You might remember Bible Chronicles: Call of Abraham as the curious Christian game that presented the story of Abraham as literal fact and failed to meet its Kickstarter target of $100,000 by $81,000. Developer Phoenix Interactive hasn’t given up, however, and is currently seeking other funding options.
The problem is, they’ve made an enemy: the Devil. Co-founders Richard Gaeta and Martin Bertram believe that the mythological fallen angel is very real, and he’s scheming against them, they tell Polygon in an interview.
"It's very tangible," says Bertram. "From projects falling through and people that were lined up to help us make this a success falling through. Lots of factors raining down on us like fire and brimstone." Game development is a risky venture, even more so when the end goal is to design a game that portrays Old Testament events as historical facts. It’s not your typical video game demographic, and early screenshots are ugly as sin, but the real issue is that they are doing their god’s work, and his adversary isn’t best pleased.
The studio has a religious mentor, too. Guiding them. This mentor, Ken Frech, is convinced that the work the team is doing is a threat to the Devil. "If Satan is rallying some of his resources to forestall, delay, or kill this project, I think, this must be a perceived threat to his kingdom," Frech says. "I fully would expect something like this to have spiritual warfare. Look at the gospel accounts of demons and so forth. That's reality. Many Americans don't believe it anymore. That doesn't change reality."
Call of Abraham deals with some pretty touchy subjects. Abraham himself knocked up his wife’s servant and then attempted to murder his son in the name of his deity. And the fella’s nephew was Lot, who wanted to let some chaps rape his daughters and was date raped by them in turn. And, of course, there’s Sodom: an entire city destroyed by God.
Gaeta and Bertram aren’t condoning all of this, though. They claim that many of the events in Abraham’s life were the result of his weakness. But where it’s sanctioned by the big, beardy head honcho, they believe it to be right. On the topic of the destruction of Sodom, Frech says "God really restrained himself. He didn't destroy everybody. God is a gracious God. But you look at it today, [mimics liberal perspectives] 'they were born that way, be tolerant'. I mean, just a totally different perspective in our culture." The restraint he’s referring to is letting Lot and his family (minus his wife, who was turned into a pillar of salt) live. Nobody else.
There’s room for all sorts, of course. The myth of Abraham is rooted in the origins of three of the largest and most influential religions in the world, and like literature and film I think there’s a space for designers to explore religion and morality. If BioShock did it, then why not the other side of the coin?
It might need to be a little better than this, though: