I love Norse mythology, I really do. I love how it worms its way into gaming as a whole, from the Fenrir wolf to Midgar and Nibelheim in Final Fantasy VII. The concept of Norse mythology being part of a beat ’em up is certainly intriguing to me. Wotan is definitely on to something unique here.
The closest thing my brain can jump to is God of War, but even that is ferociously different from this artsy 2D experience. A beat ‘em up game where you can choose whether or not to hurt people; it’s something I’d never have considered when I first became a gamer. I wonder if Undertale’s success has help popularized the ‘mercy’ mechanic in the gaming world.
Wotan interests me because I think it is a compelling argument that video games are art. Between its unique style, creativity, and imagination, combined with the fact it is drawing on ancient mythology, I find it hard to say otherwise. I’m really impressed with how tightly woven the concept is – the mechanics actually serve the narrative. Your character is a retired gang leader who is trying to find a new life looking after kids. The mechanics of ‘to pummel or not to pummel’ actually make sense rather than it being a slapdash pacifist run achievement hunters.
Like me, the developer Samuel Lopez De Victoria seems to have an affinity for Norse mythology. I had a peek at some of his previous work in preparation for this piece and noticed a previous game in his roster called Yggdrasil and another of a similar art style to Wotan called Howler.
The Wotan Kickstarter is currently not off to a roaring start so I threw in some bucks. If you could help fan the flames and feel so compelled, please share the Kickstarter around. Do you think video games are an art form? Comment down below!