A couple of days ago, I watched this live stream of Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris by JHNPlays. My contribution to the stream was a few bad jokes in the comments box and to make poor JHN mess around with his audio connection when the reason I couldn’t hear anything was because of my laptop (mea culpa, JHN!).
While watching the live stream it occurred to me that the life of Alexander would make excellent material for a video game. I know that strategy games featuring him already exist**, but I’m thinking of one in the style of the Assassin’s Creed or Mass Effect franchises. These choices represent my preference for open world gaming, but I’d also consider a First Person Shooter (or in this case, Stabber) à la Call of Duty.
In an FPS game, the player could take part in a series of battles, sieges or assaults against targets of varying design and difficulty (Alexander’s Balkan campaign being the easiest level and Tyre being the hardest).
An open world game could see the player play the part of a Macedonian officer who goes on a series of adventures, the outcome of which will determine the success or otherwise of Alexander’s expedition.
For example, one adventure could be a mission to track down Pausanias’ ally (or enemy, depending on how the script was written) who intends to kill Alexander at the same moment as Pausanias assassinates Philip II. Another could see the player play a member of the Macedonian garrison at the Cadmeia in 335 BC; he would be required to find a way out of the citadel in order to help Alexander defeat the Theban rebellion. There could also be an adventure based on the crossing of the Hindu Kush (passing Prometheus’ chains along the way for a little mythological engagement) or on Alexander’s visit to India.
The suggestions I have outlined above stay close to the historical record, but there’s no reason why the game developer couldn’t take a leaf out of the Alexander Romance‘s book and create a more fantastical adventure.
We could explore the ocean depths with the Macedonian king…
Picture: British Library
Or visit strange new races, such as the Blemmyes, whose heads were on their faces.
Or pull out our swords and fight off deadly dragons.
For more mediaeval images from the Alexander Romance, do take a look at Bensozia. So often, and unfairly, the Middle Ages are dismissed as being a period of violence and ignorance, but in actual fact – for all the wars, disease and violence that was happening – many good happened at that time as well, as these beautifully illustrated manuscripts show.
Back to my game; while I have to admit I would prefer one that focused on the historical record I would not be averse to seeing anything that brought Alexander to life in a new and imaginative way, one that would give gamers the opportunity to help Alexander secure his empire and enable them to discover a little more about the man behind the legend as they went along.
* Or PS4, PC, Wii – I chose Xbox as the word sounded nice when set against Alexander’s name
** For example as an ‘expansion pack’ for Total War