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WRITERS Q&A: This L5R Loremaster time travels to pen Pacific Rim & Highlander

We hired Ree because she drafted really incredible adventure concepts, not fully understanding her deep legacy with some of the greatest games of our generation. She was the line producer and chief story writer for Magic: The Gathering, Legends of the Five Rings, Warlord, and Guild Wars 2. She is truly worthy of penning our two biggest franchises – Pacific Rim and Highlander.

Let’s start with a simple question. Who are you? How did you get into gaming as a hobby and as a profession?

Hi! I’m Ree Soesbee. I’ve been gaming since I was 11, and received a D&D boxed set for Christmas. I’m an author, Narrative Designer, world builder, storyteller, and novelist for countless worlds. I’ve authored eighteen novels in a variety of popular fantasy/sci-fi settings including Dragonlance, Guild Wars 2, Legend of the Five Rings, Star Trek, Deadlands, and Vampire: The Masquerade. My body of work includes AAA video games (Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2), hundreds of RPG texts, multiple CCGs, and inclusion in numerous short story anthologies and literary journals. I’m also a crazy avid gamer; I play all of the games I’ve written, and more.

As for personal info? I’m Ree (she/her). I’m from Seattle, I have a Master’s degree in literature, and I currently live in Reykjavik, Iceland. I play Horde in WoW, I think the Sith Code is great but needs tweaking, I’ve been an Archon to the Nosferatu Justicar, I played in a Deadlands LARP with Bruce Campbell once, and I love Shakespearean literature. I love bad sci-fi and good anime, old-school punk rock and classical violin, I’m a big horror movie fan, and I know kenjutsu. I’m also a safe space for LGBTQ+, and an unsafe place if you hurt animals. All wergild may be paid in Diet Coke and chocolate.

Legends of the Five Rings

What drew you to Evil Genius Games, what about Everyday Heroes™ appeals to you and your writing style?

Everyday Heroes takes the best of cinematic splash and heroic adventure and boils it down into a format that everyone can use. They stress the fun, the interactive experience, and the feel of being a big-screen hero – and that’s amazing! I’m a big fan of encouraging games to be as amazing as movies and inspiring the imagination of players and storytellers alike.

What do you think of the concept of Cinematic Adventures? Why did you want to write one?

I’ve written for a lot of genres and worlds, and I think that the ones we love most are the ones where our actions make an impact– worlds where we can be heroes, save the world, and shape adventures that are larger-than-life. Movies offer universal appeal, fast-paced action, and can serve as a gateway to broadly imaginative games. We all want to be heroes: and with these games, we can be.

Tell us about your thoughts on Highlander and Pacific Rim. When did you first encounter the property and what was your initial reaction?

I grew up on old-school Godzilla movies. A massive monster rising out of the ocean, bent on the destruction of humanity? SIGN ME UP! Despite the terrible effects and 1950’s monster-suits, those movies captured the imagination. When Pacific Rim first came out, I was transported back into that old-school Godzilla glee – but this time, with mind-blowing effects, epic cinematic battles, and massive Jaeger fighting one-on-one with the Kaiju. Pacific Rim offers a new twist on an old dream: to become a Jaeger pilot, standing unified with my partner, and battle hand-to-hand against mighty Kaiju in order to save the world from destruction. Since the first days of its release, I’ve followed the franchise with excitement, and I’m thrilled to slip into the writer’s “drivesuit” and provide storytellers a kick-off adventure to shape their own campaigns in this epic, cinematic world.

“In the end, there can be only one.” What gamer hasn’t felt an electric thrill at the sound of those words, at the thought of being a living immortal, cursed to fight for your existence for a thousand years in the hopes that you will survive – and in the end, claim the prize? Highlander stands alone, a pillar in the foundation of modern imagination. It’s a story where eternal lives entwine in friendship, love, rivalries, and in the end, elimination – looking forward with fear and resolution toward the Great Gathering. I’ve long been a fan of the various movies and TV shows, dreaming of different immortals that might live in this setting – just like everyone else that loves the franchise! I hope that this adventure will inspire others to dream of eternal lives, facing your enemies century after century as the world spins by. I’m super excited… but don’t worry, I won’t lose my head. 😊

What excites you the most about bringing this movie franchise to life through a tabletop roleplaying game?

For me, it’s less about adding to the lore, and more about exploring the ideas and unique facets that already exist within the franchise. These worlds are so incredible, with vast possibilities for storytelling epic, cinematic adventures within settings that we already love. I want to build on that, letting players feel as though their characters are a big part of these worlds and their actions truly influence the outcome of the adventure. I love these settings; and I want players who love them to feel like I’ve done a good job of putting them in the middle of the best parts of the movies we all love.

What would you tell fans of Pacific Rim & Highlander to ensure them that the movie property is in good hands?

That’s hard. I can tell you that I’m going to rewatch every movie and tv show (and I am), but honestly, writing them is a little bit of an excuse to do that anyway. (Seriously, I really love these two settings.) I’ll do everything I can to respect the lore, make the adventure feel true to the world, and let you be the heroes. I’m not trying to ‘add my own spin’ or create new lore that will come out of left field. I want to honor what’s already there, show off what made the movies amazing, and put the players and the story right in the middle of the action. It comes down to the fact that I genuinely love the worlds in which I’m writing – just as much as you do.

These Cinematic Adventures will be available in March 2023. You can pick up this Cinematic Adventure and more on our Store.

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