Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Divinely Bad Idea

Within the last day or so, it was announced that Electronic Arts' Redwood Studios (the team behind the acclaimed horror title Dead Space) would be making a go at a venture based on Dante Aligheri's 'Inferno.'

The following is lovingly torn from a gamesindustry.biz article on the announcement.

"The time is right for the world of interactive entertainment to adapt this literary masterpiece, and to re-introduce Dante to an audience that, until now, may have been unfamiliar with the remarkable details of this great work of art," said Jonathan Knight, executive producer for Dante's Inferno.

Upon conclusion of that paragraph, I agree. Dante's "Inferno" is a great work of art. It's a fantastic piece of literature that has endured countless translations and no matter what language you may read it in, the romantic heart of the arcing story still holds.

My optimism was severely dashed when I later read the following in an article on Eurogamer.net.

"It's described as a third-person action-adventure adaptation of the first canticle of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy."

...action-adventure? It's been a few years since I trudged through the circles of Hell, but if I recall... the most 'action' that the story had was a boat ride over the river Styx and a time of being flown about by a winged demon. The vast majority of the book is political and social commentary while referencing the fates of historical figures. How in the 9 Hells would 'following Virgil and observing the damned' translate into 'action'?

And then the remainder of my optimism was completely obliterated when I found out that Kim Kardashian introduced a trailer of it during the Spike awards.

I now find this venture appalling on every single level. Not too long ago, EA decided to change their venture strategy to invest in more original properties and try more unique titles. A few months back they showed disastrous losses and I fear that this is the result - the complete bastardization of classic literature in the hopes of economic recovery.

What's next? A role playing game based on The Grapes of Wrath? Maybe a fishing simulator based on Watership Down? No - I've got a better idea. A rhythm game inspired by Death of a Salesman.

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