The Teaser For “Only One,” Kanye’s First Video Game, Is Very, Very Kanye

Which is to say: Huh?

WHAT: The 44-second teaser for Only One, the first video game from Kanye West, which features plenty of atmospheric shots of a woman–who represents Kanye’s mom–soaring into the heavens while the ethereal, autotuned sounds of Kanye’s “Only One” (feat. Paul McCartney) accompanies the journey.


WHO: Kanye, obviously, in a game developed with Encyclopedia Pictura, directed by Isaiah Saxon and Sean Hellfritsch.

WHY WE CARE: Love him or hate him, everything Kanye West does is a fascinating creative endeavor worthy of our attention. The Life Of Pablo may have been a mess, but few messes are as interesting. His clothing line may sell plain t-shirts for hundreds of dollars, but what exquisite plain t-shirts they are! And Only One, in which players help Kanye’s mom, Donda West, navigate through the gates of heaven as an angel, is definitely another one of those endeavors that may be sublime and beautiful or may be incoherent and goofy. But either way, it’s going to be 100% Kanye, and that means we’re interested in getting a good look at what the game actually is. Kanye is hardly the first rapper to make a video game–shout-out to Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style and Def Jam: Icon–but he’s definitely the first one to use the medium as a way to explore intensely personal, spiritual themes that may be zero fun to play. Either way, the power of video games as a medium of self-expression is something that we’ve been hearing (and talking) about for a long time, and which someone like Kanye can kick into the mainstream simply by putting his name on it. The reviews coming out of E3 on Only One are tepid, but people didn’t really know what to do with 808s and Heartbreak at first, either–so we’ll give Only One a shot, and whether it works or not, we’ll probably see great things come out of what it inspires, because that’s just what friggin’ happens with Kanye West.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.