In what seems like a confirmation of the latest stage in evolution for science fiction and fantasy franchises, Universal Pictures has announced it will be releasing an online multi-player game based on Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica. The L.A. Times has a story about the game, which should be available this Fall.
Frankly, I’m starting to wonder if this is really where a powerful franchise should go. MMORPGs seem to me to be the end of the line in a franchise’s creativity.
It’s one thing to create a game world from scratch. And it’s another thing to take a literary world that won’t be naturally extended any more because its author has passed on.
But online games based on active franchise smell suspiciously like commercialized attempts to milk the shadow of creativity for the sake of making a fast buck. The story is told but people want it to go on. What we’ve seen so far with BSG is a retrowriting of history that has already been skated over.
On the one hand, Moore rather conclusively tied up his loose ends by essentially merging humanity with a primitive planet’s evolving hominids. He could have leaped forward 150,000 years to talk about how the hybrid human-cylon species meets up with the descendants of the rogue Centurions who took their base star and fled into space — or the remnants of the Cylon race itself, which seemed to have suffered complete and utter defeat in their asteroid colony.
Online role-playing games certainly offer the promise of “the experience” but the whole gaming scene seems to have descended into a player-vs-player frenzy where people are now buying resources from speculators who have turned gameplay into a commercialized production plan.
Is this really what entertainment has become? Are science fiction and fantasy fans no better than rats in a maze, calmly and coolly following the scent of cheese toward the preselected levers that must be pushed?
Sorry. That’s not the life for me. That isn’t what SF & F is supposed to be about. It’s supposed to open your mind to the possibilities of the imagination. The online multi-player model has grown stagnant. It’s the same old concept with a new skin. How many more years will online gamers allow themselves to be bilked of their lives, their money, and their self-respect?