Just because E3 is a heartless celebration of capitalism that we’ve all been Jedi-mind-tricked into joining, doesn’t mean our nation’s largest videogame trade show doesn’t have its spiritual side. Our writers have scoured the press conferences and announcements of E3 to uncover the most spiritual developments in the games industry has to offer in the coming months.
Also, if you are curious about whether we are serious about all of these, the answer is yes, particularly Mario-staches, we don’t joke about that plumbers mustache.
Best Game About Spiritual Transformation
. . . in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. – 1 Corinthians 15:52
There are few concepts more spiritual than that of transformation, the promise that we can change, that we can be different, better even. The Bible promises such transformation, that one day we will shed off immortality and put on new imperishable bodies. While I assume these bodies are better than the that of a T-Rex, they’re certainly not worse. Who among us hasn’t wished for that body sans tiny arms?
If you are like me, you can’t help but wonder whether the next best thing this side of eternity to putting on immortality isn’t putting Mario-staches on all kinds of sentient and non-sentient beings: frogs, fire, rockets, fish, a taxi, traffic pylons, tanks, trees, and dinosaurs.
Best Reminder to Keep the Faith
People laughed at the prospect of the Crash Bandicoot trilogy receiving a remake since Activision let the franchise sink away after 2010’s Mind Over Mutant, but to everyone’s surprise at E3 2016, Sony made it happen by teaming up with Activision for the N. Sane Trilogy. Shenmue 3, The Last Guardian, and a remake of Final Fantasy VII were either thought dead or improbable projects, but E3 2015 showed the naysayers otherwise. With the dismal reception to Metroid Prime: Federation Force during the same conference, it seemingly sealed Nintendo’s deaf, almost disrespectful handling of the storied franchise, burying all hope of reconciliation between ravenous fans and their callous game-making overlords.
It’s easy to lose faith. We become angry, discouraged, and apathetic to what we might have once been so passionate about before, easily joining the rest in deriding those who stubbornly remain vigilant. However, it’s the voices and will of those who continue to believe that might just be rewarded in the end. Their hopes may not always come to fruition, but it’s better to keep the faith than to have none at all. Metroid Prime 4 and Metroid: Samus Returns are prime examples of this, and while some may have had their undying faith fulfilled, there were far more doubting Thomases to account for . . . with some regretting their lack of faith.
-Joey Austin Thurmond
Best Reminder That Things Could be Worse in America
BJ Blazkowicz is coming to America . . . with his pregnant wife . . . and they’re having twins! However, the land of the red white and blue is leaning a lot harder on the red. In this alternate 1960s, the US flies under a Nazi flag. While those fascists took away our freedom, defunded all of our disability benefits, and institutionalized racial prejudice, we can never forgive their worst offense of all: they replaced all our beloved television shows!
SS Wunderbar just isn’t half as good as GI Joe. So just remember, as our president continues fulfilling his promise to restore America back to the “good ole days”, at least we still have Master of None and This is Us. Things could be much worse.
Maybe you’re sitting there, wondering how you’re gonna raise your kids in Trump’s America? Wolfenstein 2 has some catharsis planned just for you: get ready to carve-out a future when The New Colossus arrives on October 27th.
-M. Joshua Cauller
Best Game About Friendship
Josef Fares has a penchant for making games about human interdependence. His game, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is one of the most moving portrayals in digital media of the spiritual bond that can be forged between two people who are committed to each other’s good. In fact, we loved Brothers so much that we named it Jesus’ favorite game of 2013. One of the most pleasant surprises of E3 then, was the news that EA would be publishing a new game developed by Hazelight and directed by Fares that can only be played with another person via split-screen or online co-op.
The production values of the game appear much higher than Brothers, which was a beautiful and well-polished game in its own right, and represents the first time I can remember a major AAA release that can solely be played through co-op. Its a gutsy move by both EA and Hazelight but its exactly the sort of move that has the potential to change the AAA landscape for the better. Brothers uniquely required players to simultaneously control two characters in its efforts to illustrate cooperation and companionship. Fares’ follow-up seems like a natural progression of this concept by requiring cooperation with another person.
You’d be forgiven for not picking up on Metro’s heartwarming themes—its nuked-Russian metro tunnels (infested with nightmare-fuel-wildlife) doesn’t exactly set expectations for warm-fuzzies—but if you played either of the first two games, you have been confronted with something more painful than six-inch mutant teeth: you done messed up.
In the first game, Metro 2033, you pulled the trigger on the eradication of an entire race. In the second, Metro: Last Light, you meet the remaining orphan of that race, who shows you nothing but grace.
If you don’t miss it, you might realize that this grace intends to change you. Meeting the one you’ve betrayed presents you with how you will respond to one who betrayed you. Do you crush His throat? Or have you learned from the awkward undeserved forgiveness you received?
We don’t know how Metro Exodus deals with forgiveness, but given the predominance of this theme in previous entries, we can bet that we will be challenged afresh.
See that cute baby Owl in this new trailer? This baby owl’s friendship with Ori is the product of a great act of reconciliation involving its mother, Kumo (the antagonist of Ori and the Blind Forest).
Another major villain in the last game, a spider-person named Gumo, did a whole lot to make Ori’s life miserable. But (obscuring details for those who haven’t played) Gumo can be found at Ori’s side in the end of the game: friends for life.
We don’t know what Kumo’s cute owl baby does in Will of the Wisps, but we can be sure there’s more to the outwardly (and inwardly) heartwarming themes of reconciliation to be found.
-M. Joshua Cauller