I love every single one of Dead Cells' animated trailers—they're funny, well-produced, and hit me right in my weakness for chunky and expressive linework. I'm not, however, entirely sure how the writers and animators are going to dig up a compelling narrative from Dead Cell's bloated, five-year-long story.
Dead Cells – The Animated Series will be made by Bobbypills—the same team responsible for their trailers—and co-produced by the French Animation Digital Network. It's set to span 10 seven-minute episodes and will "initially be exclusive to France before being made available worldwide" in 2024.
While I'm confident the series will be good fun, 'good fun' doesn't carry a good story. They've added plenty of lore and worldbuilding to the 2018 roguelike since my initial excursions as the Beheaded, but the act of tying those threads together into a single narrative is a huge task. I can only imagine that Motion Twin's narrative docs resemble the dizzying web of biomes and interconnected tunnels which make the game itself.
There's also the issue of tone. Bobbypill's style is loud, messy, adult, and charming, with killer action sequences and some great sight gags. I'm particularly a fan of their trailer for Dead Cells: The Bad Seed, a DLC from 2020, which flexes their chops for kinetic action. It'll look and feel spectacular.
I worry, however, that the studio's unique charm will rot away when it's dragged out over the course of an hour. It's one thing to serve as compelling eye-candy for a game with an already-strong visual identity, it's another to hold a particular tongue in that particular cheek for 70 entire minutes.
Much like the loveable Beheaded—who meets a grim fate in almost every trailer Bobbypill's animated—I'm not entirely confident they can pull this off, but I'll be rooting for them as they try.