So Buzzfeed just did an article on a Jane Austen MMO currently in development and I’ve got to say: Holy Shit.
The conversation about violence in video games hasn’t gone anywhere, it seems, and it’s gotten to point where even well-known game developers have expressed in interest in exploring the possibility of giving up their gore-soaked spurs for more romantic pastures. This is a fascinating idea for anyone who cares about games. Not just because violence is the overwhelming norm in most games, or even because the notion of more romance-oriented games are pretty popular abroad. This, to me, is fascinating because of the implications of story within games. I mean, all games have some sort of story. It’s amazing to me how much of it gets ignored. How many pages of flavor text are passed over in every single quest played in World of Warcraft? The Warcraft canon is huge in both depth and breadth and yet I’d wager that less than %5 of the average WoW gamers even know it exists. This is the age of raids and multiplayer scoreboards, after all, and storylines have little (if anything) to do with either of those mediums.
So for those aging gamers among us who still look for meaningful story and plot within our gaming experiences, the notion of something so heavily centered around relationships, character development, and actual social structure is a very exciting notion indeed. Honestly, it really doesn’t matter all that much if you’re interested in Jane Austen’s world or not–if something like this gets off the ground, who knows what sort of other games will follow suit? It’s not often you create a character and decide whether or not to level up in Kindness or Reputation as opposed to, say, One-Handed Weapons or Heavy Armor. And if you’re not a fan of Sense & Sensibility or Pride & Prejudice, look at it this way: if something like this gets off the ground, you might get a quirky high school drama or an intense erotic thriller a la Dangerous Liasons.
The irony for me personally is while I don’t have any fondness for watching the average romantic comedy, the idea of playing one as a game seems really intriguing to me.
Ever, Jane is currently in the midst of its Kickstarter throes and I urge you to throw a few shekels their way. If you have any interest in seeing to it that unique games are developed in the future, I think this is an important cause to try out. Even if it turns out to be underwhelming or bad, the attempt is absolutely worth making.