Many like to point towards Saints Row as the leading franchise for calling out the video game industry’s overblown and illogical trends, but I still think that Just Cause franchise does it a lot better. No offense to Volition of course, but its satire is the equivalent of beating fans over the head with a giant purple… hammer. I like Saints Row a lot, but thanks, I get the joke.
Just Cause hits all the right marks in its subtly. How any franchise with such massive explosions and death defying stunts could be considered “subtle” is left to the unknown, but there is just something so special about the sense of gleeful freedom that Avalanche Studios takes when developing its games. Present a game with a superficial AAA coating: grizzled hero, expansive weapons, lots of violence, free-roaming, and then actually provide a world where anything goes and all seriousness flies out the window tied to the back of a harrier jet.
Game Director Roland Lesterlin explains to GameReactor.
“I think it’s lighthearted. From the very beginning we’re always sitting there and checking out the world and saying ‘well, if I’m playing with physics and I’ve tethered someone up to a wall and then a car next to it and the whole thing explodes,’ well it’s just silly.
And then if you had a serious story next to it, it just wouldn’t really fit together, so our story has the same sort of humour in it. It allows us to be a little campy and fun.”
Video games have been kind of lost in this pretentious push to appeal to “mature” audiences, and there is nothing more annoying than a studio taking itself and its game far too seriously. Not that games can’t be used to tell a serious or dramatic storyline, far from it. When left in the right hands, video games can naturally tell a wonderful story without feeling like a pandering mess.
However, it’s equally refreshing to see a studio imply, “Hey! This is us, and we are fun! If you like that, play along!” And if it throws a lot of trends under the bus as well, more power to it!
Just Cause 3 will be released for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC this coming holiday season.