It's been confirmed that Rick and Morty are living in a simulation—at least in the 16-bit world animators Paul Robertson and Ivan Dixon created for the hit Adult Swim show's titular duo. Robertson has been working for years to help the GIF format and 8-bit aesthetic transfer from Web 1.0 to 2.0. Now he lends his style to the internet's favorite alcoholic scientist and his anxious grandson. The adaptation of Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland's adult sci-fi series went live on Adult Swim's Facebook page earlier this week, and on its YouTube account last night.
Robertson and Dixon spent a month and a half building sprites in Photoshop and GraphicsGale, then animating them in Autodesk Animator. "Rick and Morty is awesome! It's one of my favorite shows," he tells The Creators Project. "We just tried to cram in as many of our favorite characters and references as possible while keeping the timing of the original the same." One example of this is the scathing look Mr. Poopybutthole gives Beth in this scene.
With a chiptune score arranged by Adult Swim's Brent Busby, 8-Bit Rick and Morty Intro is as nostalgia-inducing joyful to watch as versions of Princess Mononoke, Game of Thrones, the Olympics, and science's greatest heroes transformed into pixel art. Aside from being extremely satisfying, Robertson's video raises more questions than answers.
Is it an indication that there will be an 8-bit episode of Rick and Morty in Season 3? Dan Harmon's last cult-classic TV show, Community, included an episode that took place largely inside an old-school video game, as well as a claymation episode—territory Rick and Morty has already dipped into with a series of idents by Lee Hardcastle. Robertson weighs in, "I don't know, but hopefully I can work on it if they do."
It's been alluded to several times that Rick and Morty might take place partially inside a simulation, or that Rick might know that he's in a TV show. Is this 8-bit adventure an escape from one type of prison to another?
Finally, is this an indication that a release date is close to being announced? Adult Swim representatives have been understandably silent on this issue, but we're getting close to the "year and a half… or longer!" that Mr. Poopeybutthole alluded to in his post-credit rant at the end of Season 2.
Distract yourself from Rick and Morty cravings with Paulson's video below.
Watch full episodes of Rick and Morty on Adult Swim.