Tuesday, 3 February 2009

[FEATURE] Let's see how it all began...

So, you've just bought a new game and you rip off the packaging, have a quick flick through the instruction manual and then put it in the disc drive and fire it up, ready to spend a few hours working your way through it.
It's then that it starts to occur to you that you are missing something from the story.
It feels like there should be a lot before this, some important plot point that you have missed, but upon checking the manual again, the game starts exactly where it should have...

'Prequels' in the film industry are old news now, what with The Godfather Part 2 (well, half of it), Star Wars Episodes I-III and more recently, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and the upcoming Wolverine: Origins, but this trend has seemingly started to influence game writers more too.

The highest profile 'prequel' is undoubtedly Halo Wars. In case you've been asleep for the last 8 years, you'll know what Halo is and will more than likely have seen it running if not played it, but when you get into the first game, you are told you are the last of your kind.
So, hang on. If I'm the last of my kind, what happened to the rest of them?
Like the much lauded Clone Wars was mentioned throughout the Star Wars  trilogy and we had to wait many years to witness that, it has taken 8 years for Bungie to allow us access to the horrific events leading to the downfall of the Spartans that we have only heard about before.
At last we can see how the Covenant wiped out this supposedly unbeatable creation.

Another case of returning to roots is House of the Dead: Overkill on Wii.
This new instalment shows us G as a younger agent, but for this privilege we have had to wait a massive 13 years from the release of the original game, although the narrative within the games has always made good ground in explaining just what was going on, asking the question of why we even need to see previous action at all.

While the idea of 'prequels' has surfaced before within gaming, Yoshi's Island after all gave us a glimpse of a certain plumber as a baby, and that series has gone on further since then, this new wave has also branched out into other media, the most notable being Dead Space.

You begin the game in a derelict spacecraft where something has happened, but what?
Well, to find that out, you could always watch the animation that precedes the action in the game and leads right up to the moment you arrive there.
But again, something seems to have happened before the animation, but what was that?
You could always download the animated comics available on XBOX LIVE or read the actual paper copy to see what happens right up to the moment the animation starts.
But then you feel like something is missing again, and you're right, there is.
If you took the legal way off acquiring the animation and got the paper copy of the comics, what's missing is upwards of £20 from your wallet on top of £40-50 on the game!
Why not include these as basic extras on a bonus disc? They already gave the comics away for free on the LIVE server so the cost there can't have been an issue and it would have helped those who wanted to know to understand the whole story.

So while I like to know what's going on I obviously understand that to keep space to a maximum they can't provide the whole story on one disc, but if you're going to do that can't you release them in the right order?
Or at least get them out to us sooner than 13 years please! We really would appreciate it.

No comments: