An Overanalysis of Shattered Horizon's Premise

Ah, Shattered Horizon. The game that was made by the guys who built these 3D acceleration tests won’t run on anything less than Direct X 10. Some people may think this elitist, but truth is, we’re fine with it, in the same way that we’re fine with the pretty odd plot line. A huge explosion. Greed. Scientists are the last hope of humankind. Miners are paranoid. Full scale war outer space on jetpacks. I won’t repeat the plot.

There are a number of unanswered questions — why does it seem, 40 years in the future, that there is an abundance of EMP grenades and “smoke” grenades readily manufactured by earth? In mankind’s greed, why leave the job to scientists who can’t even fight? Can the moon actually explode? From a game mechanics standpoint, why is there no real difference in abilities with a team of scientists versus a team of miners other than color? If it were up to me, the scientists would be using … well … science to battle evil while the miners would be stuck with their brawn-oriented tools of destruction.

There is also reference, although it could be totally coincidental, to color code the miners as yellow and the scientists as blue in the same way that Star Trek coordinates blue for science designations and yellow for engineering or operations designations. Heh.

If there’s one thing I’d like to touch base on, it would be the apparent paranoia of both factions while outer space — the “thing” that actually caused the real conflict beyond the explosion. According to the 2008 precursor film to Dead Space (the game), Dead Space Downfall (the animated movie), it is quite normal to experience heightened levels of paranoia and stress over time in space and this has been proven too in real life, with about 13 or so people who have experienced adverse levels of stress traveling outside the sphere of the earth. Which is why it seems so easy for the ISA scientists to “believe” that they need to apprehend the miners and in turn these miners “need” to fight for their survival rather than settle things amicably over a cup of tea. If there’s one thing we learn about the future, it is that at the very least, the human race is pretty much over and done with the war against countries. In one map the destruction of the International Space Station is symbolic of the end of the world war and the movement into … again, a squabble between two professions of “scientists” and “miners.”

Kudos to the simulation of environmental sounds. There has been effort exerted by the game to let you know that the ambient sounds that you hear from your helmet are all assisted simulations. If you’ve ever been underwater, you will know that sound travels differently disorienting you from knowing the direction where it originates from. It will seem like someone calling your attention is “everywhere.” Shattered Horizon adds this little detail in space, allowing you to hear where you’re being shot from.

Shattered Horizon’s overall premise is reflective of a depressing future. It is a “working future” if we really push ourselves to believe it, but we’re glad to believe otherwise that they just really needed a basic plot to build an interesting space shooter around.

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