Every now and then a project comes along that can make even the most jaded curmudgeon crack a smile—Outerlands is one of those projects. Video games are a diverse form of entertainment, and one that is oftentimes misunderstood, vilified or mocked. But the industry is filled with passionate people: Players, journalists, creators, publishers and platform holders who all have their own interesting stories about how they got in, what makes them stay and sometimes, why they leave. For every blockbuster title, there are a slew of smaller budget independent titles, which speak to an ever-growing and diverse audience of gamers.
The team responsible for Outerlands is AREA 5, a San Francisco production company formed in 2009 that’s comprised of five crew members formerly of The 1UP Show and CO-OP. They are known within the industry for their high production values and emphasis on storytelling; see “ I AM Street Fighter: 25 Years of Inspiration” for example. In recent years the illustrious company has tapped various notable artists and musicians—including Jim Guthrie, David Hellman and Cory Schmitz—to add to the growing culture of video games as whole.
The Outerlands documentary series aims to “explore the areas outside of traditional gaming coverage.” It’s a way for people that love (or are simply curious) about video games to explore the people, art and culture of the medium. Through this, AREA 5 wants to legitimize not just the art that’s involved in games, but tell human stories too. With any luck, the series will help educate those see gamers as the ’90s stereotypes they are oftentimes viewed as. And, looking at their past work, AREA 5 has the expertise, industry knowledge and relationships to do just that.
AREA 5 plans to roll out the documentary in a TV-style format with all six episodes releasing simultaneously around mid-July of 2015. To finance this endeavor, the minds behind AREA 5 recently launched a Kickstarter campaign, which ends on 15 February.
Screenshots courtesy of Outerlands