It’s not very often that we get a successful and award winning novelist as the creative force behind a video game story. In fact, the last one I remember was Orson Scott Card, who wrote Advent Rising. Advent Rising was supposed to be a trilogy, but this got cut short because the first game wasn’t really good. Don’t get me wrong: the story was good, but the game itself was a buggy mess. But I digress…
This time around, we have a novelist writing for a game that’s already established. Richard Morgan, the Philip K. Dick award winning author of Altered Carbon, has been tapped to write the story driving Crysis 2. I’ve read more than a few interviews with Morgan, so it’s not surprising to me that he’s been quoted as saying Halo is just “average” story-wise. He also said that Modern Warfare 2 had a bad story, and the game was just a bunch of “mission levels”. He goes on to say that Batman: Arkham Asylum is too comic-bookie (which I don’t happen to think is a bad thing, given the source material). He’s not a complete game-hater though, he apparently thinks Uncharted 2 is great (which it is).
The fact is, he raises some good points, but he may be unnecessarily raising the bar on his own project by (harshly) pointing out the shortcomings of beloved franchises. I’m a fan of Richard Morgan’s novels, but even I would have a hard time suppressing my fanboy urges if he stomped on Nathan Drake the way he stomped on the Master Chief.
As I said, I’m not really surprised by what he’s saying or how he’s saying it, so I can give him a pass. But every gamer is not me, and if you’re going to mark your first foray into gaming by slamming highly successful games like Halo and COD:MW2, then you’d better have the goods when your game comes out. If not, then the fans of those franchises will surely give you both barrels. Hell, they may even give you both barrels regardless. Either way, we’ll have to wait and see the fruits of his labor when Crysis 2 drops this Holiday season.