Go to Hell.
No, that’s not what we wish upon you, dear reader. Instead, grand publisher EA wants you to spend time in the worst of afterlives. Incidentally, Hell is where their next big action game takes place, titled Dante’s Inferno and yes, it is based upon Dante’s epic poem The Divine Comedy.
Rest easy Lit majors. Inferno - which is heavily based upon the first third of the Comedy - rips all the boring parts of the poem out and transforms it into an action epic… and that’s not a bad thing. We recently got our hands on Inferno and while the game is pretty early in development, it was playable enough to give us a taste of what’s to come.
If you haven’t read The Divine Comedy, we’ll give you a quick primer. In the early 1300s, Dante wrote an epic poem about his journey through the allegorical Christian afterlife - Inferno (Hell), Purgatory and Paradise (Heaven) - with a guide, named Virgil. What’s interesting is that not only did Dante write himself as the main character, but also the poem ended up being the defining medieval view of the Christian afterlife.
The first section - Inferno - is Dante’s physical descent into the nine layers of Hell, with each layer representing a sin inflicted either upon one’s self or others. Not unlike the seven deadly sins, they are: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, Heresy, Murder, Fraud, and Treachery. The poem is basically just Dante and Virgil walking and describing the various punishments for each soul in each of these layers.
But you’re here for a game, not college class. The Dante of EA’s action game is more badass than the original poet. He’s a vet of the Crusades and in the game’s tutorial section, has you defeat Death for his soul-reaping scythe. Yes, you defeat the Grim Reaper and use his weapon for the entire game. After the war, you return home to find your wife, Beatrice, has been slain. However, instead of descending to Heaven, Lucifer steals her soul. Does Dante pout? No, he charges full steam into the gates of Hell and begins his quest in the first layer, Limbo.
None of the cutscenes were done, but we did get an early look at the animatics (animated storyboards that serve as placeholders) and we’re sure we’ll be very impressed once the game is finalized. Instead of deviating from the story, EA has embraced what made the poem so interesting. EA has taken Dante’s literal map of Hell and transformed it into a game, of which you’ll traverse all nine layers before taking on Lucifer himself. On the surface Inferno evokes a classic love story. However, Executive Producer Jonathan Knight was quick to suggest Dante’s sins will be atoned for in each level suggesting darker things planned for our hero throughout the game.