Spoiler alert: This article covers important story details of Spec-Ops: The Line!
A video game should entertain and maybe they too escape from reality enable. But in any case, it must send the players home with a good feeling. This has long been the norm in gaming mainstream. No wonder we’ve been used to playing the hero for decades. We saved the world, avenged the misdeeds of the bad guys and fought heroically for the good. Especially in the action and shooter genre, a glorification of combat and soldiering crept in – as Liberator, Savior, Hero.
The one from the German studio Yager developed Spec Ops: The Line (buy now €19.99 /€19.99 ) went a different way. Because instead of telling a heroic story, it confronts players with the horrors of war and the atrocities of their own actions. Spec Ops: The Line was released in June 2012sold”below expectations” – and is still one of the most important games of the past decade.
Yager and publisher 2K Games dared to deviate from the norm back then. The result, while not rewarded with financial success, is an action experience remembered to this day for its strong narrative.
Spec Ops: The Line then acted as reboot the tactical shooter series Spec Ops, which has come under heavy criticism over the years. After this 2K Games failed several times to implement the project internally, the Berlin developer studio Yager was finally awarded the contract. At the beginning the game was designed as a futuristic cover shooter. However, that all changed after it became clear that Yager actually had very different ideas in mind for the new Spec Ops.
Development officially began in 2007. Director Cory Davis recalled in the Conversation with the British magazine Gaming-Bible of five exhausting but also exciting years: “Yes, the game has a special place in my heart. (…) The experience was difficult in several ways. The team grew from a handful of people to a group by the time of release more than 16 nations who experienced this journey together and explored these elements of Heart of Darkness.” heart of darkness (or in English Heart of dearness) is an 1899 novel by Joseph Conrad, and Spec Ops: The Line draws heavily on its motifs.
In addition to imperialism and racism, the story focuses above all on them morality, power and violence during the colonization of the Congo. Especially the main character and character Captain Martin Walker, who leads the so-called Delta team in search of the missing John Konrad, was strongly inspired by the story in his moral development. Also Francis Ford Coppola’s anti-war film Apocalypse Now (1979) is considered a model for Spec Ops: The Line.
The story of the game reads traditionally at first: The Delta team, consisting of three voluntary specialists, is sent to Dubai. The desert metropolis was destroyed by continuous sandstorms and is cut off from the outside world. Delta Squad is tasked with finding and rescuing Said Joseph Konrad, commander of the 33rd Battalion. However, the mission turns from a routine operation into one suicide squadin which Walker and his comrades get caught between the fronts.
Source: Moby Games
Their actions significantly shake their own morale and cause the “good versus evil” house of cards to collapse faster than the next sandstorm hits Dubai. Spec Ops: The Line didn’t excel in gameplay, but the story and its unforgiving depiction of the theater of war did uncomfortable. And that’s what made it stand out.
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