The Daughter of the Sea

There is a certain quality that only time brings. Those who tell stories long enough, consistently and without milking their worlds and characters predatorily, end up  building great, well-grounded works.

Most video game producers create decades of history for a single product. A song may refer to events from 10 years ago in the game world, but it is an artificially constructed historical date – the player can feel that the genesis of the song is that same as that of the story that gave rise to it.

Video game producer Bioware suffers from this malady. Always shifting from universe to universe because of the present trends, the volatile, almost childish creativity of its artists, and the demands of its investors, it never gets  to create a historical past for its worlds in an organic way. Everything must be settled in a single development cycle, or over a single generation of consoles.

At the other extreme, a much more uncommon scenario: developer Blizzard has cultivated the same universes for more than twenty years. One can argue their art has become paler, staler, by virtue of growing corporate pressure. But one can not deny its narrative consistency. The result is that in 2018 they can launch a musical work based on 15-year old ”historical” facts, not as measured  by the passage of time in the game universe, but in our “real” time.

There is more to this work than colossal budget and impeccable artistic talent . There is a lived quality, a historical truth that has been refined over the years. I bet that several people who worked on this were there fifteen years ago, living the events that are portrayed in song today.

Most video game producers seem to think money makes art. Money helps. But what makes art is the passing of time.