Dante's Inferno Producer Ponders Macbeth: The Game

Illustration for article titled Dante's Inferno Producer Ponders Macbeth: The Game

Marc Ecko isn't the only one taken with the idea of making a video game based on William Shakespeare's Macbeth. Dante's Inferno executive producer Jonathan Knight also sees gaming possibilities in the Scottish tragedy.

Knight tells IndustryGamers that, if he were to focus on another classical piece of literature turned game, the Bard's play would be a good fit.

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"Macbeth the game is something I've been thinking about for years, but now, I think the emotional quality that games are achieving and the value level of the acting and the sound work makes it possible," Knight tells IndustryGamers. "The thing is, the unique quality of games is being interactive; it's about action and killing things and pursuing those mechanics is tricky when bringing in classic media; Dante's is more of a violent interpretation of the poem for example."

"Macbeth would be great, though; there are witches and a supernatural experience along with plenty of intrigue and murder," he adds. Sure, I suppose that... could... work?

Thankfully, it appears that developer Visceral Games has its hands full with Dead Space 2. Shakespeare will have to wait.

Dante's Inferno Studio Thrilled with EA's Marketing Support [IndustryGamers]

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DISCUSSION

The first words out of my mouth after seeing this headline:

"No no no no no no no!"

And this quote from Jonathan Knight makes me sick:

"The thing is, the unique quality of games is being interactive; it's about action and killing things and pursuing those mechanics is tricky when bringing in classic media; Dante's is more of a violent interpretation of the poem for example."

No it's not. Games are not just about action and killing things. Is that the only context in which he can think of game design? Even then, what has he accomplished with Dante's Inferno? He's bastardized a classic work of literature and carbon-copied God of War's gameplay almost piece for piece. Who is he trying to fool?

Is it so wrong for games to be more intellectually simulating than blood-pumping? When people such as me criticize EA's decision making in creating Dante's Inferno, we do so because we believe that turning it into an action game is doing both a disservice to the literary work and taking major shortcuts in how a game based on the text could be made. An adventure game based on Dante's Inferno, or perhaps the Divine Comedy in general, could provide a greater understanding, education, and hopefully a more fully realized appreciation for the text than this action game that Knight's team cooked up.

But no. Apparently it's wrong to want games such as Dante's Inferno to aspire in different ways. Instead of being debated, we run into the contingent of people that may as well sum up their argument with "It's just a game!"

And yes, it is just a game, but it's a game based on a significant piece of literary history, and it's disappointing that EA and Visceral co-opted the name of the text and characters to make an action game that does no justice to The Divine Comedy. Why should I just sit back and accept this because it's a game? Games more than any medium still have a lot of maturation to accomplish; EA could have taken a bold step in that direction by producing a game that had the potential to deliver The Divine Comedy in a form both loyal to the text and its characters, yet they chose to make a crass, immature, idiotic action game in which Dante the Poet becomes a second-rate Kratos.

It's utterly disappointing.