With a veritable wealth of video games in existence, one doesn’t often spare a thought to those that didn’t quite make it, but a recent interview with game developer David Jaffe provides some insight into what could have been a highly controversial first person shooter based on George W. Bush's polices abroad.
The game, Heartland, would have told the story of a Chinese invasion of the U.S as a result of some bad Dubya decisions, and how American soldiers struggled to cope with the aftermath.
Sadly, we’ll never know how the soldiers resolved their moral dilemmas as the first-person shooter for the
PlayStation Portablewas abandoned when Sony decided to poach most of the developers for a more important project.
"Heartland was a very liberal response to the Bush administration and the Iraq War,” Jaffe told gaming site Kotaku.
“What I really wanted to do was to create a first-person shooter on the
PSPthat really tried to evoke emotions beyond the traditional emotions you get in a first-person shooter – you know, adrenalin and competition. I wanted to also evoke fear and sadness.
"It was basically an invasion of the United States by a greater military power and you basically played a reserve guy who was trying to get back to his family. It was really sort of my attempt at speaking through video games about George Bush the second and the war and all that stuff. That's what Heartland was."
To say the game contained a bit of controversy would be an understatement. Jaffe explained that players would even have had to face scenes like burning a Chinese American family to death in their homes after dousing them with petrol. Charming.
Jaffe admits he is rather partial to “the more arty-farty, storytelling, you know, really trying to push the medium in that direction,” but to be honest, we’re rather glad we never saw that particular scene materialize.
Either way, it’s all academic, as Sony demanded Jaffe’s manpower elsewhere.
"By the end we were down to a skeleton crew of about six guys, and we were just like 'You know what? This is stupid. What are we doing?'”
So Jaffe refocused his remaining team’s attention on XBLA, leading to the development of Eat Sleep Play.
"So it all kind of led to where we are now, and that's what happened to Heartland."
A truly touching story.