#1 Edited by shell_kracker (71 posts) -
Skyblazer
Asura's Wrath
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga

I've always thought Indian art is under used. Know any good examples? Lots of Japanese games use indirect stuff via Buddhism, but it would be more proper to call that Japanese culture. I've always thought an Indian 'Jade Empire' would be awesome (you listening BioWare?)

#2 Posted by Flacracker (1603 posts) -

Uncharted 2 has Hindu stuff right?

#3 Posted by TheFreeMan (2712 posts) -
#4 Edited by shell_kracker (71 posts) -

Uncharted 2 has Hindu stuff right?

@flacracker: Mostly Buddhist, I think.

I guess if we are just counting single levels, Uncharted, Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia, and Ninja Gaiden have some Indian bits. Although Shambhala is more of a Tibetan legend than an Indian one, being close to India, Uncharted incorporated Indian as well as Tibetan themes.

#5 Edited by Video_Game_King (36090 posts) -

Do any of the Civilization games count if they give you Gandhi at, like, 6000 BC?

#6 Posted by shell_kracker (71 posts) -
Tomb Raider Underworld
Tomb Raider III

In Sands of Time, the first level is a Persian slave raid into India, where they capture and enslave the Indian princess. Ninja Gaiden II has some ruined temples I remember.

#7 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5808 posts) -
#8 Posted by shell_kracker (71 posts) -
#9 Posted by TangoUp (307 posts) -

Most Hindu stuff in media is passed off as Buddhist/Tibetan.

#10 Posted by shell_kracker (71 posts) -

@tangoup said:

Most Hindu stuff in media is passed off as Buddhist/Tibetan.

How do ya mean?

#11 Posted by mrfluke (5102 posts) -

its a real niche appeal, its not guaranteed sales success,

dont get me wrong would love to see more games do that, but i also see why it hasnt happened. maybe once this next gen is in full gear, as the beginning of a cycle is primetime to introduce new ip's

#12 Posted by shell_kracker (71 posts) -

Part of the problem with the world is that we think of value in terms of marketability.

#13 Edited by audioBusting (1481 posts) -

@tangoup said:

Most Hindu stuff in media is passed off as Buddhist/Tibetan.

How do ya mean?

I think he means that, for example, the games you mentioned were influenced by Hinduism rather than Buddhism (with the exception of Asura's Wrath, which I think combines both religious mythology?). As far as I know India has both Buddhist and Hindu traditions (and Muslim too) and people often get them mixed up because of their similarities. It would be cool to see Hindu mythology more represented in video games; I believe there's more Buddhist stuff in video games because of China/Japan (as you said). There's some crazy stories in Hinduism that a lot of people haven't ever heard of.

#14 Edited by TangoUp (307 posts) -

@audiobusting said:

@shell_kracker said:

@tangoup said:

Most Hindu stuff in media is passed off as Buddhist/Tibetan.

How do ya mean?

I think he means that, for example, the games you mentioned were influenced by Hinduism rather than Buddhism (with the exception of Asura's Wrath, which I think combines both religious mythology?). As far as I know India has both Buddhist and Hindu traditions (and Muslim too) and people often get them mixed up because of their similarities. It would be cool to see Hindu mythology more represented in video games; I believe there's more Buddhist stuff in video games because of China/Japan (as you said). There's some crazy stories in Hinduism that a lot of people haven't ever heard of.

Thank you. Yes that is what I meant. If you take a look at Uncharted 2 itself, most of the idols, imagery, architecture and mythology are inspired by Hinduism but a Tibetan monastery led to Shambala. Which leads one to believe that the legends referred to in-game are Buddhist. I don't really mind as I liked Uncharted 2 but these sort of fallacies are common place.

Oh there's an ancient temple. Must be Buddhist.

On another note, the Ramayan and Mahabharat would make excellent RTS games. But like mrfluke said, there's no market for this sort of thing.

#15 Posted by Forcen (1806 posts) -

Isn't there a concept page for this?

#16 Edited by audioBusting (1481 posts) -

@tangoup: I've put some serious(?) thought into this some time ago and I would totally play a Ramayana Bioware RPG. Let's get them right on that =D

Unfortunately, it's true that a game like that would probably fail financially unless it's a low-budget PSN/Steam game or something.

@forcen: Oh, you're right. (edit: found this on the concept page too. Can't find much about it from a quick googling but it sounds cool.)

#17 Edited by FourWude (2261 posts) -

We're in an industry where females still struggle to get proper representation, in a non exploitative manner. And where a black man being a lead character in a videogame is still a big talking point.

So yeah, good look with that.

I suppose there was that one level in Hitman 2 where you could run around shooting turbanned Sikhs in a temple. Lol.

#18 Posted by TangoUp (307 posts) -

@tangoup: I've put some serious(?) thought into this some time ago and I would totally play a Ramayana Bioware RPG. Let's get them right on that =D

Unfortunately, it's true that a game like that would probably fail financially unless it's a low-budget PSN/Steam game or something.

Well, atleast Bioware will have the ending ready-made for them before they start work on it. :P

#19 Edited by BeachThunder (11719 posts) -

@forcen said:

Isn't there a concept page for this?

Well, there's this.

#20 Edited by shell_kracker (71 posts) -

@audiobusting said:

@shell_kracker said:

@tangoup said:

Most Hindu stuff in media is passed off as Buddhist/Tibetan.

How do ya mean?

I think he means that, for example, the games you mentioned were influenced by Hinduism rather than Buddhism (with the exception of Asura's Wrath, which I think combines both religious mythology?). As far as I know India has both Buddhist and Hindu traditions (and Muslim too) and people often get them mixed up because of their similarities. It would be cool to see Hindu mythology more represented in video games; I believe there's more Buddhist stuff in video games because of China/Japan (as you said). There's some crazy stories in Hinduism that a lot of people haven't ever heard of.

In a way, Buddhist mythology is Indian mythology, so the line between where Hinduism (itself just a huge collection of diverse folk beliefs, similar to Shenism in China, Shintoism in Japan and Paganism in Europe) ends, and Buddhism begins, is kind of blurred. China and Japan have of course greatly innovated in Buddhism, so it's very unfair to call it 'Indian mythology' when traditions like Chan Buddhism are just as 'native' to China as Confucianism. But certainly, they are not 'foreign' to India either; they are in fact deeply embedded there too, albeit largely forgotten.

The Chinese, Indians and Japanese have the same 'hell', e.g. Naraka (although it isn't literally an eternal hell in the Semitic sense - more a state of mind or existence). Buddhist deities like Amitabha, Mahakala, the four Wisdom Kings, etc, sometimes preserve once-widely known forms of mythology from medieval India, which have been forgotten in India itself. In my experience, even Indians don't tend to be all that familiar with just how influential Buddhism once was; it was often the official religion of state (more often than Hinduism in fact; from perhaps 500 BC to 500 AD, a thousand years, India was effectively a Buddhist country, similar to Tang dynasty or Song dynasty China), and probably things like Yamantaka statues were once as common sights as Shiva, Vishnu, etc. A lot of the things Indians think of as quintessentially Hindu, are actually innovations that came after Buddhism, such as Vedanta and the concept of a trimurti, so sometimes what the Tibetans are preserving is actually an older stratum of Indian myth than what is currently present. Not that Buddhist or Hindu deities are literally gods in the Semitic sense; they are Jungian archetypes.

In the case of Asura's Wrath, the game does combine both 'Hindu' and Buddhist myths. The Asura itself, once a malign race or class of gods in Vedantic Hinduism, was of course adopted into Buddhism, to represent powerful but malign 'Titans' ruled by their emotional neuroses. But the game also features the demon/dragon Vritra, straight from the story of the primordial battle between Indra vs. Vritra. It liberally blends the two.

There are dozens of games based on 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms', including the Dynasty Warriors series - the Ramayana and Mahabharata could easily serve as the basis for a similar amount of output - but I feel that a lot of Indian film makers don't know how to adapt mythology properly, and thus games studios probably wouldn't do much better. Basically the Japanese or Chinese style of entertainment suits India better, but India is obsessed with aping the Hollywood style.

Shin Megami Tensei is an excellent example of mythology done right, and themes used right. It also happens to contain a huge amount of Indian and Buddhist references.

#21 Edited by shell_kracker (71 posts) -

@tangoup said:

@audiobusting said:

@shell_kracker said:

@tangoup said:

Most Hindu stuff in media is passed off as Buddhist/Tibetan.

How do ya mean?

I think he means that, for example, the games you mentioned were influenced by Hinduism rather than Buddhism (with the exception of Asura's Wrath, which I think combines both religious mythology?). As far as I know India has both Buddhist and Hindu traditions (and Muslim too) and people often get them mixed up because of their similarities. It would be cool to see Hindu mythology more represented in video games; I believe there's more Buddhist stuff in video games because of China/Japan (as you said). There's some crazy stories in Hinduism that a lot of people haven't ever heard of.

Thank you. Yes that is what I meant. If you take a look at Uncharted 2 itself, most of the idols, imagery, architecture and mythology are inspired by Hinduism but a Tibetan monastery led to Shambala. Which leads one to believe that the legends referred to in-game are Buddhist. I don't really mind as I liked Uncharted 2 but these sort of fallacies are common place.

Oh there's an ancient temple. Must be Buddhist.

On another note, the Ramayan and Mahabharat would make excellent RTS games. But like mrfluke said, there's no market for this sort of thing.

But it's perfectly believable in a fictional game, that a Tibetan monastery might lead to long lost ancient ruins from a lost Indianized civilization. I guess a lot of the audience wouldn't have spotted what the Uncharted team were doing there - which was implying the ruins were even older Indian ones than the monastery, which was presumably built later to guard them, or was refurbished over the ages.

I agree that Indian stuff would make for some excellent games. Gods firing off arrows with the power of nuclear warheads, capable of destroying whole mountainsides. Races of demons, vampires, spirits and beasts. Guardian deities living in sacred forests. But like I said above, in my experience, Indian media companies are very poor at handling mythology. Western ones also are to some extent, with exceptions.

Yet it's Hollywood that Indian media companies ape after, when the best sources of that kind of material come from Chinese wushu and Japanese anime. Still the best adaptation of the Ramayana remains a jointly produced Indian-Japanese co-production anime from the 90s. And stuff like Naruto, Hero or Mushishi capture the kind of feel of India better than some Disney produced CGI foolery.

#22 Posted by TangoUp (307 posts) -

That I agree with. Indian film makers don't seem able to take up this material and do something meaningful with it. The portrayal of mythological stories in media is still heavily influenced by the Ramayan and Mahabharat live action TV series of the 80s and 90s.

But the mythology can accomodate both small, character centric stories and epic special effects reliant blockbusters. Creativity is needed for implementation though.

#23 Posted by shell_kracker (71 posts) -

@tangoup said:

That I agree with. Indian film makers don't seem able to take up this material and do something meaningful with it. The portrayal of mythological stories in media is still heavily influenced by the Ramayan and Mahabharat live action TV series of the 80s and 90s.

But the mythology can accomodate both small, character centric stories and epic special effects reliant blockbusters. Creativity is needed for implementation though.

Yeah, and creativity comes from a good understanding of what art is, which most 'pop' film makers don't have a clue about.

For some reason, probably because art degrees and philosophy degrees are highly valued, many Japanese companies seem to have a way better understanding. Or it might just be that the entirety of Japanese culture is permeated by Wabi Sabi. Indian creators could do with looking there.

@tangoup: I've put some serious(?) thought into this some time ago and I would totally play a Ramayana Bioware RPG. Let's get them right on that =D

Unfortunately, it's true that a game like that would probably fail financially unless it's a low-budget PSN/Steam game or something.

@forcen: Oh, you're right. (edit: found this on the concept page too. Can't find much about it from a quick googling but it sounds cool.)

I don't particularity want a Ramayana RPG (unless it was a JRPG), but something like an Indian Jade Empire, that just takes the general culture and mythology, would be a great setting for a BioWare RPG.

The curse of the modern world is the curse of late post-modern capitalism - the idea that things only have value if they sell well, subsuming the previous understanding that a thing's beauty or value is entirely distinct from it's monetary worth - so it's sad that we have so many creative industries that no longer try to create 'beauty', but rather try to pander to what will sell best. If we go by market forces, nothing good will ever be made - it takes a games company or film company with genuine vision or understanding to lead, and dictate to their audience the story they want to tell. I doubt anyone would have expected God of War, based on classical Greek mythology, to sell well - the company led, and didn't follow market analysis.

I think a lot of people with an interest in India, or some Indian ancestry, have thought about the possibilities of games like this :-)

#24 Posted by audioBusting (1481 posts) -

@shell_kracker: I think you're underrating the popularity of Greek mythology, just think of how many popular movies and TV shows were influenced by it in the past couple of decades (off the top of my head: 300, Clash of the Titans, Percy Jackson (I guess it's popular?), Hercules & Xena, Troy, Spartacus).

Like you said people with interest in Indian history and culture must have thought of making games like this, but I bet there's not a lot of them in countries that make a lot of video games. Americans/Europeans tend to make games with western mythology influences (Greek, Roman, Scandinavian etc.) and Japanese/Chinese game devs tend to make Three Kingdoms or Journey to the West etc. because most of the developers and players are more familiar with them. Outliers like Asura's Wrath and Digital Devil Saga may be the most we can get for now.. =[