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Damned EA

After a year in which EA have suffered more than even the usual number of curses by beleaguered gamers, it is perhaps only fitting that they’ve announced a game set in that disagreeably toasty place o’punishment that Bible-lovin’ folk reckon the rest of us will spend our final vacation in. There were rumours of a Dante’s Inferno game earlier in the year, and now we get the official announcement, website and trailer.

Things to know:

– it’s by EA Redwood Shores, the folk who made Dead Space, which reportedly was one of the big-name games that didn’t do so well out of the Chrimbo frenzy.

– It involves hitting stuff

– Er

– Demons?

Here’s the trailer, which suggests the structure will be levels themed to the deadly sins:

Very id-y, no? Dead Space drew a few “this is what Doom 3 should have been” comments, so Redwood Shores picking a hellbound setting only increases the comparisons. The press release talks up introducing a literary masterpiece to a new generation, but the video seems more concerned with smacking demons with crosses. Poor old Mister Alighieri.

It’s also abundantly clear this is coming from the Dead Space studio. The palette seems murky, there’s much emphasis on visceral bio-horror and the apparent protagonist is wearing a stupid hat. I’ve had a few conversations in recent weeks in which there’s a vague feeling that Dead Space Dude’s tri-slitted welding mask thing, the vanguard of the game’s marketing effort, was part of its problem: it’s just not a terribly interesting image, despite a clear (or desperate) intention to be iconic. Step away from the dumb hats, Redwood Shores. They bring only ill fortune.

Oh – it’s currently down as PS3 and Xbox 360 only, but there’s a tendency of late to simply not mention the PC release. This is, of course, because publishers are dicks. Given most EA games turn on PC either concurrently or soon after their console releases, it’s worth keeping a weather eye on this fearsome little number.

And here’s a press release, albeit a fairly useless one:

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.* An abducted soul, a lifetime of sins, a journey to the depths of despair. Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today that EA Redwood Shores, the studio behind the hit horror game Dead Space™, is now working on another original property — this one based on the medieval epic poem The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. The dark fiction gave birth to the Tuscan Italian dialect and is widely considered the work that has defined the western world’s contemporary conception of hell and purgatory. The poem tells the tale of Dante who journeys through the twisted, menacing nine circles of hell in pursuit of his beloved Beatrice. Dante’s tortured and tormented world is an ideal setting for this 3rd person action and adventure of a video game, Dante’s Inferno™.

Written in the 14th Century, The Divine Comedy was published and read aloud in Italian (unlike the Bible), thereby making the poem accessible to the mass public. The poem delivers a striking and allegorical vision of the Christian afterlife and the punishments of hell. In part one, known as Dante’s Inferno, Dante traverses all nine circles of hell; limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, wrath, heresy, violence, fraud and treachery.

“The time is right for the world of interactive entertainment to adapt this literary masterpiece, and to re-introduce Dante to an audience who, until now, may have been unfamiliar with the remarkable details of this great work of art,” said Jonathan Knight, Executive Producer for Dante’s Inferno. “It’s the perfect opportunity to fuse great gameplay with great story.”

For more information on Dante’s Inferno, please visit www.dantesinferno.com and sign up for the newsletter and bookmark for news, features and upcoming events.

* Translation: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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