Ignition will self-publish the game in the U.S.—and it's not fooling itself. It knows it faces an uphill battle, not only with consumers, but potentially with retailers.
In 2006, Wal-Mart found itself in the center of controversy when it stocked "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" on its shelves. The game, based on the popular book series, which gave the author's interpretation of the Book of Revelation, proved controversial as players were instructed to either convert or kill non-Christians.
"El Shaddai," meanwhile, casts the future devil in a heroic role and tasks you to dispatch angels.
"I think when you see this game, there are lot of things about it that might prevent it from reaching a true critical mass audience," says Bettenhausen. "The art design is abstract—and that's by design. The character design is very atypical … And there's a few things that make this left of center. We're not expecting to get 'Joe Wal-Mart.' … It's always a concern in the back of my mind about how people will react. Once the game is out, we may find a few people who are on the fringe who may be upset but having played the game through, I don't think that will be the case."