Wednesday 13 January 2010

EA's Inferno: The Book of the Video Game of the Book

In what has to be the single dumbest piece of news this decade, video-game blogzilla Kotaku reported late last night that to tie in with the forthcoming release of Dead Space developer Visceral Games' next project, Dante's Inferno, publisher EA have announced they will be releasing a special edition of the first part of that 14th-century poet's Divine Comedy.

The cover of this ghastly practical joke is, of course, adorned with concept art from the latest in a recent string of shameless God of War knock-offs. Dante's Inferno will cast players as none other than the author of the Inferno himself, although standing in for the "supreme poet" of fact will be a muscular, crusading Alighieri. He will proceed, you can be certain, to hack, slash and use his well documented magical powers - the Holy Cross amongst them, I kid you not - to dismember many thousands of innocent fantastical creatures on his bitter quest for revenge through the nine circles of Hell.

You know what? I'll play this game. Its ridiculous repurposing of untouchable literature aside, Dante's Inferno looks like a great deal of fun. But this... surely, this is a case of one marketing tactic too far. Just imagine movie trailer voice-over guy reading out the sales pitch.

"The literary classic that inspired the epic video game" indeed.

On the other hand, if EA's cynical repackaging of a 700 year old epic poem tricks a few illiterate gamers into reading even a sliver of classical literature, I suppose it's a case of no harm, no foul.

I can't decide whether to be bemused or outraged.


  1. That's very funny. I've already read a few comments by gamers anxious to read this much-anticipated novelization of EA's game. Sigh. -.-

    The Longfellow translation is public domain, isn't it? EA's probably gonna make good money off of this publication. And it probably doesn't even include Paradise and Purgatory. xD

  2. @ Knightfall1138

    It's true. It doesn't cost EA a dime to license the Longfellow translation of the Inferno. If even a few poor gamers are tricked into buying this ridiculous repackaging, they'll be rolling in the dough. Not that they aren't already, I guess.

    And no, I don't think the so-called special edition does include the other parts of the Divine Comedy. No doube they'll be holding those back to release as tie-ins to the inevitable sequels to the game.

    Sometimes the world makes me quite queasy...