Video Games Featuring Parallel Universes or Alternate Realities (Part 2)
Last week we posted Part 1 of our Video Games Featuring Parallel Universes or Alternate Realities feature. Kingdom Hearts, The Legend of Zelda, Half Life, Silent Hill, and Mortal Kombat were the five video game series mentioned. Today, we have five others to think about. Do you ever think about alternate universes, or do you think it's just pure science-fiction? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!
The BioShock multiverse draws on a more literal interpretation of multiverse theory, with every choice made spawning a new universe for each possible outcome. Several characters are able to tear holes between universes, which creates excellent plot movement and adds a new dimension to combat and puzzles.
In the final scene of the game, the antagonist is wiped out in one of the most creative ways to date. In short, it reflects the Grandfather Paradox: "If I go back time and murder my grandfather, will I ever have been alive in the first place to go back in time and kill my grandfather?" BioShock Infinite answers this catch-22 with a cryptic, "No."
Final Fantasy series
Tidus, the main character in Final Fantasy X, suffers an attack on his hometown Zanarkand by the creature Sin. He is suddenly shifted into a parallel universe called Spira, where everything is completely foreign to him. Stylistically it resembles parts of Asia, whereas Final Fantasy worlds typically resemble Europe. Later in the game it is revealed to him that the Zenarkand he once knew was actually a projection created by a group of people known as Fayth, the original inhabitants of the real Zanarkand which fell a thousand years prior.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, the main characters have the ability to time travel and do so in order to re-do events that took place previously. Because of this, parallel universes branch out of their actions; the worlds are changed based on the consequences of their actions. The previous universes remain as they are, and the changed universes open up; players can travel back and forth between the original and the manipulated parallel universes.
Squaresoft first developed parallel worlds in the video game arena with Chrono Cross, the spiritual successor of Chrono Trigger. The latter entertained time travel as a plot device, and the former expanded on the concept to create overlapping, interacting parallel universes. The plot itself is much like a puzzle in that players have to switch frequently from one universe to the other to overcome obstacles and find party members and items. More immediately, physical effects can be brought about in the other universe by acting in one in particular, for example, cooling the scorched Earth on one plane of existence so that vegetation can grow in the same location, but in a different universe.
Squaresoft created 13 possible endings for Chrono Trigger, so that the setting of the final battle and the choices leading up to it could each conclude the story differently. Chrono Cross continued this theme and developed 12 potential endings, dependent on the universe in which the game ended and, again, the players' choices.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
In Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, the main character Alexandra Roivas explores her grandfather’s estate in Rhode Island (2000 AD) in order to solve the mystery of her grandfather’s death. She stumbles across a book called The Tome of Eternal Darkness. When reading the book, she is transported to another place and time, and the player begins playing another character, a Roman military commander named Pious Augustus from 26 BC.
When transported back to the estate in Rhode Island at the end of each chapter, Alexandra can read another chapter to experience life as someone else in another time period and different location. Each playable character has had some contact with The Tome of Eternal Darkness and has a chapter written about them; therefore their lives can be experienced through Alexandra.
The Elder Scrolls series
In the Elder Scrolls series, much of the games are centered around alternate universes. The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion is named after the several Planes of Oblivion that you travel through. The Planes of Oblivions are believed to be ruled by one of the sixteen Daedric Princes, each one varying in appearance according to the corresponding ruler. When a player explores the open world, they may randomly come across an Oblivion Gate. The sky turns red, the scenery becomes twisted and dark, you begin encountering Daedra and Dremora; the closer you come to an Oblivion Gate, the deeper into it you go. Many of the main quests also call for you to close gates to Oblivion. In order to do so, you must find and take the Sigil Stone which acts as the source of the gate’s power.
Aetherius is considered the opposite of Oblivion and is the origin of the Aedra, such as the beings worshiped as the Eight (or Nine) Divine. Aetherius is thought by many to be the afterlife, and is also believed to be the source of magicka. Sovngarde, the afterlife of the Nords, is one plane within Aetherius. This alternate universe is briefly explored in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.
Katelyn Ginn has written video game guides for various online outlets for years. Her interests extend particularly to sci-fi, horror, puzzle, adventure and fantasy genres.
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