The Post-Apocalyptic game genre has recently bloomed, releasing the delightful bounty of Far Cry: New Dawn, Metro: Exodus, Days Gone & the soon to be released Rage 2 & Borderlands 3. These examples of games set in the aftermath of an Apocalypse suggest that the world will either be:
- Slathered in pink, neon, vivid colours, powers, mutants, fancy weapons and explosions. Glorious carnage.
- Reclaimed by nature, ready to extinguish the
humansprey struggling to survive in any way possible. Basically, our days are numbered. Wonderful.
A post-apocalypse is a symbolic (what if?) future in which the existence of humanity has been threatened somehow by nuclear war or virus outbreaks. So, nature starts reclaiming Earth unfettered by the environmental devastation of a growing human population. Without advanced technology, humans are forced to revert back to their simple hunter/gatherer origins. It’s in this world that a new era for humanity begins, a glimpse into actually living rather than just surviving. Horizon: Zero Dawn has a beautiful post-apocalyptic world, a great narrative exploring what makes us human? and portraying nature in its purest form.
The use of mutated or zombie-like enemies goes one step further by giving us a tangible example of societal decay, the mindless consumption of the previous world. The parallels with reality can be quite shocking if you look at the current plastic crisis or global warming, a throwaway society full of advances forgetting to care for the world they live in.
The Cordyceps fungus in The Last of Us is symbolic of how the media around us can slowly corrupt our mind, mutating our thoughts and ultimately our actions. The virus removes our perception, robbing us of clarity by firstly attacking the eyes. Beautifully tied into the ending. Ellie asking Joel “Swear to me that everything you said about the Fireflies is true.” Experiencing the previous hospital scene, we know that Joel is lying when he says “Yes”, metaphorically illustrating his corrupted perception. That lie waiting to mutate.
The Freaker Horde in Days Gone mirror the toxicity of social media crowd dynamics, finding the inherent power in anonymity in order to troll a minority. Asking the question “Can one-person weather this storm alone?” It explores the link with mental health, the tagline “This world comes for you” is a common theme in depression, the feeling that the world is against you, that you’re alone and unwanted. But you’ll keep going, you have the strength to persist, to exist.
Personally, living with a disability draws easy parallels with existing in a world out to get you. Instead of zombies clogging up elevator space we have people who could easily walk up the stairs clogging it up. Instead of escaping a zombie by hiding inside a shop, we would get eaten while facing the steps.
Thank you for reading my post, apocalypse.