Why "Brave New World?
Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Why did we go for this title?
A lot of people hear the phrase "Brave New World" and think of Huxley's dystonian nightmare, but this wasn't what we were thinking in opting for that tagline. The truth is that Huxley knew where to steal a good line, and we pilfered it from the same source. The line comes from Shakespeare's The Tempest. "Oh brave, new world, that has such people in't".
We were drawn to it for many reasons. Shakespeare's play is itself a complicated meditation on government, justice and colonialism. It deals with many of the same themes which our games and narratives explore: fairness, dignity and balancing competing needs and claims. It is also a rich and ambiguous story, which challenges the audience to think and feel their way through complicated questions. It isn't a straightforward story of baddies and goodies, we find ourselves being appalled by a characters one moment, and then sympathising with them the next minute. This spoke to us, because often in real life situations, there is no obvious and straightforward resolution to the problems with which we are confronted. Prospero, who has claimed lordship of the island, is both a dispossessed person and an invader and oppressor, his motives and behaviour are mixed. Equally, Caliban the native inhabitant of the territory has been deprived of his birthright, and yet was willing to hurt a young girl when he thought that he had opportunity. Or was he? We only hear this story from his enemies, how reliable are the accounts?
The many layers and points to wrestle with reflected our hope of encouraging people to engage with deep and messy issues, but in a secure and entertaining environment. The game, like the stage in a theatre, is a safe space for experimentation.
In addition, the Early Modern context was apt for our work around colonial America, and history of British Constitutional law, so appealed from that perspective. It seemed natural to pay tribute to Shakespeare's exploration of the very questions which still fascinate and preoccupy us.