Penny Arcade to focus on webcomics, which is somewhat surprising

Tycho, who is one of the Penny Arcade guys (the bald one, right?) was very reflective on Friday. It may have something to do with Penny Arcade being a decade-and-a-half old. It may be because it is December, a time of solemn reflection of past accomplishments. In any case, he made a declarative statement that Penny Arcade was going to be about the comics again.

There was never a lot of time to think about what we wanted Penny Arcade to be like. It’s like us, I guess, by default; sort of a mess. We just tried to make the best decisions we could, any time a decision was called for. It doesn’t always work out. And sometimes, you do things because “that’s what you do.” You “grow your business,” for example. You “extend verticals.” I honestly don’t know about the second one. I’ll ask Robert. But at 15 years, we’re taking a minute to figure out what we want to be when we grow up.

Child’s Play and PAX have lives of their own, now. They’re vital, and they need an obsessive level of care. We will do everything in our power to ensure that these things outlast us by a wide margin.

But I don’t think I want to “grow my business” anymore; I sort of want to do the opposite. And I’m tired, sick to death, of saying “Maybe Someday” when it comes to the things we really want to make. So, we’re not going to do that anymore. The next year is going to be a pretty big one, one of the biggest yet; it’s the year the previous fifteen have been leading up to in the literal sense but also in other ways. I think they’re going to be “big years” from now on, frankly. And it hurts pretty bad, but I don’t know where PATV as a “channel” for third party shows and The Penny Arcade Report fit into that. We’ll be shutting those things down at the end of this year.

It isn’t mentioned in the post, but I guess with PATV gone, this means the end of Strip Search, too? I suppose. But with the video channel and the news/opinion arm gone, where does that leave Penny Arcade?

… it’s time to start making good on some of the promises we’ve made in our work. Recognizing that things like the Pins or The New Kid or Daughters of the Eyrewood or Thornwatch or The Lookouts or Automata deserve every ounce of our resources. Novels and albums, too – all these things that got put off in the interests of Empire. Essentially, we’ve decided to be Penny Arcade.

So there you go, boys and girls… Penny Arcade is all about the webcomics! which is… kinda unexpected.


About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on December 7, 2013, in The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. It talks about PATV “as a channel for third-party shows”, so Strip Search might not be dead, but on the other hand did they ever say they were going to do multiple seasons of it?

    • I wouldn’t rule out future seasons of SS as a possibility. PA may be redirecting its focus toward its original comic properties, but I think the first season of SS showed that they want there to be a lot of good comics out there, and that they’re willing to put their weight behind other people’s good comics. If they can think of a way to keep a second season of SS fresh–not just rehashing the first SS with new faces–I think they’d make it happen.

  2. It is a bit of a bummer, since Extra Credits and Shut Up & Sit Down are top notch shows. I hope they find a good new (in case of EC even a third) home.
    What I would love to see again are the 4th wall videos. They are connected to the webcomic a lot stronger, but I wouldn’t be surprised to not see that again. Peeking behind that curtain had some interesting points, but probably also spilled a few beans too much.

  3. there is a lot of controversies lately with penny arcade I dont know how its going to end

  4. I hope they get back on track; the comic’s quality has been deteriorating in the past couple of years.

    • I don’t know how much about that is because they’re getting older, though. (It was actually something that was touched on in one of their strips.) I mean, when you’re younger, you have the time to play video games, video games and strategy are on your mind, and it’s a snap to write your thoughts out in a poorly drawn webcomic (which early Penny Arcade was).

      But now you’re older, and you can’t make the same jokes without stirring up bucketloads of controversy, you don’t have time to play as many games anymore, and there’s no Jack Thompson or Tim Buckley really to kick around anymore. I think that it’s telling that toward the end of their announcement they were taking about projects that didn’t have to do with video games at all.

      But… that’s the Sword of Damocles, isn’t it? Their entire empire and reputation is founded on a video game webcomic, and going another direction might be too big of a risk to take considering their age and the various departments that rely on them putting out a video game webcomic.

      So, tl;dr version: getting old sucks.

      • Well, I think one can certainly make the case that the quality of the art has slipped lately, as evidenced by comics such as this one.

        As for the writing, I would say that the jokes in Penny Arcade actually are pretty much the same as they were ten years ago – which is kind of the problem. What once used to be fresh and new is now becoming old and stale.

        Not that I would presume to tell Mike and Jerry what to do with their comic, mind you. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the way they’ve built up their little empire over the years (even if I may disagree with certain specific things they’ve said and/or done).

        • Well, I think one can certainly make the case that the quality of the art has slipped lately, as evidenced by comics such as this one.


          What the hell is that crap.

          • He seems to be going for a more caricature based style, like Lar DeSouza of LICD. It does sometimes suit comedy, but here it just looks weird. Probably because he’s using it excessively and doesn’t really know what to not exaggerate.

          • For some reason, that art style reminds me of the dip between cartoon shorts made for cinemas (Disney/Fleischer at their best) and cartoons, a few years later, done as cheaply as possible for television (think UPA/Hanna-Barbera).

            All of this to say, they’ve shrunk their empire back around the cartoon, maybe to rekindle the “old magic” of that time when they were enjoying themselves doing this (as opposed to running a business), but I think it’s the beginning of the end for them. As I posted elsewhere, this is the moment where you know they’ll be playing Peter Pan all the way to their deathbed. If that’s a callous thing to say, it’s not my intention to be callous; I find it quite sad, really.

      • Hopefully they can find something that they can pour their passion into, I think someone so huge as them could probably survive a genre shift like that, and if it’s something they truly love doing readers will notice. If they just continue with uninspired vidjagame jokes sooner or later they’ll burn out.(note:I’ve never read Penny Arcade)

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