In a move that, if successful, will surely bring the wrath of the Christian community down upon the heads of the developers, Montreal-based company, Evillusion
, has announced their second game, bible-based RPG entitled: “Eon of Tears”. A playable demo (set in the city of Gomorrah) is scheduled to be available this autumn with a tentative release date of Spring, 2004 for the full version. The press release is available here
Often called “the greatest story ever told”, the Bible has been ripe with material for mediums such as television and movies, but has never successfully been mined for use as a video game. Several companies have tried, but have usually been Christian based ventures, and not actual game developers, and the results of their efforts made nary an impact on the gaming world, who generally don’t like being preached too.
Preaching isn’t part of the game design, according to company manger, Raphaël D. Groulx. “Don’t expect a preaching game. Eon of Tears was not built to spread the word but to entertain all who enjoy the Bible theme and good game concept.”
The concept seems to be that your character will be intricately involved with settings and stories from the Bible. You will be tempted by evil, gain magical powers, and fight creatures from both history and the bible. Your choices will allow you to save the world or bring about the apocalypse.
Not detailed in the press release or on the site is whom you will be playing in the game. There are mentions of being Moses as well as being Jesus, so it is not clear exactly how you will interact with the game world. The fact that the game spans the entire scope of the bible, right up until the End of Days (not the Schwarzenegger movie) suggests that you may play many different characters.
The press release doesn’t detail whether or not this game will be a single-player RPG or a MMORPG, but they do indicate potential multiplayer aspects. They mention an online economy based on the crafting/trade skills they are planning to implement. Players will be able to make weapons with specific looks and powers and then sell them online using the in-game currency.
There is mention of a magic system as well, based on something called “Bible Code”. Decoding this Bible Code seems to be an important part of the RPG, as it gives the player magical powers. This may prove to be a point of contention to the many Christian groups who look upon any kind of magic as the work of the devil, but as Raphaël D. Groulx says, “…we were not afraid of controversy in our approach and the point is not to try convincing gamers of the righteousness of the Bible’s message. We are rather trying to illustrate various interpretations that many consider only to be better understandings of the Bible’s texts real meaning.”
The subject matter and expanse of the game may prove quite challenging for Evillusion. Not only will they have to prove to fundamentalist groups that their game is not blasphemous to avoid protests (here in the US, the Religious Right wields a significant amount of power over corporate America), but they will have to convince gamers that the game isn’t just another Bible-thumping attempt to indoctrinate them into the Christian faith.
Keep an eye on XPD8 as well as Evillusion to see whether or not they’re up to the challenge. For a movie preview of the game, click here.