Friday, November 16, 2007


If you haven't seen Serenity, don't read this.

The weird thing is that, when I learned what reavers were, I felt disappointed.

I couldn't figure out why. I couldn't see anything even vaguely disappointing. Ever since the movie first came out, it's been nagging at me.

I figured it out today, just a few minutes ago.

I come at the plot from the perspective of a game designer. To me, the big reveal should tie in new elements while tying up the old, so that you always have more room to explore.

Reavers are because of a flubbed Alliance science project? Okay, that's cool... but it doesn't bring any new elements in.

What kind of new play does that introduce? You hate the Alliance... even more? People you don't have anything to do with are... vaguely more suspicious of the Alliance?

From a plot standpoint, the reavers are great. But if you're going to use it as a springboard to new and more interesting play, it needs to introduce new and more interesting possibilities. We already know the Alliance is evil, and knowing more about the Alliance being evil doesn't give us any new ability to do anything.

It can be argued that publicly shaming the Alliance opens up new alliances and so forth. But new alliances aren't new play, not compared to something dramatically new. It doesn't open up a world of new possibilities (although, I guess it does open up a world...)

Anyway, to my mind, this shows a fundamental difference between Hollywood and games. A concrete example that doesn't relate to writing dialog trees.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Brian Shurtleff said...

Well, Serenity was written as sort of the final hurrah for the series of Firefly.
Perhaps they figured there was no reason to present something and new with the reveal since the show was dead anyway.
Of course, I agree that it is a pretty crap decision because you might as well go for that extra depth and mystery, and its shooting itself in the foot if they do end up reviving the universe again, or expand it into other media.

Or, maybe it was just bad writing. Which is odd because most of the writing was pretty great, I thought.