Kanye West’s new game concludes his long, amazing Only One saga


Kanye West (now known as Ye) is one of those celebrities who has a penchant for controversy and unpredictability. He disrupted Taylor Swift’s performance for Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, a gospel-themed event, tried to run for president with Elon Musk as a political advisor, went after Pete Davidson on social media for dating ex-wife Kim Kardashian after their divorce, and ironically developed a video game. His fashion company Yeezy Gap and Balenciaga released a new one mobile game to promote his new fashion line, much to the surprise of fans.

In this untitled game, you set the skin color and gender of your avatar, choose any outfit from the Yeezy Gap Balenciaga clothing line, from a jumpsuit to a Gap hoodie with boots, and soar through the sky by swinging your phone left and right to collect as many as you can pigeons to stay afloat without falling into a post-apocalyptic landscape. It’s pretty simple, but especially amazing. Not only does this game lack a title, but the mechanics build on the premise Only oneunissued Game for iOS is based on his song of the same name with Paul McCartney, in which Kanye’s late mother, Donda West, ascends to heaven.

Tying this simple post-apocalyptic mobile game to the latest fashion line may seem like a great marketing ploy in the eyes of stakeholders, but in practice it’s a stunning culmination of Kanye’s long and strange saga in the gaming industry.

The first gaming company and only one

Kanye originally wanted to develop video games, not create music in any way, shape or form. In accordance with GameRanthe tried to create a Mario-style game at the age of 12. The game’s content was sexual in nature, which would no doubt have angered many parents in 1989. The game did not see the light of day, but it managed to make Kanye discover his musical talents while writing the soundtrack for it.

Remember his successful music career. During an interview on 105.1 FM Breakfast Club in February 2015, Kanye announced that he was creating Only one video game. Like the song from which it takes its name, the game was created in memory of his mother, who died in 2007 from coronary heart disease and complications from cosmetic surgery. Kanye explained it Only one will be a linear game about guiding your mother to the gates of heaven. The room reflects what with The journeyin that only the player wanders through the clouds.

Encyclopedia Pictura

At E3 2015, Kanye approached Nintendo director Shigeru Miyamoto and then-President of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Emme and unveiled a prototype for Only one, which was set to a soundtrack he himself conducted. Former IGN reporter Zachary Ryan confirmed the story on a Twitter thread, saying that Miyamoto described the game as very interesting and touching. Kanye asked to speak to Fils-Aimé about a game proposal, and soon enough the two met at the office of Kanye’s fashion company. As Fils-Aimé explained in the podcast Talking games with Reggie and Harold, he told Kanye that Nintendo was a very strict video game company and at the time had so many game projects that a collaboration between Kanye and Nintendo was impossible. Two weeks later, Kanye announced Only one at the Yeezy fashion show in New York.

The following year, Kanye released a trailer for the film Only one at the Yeezy Season 3 fashion event, The Life of Pablo album listening party and at E3 2016. The trailer showed his mother flying through the sky on a white horse before earning angel wings to enter heaven.

Production for Only one dealt with Encyclopedia Pictura, a film and animation studio in Los Angeles. 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), familiar sources Only one project stated in 2019 that the game had not been released since that summer because its funding fell through. The Pictura Encyclopedia refuted the claim, saying in part, “We worked continuously on the project in various stages of development, production, prototyping, re-development, more prototyping, then more production before and after E3 2016.” When TheGamer reached out to the studio for an update shortly after, it said it was no longer working on the game and said nothing more.

The trailer gave fans the impression that the production Only one was complete, or at least the strand of hair is almost done. However, Encyclopedia Pictura explained the game design page that he left the project even after completing the initial version and developing the prototype thanks to Kanye hospitalization due to exhaustioncausing him to cancel the remainder of his Saint Pablo tour.

“We ended up with a version that was never released because Kanye wanted to expand,” the studio said. “We created a prototype of this big game, but after the events of November 2016, we abandoned the project.”

Yeezy Gap Resurrects Only One (Kind of)

A selection of Yeezy Gap x Balenciaga outfits featured in the untitled mobile game.

The mobile game launched by Yeezy Gap and Balenciaga is a resurrection of sorts Only one, complete with elements such as motion controls, camera orientation for the avatar, and a collection of pigeons for flight maintenance. His concepts are right on the money, and the phone-swinging avatar rotation in a superhero pose is reminiscent of a scene in his Run away music video where a phoenix girl flies back to the heavens where she came from. The only thing missing are the angel wings needed to stay in flight.

It’s an awkward app that straddles the line between a game and a sophisticated ad, but it caught fans by surprise, given that the celebrity seemed to have given up on game development in his spare time after the failure Only one. However, this game is a product of his persistence to get his video game ideas out into the world at any cost, despite the gaming industry being seemingly impervious to celebrity influence. Although he was one of the biggest celebrities in the world, he wasn’t big enough to get Nintendo executives to release his game. Instead, he had to bypass the industry entirely to make it happen.

Hard to say when Only one plummeted to Earth so this game could soar. Perhaps this should be a teaser for the game, testing the waters and gauging players’ interest in other Ye games. In any case, it’s nice to see an artist’s passion project realized in one form or another, however sad it may be.

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Kanye West’s new game concludes his long, amazing Only One saga

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