Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Waiting for a resolution

I'm more 'cowboy' than 'gangster', more 'western' than 'modern-day suburbs'.

The 'western' has been with me as my favourite great escape, just as long as the sci-fi adventure(which is more or less, a retelling of the western in the far reaches of space) has been. No surprises considering Star Wars was released in 1977 and A Fistful of Dollars released circa 1967. Both these films shaped my early pre-teen imagination and I believe I have yet to be shaken those strong initial archetypes. But then again why would I? I feel lucky to be a child of the '70s for that very reason.

So Rockstar have made me rather happy with the release of Red Dead Redemption. Not only for bringing back the western genre to video gaming again but by doing so trying to raise the profile of, what I consider, an under-appreciated genre that deserves better.

The movie Unforgiven(1992) and to a lesser extent, The Quick and the Dead(1995 - which has a town of Redemption, at its centre) did much to breath life back into the genre in the '90s. And I have yet to see The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Henry Ford(2007) but it could be that the genre is dying due to a lack of real interest within the movie industry. Sometimes it takes another medium to bring it around, so I'm thanking Rockstar for not giving up and also taking a gamble on a genre that should be held in higher regard.


  1. I agree that the "Wild West" provides a terrific setting for adventures and I am disappointed that it has largely been overlooked by the gaming industry. I suppose the genre has fallen out of favour in recent decades despite a few notable exceptions such as Unforgiven and Deadwood. Another possible problem is that the setting is so familiar and so well understood that there is a limit to what you can actually do with it. The lore doesn't allow you to stray very far from the humble six gun and tomahawk so BFG9000s and Sceptres of Ultimate Doom are out.

    By co-incidence I picked up the original Call of Juarez a couple of days ago. I have only played a couple of hours but so far I am impressed. The ambience is spot on with ornery cowboys, feisty saloon girls and even a gun toting fire and brimstone spitting preacher. As for gameplay - the shooting bits are fine but the game so far also includes too many jumping, running, sneaking bits which get annoying when you have to repeat them over and over to get through.

  2. A western MMO would be cool, and to be honest the wild west feel of Fallen Earth was a big plus for me, I even went for the gun slinger/pistoleer build (soon tired of crafting 800 bullets a night though).

    Whether or not a full western themed game would translate into a successful MMO would be interesting to see. But hey it would add a little bit of spice to a somewhat stagnant MMO scene. If one was to be created however I would want it to be very much mature orientated and cut throat.

  3. @mbp Ah Deadwood...I've yet to catch this - does it still run on Sky? There are limits to the genre sure but this is more a help than hinderance for devs, as they have a framework that WORKS! So many fantasy games want to totally reinvent the genre and be the next big thing that the important things sometimes get lost ie gameplay that's sound & a coherent storyline. Red Dead Redemption does have some fractures in the storyline I have played through but nothing that breaks the game.

    @killthatcheerleader certainly one that could be given a try, just not convinced that it could justify a smaller subscription base. Westerns are not as popular as fantasy or sci-fi.