Justin Roiland, the creator of popular and subversive cartoon Rick and Morty, has founded a video game studio called Squanchtendo.
Rick and Morty already exists in video game form, in Adult Swim Games’ phone game Pocket Mortys, a Pokemon-like with a dark sense of humor which finds the Council of [multiverse] Ricks collecting and battling Mortys from various universes. Adult Swim has also just announced Rick and Morty Simulator: Virtual Rick-ality for the HTC Vive, being developed by Owlchemy Labs of Smuggletruck, Snuggletruck, and Job Simulator fame. Squanchtendo, a portmanteau of Nintendo and Rick and Morty character (and NSFW gag) Squanch, seems to be a more personal foray into game development by Roiland.
Though this may look like a gag from the outside, Rick and Morty fans know how deeply the show’s affection for video games goes. S1E4 takes place inside a sometimes buggy simulation; S1E5 mocks fetch-quests; S2E2 features a VR headset game called “Roy” that lets you live a full life however you want. Rick and Morty has also been featured in several games’ Easter eggs, such as a poster in The Division where a missing man was “last seen screaming ‘wuba luba dub dub'”.
Furthermore, those who bought the second season on DVD and listened to the commentary know that in exchange for Roiland working on a DOTA 2 voice pack for Valve, Roiland got Valve’s biggest names to do commentary on the episode with the Roy game: co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell; writer on Psychonauts, and subsequently Valve’s Orange Box, Left 4 Dead, and Portal 2, Erik Wolpaw; and Portal 2 writer Jay Pinkerton. Newell even makes a Half-Life 3 joke in the commentary.
Roiland explains that he’s always been a gamer, and he’s wanted to make games since trying out the Oculus Rift DK2 VR headset, which is reflected in Roy. He’s teamed up with Tanya Watson, an ex-producer for Epic Games who worked on Unreal Tournament 3, Gears of War 1-3, Bulletstorm, and Fortnite. The same comic announcing the news offered an email to apply for investing or job opportunities, and they’ve apparently been inundated since:
— Squanchtendo Games (@squanchtendo) August 26, 2016