Travis Jones – ONEO Studios Founder / 7 Sages – Creative Supervisor
Before he began his work on Seven Sages Travis spent a number of years working with youth in foster care and adults in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver. Eventually he decided that he needed a change, so he went back to school for a diploma in therapeutic counselling. He believes the experience has helped to deepen his understanding of the human condition and improve his concept for the 7 Sages.
Brian Banfield – Martial Arts Advisor / 7 Sages – Composer
Brian is trained in multiple disciplines of martial arts, with his chief interest being Wushu. He began this path at a very early age and attributes his creative self-discipline to these experiences. He began building his portfolio in fight choreography as a young adult, but the piano is his first true passion and the driving force behind the music he creates.
Why are you making this game?
The Seven Sages were truly inspiring. Many believed in their message of equality and peace in a time when violence was all around them. Their anti-war, anti-establishment stance was risky given the period but still they advocated for balance and acceptance. The two most famous of the Sages, Ruan Ji and Xi Kang, are known to have been lovers. A fact which has been minimized or ignored altogether, as is so often the case with our historical figures.
Like our little team at ONEO Studios the Sages were artists. Their music, poetry and philosophies inspired change, and we hope to do the same.
What makes it special?
There has never been a video game where an industry standard budget and LGBT+ centralized content come together. Many allies and trailblazing members of our community working in the industry have pushed for inclusion in mainstream titles. However these big studios have yet to take the “risk” and create a solely LGBT+ project like Seven Sages. Some believe this is out of a fear of alienating their largely heterosexual demographic, while others say it simply wouldn’t be a profitable venture.
We have demonstrated the market for LGBT+ content enough. The numbers don’t lie. Big game companies may change their view eventually. But we think it’s time to move out in front and push for even higher aspirations. Soon a wide variety of our stories will begin to be told in this art form without tokenism and ONEO Studios plans to be at the forefront of that movement.
Why this story?
We believe that the Seven Sages are still relevant to the world today. They were targeted by a government who stood in opposition to their message of freedom and acceptance. Famous for using clever allegory to communicate their sentiments, their philosophies and social commentary attracted a large following which threatened the powers that be. We suspect many people who don’t identify as LGBT+ will still be interested in this ancient story of war, love and betrayal. However we are creating it especially for the LGBT+ community.
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