Kanye West (now known as Ye) is one of those celebrities who has a penchant for controversy and unpredictability. He’s crashed Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for her award for Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, focused on gospel music, attempted to run for president with Elon Musk as his political adviser, Pete Davidson on social media Hassled for dating ex-wife Kim Kardashian oddly developed a video game after their divorce. His fashion company Yeezy Gap and Balenciaga released a new mobile game to promote his new clothing line, to the surprise of fans.
In this untitled game, you set your avatar’s skin tone and gender, select any outfit from the Yeezy Gap Balenciaga clothing line, from a jumpsuit to a Gap hoodie with boots, and soar across the sky while holding your phone move left and right Collect as many pigeons as possible to stay afloat without falling back into the post-apocalyptic landscape. It’s pretty simple, but mostly weird. Not only is this game missing a title, but the mechanics build on the premise of only onean unreleased iOS game based on his song of the same name starring Paul McCartney, in which Kanye’s late mother, Donda West, ascends to heaven.
Weaving this simple, post-apocalyptic mobile game into the latest clothing line may seem like an excellent marketing strategy in the eyes of stakeholders, but in practice it’s a stunning culmination of Kanye’s long and strange saga through the gaming industry.
First gaming ventures and Only One
Kanye originally wanted to make video games rather than produce any form of music. Corresponding GameRant, at the age of 12, he tried to make a Mario-style game. The content of the game was sexual in nature, which would certainly have drawn the ire of many parents in 1989. but he managed to get Kanye to explore his musical talent while composing the soundtrack for it.
Flash deep into his successful music career. During an interview on 105.1 FM The Breakfast Club In February 2015, Kanye announced that he was creating the only one video game. Like the song it takes its name from, the game was created to honor the memory of his mother, who died in 2007 from coronary artery disease and complications from cosmetic surgery. Kanye explained that only one would be a linear game about guiding his mother to the gates of heaven. The premise mirrors that of Tripby only the player roaming through the clouds.
At E3 2015, Kanye approached Nintendo director Shigeru Miyamoto and then-President of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aimé, and presented a prototype for only one, which was set to a soundtrack he conducted himself. Former IGN reporter Zachary Ryan confirmed the story on a Twitter thread, and said that Miyamoto described the game as very interesting and moving. Kanye asked to speak to Fils-Aimé about pitching the game, and before long they were meeting at Kanye’s fashion company office. As Fils-Aimé explained in the podcast Talking games with Reggie and Harold, he told Kanye that Nintendo is a very strict video game company and has so many game projects lined up at the time that a collaboration between Kanye and Nintendo is not feasible. Two weeks later, Kanye announced only one at a Yeezy fashion show in New York.
The next year, Kanye showed the trailer for only one at the Yeezy Season 3 Fashion Event, Pablo’s life Album Listening Party and at E3 2016. The trailer showed his mother flying through heaven on a white horse before earning her angel wings to enter Heaven.
production for only one was maintained by Encyclopedia Pictura, a Los Angeles-based film and animation studio. The studio consisted of 14 employees who worked on the game from late 2014 to summer 2016. The game never saw the light of day.
According to Business Insider (via TheGamer) are sources familiar with the only one project said in 2019 that the game hasn’t been in production since that summer because funding for it failed. Encyclopedia Pictura denied that claim with a statement that said, in part, “We worked continuously on the project, through various stages of development, production, prototyping, redevelopment, more prototyping, then more production, before and after E3 2016. ‘ When TheGamer contacted the studio a short time later for an update, they claimed that they were no longer working on the game and said nothing further.
The trailer gave fans the impression that the production of only one was done, or at least a strand of hair was almost done. However, Encyclopedia Pictura stated on the game’s design page that even after completing the first version and developing a prototype, it left the project as Kanye was hospitalized from exhaustion, which led to him canceling the remainder of his Saint Pablo tour .
“We completed a version that was never released because Kanye wanted to expand the scope,” the studio said. “We built a prototype of this larger game, but after the events of November 2016 we parted ways with the project.”
The mobile game released by Yeezy Gap and Balenciaga is a kind of resurrection of only one, complete with elements such as motion controls, camera orientation for the avatar, and the collection of pigeons for flight maintenance. His concepts are on point, and the avatar’s rotation with the swaying motion of the phone in a superhero pose is reminiscent of a scene in his Run away Music video in which the phoenix girl flies back up into the sky where she came from. The only thing missing are the angel wings necessary to stay in flight.
It’s a cumbersome app that straddles the line between gaming and elaborate advertising, but it surprised fans considering the celebrity had apparently given up making games in his spare time after the failure of only one. This game, however, is a product of his persistence in getting his video game ideas out into the world at all costs, despite the gaming industry’s seemingly imperviousness to celebrity influence. Despite being one of the biggest celebrities in the world, he wasn’t big enough to get Nintendo execs to release his game. Instead, he had to bypass the industry entirely to achieve this.
It’s hard to tell if only one crashed to earth for this game to level up. Maybe it’s meant to be a teaser for the game, testing the waters and gauge player interest in more Ye games. Either way, it’s nice to see the artist’s passion project being realized in some form, disappointing as it may be.