limited. I'm proud to have this feather in my cap, and I'm hoping it'll open more doors down the line.

You can read our review of Indivisible, which is out now for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. We also talked to Lab Zero at PAX East about what goes into creating a flawed heroine like Ajna.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

Read this next

Mailbag of the Blood God: What to Play if You're New to RPGs

The Axe of the Blood God mailbag returns with conversation about what to play if you're new to RPGs, Final Fantasy 13, and more.

Indivisible Review: A Journey Worthy of Your Undivided Attention

Indivisible's personable cast and engaging battle system carry the experience across its rough patches.

The Axe of the Blood God Fall 2019 RPG Preview

From Pokemon to the Outer Worlds, Kat and Nadia talk about the big RPGs coming out this holiday season.

Skullgirls Devs' Indivisible Finally Has a Release Date

But Nintendo Switch fans will have to wait a little bit.

Indivisible's Battle System is Rewarding, but Takes Some Getting Used To

Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.

Indivisible Puts Its Own Spin on the Core of Valkyrie Profile

An old classic finds a young fan to take up its mantle.

More

How the "Last Living Soviet Video Game Developers" Recruited Chapo Trap House for Disco Elysium

ZA/UM Studio and Virgil Texas of Chapo Trap House tell us how they became comrades for a video game.

The Unique Trauma I Shared With Red Dead Redemption 2

Sometimes life doesn't have a plan, Arthur. Sometimes things are just nutty.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Postmortem: The Making of the Expansion and the Future of the Series

We talk to Capcom about the challenge of making new monsters, future events, and that wonderful Palico grandmother.

More on PC

Former Fallout and Mass Effect Devs Form New Studio To Develop More Diverse Games

Corner Wolves is the first project meant to expand the scope of storytelling in the industry.

How to Unlock All Planets in Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

We show you how to reach every corner of the galaxy in Fallen Order.

How to Find and Kill Every Legendary Beast in Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

We show you how to hunt every monster in the galaxy.

Half-Life is Back

And it's a VR game.

More Role Playing Games Games

Pokemon Sword and Shield Review: The Promising Dawn of a New Generation

After all the controversy, it turns out that Pokemon Sword and Shield is actually pretty darn good.

Axe of the Blood God Reviews Pokemon Sword and Shield and Romancing SaGa 3

Kat, Nadia, and special guest Kallie Plagge go in-depth on Gen 8.

Path of Exile 2 Just Got Announced, and It's Already Throwing Jabs at Diablo

We've got a tussle for the loot game spotlight on our hands.

Pokemon Sword and Shield's Endgame Has a Heartfelt Sidestory

Catchin' the love alongside the Legendaries.