Posted by Decapitated Dan |

Deep Discussions with Decapitated Dan: Michael Mendheim

I recently had a chance to talk to Michael Mendheim about his current Kickstarter for
Mutant Football League. Check it out:

Decapitated Dan:
Hey Michael thanks for taking time to talk with me about your Kickstarter for Mutant League Football.

Michael Mendheim: Hey Dan, no problem, it’s absolutely my pleasure and a huge thank you for giving my projects exposure. I totally appreciate it!

DD: First of all lets talk about you. Who are you and what do you do?

MM: My name is Michael Mendheim and I’m a creator / producer type. I come up with an idea and then figure out how to produce and market it. This usually involves building a team of talented people and then directing them to achieve the desired objective. I mainly work in the video game space but have recently dabbled in the comic industry as well. Some of the products I’ve worked on include: Tazmania (SNES), Mutant League Football & Hockey (Sega Genesis), BattleTanx (N64), Army Men: Sarge’s Heroes (N64), Def Jam: Icon (XBox / PS3), Robocalypse (NDS) and CrimeCraft (PC). Last year my first graphic novel was released, a 3 book trilogy called, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse which won the 2012 Ghastly award for best original novel and for best artist, Simon Bisley. I currently run a casual game company called, Digital Dreams Entertainment LLC and we’re about to release our first title called, Hip Hop Trivia starring the rapper, Murs.

DD: How did you find yourself getting into working on video games?

MM: I started as an illustrator, creating box covers for video games. Eventually that turned into designing characters and then level maps (basically mazes for characters to walk through) and before I knew it I was sucked in. Back in those days there were only a few guys making a game. A programmer would look at my art and turn it into pixels. The first game I ever designed did over a million units. That paid better than doing posters for Miller Beer so I stuck with it.

DD: Before we get into all the awesome info you are about to unleash, what is the link to the Kickstarter page?


DD: So what can you tell me about Mutant League Football, what’s it all about?

MM: The original Mutant League Football was released in 1993 and is one of the video game industries most beloved and brutal sports- hybrid genres. Mutant Football League is a fresh new take on the original classic with an all-star creative team of writers, artists and developers including, Dave Elliott and Simon Bisley. The game is essentially a great-playing action football game with deep strategy, bone-crunching hits, over-the-top gore effects and laugh-out-loud humor. The games are played in a distant Galaxies; playing fields are filled with dangerous hazards and objects like pits, mines and lava. Wisecracking Mutants and Monsters take the place of your most loved and hated NFL Stars, who take to the field to battle it out in the most violent game ever played.  Yes, you can win the game by scoring more points than your opposition, but you can also win by attrition. You do this by decimating the other team’s players so they can no longer field a team (because all their players are dead), this results in a forfeit. The game is planned to be available for mobile systems (iOS and Android), PC, PSN and XBox Live. Eventually we will develop for the next gen systems, PS4 & XBox One.

DD: Where did this idea come from?

MM: When I was a little kid I used to carry around little plastic monster figurines in my pockets. I would pretend they were alive and take them everywhere. When it was time to play, I’d take them out, spread them across the table or ground and have them battle it out epic gladiator monster wars. To me, Mutant League is exactly that, only these little monsters play football and take on my favorite and most hated sports stars personalities. The closer we can get the game to feel like that and the more personality we can give the player creatures the more amazing the game is going to be.

DD: So why try to bring it back after so many years?

MM: Fans have urged me to do this for some time now and it being also the 20th Anniversary of the original Mutant League Football felt like it was destiny, the timing just felt right. We chose Kickstarter because it seemed like it would be our best shot to get the game funded. We launched a couple weeks ago but right now it looks like it’s going to be very difficult for us to succeed.  We have a lot of loyal Mutant League fans that are eager for a new game but many more who might not have heard about our Kickstarter campaign or who are hanging on the fence. We need them to get off the fence and support the project.

DD: What kinds of rewards can people get for joining on with the Campaign?

MM: People can purchase the mobile game for $2 bucks. They can get the PC for $13 and for $25 you can add PS3 or Xbox 360 Game. There’s something for everyone, we’ve got a “MF” League blood poncho for rainy football games (you’ve really got to see this to believe it), a fart animation for your player characters and one high priced reward, which lets you be a Monster or Mutant player in the actual game. You get to decide the name, position and number. Each Backer will also receive 1 share of “Mutant Football Stock” – is this stock worth anything, well financially no, but it gives them the right to vote on the design aspects of the game forever. Only backers will receive this certificate.

DD: Okay you have to tell me about the campaign video, where did this idea come from? I LOVED IT!

MM: The writing staff, myself, Jay Lender, Micah Wright and Dave Elliott all wrote the script. One of my best friends, Larry Wotman ( shot and directed it. The severed head visual effect scenes were done by another buddy of mine, Steve Cejtin (  Larry and Steve did me a huge favor by helping me make the video. We wanted a funny video that represented the game we were making and I think we succeeded. It’s basically about me being haunted by the game and voices telling me to make it. Finally I give in and put the team together so we can make it. Of course there are people out there who hate it and others who think the money we spent on it should instead be going to the game. I keep telling everyone, we spent time and sweat equity making the video, but not much money. The video looks good because the talent who directed it is really, really good. Barry Blum did the music. He’s great!

DD: Who all is involved with this project?

MM: Dave Devries: Creator of the Monster Engine. Dave will help us define the look and feel of the game and characters.

Dave Elliott: Comic writing legend Dave Elliott will help us create the Mutant Football League universe for both the game and comics.

Jay Lender: He wrote SpongeBob Squarepants and Disney’s Phineas & Ferb. Jay will help drive story and keeping things funny and outrageous.  

Simon Bisley: Eisner Award winning comic artist and legend (Judge Dredd, Lobo). Simon will be helping with character design.

Micah Wright: Writer for Call of Duty: Black-ops: Zombies. Micah will help drive story

Run Games: We’re working with Run Games studio and licensing their game engine technology from Football Heroes to make our game.

Robomodo Studios: Have worked on such industry classics as: Tony Hawk Series, Fight Night Round 3, NBA Street and the Mortal Kombat series. Robomodo will help with art direction and production for Mutant Football League.

DD: Can we hope and pray that the Mutant League brand will reach out to other media, like it did before?

MM: That’s certainly the plan; we would love to have a comic line to coincide with the videogames. You’ll notice we have talent from games, comics and television. That’s exactly where we want to take this property.  However, right now we need some help on Kickstarter or none of this is going to happen.
DD: What kind of games were you into that made you want to make a video game like this?

MM: There was nothing really like this game in the market when we first made it. We just wanted to make a football game that was completely off-the-wall, where Player’s died and you could bribe or even kill a ref. There were three games that did influence us in some way: Mortal Kombat (extreme violence), Madden Football (great football gameplay). We also liked the ease of play and personality that Mario Kart brought to the table.

DD: What games are you currently playing?

MM: Madden25 and GTA5. I’m also about to ship a new product next month so I’ve got that game in my head – testing it like crazy. It’s a Hip Hop Triva game starring the rapper, Murs for iOS. It’s a really fun, casual game.

DD: So in summary give me a quick recap on Mutant League Football and why people need to come on board.

MM: If you’re a fan of Mutant League or just think the idea is cool and want to see the game get made, please support us any way you can, even a $2.00 pledge for a mobile game is going to help us. Things look a bit grimm right now on Kickstarter, but we’re not giving up, we’re going to keep fighting and do our very best to make this game happen. Please back us and then spread the word, share it on your facebook page, tweet it, shout it out! We need your support and in return we’ll make you an awesome game that will make you laugh.

DD: What’s that link to join in again?

And our Facebook Page:
And Follow us on Twitter: @mutantfootball

DD: Thanks so much for your time Michael.