Posted - 2010.06.29 13:46:00 - [33
No, really, Mass Effect.
Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 were quite clearly inspired in part by EVE Online and should in turn serve as inspirations for its players. The Mass Effect universe is a brilliant example of a civilization that at first glance looks utopian and shining, but the deeper you push, the more you realise it's merely a flimsy facade over a vast web of deceit, corruption, lies, scandal, racism, greed, tyranny, oppression and selfishness. Put the whole ancient-returning-star-gods-bent-on-genocide thing out of mind for a minute and think about the rest of the setting. Mass Effect 2 in particular showcases just how ugly and brutal the universe likes to pretend it isn't - I think "moral expedience" is a keyword of the setting. Throughout nearly every interaction with a person or situation in both games, Shepard is given a slightly less than traditional moral choice - a choice between what's effective, easy and straightforward ("Renegade") and what's really the right thing to do, even if it makes things more difficult ("Paragon"). Neither Paragon or Renegade directly map to concepts like "good" or "evil" (I think I heard it humorously described as "a choice between pansy and douchebag") but they do represent two vastly differing outlooks on life - Paragon representing "if you can't do it right, don't do it at all" and Renegade representing "the ends will justify the means".
I really don't need to tell you that based on this system, EVE's universe leans very heavily towards "Renegade".
The Mass Effect universe also has some excellent examples of what the architecture and society of various civilizations in EVE might look like:
- The Citadel Presidium in both games and Illium in Mass Effect 2 are excellent examples of the Federation - fanciful, ostentatious architecture full of smooth curves and elegant decoration highlighting a beautiful, shining, apparently perfect society that hides a not-so-perfect undercurrent of corrupt, obstructive bureaucracy and institutionalised apathy and contempt. The Council are a brilliant example of the way the Federation is more concerned with its public image and following obscure protocols than actually doing what's important.
- Noveria in Mass Effect 2 is an almost perfect example of the Caldari - simple, functional architecture with a slight but obvious Asian inspiration. Money is the only thing that really matters, corporations own everything and the bottom line is all-important while morality and ethics are secondary concerns at best. When captain Maeko Matsuo (who looks quite Achuran!) discovers there's geth in Port Hanshan, she's more concerned about an investor panic than the safety of the Port's civilians - very Caldari. Administrator Anoleis is the typical corrupt, obstructive, embezzling corporate executive that Caldari society is riddled with but likes to pretend doesn't exist.
- Pretty much everyone you meet on Beckenstein in the ME2 Kasumi Goto DLC is an example of the kind of shady, rich, self-obsessed private individuals who concern themselves with the politics of all major powers in EVE.
- Omega is a brilliant example of Minmatar architecture - assembled and patched together from just about whatever they can find, dark, irregularly lit, comparitively basic technology and odd, irregular arrangement of rooms and corridors. However, the society on Omega - if you can call it that - is more indicative of life in fringe societies like the Blood Raiders, the Angel Cartel, the Guristas and the Serpentis. It's full of betrayal, murder and deceit, ruled by Mafioso-esque crime lords with their fingers on a thousand strings and all their attendant bodyguards, loyalists, sycophants, hangers-on, enemies and double-agents. The few people actually trying to make it a better place are looked upon with scorn and hatred.
I'm hoping we'll be able to visit places like Earth, Palaven, Thessia and Salaria in Mass Effect 3.
Caldari Independent Navy Reserve
Posted - 2010.06.30 13:15:00 - [34
I'm not sure I buy Mass Effect as being influenced by Eve -- its pedigree is much older I think, reaching back to 70s/80s/90s SF (which is where Eve pulls a lot of its inspiration from as well, so similarities are not surprising). It is a generally well constructed (and more importantly, consistent) universe though.
No one has mentioned Heavy Gear yet -- the early (pre-Black Talon) Heavy Gear setting was some of the best written and most intricately detailed world building I've read; post-Black Talon, it got a bit weaker, but it's still one of the best settings I've ever read. Anyone seriously looking at developing fiction for a science fiction setting would do well to at least read the old Life on Terra Nova, which stands among the best RPG sourcebooks ever written. The video games were pretty weak in comparison, so don't judge the setting by them (or the cartoon, which was considered to be an entertainment show within the game's continuity).
Cthulhu Rising, if stripped from its more fantastical elements, is another well-written setting I've been lucky enough to have some involvement with -- but it is admittedly very heavily inspired by the same sort of fiction described in this thread, especially Alien/Aliens.
Transhuman Space is also extremely well-written and worth picking up if you can find it.
It occurs to me that none of these are films, but....it appears this thread deviated from that long ago. :)