Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Bible: The Game

Yesterday I watched this, the Angry Video Game Nerd's third in a series reviewing terrible bible games:

ScrewAttack Video Game, Angry Video Game Nerd: Bible Games III HD | Video Clip | Game Trailers & Videos | GameTrailers.com

This review has me thinking it's time someone made a triple-A 4-star bible game.

The bible has all the makings of a modern blockbuster interactive experience: sex and violence aplenty, epic wars, out-there fantasy, and intimate truths relatable to a mass audience.  And I need not remind anyone it's the best-selling book of all time, so its story must be pretty solid.

It seems only niche Christian developers have any interest in touching the subject, which is a shame because their motivation to indoctrinate people with a Christian message always exceeds their ability to create engaging games (thereby rendering their message moot).  Give the bible to pros like BioWare or Valve and see what they come up with, please! Don't put the message first - let the expertly-designed game, telling the time-tested story, impart the message.

My knowledge of the bible is limited as I haven't studied it since my Catholic high school days, but I know it's fascinating enough to ensnare the attention of the modern gamer if the story is told in a fashion suited to video games.  We want (and I hate the tendency to abuse this word these days) an epic, and nothing less.  Bible games of yore represented only select portions like Noah's Ark, and crudely.  A true, beginning-to-end, Genesis-to-Revelations bible game has never been attempted, and it's time.  With the bible being so long and detailed, I think the best path to building the ultimate bible game is to make a continuous, multi-part series with each game based on a specific chapter, the first being Genesis and soforth (mirroring the structure of the bible), allowing the project the expansive latitude to breathe and accurately adapt the rich detail of the source material.

The tone must reflect the bible honestly, meaning yes, this will be an M-rated bible game, but never in the sensationalist or celebratory form of a GTA, and more akin to the brutal but reverant imagery of The Passion of the Christ.  Careful choices must be made in regard to gameplay since adding interactive choice to the literal bible of bibles will meet with heavy skepticism.  For instance: Cain is the main character of Cain and Abel, and he kills his brother.  Adapt that story accurately, and given that he's the focus, you will be playing as a character fated to kill his brother.  Many will be offended at the game asking you to inhabit his murderous skin and claim it's sacrilege for a bible game to offer that vicarious thrill.  How should the game make you kill your brother with such hatred as Cain felt, and how can the game make you feel remorse, and most importantly, how can the game, in an industry known for offering remorseless violence and terms like "kill count", make it clear you should not be having fun with any of this? The bible as instruction on "right" versus "wrong" has many such violent stories you'll play through.  How do you engage the player without prompting them to enjoy its most sin-filled moments? Difficult questions like these are why only proven game designers and not grass-roots religious organizations should make The Bible: The Game.

I'm really hoping this game happens.  I know this exact idea must've crossed the minds of more than a few game pros, and can only suspect that fears based on abysmal sales of past bible games, and fears of the alienating stigma associated with those message-motivated titles, have kept it as just an idea.  There is, however, a massive market not just for religious products and not just for video games, but for a true representation of the bible in video game form.  It's never been done before.

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