By Jonnell Burke
In the weeks since it ended, gamers and press alike have gushed across platforms, riding the high that comes from attending the magical event, Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The annual gaming event saw notable heavy hitters like Assassin’s Creed and Call Of Duty: WWII produce even more awe and excitement than anticipated, but one black horse of a rising star stood out among the rest.
Detroit, Michigan. It’s perhaps an unlikely hero, but a hero nonetheless.
This month alone Detroit has twice demanded a seat at the table with trailer releases for two exciting projects debuted nearly back to back. These ventures represent for many a notable return to the spotlight for the town; effectively lifting Detroit back into our divergent media zeitgeist for the first time since Deus Ex: Human Revolution and… well, 8 Mile. At E3, Quantic Dream delivered the heat with another action-adventure game in the form of Detroit: Become Human to thunderous applause.
Gamers may remember the French team as the minds behind the acclaimed Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls. Like its predecessors, Detroit: Become Human features the choice-dependent story progression style that fans and stans have come to love, this time centered around a Bicentennial Man-themed tale about androids come to life.
In a bout of stake-heightening and excellent casting, actor and activist Jesse Williams is seen in the game’s latest E3 trailer as a playable character, bringing both diversity and authenticity to a game that fans have already come to love. In fact, it seems since it’s 2012 stand-alone teaser trailer cryptically released without a title beyond the word “Kara,” much thought has gone into building the 5+ years long project, and one can only hope that this Detroit will deliver.
Now, for those of us not yet caught up on American Gods, you should know the gods of media work in mysterious ways. June 15th, the final day of E3, also saw the debut of the latest trailer for director Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit. While the original trailer received mixed reviews, this new staging manages to tell a story set in the heart of the 1967 Detroit riots that grips and does not let go. The cast is stacked behind John Boyenga of Star Wars: The Force Awakens fame. And while it depicts a Detroit of years past, it unpacks a relevant history of racial tension and abuses especially poignant today, as a significant segment of America seems intent on returning to the era while another, larger segment seems determined to forget.
Despite viewers much-warranted excitement, these two media ventures showcasing a Detroit of the future and one of the past will need to pass the litmus test of Michigan-native approval before being considered the ‘real deal.’ While it is not unique to these particular media to depict Detroit as tragic and yet redeemed, wronged and yet fighting, at their core both Detroit, the movie and Detroit: Become Human depict a city of people denied and yet demanding the rights they deserve, a legacy inalienably embedded in Detroit’s DNA that is sure to be carried for years to come.
Detroit, the movie will premiere August 4th of this year. Detroit: Become Human is set to be released in early 2018.
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