SMAC treats the leaders with a respect I can’t really see in Pandora. SMAC’s Miriam, for all that she’s a terrible regressive person, eventually takes on the role of conscientious objector to the brains-in-jars insanity of the lategame tech tree. Bizarro-Miriam I can only describe as what you’d get if you let r/atheism write Believers, which if nothing else is out-of-place in a game ostensibly about the development of human societies in a new setting. Not that religion has ever been an important lens with which to study such matters or anything.
The difference between Yang and not-Yang is that Yang truly believes to the hilt in all this horrible pseudo-mystical stuff he uses to justify his tyranny, whereas not-Yang is just a hypocritical Kim Jong-Il on a different stage. Morgan is an eloquent advocate for human selfishness and a sort of serial-numbers-removed objectivism. Not-Morgan is written as just another outrageously rich, cynical plutocrat a la Bain Capital 2012 all over again.
Essentially, I have difficulty seeing Pandora’s faction leaders as anything other than cardboard cutouts. SMAC’s original seven resonate with each other because for all the game was set in the SPACE FUTURE, each represented a uniquely 20th century motif. The rise of modern finance and fundamentalist religion, Big Science, the 1960’s counterculture and environmentalist movement, the military-industrial-complex, totalitarianism (twice!), and–of course, the Fukuyama-style triumph of liberal democracies*. SMAC really spoke to something in ourselves, I think.
* Yet another reason not to have ditched Lal! :<
« Older "I do not tell plane stories; I tell stereoscopic... | Soutine and the little pastry cooks Newer »