New Weird – The latest sci-fi related gaming genre with tremendous potential
With the constantly increasing popularity of new age videogames, developers are more than keen on expanding their budgets for the AAA games. However, the issue with expanded budgets is bigger risks. Games with bigger budgets must sell extremely well to compensate for the higher costs. And when the risk of financial failure is high, companies cannot afford bigger risks in development.
That’s the reason why we see studios sticking to certain archetypes, regardless of the better game quality available today. The exponentially increasing betting on eSports is also a contributor, as punters like betting on titles which they are well aware of. So, what you get is soft science fiction, Tolkien-esque fantasy and some supernatural creatures thrown in to make it complete. The issue is the limitation in the genres you can choose from. And that’s where the latest sci-fi-type genre — New Weird comes into the picture.
About New Weird
Jeff Vandermeer, the co-author of this new genre describes it as a kind of second-world urban fiction which does away with the romanticised idea of places involved in conventional fantasy, majorly through selection of real world, complex models in the form of jumping-off points that lead to development of settings that can potentially combine elements belonging to both fantasy and science fiction. Apart from the fantasy and science fiction, several new weird titles also have a supernatural horror element in them. It’s all about combining these three mass appeal genres and then doing away with the clichés.
This new genre is still building its audience, however, its two biggest titles — House of Leaves and Annihilation already have a huge fan following everywhere. While you might mistake Annihilation as a title belonging to the pure science fiction category, Jeff Vandermeer, its author has completely blurred the lines of what can be referred to as sci-fi, through a very innovative approach. The characters deal with creatures which are far beyond extra-terrestrial. The writing has both existentialism and horror elements in it.
On the other hand, House of Leaves, apart from being counted amongst the scariest novels ever, is also an excellent example of post-modernism in fiction. It features a house, rather a maze, which is quite big on the inside than how it appears from the outside. The protagonist gets digressed very frequently as he recounts the story. The narratives don’t seem to have actually occurred and the story doesn’t have even one horror cliché.
The unanimous praise received by these two titles proves the potential of this new genre, and videogames are an excellent means to showcase it to the world.
Control – the video game inspired by new weird
One specific videogame which has been inspired by the new weird genre is called Control. Remedy Entertainment’s Creative Director and the writer of the game, Sam Lake spoke about the influence of new weird and said that they took the genre literally and adopted the approach of dealing with things that are not fully understandable. He stressed that it’s about things which can’t be explained in a satisfactory way and handed on a platter like ‘this is what it is all about’.
There’s plenty of potential in the new weird genre and it’s completely up to the studios if they will put it to work or not. In simple words, new weird is weird indeed, but it has originality which is becoming a rare commodity these days.