Holy Grail Redemption

Back in the day I played quite a bit of GTA IV, in spite of the fact that I don’t generally like playing bad guys. I tried to keep Niko on the straight and narrow but there were some scripted actions that were very unsavory to me. But I played because of the format.

This past week I’ve been playing Red Dead Redemption. I’m loving it. Being a gunslinger in the Old West isn’t nearly as unpalatable to me as being a hit man in a realistic modern setting. And I’ve got a certain amount of nostalgia for Westerns anyway. Rockstar was brilliant in picking the setting… the tail end of the untamed west period, where we see influences of the much more modern eastern states. Some early cars and so forth.

Anyway, what keeps me playing RDR is, again, the format. I play it like an MMO (but then I play everything like an MMO if I can manage to). Sometimes I quest, sometimes I chase challenges (gather 5 coyote hides, shoot 5 birds), sometimes I just ride the range to see what me and my trusty steed come upon.

In a lot of ways, Red Dead Redemption is the best RPG I’ve played in a long time, in the most literal sense of the acronym. No, there aren’t levels or character stats (though there is gear, to some extent) but I just sink into the role of John Marsten and lose myself.

But as much as I like Westerns, I’m a fantasy guy at heart. I know everyone else is sick to death of fantasy, but I’m not.

And that’s why I want Rockstar’s next game to use this open world format for an Arthurian Grail Quest game. Imagine you play a knight. You might be a white knight or a black knight. You’re ultimately searching for the Grail, but along the way you could have all kinds of adventures. You could help out peasants who’re being mistreated by a cruel lord… or side with the lord to help him keep those pesky peasants in line. Hunting and fishing, of course.. a knight has to live off the land at times. Magical beasts, just to keep things fun. Random encounters with wizards, damsels, other knights, creatures… and this is Rockstar, so there’ll be some very dark things happening, too.

I could just get lost in a world like that… but I’m sure that’s much to geeky for Rockstar to take on. I hope someone ‘borrows’ this open world format and runs with it, though.

6 thoughts on “Holy Grail Redemption

  1. That WOULD be a pretty cool and generally underutilized setting. I don’t that of that really as the “high fantasy” that is technically what we’re sick of.

    Unfortunately, because they did GTA, they wouldn’t take on what would be a natural extension: old school cyberpunk. Maybe if they did “Grannd Thef Auto: 2030” it could work!

  2. I don’t suppose there is open-source open-world code floating out there….I wonder what Rockstar would charge to license.

    In additional to the Knight Quest game, I’d love to see an open world superhero game, sort of a single player City of Heroes or Champions, but with much more connection between the hero and his/her city.

  3. I just wish Rock Star would do a Vice City Redux. Same game just cleaned up 2010 level graphics.

    I think Rock Star could have alot of fun with a medivael game. I would play it. Be nice if they threw in some Monty Python gags like the killer white bunny.

  4. GTA4 has had one helluva time keeping my attention. Can’t put my finger on what the problem is, but I’ve had a very difficult time sticking with it. Thinking back, though, I had that problem with the GTA3 games too…

    At least with Niko he’s not just a Bad Guy killing for no other reason that just because. He’s not doing hookers then bashing them to death with a baseball bat to get his money back like in GTA3. Following the story and getting into his character, he has a rough background and doesn’t hesitate to do Bad Things but ultimately he wants to get out of that life and settle down, so it makes him easier to empathise or relate to as opposed to simply being a murderous street thug.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how RDR compares when I get home and the game should finally have been delivered. I haven’t followed the hype — is the character supposed to be the typical Rockstar wrong-side-of-the-law character? If so, is it “ok” simply because it’s the Wild West and every single Wild West piece of media we’ve grown up with is about shooting guys with revolvers where not every modern media is about mafioso?

    Whether anyone is into the whole Sopranos (or now, Wild West) thing or not, I do feel MMO gamers especially owe it to themselves to look at the GTA’s and RDR’s out there, and other titles in a similar vein, to see what we’re really missing when it comes to feeling like you’re in an actual virtual world where the people are actually doing their own thing whether we’re there or not, compared to the static NPC mannequins of our “advanced” MMO’s…

  5. Scott, GTA IV was the first GTA I played for exactly the reason you mention: Niko at least has some motive; he wasn’t just a psychopath.

    The set up for RDR is that you’re an ex-outlaw who’s tried to change his life, but you’re being blackmailed into going after your old gang.

    More specifically: ***SPOILERS INCOMING***

    You’ve settled down, have a wife and kid, and are trying to make it as a farmer/rancher. Then some politician promises to clean up “New Austin” and threatens your family. You have to go kill your old gang or else your wife and child are going to be murdered by the wannabe-governor. At least that’s my take from the first half-dozen hours or so.

    But the character is (so far at least) very loyal to his wife. When a hooker propositions you, your reply (no choice from the player) is something like “I’m flattered, but I’m a married man.” And the gang you’re going after is so over-the-top vile that I don’t feel much in the way of remorse in gunning them down. For lesser criminals, you can bring ’em back alive, so to speak, and in fact get a better reward that way.

    So the game gentle urges you to more of a “good guy” attitude, but of course you can still run around killing everyone you see, if that’s your thing.

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