The developer of rapidly approaching Greek fantasy game Immortals Fenyx Rising revealed that the game’s tone was inspired by comedy films like The Naked Gun and Airplane. The game, previously known as Gods and Monsters, has gone through several tones if Ubisoft’s marketing has anything to say about it. The initial reveal made the game seem in the same vein as Nintendo’s epic The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and the name change carried a more standard AAA attitude alongside it. Neither version of the game has shown anything remotely close to the works of Leslie Nielsen, but perhaps that’s a hard thing to market.
Making a purely comedic game has proven to be a difficult thing throughout the history of the medium, especially in the United States. Japanese gamers have enjoyed surreal experiences like Incredible Crisis and Captain Rainbow, but those types of games often stay in Japan due to being hard to translate. The American games industry seems to have a harder time, with games attempting to tap into gamer’s funny bones with everything from Gex and Bubsy cracking one-liners to Borderlands going completely over the top. Both styles have their fans, but one might argue that they are nowhere close to capturing the masses in their stabs at humor.
In a recent interview with Game Informer, Ubisoft narrative director Jeffrey Yohalem specified the comedic influences that drive the story of Immortals Fenyx Rising, saying, “I felt like a lot of video games are incredibly dark, and I had missed this feeling from childhood that movies like the Princess Bride or Naked Gun or Airplane had given me; I felt like, ‘Why can’t a video game have that kind of tone?'” He goes on to describe Greek myths as the perfect stories to bring this tone to gaming, saying that the Grecians of ancient times viewed their gods as similar to reality TV or other frivolous entertainments.
The developer continues on by giving examples of the game’s humor. The entire campaign includes narration by two gods, Zeus and Prometheus. This can lead to moments of unreliable narration, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger style. Boss fights can appear out of nowhere, a credits roll might come too early, and so on. There are also descriptions of jokes with modern origins, like shoe humor surrounding a meeting with Nike, the God of Victory. “The line was almost only drawn where a joke would age badly,” Yohalem said, “as in people 30 years from now wouldn’t get the joke.”
No matter the examples, it’s hard to imagine a video game reaching the manic energy of the Naked Gun films. While there have been some games that offer a humorous adventure, none are at the scale of a Ubisoft open-world, and that’s exactly what Immortals Fenyx Rising aims to present. Those who have gotten ahold of the game through hands-on previews or the free Google Stadia demo haven’t reported anything at the level of this kind of humor either, so it’s up to the full game to live up to those legendary inspirations.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is scheduled for release on December 3 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, and PC.
Source: Game Informer