Battlestar Galactica and the new New Media ZeitgeistPosted on April 12th, 2006 No comments
I noticed an interesting note on Evil Avatar. Apparently, Battlestar Galactica’s producer, Ronald D. Moore has been talking about video games. He spoke at the Game Developers’ Conference this year, and even commented on the differences between our beloved video game industry and the traditional entertainment industry.
What was particularly interesting to me was this:
Moore says no one has come up with the great TV/video game hybrid yet, the game that everyone in the U.S. has to play. As a result, there’s the opportunity to be a pioneer in this space.
Well… that’s not exactly true. See, in Japan there was this project called .hack (pronounced “dot hack”). It was a project designed from the beginning to tell it’s story through all of Japan’s most popular mediums including anime, video games, manga (Japanese comics), and books.
Unlike other popular anime series or video games, this wasn’t a whole bunch of loosely related marketing-riffic tie-ins. The anime series told one point of view. The PS2 video games revealed more of the story from yet another point of view. The OVA (release-to-DVD-only) series developed the plot from yet ANOTHER point of view. In order to really GET .hack, you need to take part in all of the mediums.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t wildly popular over here in the States. Although, it did garner an English-dubbed broadcast on the Cartoon Network.
Part of the problem is, I believe, fundamental to how marketing departments in the “industry” categorize and stereotype the American audience. Supposedly, we are a bunch of short-attention-span, caffeine-drinking, ADHD-plagued, malcontents. We would rather fritter away our precious video game time on first-person shooters and demolition-derby racing games. Who cares about nonsense like STORY or PLOT? Well, judging by the most marketed video games coming from big publishers like EA and Ubisoft, no one cares about it. Or at least, very few people.
However, I think that the recent popularity of deeper, more intelligent titles (like GalCiv2 and Oblivion) shows that American video game players are more complex than SpikeTV’s Video Game Awards would have you believe. I know that saying this borders on stating the obvious to many of you.
I for one look forward to an American .hack project. The Matrix series and King Kong are showing that movie producers and directors are more and more often taking an interest in how the video game side of things is done. I’m not sure that this will lead to better “licensed” offerings, but if it leads to one high qaulity all-encompassing super project, then it this is definitely a Good Thing™.
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