Friday the 13th: The Game was set for an Among Us-style mode before a lawsuit blocked development.
That’s according to Wes Keltner, CEO of Gun Media and one of the developers of Friday the 13th.
In a TwitLonger post, Keltner revealed a raft of content planned for the game before development was shut down in 2018 because of a messy Hollywood battle over ownership of the franchise.
In 2017, Victor Miller, scriptwriter of the original Friday the 13th film, decided the rights were his and set out to reclaim them, triggering an ongoing legal battle with Friday The 13th producer Sean Cunningham.
The court ruled that developer Gun Media had to stop working on Friday the 13th and could not release any content that had not already passed console certification. At the time, Gun Media said developing new content for the game was “unfeasible now or in the future”.
Scrapped plans included a slumber party clothing pack.
“It was all the counselors in sleepwear attire,” Keltner explained. “I actually setup a real life 1800 phone number that worked like an automated phone sex line. You could call it IRL. It had a pre-recorded message of our counselors saying silly sexy stuff like those dumb commercials from the 80s and 90s. It would have been fun. These assets were in the code, but the judge ruled that it wasn’t ‘marketably viable’. Meaning it needed to pass console certification, and it wasn’t ready for that. So it might have looked done, but not in the eyes of the court.”
There was also a plan to release a prom pack.
“We wanted to turn Crystal Lake into prom night,” Keltner said. “Tuxes, dresses, dance floor, that type of thing. We were modeling the dance floor like the one from the ship in Part 8. Even talked about turning the bird bath into a punch bowl, but allowing Jason to still use it as a kill spot.”
The Among Us-style game mode was called Paranoia, Keltner revealed.
“Yes it was a new game mode,” he said. “Kinda similar to Among Us. Everyone spawns as counselors. No Jason. You have to find the Part 5 mask. Then you can become Jason. We discussed forcing the player to have to ‘hide’ to change back and forth. Perhaps the armoire/closet thing. The player could be killed if in counselor mode. If killed they drop the mask on the ground for the next counselor to pick up and become Part 5. We were building new escapes for this game mode that required 2+ counselors to escape. Like holding open a gate, etc. It had moments of fun, but needed more work.”
Gun Media even released a trailer for the Paranoia mode back in October 2017. The trailer said it was “coming soon”. Obviously, it never came out.
In a tweet, Keltner revealed Gun Media made a Giallo-style poster for Paranoia. “Every time I stumble upon it on my hard drive I feel proud of the graphic design, and sad at the same time,” he said.
We even made a Giallo style poster for the game mode. Every time I stumble upon it on my hard drive I feel proud of the graphic design, and sad at the same time. pic.twitter.com/t7l6PzqUNU
— WesKeltner (@weskeltner) June 24, 2021
Keltner revealed the scrapped content because “I felt enough time has passed”.
“I know they are bittersweet. Some will lament, some will think they are cool ideas, some will be angry. I understand that anger, I feel it too. But I wanted you all to know that we loved this franchise and this game. We had big ideas for it. Ideas that we thought ya’ll would think were fun, engaging, and rewarding. We wish it would have worked out differently.”
What’s the status of Friday the 13th? According to Keltner, the lawsuit between Victor Miller and Cunningham “affects the entire license. Films, games, etc. And there’s not really an end in sight”.