Game of the Year 2011: Best Adaptation

by Scott Nichols

Best Adaptation of an Existing Work: El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron

El Shaddai may seem like a strange pick for best adaptation. After all, the game is based on an obscure questionably canonical Judeo-Christian religious text (Book of Enoch 1, from the Dead Sea Scrolls) while including a Tron-styled motorcycle race and enough homoeroticism to make Cho Aniki hang its head in shame. And yet, it is still completely accurate to the story, and more importantly the spirit of the story, on which it is based. For example, the aforementioned motorcycle race which takes place in Azazel’s realm. In the original text, the angel Azazel acts as the Judeo-Christian Prometheus, giving tools and weapons to humanity with the knowledge of how to produce them. He represents technology and hunanity’s future, and in that sense the game’s neon robotic metropolis is a plausible interpretation based on modern knowledge of where humanity can next progress. It is the kind of interpretation that can only come from a development studio divorced from Western Judeo-Christian culture. It is an interpretation that requires developers to step back and see scripture as story rather than sacred text. El Shaddai is not a literal adaptation of its source material, but it is an accurate interpretation of its source story, and for that it is worthy of high praise.