Recently I’ve gotten excited about a game that’s come out that isn’t titled The Last of Us. It’s actually called Divinity Dragon Commander.
In it you play a man who is half dragon and thus can transform into a dragon. You are the bastard son of the late king and after your father was slain by your siblings you were conscripted to take charge of the remnants of your father’s army mostly on the basis of the fact that you were:
A) As mentioned, a dragon.
B) Not evil.
So you’re given a massive skyship that is powered by means I won’t spoil (but are quite awesome) and are told that through a unique sequence of events, both magic and technology live in harmony in this world. As a result you are given a first, free piece of technological equipment to help you on the battlefield while you lead your troops in military engagements against your evil siblings.
This item is a jetpack.
You play a dragon with a jetpack.
Now can someone tell me why I get so many strange looks when I tell people that?
When the heck did this happen to the game industry? When did something that sounded even remotely ludicrous became something of derision? It was just last generation when we had Ratchet and Clank people! And Okami!
I get the feeling with this increasing need for the industry to try and be taken seriously by every other medium (no matter how corrupt, unoriginal and frankly abused that medium might be) it’s imposing a new set of values upon the gaming public.
Those that aren’t preoccupied with the latest Call of Duty that is. Look at Grand Theft Auto V which is doing its hardest to beat the old stereotypes about its own franchise as Saints Row IV mops up those lost in the shuffle. Honestly, was it that important that a full golf tournament be put in GTA? Will it really make the world take the industry seriously?
And that’s a problem I have now. No matter how good something like The Last of Us is. It’s still a game where you guide a female character through a zombie wastleland. We’re still getting DLC for The Walking Dead, is our vision that limited that we have to keep telling the same story in different gameplay styles?
Look at the Dragon’s Crown controversy! Let me rephrase that, why was there even a controversy? Why did that escalate in any way? I really hope it was a marketing scam, I really do. Because the reality of grown men arguing over how large breasts should be is just stupid.
And please don’t misunderstand me! There is nothing wrong with a growing maturity in gaming. But it should be like a broadening of horizons, not an exclusion of old fun trends. Divinity Dragon Commander has you actively assisting real time battles with passive and active spells. You make political decision on your ship that decide how people will live which in turn, influences how well the races accept you as a leader. This is something on par with Civilization with some really interesting characters that you interact with.
I think in reality, it isn’t the industry that provokes this reaction but rather that of the gaming community as a whole. We’re entering this phase of showing how mature we are which has the regrettable side effects that you can imagine. One of which seems to be forgetting some of our roots and that occasionally something that seems like it makes no sense can be remarkably fun.
Much like a plumber fighting turtles to save a princess.
So too does this work exist.