Recently, Capcom announced a new browser game that is in development and will be available this summer. In their words it will be a “Sengoku simulation RPG” where “[e]ach player is a daimyo (feudal lord) of one of the warring states. Players use their powers to achieve the growth of their respective states and train military commanders as they fight with other players.” The name of this game? Onimusha Soul.
Your mind is software. Program it. Your body is a shell. Change it. Death is a disease. Cure it. Extinction is approaching. Fight it. This is the tag line for the tabletop role playing game Eclipse Phase by Posthuman Studios. The team that created this game, many of which worked on Shadowrun 4th edition, have created a game that pushes at boundaries, both in the game world and in the real world.
Last week I wrote an opinion piece decrying what I saw as the primacy of choice (and the ability to change the game world) over storytelling in modern video game RPGs. I see this as a sort of decay of strong narratives and well developed characters (and relationships between characters) so that the player can be given the illusion of truly having a significant impact on the game world. Part of my problem with this trend is that I see it demolishing what computer and console RPGs can do so well, which is tell a well scripted, well written, highly conceptual narrative with good visuals and interesting mechanics.