Note: The top of the Scripts page mentions that Hollywood still hasn't churned out a successful movie based on a videogame license, and it doesn't look like the recent Assassin's Creed adaptation has turned that tide. That's why Craig is here with a one-two punch: over at The Editing Room, he has gloriously abridged the Assassin's Creed movie, and here on this blog, he has written a new script that does the game a lot more justice.
With approximately ten thousand Assassin’s Creed games out there, it’s strange for me to remember that I was a bit surprised when Assassin’s Creed II was announced. Assassin’s Creed was a decided disappointment. Everybody (myself included) was dazzled by early footage which showed off the fluid and adaptable “free-running” element of the game, but then when it actually came out, everybody (myself included) was dismayed to find how tedious most of the other elements of the game were.
Let’s talk for a minute about guilty pleasures. I have firm ideas of what I do and do not consider a “guilty pleasure.” I like the movie Speed Racer, but don’t consider it a guilty pleasure, because to my sensibilities, it’s a good movie. I understand that this isn’t a popular conception, but who cares – I have a high opinion of the film, I can articulate it when called upon, I am not ashamed of having seen it several times and owning it on Blu-Ray.
Back in 2007, the people at Infinity Ward laid the groundwork for all military shooters since with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Now we have Titanfall 2, a game put together by a lot of the same developers. That shared DNA is apparent in how understated both games are in their accomplishments. The main difference is that, in contrast to the first Modern Warfare, Titanfall 2 never ruminates on how war is a terrible thing that only leaves spent lives in its wake. The story helps in that regard by painting a very black-and-white world in which there are only clear good guys and cartoonish bad guys. Nothing deeper is required.
The Deus Ex script was the first I ever wrote for Playthroughline, so I was really looking forward to tackling Mankind Divided, the next entry in the franchise. I won't use this space to dig into the game's misappropriation of social issues for its science fiction allegory, since the script already does that. I do want to look at how a more general failing of its storyline is connected to the first Deus Ex.
It's such a rare idea, to actually end a game franchise. Videogames come second only to comic books in their tendency to be perpetual – while movies, books, plays, albums and so forth are more often than not standalone (even in this day and age), and even TV shows are expected to eventually end, it’s exceedingly rare to see a video game created without any chance of a followup, and also very rare for a successful series of games to be deliberately brought to a permanent conclusion.
How did it ever become a conversation? And why, after such a long time, does it persist? You can't have a story – a nine hour story – fronted by a character who doesn't ever speak. That's basic. That's the first rule. I can definitely imagine the meeting where someone boasted it would allow videogame players to more easily identify with their avatar. But I can't imagine why nobody in the same meeting stood up and said “No. That's stupid. That's anti-narrative.”
Note: To capitalise on the latest videogame craze, Ed Smith wrote out a short but sweet script on Pokémon GO. Click the link above to give it a read. Think of it as a look at the wider world of Pokémon games through the lens of This is England. Yes.
Leon Kennedy is one of my favourite videogame characters of all time. He's stupid, jocular, ludicrously good-looking and cracks some of the best/worst oneliners in history. “I need a report on your situation,” inquires Hunnigan at the start of Resident Evil 6. “I just shot the President,” Leon replies, his perfectly designed fringe hanging gracefully across one eye. He's a guy that you just want to be around. Whether macho, funny or trying it on with one of the many, many ladies that he meets, every word out of Leon's mouth is pure gold. In a world of try-hard heroes, all with gritty “back stories,” he's an unadulterated, absolute joy.
Hey everybody, I've decided that this rant is going to be DARKER AND EDGIER than my previous ones. I want you to all put on your favourite death metal track and imagine me growling this out in an angry monotone, while I figure out how to work in an uncomfortable number of beheadings and disembowelments. This makes it automatically better, right? Jamming in more blood and anger makes everyone more interested in consuming your product!
In case I'm not being clear: I absolutely can't stand the "darker and edgier" approach in media, and I cannot comprehend the marketing machine that thinks it's the way to win an audience.
Note: As promised, here is the first of three contributor Scripts to celebrate the launch of the redesigned site. John Keefe has bravely faced Hideo Kojima's latest offering and you can go marvel at the results through the link above. There's some further thoughts from John below, and they couldn't conflict with Ed Smith's opinion any harder if they tried.
Hideo Kojima is one of gaming’s first and finest auteurs, producing innovative and experimental titles that have defied convention in every respect and have also sometimes been kind of good. He’s created some of the most memorable characters in gaming, crafting a convoluted pastiche universe blending pathos, duplicity, and weird clown humour in a way that’s only occasionally coherent but always fascinating. Kojima is uncompromising, unhindered, and insane. We love him, like that gibbering man on the subway who smells like cheese but churns out some pretty gorgeous crayon drawings in between rants about reptilians causing global warming. But ambition is the curse of great men.
And Hideo, like the glorious bird he is, flew too close to the sun.
Welcome to Playthroughline, the online home of writer/narrative designer Joannes Truyens. Together with a bunch of cool people, I made Neurocracy, a hypertext game that invites you to solve a murder in a near-future world by diving into the Wikipedia of that world.