The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

The Marriage of History and Realism: Future of Single Player Gaming

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

Why do you think the Call of Duty series of games are slowly turning into the bastion of online multiplayer gaming while their single player missions are highly criticized? It's not as if the writers of the single player missions in the new games are not as good as the ones from the earlier games. The only explanation is people want to try something new and when it comes to games such as Call of Duty or Medal of Honor, quite frankly, people are just bored of playing missions about Americans braver than Chuck Norris saving the world within six hours of gameplay. The earlier CoD games included Russian and British campaigns as well. In fact, true fans of the genre still swear by the Russian campaign from the first instalment, especially the Stalingrad mission. The story is same with most other action adventure games as well, whether it's Halo, Medal of Honor or Crysis. So how can single player gaming redeem itself?

Forty four year old Iranian game developer, Navid Khonsari's next project might have the answer. Simply titled, "1979 Revolution", this soon to be developed game puts the player right in the middle of the Iranian Revolution in 1979, a subject no mainstream game has ever touched. But the game is not simply a tool for the entertainment of gamers; it's also perhaps the best avenue through which Khonsari can tell his own story. You see, Navid Khonsari, apart from being a game developer with a five year stint in a highly successful studio like Rockstar Games, which produces the controversial Grand Theft Auto series, is also a documentary writer. That is the perfect combo for creating a highly realistic storyline using content that so few westerners know about in great detail. Just so you know, Khonsari's family escaped Iran after the revolution and he has since been labelled a US spy by the Iranian media, which is ironic, considering he spent most of his life in Canada.

No game is easy to develop but the problems other game developers face is nothing compared to the troubles of Khonsari and his team. Aside from the fact that Khonsari cannot imagine returning to Iran now, even the team that is developing the game is in danger. The concept artist of the game had to flee Iran for his association with this project while a lot of developers of the game will remain uncredited for their work on this game to prevent the state from knowing of their involvement in this game. Then there's the question of censorship once the game is released. While this action adventure game tries its best to be apolitical, simply sticking to historical facts, the mere highlighting of the negative influences of the revolution can set the cat among the pigeons with radical Islamists. It has happened before when Saudi based Islamic group Organization of the Islamic Conference used their influence to pull down an online game called Faith Fighter where famous religious figures were touted against each other in a combative environment.

However, the sheer need for games such as these and others that challenge accepted norms like the Assassin's Creed series, Bioshock Infinite, etc. makes all the danger worth it. Khonsari's project is Kickstarter funded and that might be an option for future developers to consider.

Another very important aspect of games such as these is the gameplay itself. Khonsari's game will see the player handle many realistic challenges such as tackling with police with stones, clicking photos of state brutality and being part of rebellious mobs. While that might not sound like the best thing to a fan of shoot'em up games, it is a welcome change from the mundane gameplay that once glorious franchises churn out today.