Although some would disagree with me, I think WB’S horror themed show Supernatural is dying. Say what you want about the acting, or the way the creators expertly interact with the fandom, for me everything comes down to story. And let’s face it; Supernaturals’ story isn’t that great right now.
It’s safe to say, the creators saw the kind of money Supernatural was making and decided they wanted to make more. Now we have not only the TV show but comic books, novels, action figures, clothing and even a Japanese styled anime series. In fact, the only thing missing is the one thing I think could save the franchise – a video game.
Writer and creator Erik Kripke originally planned for the show to follow a five season story arc concluding with the Apocalypse being avoided and one of the series heroes Sam Winchester locked in Hell with Lucifer as the final price of keeping the universe safe. This is how it should have ended, and if you watch the finale of season five, you can see it was planned to conclude this way (denouement excluded).
Ever since then, the series I think has jumped the shark. I still watch it. But mainly out of a vague sense of loyalty and stubbornness – the jackass in me is kicking at the goads snarling: “Well, I’ve watched eight seasons of this now, there’s no way I’m giving up until it’s over!"
For a show about two brothers fighting demons, monsters and all things that go bump in the night, there are not exactly a lot of scares anymore. What began as a thrilling monster of the week serial, turned into a sprawling biblical epic of warring brothers – both angelic and human, before crashing spectacularly into a pseudo-comedic soap opera with supernatural undertones.
But back to this idea about a video game. Even before the series arguably jumped the shark, I have championed the idea of a Supernatural game, and here’s why:
Extensive Mythology: Angels, Demons, Ghosts and Ghouls
The show boasts potentially one of the most interesting extensive mythologies around. From the history of Hunters and the Men of Letters, to the overflowing bestiary of ghosts, ghouls, deities and shape-shifters, the shows mythology is ripe for mining in a gaming sense. Just imagine a huge, open world environment teaming with all things evil and creepy. I know, I know, The Secret World has already done something similar, but that was a MMORPG, and like every other MMORPG that I’ve played, I got the uncomfortable sinking feeling that the game world was breaking down around me.
What we have available to us here with Supernatural is a pre-fashioned Storyworld. I’ve talked about Storyworlds in other articles here and here, but a quick run down again – A Storyworld is an encyclopedic backdrop from which to mine stories from. It included geography, history, science, news and literature building into a fully realized fictional world.
Multiplayer and Co-op – The Family we choose and the Family we don’t
For anyone who has watched a few episodes of the show, it’s pretty obvious that one of the reoccurring themes in it is that of family – the family choose and the family we don’t. This theme plays perfectly into gameplay when you consider the ability a game would have to connect you socially with other players and establish them as “family.” In the show, Sam and Dean often rely on other Hunters joining their investigations to take down extra nasty creatures. In a game, we could see this play out as meeting one another at safe houses (like the road house in the first few seasons of the show) or bumping into one another at different gigs around the country. Players could join forces and work together, or as often happens in the game, let their thirst for blood or revenge take priority and make enemies with one another.
Massive, Beautiful Landscapes – A Road trip across America
The show is quintessentially a road trip story. Sam and Dean travel up and down the country in their ’67 Chevy Impala, following clues of possible cases through newspaper articles etc. In a game, this would translate into awesome Grand Theft Auto - esque road trip missions through the American landscape on your way to cities or towns where monsters have set up shop. Obviously, designers would have to shrink the size of the US considerably to make it practical for a game, but if they can do a continent like in The Witcher III and Skyrim, they can do this.
Ensemble of Characters
Lastly, think of all the great characters we’ve met over the years alongside our Hunter heroes. A video game could be the perfect excuse for us to meet them again, delve further into their backstories and work alongside them on a hunt. If you were to set the game prior to the Apocalypse Arc of season 2,3,4 and 5, we would be able to hunt werewolves with Ellen, take down ghosts and vampires with Bobby, or alternatively, setting it after the Apocalypse arc would give us the chance to fight alongside Charlie (however, as great as a character she was, she did come into it after the series jumped the shark, and if we were wanting to work with her, we’d also have to deal with The Wizard of Oz storylines, The Stein Family and fairies.) We could also finally be best buds with Castiel – the world’s coolest Angel.
Supernatural: The Game
So c’mon Mr Kripke, let one of us gamers take your franchise and make this thing! Building on the extensive mythology you and your writers have developed, we could create a new revitalized version of supernatural through social gameplay. It has been a dream of mine (as I’m sure many other fans would agree on) to one day become a real-life hunter. Because we live in the boring real world where monsters do not exist, a game where I can vicariously outlive my fantasy is really the next best bet.