Do video games really need to veer away from "space marine" stories just so it could be made more relatable and mature?
David Cage has been raising some very good points about the plight of the industry. He's been quoted to say that we are in need of more auteurs, and that writers should be more keen about developing relatable stories instead of those focusing on space marines.
It's definitely not too hard to imagine that what he wants is to elevate the standards of video games into something akin to art. Respect hasn't been coming easy for video games, after all, what with the onslaught of studies saying how bad it is for children, and how it is the root cause of school shootings.
While I do agree that there is a niche for emotionally mature games in the industry, I would not dare be so quick into generalizing all "space marine" games as benign or without any significant additional value to the craft. While the characters are literally out of this world, and despite the differences in environment, I do believe they remain relatable to the gamer because of the stories forming these characters.
Mass Effect, for example, carries a storyline that requires the players to make moral decisions that will invariably affect the outcome of the game. Should you take on the "good guy" route of the Paragon when it comes to military decisions, or will you go for the more ruthless Renegade option to go for the kill? Of course, that's just one game that serves as an example to how relatable "space marine" games can be.
While we are not necessarily faced with the same choices on a daily basis, fact remains that we are still faced with decision-making issues on every thing we do.
To a certain extent, I would even dare say that having "unrelatable" entities deliver the message to us is more effective because that way, it doesn't come off as preachy or in-your-face. What I've noticed - whether it be in movies or video games - is that the audience/ player tends to gravitate more towards those characters who are the most unlikely to be prophets. We do, after all, love a good surprise.
What better surprise could there be than having men in space suits teaching us a thing or two about how to relate with each other here on earth?