Monday, July 15, 2013

How I Know Pacific Rim Wasn't An RPG

Pacific Rim came out this weekend. If you like giant robots you really should go and see it. The movie is large and glorious and had me on an eye-candy sugar rush for about 2-3 hours after I'd seen it. The special effects are amazing and it's just super fun seeing a 50 meter tall (probably bigger actually...) robot use a shipping vessel as a sword/stick to fight a giant monster in downtown Hong Kong. That said, there were some issues with the movie - mostly in a "thinking the premise through" - sort of way. Some of those issues made me sure the movie couldn't be an RPG. Here are some of them.

As a note, this is as much to critique the movie as it is to be humorous. Tomorrow I'll break down either here, or at the other blog, why some of these matters are important to consider when making a story. Also, as a note, slight spoilers.

The Robots Don't Start Off Using Their Weapons
This is the biggest point for me. The Giant Robots, at least Gypsy Danger and Striker Eureka, have bladed weapons on each of their arms. We are shown, when the weapons are used, that they are incredibly effective at killing Kaiju. And yet...we don't see the blades until we're through over half the movie, and even then they come out more as a surprise/last resort type thing.

This, effectively, means that the Jaeger pilots are not PCs. Why? Because no way a PC is going to pay the points/gold/money/resources to put swords on his giant robot and not pop them out every chance he gets.

Lack of Weapons On the Jaegers
Honestly, the Jaegers aren't very heavily armed. Don't get me wrong, they have weapons (see last point) but they're not as armed as I expect a PC piloting a giant robot to go. Why? Well, because I've yet to see a system where you can build a giant robot where the PCs haven't tried to work every kind of armament they can into the vehicle. The faster firing, more explosive, and longer range the better.

Not Enough Explosives
PCs love explosives. I don't think any GM who has ran a game where the PCs could conceivably have explosives will argue with this. By contrast, the plans in Pacific Rim use tragically little in the way of explosives.

Not Enough Property Damage
This one may surprise you. If you watch the movie, buildings get trashed. And yet...not really enough. The pilots seem almost concerned with reducing damage to the city as much as possible (not explicitly stated, but there which is good.) The monsters on the other hand are ok with trashing a building but no one really does it all that much. Honestly, I think the movie's biggest flaw is that at no point do we get to see someone suplex a giant robot or kaiju into/through a skyscraper.

Oh, and before you point out that that isn't proof it's not a game, wipe that grin off your face and tell me you wouldn't be trying to set up that exact scenario if you were running this as a game or playing in it as a player.

Now, obviously, some of these are tied into some real consistency problems. Namely the first two. But for this list, I think this makes the point. Other than that though, it really is a fun movie. Go see it!

1 comment:

  1. With few changes, it can be an awesome RPG.

    I'm trying to do it with my own RPG System (in spanish, sorry).

    These are some of the design tests i'm doing: