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April 30, 2009 6:00 PM   Subscribe

EA games releases a new adaptation of the epic Italian poem The Divine Comedy that casts the player as Dante - a crusade veteran - who journeys through the Nine Circles of Hell to save his beloved Beatrice.

A 3D remake of the 14th century Christian epic, updated to include scythe combat, Beatrice's holy cross, melee action, and divine absolution. Steve Desilets, lead designer: “Obviously, we have to change a couple of verbs because watch and listen aren’t exciting to play....Hack, maim, torture those are basically your verbs, but the setting is loyal as we can actually be to the poem.” For starters: "Using a tameable, Dante has to rip off Charon’s massive head and throw it through a gate in hell. You’ll actually run across unbaptized babies, which are mentioned in the text. EA Redwood Shores imagines them as zergling creatures that have blades for feet and Dante will have to kill them as they skitter, spiderlike, across the floor." (from Gieson Cacho's review).

Universal, Paramount, and MGM are already vying for film rights. Hardcasual suggests a few revisions. Of related interest: Previous video game adaptations, UV's amazing World of Dante, including searchable lists of Creatures, Deities, Images, People, Places, and Structures in each canto, Gustave Dore's illustrations of the Divine Comedy, maps and diagrams from the Princeton Dante Project, and other pretty things.
posted by puckish (51 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is Virgil a scrappy rodent sidekick?
posted by absalom at 6:08 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


That Beatrice must have been one hell of a dame.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:09 PM on April 30, 2009


The Niven and Pournelle take on the most interesting portion of the epic, Inferno (and the recently-released sequel, Escape From Hell) kicks all kinds of ass. "We're in the hands of infinite power and infinite sadism."
posted by adipocere at 6:10 PM on April 30, 2009


In the middle of our life's journey
my computer froze and I had
to restart at the fucking Second Circle
posted by Dia Nomou Nomo Apethanon at 6:17 PM on April 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


Do you meet politicians the game developer doesn't like while in hell?
posted by qvantamon at 6:19 PM on April 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


As a gamer, this sounds cool to me. Actually, EA Games has been on something of a roll, lately. Dead Space, though not my cup of tea, was still clearly a gamers game and oozed quality. And I'm currently enthralled by Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure on the DS. This kind of output is a welcome change from Tiger Maddens Football Basketball Update [insert current year here] and the like that they've been churning out for the last decade.

Of course, the problem is that these games then go on to sell badly, EA fires the real talent and more incremental sports game updates are released. An amoral universe, indeed.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:25 PM on April 30, 2009


Isn't the game supposedly just a complete rip off of God of War?

[silence as this is mefi, and typically lacking a good deal of gamers]
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 6:28 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Save Beatrice?" From what? Having to give tours of Heaven?
posted by weston at 6:37 PM on April 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


I... I don't know where to start. It's my mother tongue, my city. In fact, the concept is not entirely new. I'm really dubious, but I remain - I guess - open to a possible good outcome.
posted by _dario at 6:43 PM on April 30, 2009


You will feel the heat!
posted by ND¢ at 6:45 PM on April 30, 2009


[silence as this is mefi, and typically lacking a good deal of gamers]
You, sir, need better information.
posted by _dario at 6:45 PM on April 30, 2009


DIVINE COMEDY 2: PURGATORY
press A to wait.
posted by boo_radley at 6:46 PM on April 30, 2009 [31 favorites]


It certainly looks like a complete rip-off of God of War, but I like playing God of War so much that I'm intrigued in spite of myself.

But it's not true that, as the FPP claims, EA has released the game, is it? Am I that far out of the loop?
posted by Joey Bagels at 6:46 PM on April 30, 2009


That's right dudes: Italian Renaissance, literature has never been this fucking sweet.
posted by The Straightener at 6:50 PM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I hate game trailers that show 95% cinematics and maybe 5% actual gameplay.
posted by cribcage at 6:59 PM on April 30, 2009


I've never made it through Pardiso, but I've read Inferno and my favorite of the three, Purgatorio, several times.

I'm not religious, but there's almost a tech-nerd wonk fun in seeing Hell and Purgatory so cataloged and segregated and teased apart and meticulously laid out, woith each section containing one or more salutary examples. It's almost in a way reminisent of a really good programming text. It's like K&R for the afterlife.

