Why 'Game Companions' Would Be Totally Bitchin' And Way Better Than Strategy Guidescomments powered by Disqus
Posted on Wednesday, December 12 2012 @ 12:57:18 Eastern
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A lot of games have strategy guides, usually priced around £10-£20 apiece. These guides are usually A4-sized with a couple of hundred pages detailing advice and step-by-step walkthroughs for the single-player and multiplayer game types. But the chances are you’re gamers so you already know this. Chances are equally high that you know the same information can be found on the internet, often in video form, before the game even launches for the sky-high price of not a penny.
I’ve always been interested in the expanded universes of games: Halo, Mass Effect, Hitman, Assassin’s Creed, and Metal Gear Solid are all set in diverse universes which only depict a small portion as a backdrop to the games. This is often evidenced in crossover media like comic books and novels which expand on the worlds created by the developers. When Halo: Reach was released, a nugget of an idea which had always been residing in a dark, but clean, corner of my mind came to the forefront and grew into a slightly larger nugget I’m going to tell literally tens of people about on the internet.
If one of those tens is a game guide producer who sees a market opening… awesome.
Why did Halo: Reach become the waypoint in this journey? The Limited Edition came with this. That’s the journal of the woman who started the whole Spartan project in the Halo series: Dr. Halsey. It outlines completely fictional but interesting points about the procedures performed on the young children, the technology behind the Mjolnir armour, theories on AI construction, personal thoughts from Halsey and a bunch more. If that’s not enough it also gives you separate slips of paper like a map of Reach, sitreps, reviews of the enemy, letters to Halsey, even a login card. To give it all an edge of realism (within the Halo universe) a few pages have coffee rings, or some random musings from Halsey like being pissed that she had to switch to decaf, or the odd ripped page and the whole thing is packaged as if it was an asset recovered from the planet Reach just before it fell to the Covenant.
We’ve seen the Limited Edition of Gears of War 3 try to do basically the same thing but it didn’t really have the same depth of content even though the flag and cog tag were pretty cool.
Despite Mass Effect having one of the richest universes in gamerdom none of the special editions have really taken advantage of it in quite the same way as Dr. Halsey’s journal and I’d say that was a crying shame if it weren’t for all the novels, graphic novels, and spin-off games. As it is, it’s just a shame.
Why isn’t this sort of thing made available more often? There are lots of special editions out there like the Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Codex Edition and the totally *****ing God of War 3 Special Edition but more often than not these editions are horrifyingly expensive and aren’t really what I’m talking about. I want a report on the game’s hidden story. I want material reflecting the stories of characters the protagonist mentions in passing. I want information about the technology we use to accomplish missions in game. Separate documents relevant to the universe, military doctrine, conversations between important characters, all of this would take work but would find homes in the fans of the franchise. It may not be right for every game; I can’t imagine Need for Speed gaining anything from such a venture, but it makes sense for others and could be of real benefit for the fans.
Just imagine a ZombiU Game Companion with John Dee’s astronomical workings concisely reported with a few smatterings of research from the Ravens of Dee society. Or how about an Assassin’s Creed Game Companion with the manic writings of Subject 15, Desmond’s ponderings between journeys in the Animus, historical documents used by Shaun in his research and exploded diagrams of the parts of the Animus itself? What about Hitman with breakdowns of his many weapons and some information on his shrouded origins?
Few games boast the expanded universe necessary for this concept but how awesome would this be for those that do?
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