Why Is Science Fiction So Hard to Pull Off Effectively in Gaming?

Not too long ago, Destiny's beta wrapped up, and gave players a taste of the latest sci-fi world that Bungie is building. While the Halo-esque heritage was still there, the beta was a refreshing break from modern military shooters, offering us a glimpse of a diverse sci-fi landscape. With the exception of Destiny, The Swapper, and a small handful of other titles on the horizon, sci-fi games tend to be few and far between.

Between the Gears Trilogy and Enemy Unknown during the previous generation, it seemed like we were in for a rebirth for the genre, but unfortunately, that hasn't proven to be the case. Why is science fiction so hard to pull off effectively in gaming?


Letter 44. Gravity. The Bunker. Interstellar. Star Trek Into Darkness. The Martian. Nova. Prophet. Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Across film, television, books, and comics, Sci-fi is as prevalent as it's ever been. This is what makes its absence in games even more noticeable. It's not that science fiction is impossible to do in games, it's that the depth and exploration of humanity is a difficult line to walk when most titles basically boil down to shooting guys in the face.


At its best, science fiction is about where humanity is going, and what it has the capacity to achieve. Even past the strategy and buckets of alien blood, even X-com boiled down to the perseverance of humanity.

As more mature themes continue to be explored in gaming, my hope is that in the near future, we'll see a renaissance for science fiction. Like I've mentioned before, perhaps No Man's Sky will be the start of all this.

A little optimism would do us all good these days.

Mike Murphy
Mike Murphy

Contributing Writer
Date: 08/14/2014

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