Watching Gangs of New York last night, I was struck just by how much our fiction is primarily about superhuman characters. Like ancient mythology, we need larger than life heroes who can completely heal from terrible mutilation, or overcome any obstacle if it lies in the way of their dramatic goals. And certainly there’s no amount of branding that can be done to the pretty face of Leonardo Di Caprio that he won’t be able to shrug off in a matter of minutes of screen time. Even the “terrible scars” from his brutal childhood are rather pretty and cinematic.
And I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing. But when the video game industry constantly gets dinged for being too based around fantastic themes, and placing the characters into unrealistic situations it really is the pot calling the kettle black. Just like the characters in film, video game heroes they don’t really get those powers and abilities until they’ve become part of some great quest or event.
They’re formed by their circumstances, and their powers remain for as long as they stay in that world of quest and vision.