(How much have I missed by finding Paradiso more like the addenda in bad programming books that exhaustively but uninformatively list every API function's signature?)

And I'd love to see the imagery in the game, but I just don't see playing it. The whole poem is one about observing, about ruminating on sin and its appropriate (in both sense of the word) consequences. I mean, in the poem you're at three removes, watching Dante listening to Virgil's explanation of the suffering of the third parties Dante is observing. It's not a "first-person shooter" at all.
posted by orthogonality at 7:02 PM on April 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


No PC version. That's lame. OTOH, it's not going to be released until December, and it's $60.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:03 PM on April 30, 2009


I've always wanted to see an exploration and learning game based on understanding Dante's Inferno. Using various clues about their sins and punishments, you'd navigate the layers of Hell to find various sinners, working your way up to one of the great sinners of computer game history.

It would be called, of course, Where in the Hell is Carmen Sandiego?
posted by graymouser at 7:04 PM on April 30, 2009 [18 favorites]


The Niven and Pournelle take on the most interesting portion of the epic, Inferno (and the recently-released sequel, Escape From Hell) kicks all kinds of ass.

I just kind of hope that like in the Niven/Pournelle book, you can scale the hairy, mountain-high legs of Satan, because I would be amused by being able to do so in order to punch him in the testicles.

Any game that lets you punch Satan in the balls is a good game.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:07 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Satan had no testicles in the book. Carpenter was expecting to pass "a dong the size of the Empire State Building" at one point, but got nothin'.
posted by adipocere at 7:10 PM on April 30, 2009


Bummer. In my defense, it has been about 30 years since I read it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:17 PM on April 30, 2009


I thought most video games were based on the Seven Circles of Hell. My mistake.
posted by wendell at 7:29 PM on April 30, 2009


Will this be based on battles that actually took place in medieval Hell? Will giant enemy Jews be featured?
posted by Krrrlson at 7:33 PM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Definitely looks sick. Some of the monsters and situations in that poem are EXCELLENT video game material.. I even thought so when I read it as a kid.
posted by ChickenringNYC at 7:52 PM on April 30, 2009


The Niven and Pournelle take

Please don't get into too much detail about their Inferno story here. I also found it to be a fantastic read, but that was partly because of a few ways in which it differed from my expectations and surprised me.

I would like to recommend it to other sci-fi geeks who enjoy thinking about theology and/or morality, particularly agnostic types like me, though I know many Christians and atheists would like it too. Having read other Niven books as well as Dante's Inferno first was good but wasn't strictly necessary. But I'm not sure what else I can say about Niven & Pournelle's version that wouldn't have at least slightly spoiled my own first read. For that matter, I'm not returning to this thread again until I'm sure I get a chance to safely read the sequel spoiler-free...
posted by roystgnr at 8:11 PM on April 30, 2009


I have absolutely no interest in this game, or even in the links.

But, when I saw "EA" and "Inferno," I threw-up, a little, in my mouth.
posted by oddman at 8:23 PM on April 30, 2009


Inferno is thirty-three years old. I think I'm far beyond the spoiler date here.
posted by adipocere at 8:49 PM on April 30, 2009


It looks pretty cool. And I could definitely use a fancy-looking new PS3 game for my fancy new HDTV. I'll buy it.

But at the end of the trailer, that tagline -- "Go To Hell"?

Oh come on, seriously? Did the guy who edited together the trailer footage think that up himself?
posted by rifflesby at 8:53 PM on April 30, 2009


If they manage to copy God of War successfully, than it could be a fun game. But GoW treads a mighty thin line between repetitive-ass gameplay and way-too-many-fucking-quick-time-events really well.

The game is not released yet. Rumor has it pegged at Q1 2010. And that is a "hands-on preview", not a review.
posted by graventy at 8:59 PM on April 30, 2009


Some of the monsters and situations in that poem are EXCELLENT video game material.

