Christopher Cantwell’s ‘She Could Fly’ Goes From Graphic Novel to Computer Game Exploring OCD | Exclusive

Dark Horse Comics’ graphic novel “She Could Fly,” written by Christopher Cantwell with artist Martín Morazzo, is being adapted into a video game, TheWrap can exclusively reveal.

The project is described as a “documentary escape game” that explores mental illness, inspired by the original story about a young woman with obsessive-compulsive disorder who latches onto a mysterious flying woman and her disappearance.

Cantwell, who lives with OCD, remains best known for cocreating the acclaimed AMC series “Halt and Catch Fire,” but he’s also made a name for himself as a comic book creator.

“For me, in the graphic novel, flying is a form of relief or freedom for the main characters,” Cantwell said in a statement. “In my life, what I look for, in terms of relief or freedom, is not happiness but peace of mind. Real peace of mind. Peace of mind is very important to me, and it’s something I’m always striving for. And I hope that by playing this game or reading our story, it helps you find some peace of mind as well.”

You can watch the game’s trailer exclusively through TheWrap in the video at the top of this story.

The project examines OCD and anxiety with input from scientists and lived experience experts. It’s a point-and-click game with a psychological bent, combining interactive elements with comic art and documentary film giving deeper insight into mental illness in what’s described as a lo-fi “looping adventure.”

In the “She Could Fly” game, you’re guided by narrator Tiger Orchid, a character styled after Twitch/YouTube creators and voiced by actress Shaniqua Okwok (“It’s a Sin,” “Small Axe”). The game opens with her character having just picked up … the game itself. She walks into an apartment (or “flat” as the British character would say) that’s largely empty, but its walls are covered with comic book art. The game’s characters include flatmate Hanna Rampersad, a reassuring beanbag and creepy knitted birds/Fear Monsters.

The game’s writer/director/producer Sara Kenney of Wowbagger Productions explained in a statement that her company seeks to collaborate with “creatives from marginalized perspectives to share less-known stories.”

“‘She Could Fly’ is an ambitious and brilliant graphic novel,” Kenney said, adding that the game’s goal “is to explore the world that Christopher Cantwell and Martín Morazzo created putting an end to trivialization of OCD, while increasing a real and empathetic understanding of the condition.”

Mysteries in the game include discovering who lives in the apartment, what the deal is with the creepier aspects of the environment, finding your way out and dealing with perpetually burnt toast.

“This is our first digital game and decades of storytelling and producing experience meant we ensured the comic, documentary and gameplay works together and flows in a meaningful way,” Kenney said.

“It’s so important for people who have lived experience of OCD and other mental illness to read a story about somebody like themselves, what their experiences are, how they navigate that and how they get through that,” Dark Horse editor Karen Berger said in a statement.

Kenney added that her team wants to continue exploring “games for impact” in a cross-disciplinary way, “not just combining art and science, but also the different disciplines of games, comics and film.”

She led and codesigned the game with coproducer Mairéad Ruane, who has experience with OCD. They also worked with a team of “Lived Experience” experts to help inform the content of the game. Over the past two years, scientists, psychologists and medical humanities experts from Bath University, Maudsley Psychiatric Hospital, Oxford University, Cambridge University, OCD Action and the University of Southern Mississippi reviewed scripts and drafts of the game to provide feedback.

The not-for-profit game is set to be released on Steam on July 12 for $5.99, with proceeds beyond development costs and maintaining the game set to go to “engagement activities around OCD and mental health.”

“Part of what we want to accomplish through the release of the game is to recognize people with OCD and guarantee them timely access to clinically recommended treatments,” the team behind the project said in a statement.

“She Could Fly” utilizes artwork from the original graphic novel by artist Morazzo and colorist Miroslav Mrva. The comic was published by Dark Horse Comics as part of its Berger Books imprint. The game is produced by British developer Wowbagger Productions in association with Two Tails Studios and Oubliette Games, with funding from the Academy of Medical Sciences, Arts Council England, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, The Physiological Society and U.K. Games Fund.

You can read the first five pages of the original graphic novel that inspired the game below:

The cover to graphic novel "She Could Fly."
The cover to graphic novel "She Could Fly."
A page of the comic She Could Fly.
Page 1 of graphic novel “She Could Fly” (Courtesy Dark Horse Comics)
A page of the comic She Could Fly.
Page 2 of graphic novel “She Could Fly” (Courtesy Dark Horse Comics)
A page of the comic She Could Fly.
Page 3 of graphic novel “She Could Fly” (Courtesy Dark Horse Comics)
A page of the comic She Could Fly.
Page 4 of graphic novel “She Could Fly” (Courtesy Dark Horse Comics)
A page of the comic She Could Fly.
Page 5 of graphic novel “She Could Fly” (Courtesy Dark Horse Comics)

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