Quantcast
 

While outfitting Chuck Greene in some of the costumes that can be found all over Still Creek in “Dead Rising 2: Case Zero,” I couldn’t help but be reminded of “Quantum Leap,” the NBC time-traveling drama that put Scott Bakula in all sorts of absurd, out-there outfits, ostensibly for dramatic purposes. (Hey, the guy won an Emmy.)

[youtube uGFrPfKLknw]

Like Bakula’s character, who dressed that way because he was actually inhabiting the bodies of other people, Chuck ends up wearing some gender-bending get-ups no sane motocross champ would be caught dead in, such as a 1950s-style waitress uniform. And just as the supporting cast of “Quantum Leap” interacted with Sam as if he were totally normal, so too go the non-player characters in the “Dead Rising” games.

[youtube U5_s4OJa9bo]

This similarity between a TV show and a video game released two decades apart got me thinking that “Quantum Leap” offers a great model for a new gaming franchise.

In “Quantum Leap,” Bakula’s character, Sam Beckett, traveled through time, jumping from person to person. In each episode, he’d inhabit a different body and try to correct some sort of historical wrong.

You could easily play with this kind of convention in a video game. In one game or downloadable episode, players are, say, a soldier charged with helping liberate a town. In another, they’re a doctor trying to save a little girl’s life, or a race car driver. Tie them all together with some sort of meta-narrative and execute competently, and you’ve got a video game on par with Italo Calvino’s genre-bending literary tour-de-force “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler.”

Certainly, there’s no need for a video game publisher to run out and secure the rights to make a game based on a 20-year-old TV show that many gamers don’t remember or aren’t aware of. What’s important is that a “Quantum Leap”-style narrative, featuring a protagonist who can jump from person to person, would allow for some amazing storytelling and compelling characters that wouldn’t be tied to a specific genre or gameplay conventions.

It’s an idea the makers of the “Assassin’s Creed” games, which force a modern-day everyman to relive the memories of his ancestors, have toyed with, but it’s one I’d like to see taken further, within the context of a single game or downloadable episodes.

Whether the body-inhabiting character were a time-traveling scientist with partial amnesia is largely irrelevant. The action could center around a parasitic, mind-controlling worm, a demon or even a common item that passes from each chapter’s hero to the next. It’d be a heck of a challenge from a game-design standpoint to hop genres so readily, but what’s life without a little adversity?

Be Sociable, Share!

Submit Your Comments

Required

Required, will not be published