Dante's Inferno is a third-person action game from Electronic Arts and Visceral Games with gameplay reminiscent of the God of War series. It was released on the Xbox 360 and PS3 on February 9, 2010. It is very loosely based on Inferno, the first chapter of Dante Alighieri's epic poem La Divina Commedia, or The Divine Comedy. Wayne Barlowe, the game's artist, was chosen to work on the game based on his work Barlowe's Inferno, a collection of images inspired by the poem.
The Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy tells the tale of Dante as he is given a tour of the three realms of the afterlife; Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. The poem is likewise divided into three chapters, each focused on a different realm. The first chapter, in which Dante is led through the circles of Hell, is called Inferno, or Dante's Inferno. The subsequent chapters, Purgatorio and Paradiso, or Purgatory and Heaven, are not represented in the video game.
The poem is considered to be one of the greatest literary works in human history, and established the Tuscan dialect of Toscana as the Italian standard dialect. In the book, Dante traverses the nine levels of Hell (in Dante's universe, Hell is shaped like a cone that faces downwards), guided by his friend, Vergilius (Virgil).
The story starts out with a man named Dante lost in a dark wood. Dante Alighieri was going through a tough time at the point in time he wrote The Divine Comedy, having just been banned from Firenze, and as such this may have been a symbolic representation of his depression. He is saved however, by Vergilius, who proceeds to guide him through Hell.
The Nine Levels of Hell
First Circle (Limbo)
The First Circle of Hell is Limbo, where the willful sinners are. Basically all the pagans that did not know of God, live here. Notable faces include Socrates, Homer, and Saladin, amongst others. Without baptism they live in a deficient form of heaven, where there are some flowers and green fields, as well as a white castle. Minos resides at the end of this circle, and as the first judge of Hell separates the levels in which the damned shall go to, by the amount of times he circles them with his tail.
Second Circle (Lust)
The second circle of Hell is for those who committed the sin of lust. Figures of men and women are swept away by the winds, being a symbol of unwound and needless passions.
Third Circle (Gluttony)
The third circle of Hell is for gluttons. Here they are forced to lie in a slush made up of freezing rain, black snow, and hail. This is as punishment for the garbage they made on Earth when consuming all of their food.
Fourth Circle (Avarice)
The fourth circle of Hell is for the greedy and the squanderers of wealth. The avaricious are forced to push massive stones towards the center of the circle and the squanderers are force to hoard them up against the wall, in an antithetical or ironic punishment.
Fifth Circle (Wrath)
The wrathful and, inexplicably, the lazy inhabit this circle, which contains the famous river Styx. In the surface of the waters the wrathful fight for all eternity while the lazy gurgle in the bottom, forever drowning. In order to go lower into hell Dante must enter the city Dis, which is guarded by fallen angels.
Sixth Circle (Heresy)
Heretics and atheists lie in tombs in this level. Heretics are buried alive for eternity, while atheists must inhabit their own inert, rotting corpses, an ironic punishment for not believing in the afterlife.
Seventh Circle (Violence)
The Minotaur guards the entrance to the seventh Circle and this circle is reserved for the violent. It has three rings.
- Outer Ring: Houses those that were violent to others' property, they are dipped in a river of boiling blood, according to their sins, and have arrows fired at them from Centaurs if they attempt to leave.
- Middle Ring: Houses the suicides, who live in eternal pain as thorny trees. Those that took the means through which life was sustained (in modern terms, those that commit euthanasia) are forever chased by vicious dogs in this circle as well.
- Inner Ring: Houses the blasphemers (they are considered violent against God), the sodomites (homosexuals), and the usurers (those that lend money, it was considered a mortal sin to do so in the middle ages). They are forever in a desert filled with fiery sand while fire flakes rain from the sky.
Eight Circle (Fraud)
This circle houses the dishonest. Malebolge is its name. People are thrown into the different holes according to their sins. The following are the different holes:
- Pimps and whores
- Flatterers are steeped in excrement, as they are "ass-kissers" and "brown-nosers"
- Those who committed simonies (priests and Popes who offered salvation in exchange for money)
- Sorcerers and False Prophets
- Corrupt politicians
- Fraudulent Advisers
- Sowers of discord amongst men (warmongers and such)
- Falsifiers (alchemists, counterfeiters, perjurers, etc.)
Ninth Circle ( Treachery)
Cocytus, the last circle of Hell, is guarded by giants. This deepest, most terrible circle is reserved for those who betray, where they are encased in a frozen lake for all eternity. The sinners here are divided amongst their actions, the first:
- Those that reside in Caina. Named after Cain, this round is reserved for those who betrayed their kin and are buried in the ice up to their necks.