I'm picturing epic boss battles against the Leopard of Malice and the She-Wolf of Incontinence.
posted by euphorb at 9:04 PM on April 30, 2009


I look forward to future adaptations of literary classics:

Pilgrim's Progress: escape City Of Destruction, defeat minibosses Mr. Worldly Wiseman and Ignorance, and use your Rod and Staff to fight your way into Celestial City.
The Canturbury Tales: built-in quest structure and great multi-player potential.
Leviathan: harness the power of social contract theory and strong central government...to kill this guy!
Don Juan: i.e. the Leisure Suit Larry of the 17th century.
Moby Dick: choose between playing as Ahab or the whale.
Crime and Punishment: i.e. Grand Theft Pawnbroker.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:11 PM on April 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Great. EA is going to make a piece of classic literature into SUPAR DEMON NINJA GAEM. Inferno is a great setting for a game, but do you have to cheapen it by making Dante such a hardcore warrior? Shouldn't Hell be a bit more awe-inspiring to a mortal man?

All they have are cinematic trailers now, but what they show is not encouraging.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 9:23 PM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Can't be much worse than what's been done to Beowulf over the years.
posted by rifflesby at 10:14 PM on April 30, 2009


They should have a level set in the land of Philistine.
posted by jamespake at 12:27 AM on May 1, 2009


@The Card Cheat: That guy you're trying to kill in Leviathan? That would be you, the character. The one harnessing the power of strong central government.

I love the others. I recommend Plato's Republic: But our Justice is in another Castle!
posted by Picklegnome at 12:56 AM on May 1, 2009


Wouldn't it be funny if actually all the graphics were a cover and when you install Dante it renames all your working files beatrix and then slowly undos all the commands you've executed onscreen and everytime you intervene it plays your porn collection at maximum volume/text to speechifies your cookies. Wouldn't that be hilarious guys? guys?.....
posted by doobiedoo at 1:10 AM on May 1, 2009


This strikes me as the boy version of this.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:11 AM on May 1, 2009


[silence as this is mefi, and typically lacking a good deal of gamers]

You are wrong.
posted by absalom at 6:20 AM on May 1, 2009


I think it would be better if they did a Katamari version with you playing a cute lil demon who has to roll up souls of the damned for the King of All Hell.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:58 AM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually, "Go to Hell" is the perfect tag line for this game.
posted by Mister_A at 7:15 AM on May 1, 2009


Here it says pre-order ships 12/1/09.
posted by Mister_A at 7:18 AM on May 1, 2009


After looking at the trailer, the graphics and atmosphere look pretty good, but I never thought of Dante's writing as being a setting for a fighting action/adventure game. I think it would be better as an immersive storyline adventure. Yeah, the creatures look pretty cool, but making it a fighting game sort of takes the sting and depth out of the set and setting.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:33 AM on May 1, 2009


Dante has to rip off Charon’s massive head and throw it through a gate in hell. You’ll actually run across unbaptized babies, which are mentioned in the text.

Wow, this is metal.
posted by Electrius at 7:42 AM on May 1, 2009


I do hope the video game translates off of the Mandelbaum book, particularly the illustrations by Barry Moser.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:05 AM on May 1, 2009


I hope that the game is complete and you have to fight your way though hell and heaven to get her back.

Because I want to finally live out that fantasy of machine gunning cherubs out of the air.
posted by quin at 10:09 AM on May 1, 2009


Maybe my memory of Inferno is busted, but wasn't he basically just sight-seeing? I don't recall any trials or tribulations that you could really turn into a game.

Next up from EA: European Tour Bus, EXTREME.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:45 AM on May 1, 2009


"How much have I missed by finding Paradiso more like the addenda in bad programming books that exhaustively but uninformatively list every API function's signature?"

It helps if you've read the work of the people he mentions. And pay attention to structure, where people appear, etc. etc. IMHO Paradiso is the best of the three.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:30 PM on May 1, 2009


Sounds interesting!

Civil_Disobedient: That's what creative license is for!
posted by nameinruins at 4:15 PM on May 1, 2009


This isn't an Onion article, is it?

I think the most worthwhile thing about projects is that they damn well prove the non-existence of poltergeists, because if they existed, a few thousand objects would be buzzing through the air at EA headquarters like angry bees.
posted by JHarris at 1:05 AM on May 2, 2009


I threw-up, a little, in my mouth.

I'd bet my left nut that you didn't, actually and not just because that one is my spare.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:36 AM on May 2, 2009


You would totally lose that bet. I have a hyperactive gag reflex and I'm easily disturbed by almost any of EA's action.
posted by oddman at 5:22 PM on May 30, 2009


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