Totally Rhombus: Awakened

This week’s big new is the return of the high concept.

Destructoid got a big scoop of knowledge on Awakened, previously titled Hero and murdered along with Midway, and this is the news that made me happiest for the world.

Let’s face it: a lot of new games nowadays don’t try to hit new territory. Of our big releases for the first half of 2011, really only L.A. Noire cannot be described in a “Game X meets Game Y” fashion accurately (L.A. Noire *could* be described as Grand Theft Auto meets film noir, but film noir is not a game). The riskiest titles, Dragon Age 2 chief among them, aren’t particularly novel, they’re just risky. Even if they are great, what newness is there? Not that newness is the sole font of good video games, but it is definitely an important one.

And along comes Awakened, a game which is basically selling itself as an open world, customizable inFamous: a super hero game where you build a character western RPG style, developing powers and fighting in a post apocalyptic setting. This game not only pushes most of my buttons (my buttons are character building, post apocalypse, super heroes, and difficulty), but it’s honestly something I can look at and say, “This has never been done before.” It’s the kind of game next gen promised, but still hasn’t delivered. Sure, we’ve gotten things in this ballpark, but the strong focus on linear narrative has put a stop to these more free form experiences, which Oblivion promised to make mainstream. So instead of a game where you make your own X-Man, you get to pick one of three. Instead of getting some super badass alien symbiote power, you get Prototype. Et cetera.

So, I’m glad someone, out there, is giving the promised “next gen” a go. Someone had to do it. Even more important, I think, is that that trailer up there, while super rough, is *exactly* how you should sell your game. If you don’t have game mechanics that give the audience chills, then…what the hell is the point? Seriously. I know people and developers love their mediocre little stories, but…games are about games. Games are about those moments where you feel like you’ve beaten the system by using the system properly. Why not isolate and promote those, like the trailer above does?