- Those that reside in Antenora. This round is reserved for those who betrayed a political party or a city, and are buried so deep that they cannot move their necks.
- Those that reside in Ptolemeica. This round is reserved for those who betray their guests. They are buried half of their face in and when they cry their tears freeze their eyes and shut them together. They are not allowed the comfort of tears.
- Last is Judecca. Named after Judas Iscariot, those that reside here are completely encased in ice, and contorted in painful positions.
- In the centre, there is Satan, Prince of Darkness and Lord of Hell. Satan possesses three heads, each chewing on a prominent sinner, and because he himself betrayed God, he is forever encased from the waist down in ice. He tries to set himself free with his wings but the wind he creates is ever colder and prevents the lake from unfreezing.
Differences between the poem and the game
There is almost no direct connection between Alighieri's poem and the video game Dante's Inferno, apart from a few character and location names. In the game, Dante is now a veteran of the Crusades and powerful warrior in search of his lost love Beatrice, who has been murdered and subsequently taken by the Devil even though her righteous soul deserves salvation. Another difference is the focus on intense combat and violent gameplay. In the book, Dante never has to defend himself or fight off demons, he is protected on his path through Hell. Even though there are times when he is in trouble, other beings protect him and keep him safe from harm.
On December 10, 2009, EA announced the "Divine Edition" would be released exclusively on the PS3 and would be the same price as the regular version. It would include a Wayne Barlow "Digital Art Book", the Developer Commentary, a Digital Copy of the Longfellow translation of Dante's Inferno and the 20 song soundtrack from the game. Also included was a voucher to download the "Dark Forest" DLC.
During E3 2009 nearly 20 people appeared outside of the Los Angeles Convention Center supposedly protesting Dante's Inferno. Presumably these were protesting on religious grounds, with signs saying things such as "Hell is not a Video Game" and "EA = Electronic Anti-Christ." Initially, even the Los Angeles Times reported, and later updated, that the demonstrators came from a church in Ventura County. Later the Associated Press revealed that the protesters were actually actors hired by EA through a viral marketing agency as a publicity stunt.
To compound this issue, the Christian community became displeased over how they were portrayed. Margaret Cabaniss of InsideCatholic.com said:
"It's been clear for a while now that the entertainment industry views Christians on the whole as priggish, thin-skinned fun-killers."
Andy Kirchoff of CatholicVideoGamers went even further to say:
"Gamers of all varieties will buy this product if it's, well, actually a good game. So instead of engaging in a shamelessly anti-Christian stunt to promote your poor excuse of a product, maybe you ought to work on making this game, you know, something better than a blatant God of War rip-off and make it, ya know, something worthwhile?"
In the Middle East, this game is heavily banned. Seeing how the original poem is very offensive to Islam, this game makes no exception to the subject matter. EA suppressed the distributing of the game in the region due to the unsuitable content that is against the religious values in the region.
|1. Dies Irae||0:34|
|2. Donasdogama Micma||1:51|
|3. Beatrice Taken||2:21|
|4. Dante, Casarma Treloch||2:04|
|5. Above Acheron||3:29|
|6. Bleeding Charon||3:05|
|7. Path To Minos||2:00|
|9. Arphe (The Descent)||2:14|
|11. Storms Of Lust||1:59|
|12. Whores Of Babylon||1:58|
|13. The Second Circle||1:42|
|14. The Harrowing||1:49|
|16. Ciacco The Pig||2:10|
|17. Hall Of Gluttons||3:01|
|18. Greed Minions||2:08|
|19. listen 19. Hoarder||1:48|
|20. listen 20. Waster||2:09|
|1. Excessum Alighiero||1:53|
|2. Barma Beigla Te Carma||2:06|
|3. Tower At River Styx||2:21|
|4. Crossing The Styx||2:29|
|5. The Queen Of Hell||2:30|
|6. Phlegyas Marches To Dis||1:23|
|7. Phlegyas Ravages Dis||1:49|
|8. lFlaming Tombs||1:04|
|9. Jas Davos Cha Dante Va||2:08|
|10. Abyssus Incendia||1:44|
|11. Hall Of Abraham||1:00|
|12. Battle With Adraman||1:42|
|13. Abominable Sands||3:50|
|14. Bella's Secret Revealed||1:21|
|15. Limbo Prisoners||1:23|
|16. Adgt Vpaah Zong||2:17|
|18. Babalon Ors||2:13|
|19. The Defeat Of Lucifer||1:37|
|21. Donasdogama Micma Decepto||1:05|