Okay. It's not often I'd ever bother to write a journal about a game I haven't even played yet - but the thing is, having seen the trailers and some cutscenes, I think it's fair to say that Dust: An Elysian Tale is important for reasons well beyond its gameplay.
Obviously, anyone who has played this game, I really want you to come forward with any opinions you have here. I'm buying this game very soon - the only reason I haven't bought it right now is that I don't want to reboot to Windows (yet another bonus of dual-booting to Linux: you don't end up tempted so easily by cheap games) for a little bit.
The first thing you might have noticed about Dust is that it's a "furry" game. That alone is shockingly awesome - there's nothing wrong with "furry" characters, obviously, and yet it's so rare and refreshing to see them nowadays. Perhaps it's due to the stigma the mainstream media has decided to lumber "furries" with. After all, how often do you see Star Fox nowadays?
To be honest, most furries are in the fandom for the artistry. It's hard to explain, but when I think of the furry fandom, I think "color." I think "pageantry" and "expression." It's a beautiful subculture - especially when you abstain from the pornography, but sometimes even when you don't. It's a sad thing, to see people retroactively reject "furry" culture nowadays - "furry" culture derived from things like Star Fox, Disney's Robin Hood and so forth. Seeing something acknowledging that place amongst the mainstream is impressive today.
And it IS a furry game. Make no mistake.
As laudable as that is, it's hardly what got me thinking. See, Dust is a product of passion! The artwork, the music, the writing, the gameplay and the voice-acting... you can almost taste it. This is the product of passionate artists, the fruit of creativity.
This is something so very rare in video gaming today. A triple-A title may be dripping in funding, and indeed be a highly polished effort, but with no meaning or personality behind it. There is no art in so many games today. They may be good games, but they're just soulless.
It might be hard to explain, but you can definitely tell the difference between a sure-bet "intellectual property" being squeezed for another cash-cow milking time and a product of creative passion.
If I was to be cynical about it, I would say it is John DiMaggio's growling dipshit Marcus Fenix to David Hayter's Solid Snake - Hayter once reduced himself to vomiting and gagging on demand in order to finish the ending scenes of Metal Gear Solid 4, because Snake has to gag and pass out for a bit. It's when you take a project so personally, and connect with it so deeply, that it becomes a part of you and vice versa.
We've all seen it. It's often the deal with method actors; and I've been accused of method "authoring" myself*, which is one of the most flattering things ever, really...
It's so incredibly refreshing to see a project like that garner appreciation from the mainstream market. If you, or anyone else is turned off by the fact this is a "furry" game, then you need to re-evaluate things.
There's no question that a game like Dust: An Elysian Tale can only come about with the hard work of several, not just one or two. But when the goal is to realize true creativity, it can bring about the best in us all. This is why the next Modern Warfare or the next Halo or the next Sonic the Hedgehog game will be vapid nonsense, and always will be, until control over that "intellectual property" is given unreservedly to someone who is not only talented at directing and producing games... but truly connects with them and wants to push them beyond what they currently are. Unfortunately, that may be a commercial risk.
The fact that Dust: An Elysian Tale can enjoy even mild critical and commercial success is a good sign. You're right, big name developers: the cheap, dollar-app game is going to RUIN you. Because budget doesn't define artistic merit, and you lost touch with your audience when the dollar-sign became your altar.
Of course it's going to ruin you. You don't deserve any better.
But you do deserve to go play this game. Put money to it. Definitely don't pirate it, don't be a dick. Show developers that games like this are viable today. I'll be doing it just as soon as I click reboot.
* oh god don't ask.
5 years, 9 months ago
27 Jun 2013 18:21 CEST