With Astral Chain releasing this month, and the long-awaited Cyberpunk 2077 releasing next year, it looks like companies are fascinated by looking into the future. But what makes the future so interesting to look at for game developers? These two games represent what dystopian futures could look like, and it seems to be a big craze in other media as well, with things like Ready Player One.
The significant connection that many see is the conflict of robots vs humans. This has been a big topic even the 20th century spoke about, with games like Megaman X looking at the consequence of humans being caught out in a Robot vs Robot war. While this concept was never expanded on properly from a human perspective, it’s interesting to see a battle between good and evil robots who have free will and are choosing their own path. This concept was expanded on in the Megaman Zero series, where you played as Zero in a group of rebels who need to defeat a copy of X, the original hero from the Megaman X series, who was implied to be a pacifist in the Megaman X series of games, sees himself in this series as the ultimate hero, and savour to the world.
Another reason could be politics. Games like Final Fantasy XIII have an interesting take on this concept, as it mixes the ideas of Magic and Technology together, to make a fascinating dystopian environment, as politics is driven by the technology that the villains, as the heroes fight with a mix of Magic and Technology, with Magical beings, such as the L’cie, being the ones need to be struck down in the eyes of the villains. On the other hand games such as We Happy Few use a utopian environment that is ultimately corrupted and is found to be a dystopian nightmare, meaning that the heroes need to find a way to restore the world.
Furthermore, the visual of the ideas are stimulating. You can see in the visual design in the cities of CyberPunk and Astral Chain that there is a lot of posters and billboards that tend to reflect the style of pop art, a movement that used popular culture in art. Another style present in these games reminds me of Che Guevara posters. Maybe it’s because of this style that people tend to see within these posters that people get into these games. This may be because these rejected traditional art movements in their time for the pop art movement, and the art style would be seen as futuristic. Che Guevara was a figure of a revolution, so using the poster style here is vital to cyber games that offer a revolutionary theme to them.
The idea of living in these environments is scary to some. To others, it may feel like an omen of what’s to come, and while others may just be intrigued by the visual style, it is always nice to get a glimpse of what lies ahead.