There is all this fuss going on about the new Diablo title that Blizzard announced and which is going to be a mobile game. I have mixed feelings about that but that’s not why I opened this post now. I was listening to Rhykker’s reaction video to the story and I found a comment underneath that hits really close to how I feel about games as a medium for years now.
“It is clear to me that the last line of defense against this orwellian nightmare is the gaming industry as the rest of the industry has gone bye bye in terms of neutrality and meaningful content, im referring to the media, hollywood and tv.
Theyve tried endlessly to destroy the gaming community but we have been resilient and stoic amidst this onslaught of social-political venom which only strives to dumb down stories which would otherwise have meaning in people’s lives hence making them free and imaginative thinkers.”
So, along the same lines: I think there are so many overwhelmingly satisfying narratives in video games that no other medium can come even close to. Maybe books. But games still have the potential to be visually pleasing too, and the interactive nature of the medium is another wonderful aspect.
The best thing you can hope for in movies nowadays is that Netflix picks a project up, believes in a team enough not to over-control them, and just maybe they don’t fuck it up. And even then stories are easily sterilized, censored or at least watered down to cater for a larger audience and meet a certain age restriction badge. And it is so disappointing. Going to the cinema to watch my favorite IP’s new instalment or a new and promising flick and end up with something subpar – in the past years this happened to me way more times than not.
In games even the biggest blockbusters can bring such jaw-dropping stories with so much less compromise. Take the Witcher 3 for example. There are so many notable elements in that world from interesting through magically enthralling to crazy-ass horror, but they could pull that off in an AAA quality fashion with quite some investment and still make a shitload of money on it. They didn’t need to remove any weird characters, sick visuals, or flashing boobs to meet an age group. They just put together what felt right and what could tell one of the best interactive stories in the past decade, and it sold. Because it feels right. Because this is what a great product looks like. And because people are not complete idiots and they like when something is right. (At least that’s what I hope.)
Probably there could be many thoughts to be added here to come to some clever conclusion. We could look at all the social dynamics going on in the world, and how economics are shaping up, and what practices are working in terms of sales and marketing, or how the corporate world works when such huge money is at stake. But I don’t want to make some clever point as a conclusion. I just want to express that I am so disappointed in how the “story industry” works these days. And whatever explanations may be wrapped around all this, it is unfathomable for me why most of the industry is only capable of producing mediocre shit while the actually good stuff clearly sell great, too. This is probably some kind of money politics that are beyond my comprehension. But it doesn’t make the whole situation less of a let-down.
Ah, I am reminding myself to the title of this post, so just before I end it on a fully depressed low: most of the movies are shit, but on the bright side there are brilliant games and they just keep coming. So fuck it Hollywood, we are fine on Steam and GOG.