Are our games a little bit too American?
I go this thought while I was watching a Legacy of the Void Campaign introduction video. Legacy of the Void is going to be the third installment of the Starcraft 2 trilogy and it will revolve around Protoss. Apparently Protoss are making an attempt to retake their homeworld Aiur from the Zerg. They are preparing a massive assault armada, full of high Egyptian-looking spaceships ( I never understood how between Stacraft 1 and Startcraft 2 , Protoss rediscovered their connection with Egyptians art-wise). Anyway, kudos to them , this is not why I am writing this post.You see, during the video, a writer was showing footage of Aiur , right before the landing of Protoss and he says:
“We spent time trying to sell that whole D-day invasion, Saving private Ryan moment”. Here is the link to it too at the moment he says it:
[kad_youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsvHY7YaxUg&t=15m52s” ]
So what’s the problem with that? Well it’s not exactly a problem. But it’s not something very good either. Saving private Ryan was a good movie but that doesn’t mean that I want to see a replica of the landing scene in every video game I play. I mean check this screenshot from Saving private Ryan:
And this is from Ryse: Sons of Rome.
And the for-the-American-audience-only references keep going. It even expands to the characters, who are practically replicas of what you are going to see in every American action movie. As I said that’s not necessary a problem: But you can get so much more by getting references from other cultures as well. For example I remember watching the intro video from Beyond Earth and I saw this scene where three priests bless the spaceship:
That scene hit me really hard. It was something I had seen. Something I was familiar with since childhood. This is not something that you will see in an American scenery. But every Orthodox christian is familiar with it. We do that a lot. A LOT ( there are several posts which make fun of that custom on the internet – quite justified if you ask me 😛 ). Of course the first counter-argument will be : The majority of the consumers are Americans therefore the games will be American oriented. Personally I think it has more to do with the origin of the studios ( most of the game studios are based in the states) , rather than industry numbers. Nevertheless you don’t have to compromise for just one culture reference. You know what Beyond Earth shows after the Orthodox priest scene? Your classic NASA center somewhere in U.S.A:
So here is the magic revelation: Why choose either? Why not both? It is true that the majority of gamers are Americans but maybe one of the reasons is that our games are too American-centered? Bottom line: No you don’t have to compromise for only one cultural reference. We can do better than that and open up to a wider audience. And if you don’t believe me here is the picture of a Orthodox priest blessing a Soyuz: