Kieron Gillen's workblog




Just finished playing through Call of Duty, the new Activision WW2 shooter by Infinity Ward (Who are, essentially, what a bunch of the Medal of Honour: Allied Assault peeps did next.)

I won't mention its merits, as I'm reviewing it for Gamesmaster, but I wanted to talk about something that won't turn up in any reviews: It's the most pro-Russian game I've ever played in my life - or, at least, the most pro-Russian game I've ever seen an American developer produce. After Io's oddball retro-soviet-oppressors fantasia of Freedom Fighter, this pleases me. All three of the Allied Major powers feature, with missions split evenly between Americans, British and the Soviets. But that's not really where the eyebrows raise...

While far from a history lesson, the idea of this massively populist game essentially saying "Yes, the Soviet War machine on the Eastern front was a brutalist grinder which Stalin through millions of bodies through without bothering to arm half of them first, but it was that which the Russian's did most of the hard work in terms of Winning the War". Allied Assault's mission packs were the biggest selling ever in the states. For this sequel - and I think it's accurate to say this is a far more "Real" sequel to Allied Assault than anything Electronic Arts could turn up - which is guaranteed to land in the laps of millions of middle-american homes to do this is both surprising and pleasing. I can hear the blood-vessels of a thousand "If It Wasn't For Us You'd Be Speaking German"'s straining even now.

It's also left me oddly sad. Because while it ends on a note of Brotherhood between a Russian and American meeting, I'm fully aware the American went back to the consumerist joys of the 1950s and the Russian was more likely than not ended up in a Gulag for having contact with an outside influence.

They, more than anyone, won the war. And that's what happened to them.

So, with angry tears in my eyes, I listen to Belle and Sebastian's new album which has finally bit its teeth into my neck.

"If I could do one near perfect thing, I'd be happy.
They'd write it on my grave, or when they scattered my ashes.
On second thoughts, I'd rather hang about and be there with my best friend
If she wants me."

EDIT: As I press blog, I realise I'd put some bread under the grill to toast before starting writing that, and the house is full of black smoke. The world has a way of turning the Quiet Epithanies into Bathos, which is the only thing which keeps me relatively un-cunty.




Kieron Gillen's Workblog, foo'.