A dodgy fictional religion whose name ends in “-ology” with arbitrary ranks and heavy sci-fi overtones? Hey Visceral, that’s a nice stick you’ve got there. May we point you in the direction of the nearest hornets’ nest?
If it looks like a Scientology parody and smells like a Scientology parody and tastes like a Scientology parody, then it must be one, right? Wrong, says Dead Space 2 creative director Wright Bagwell.
“We never really approach that discussion with the intention of poking fun at a particular religion, or sort of making a social statement about something that’s going on right now,” he told MTV Multiplayer.
“For us, Unitology’s purpose in the story represents people’s illogical thinking about things they don’t understand. It was never really intended to be a jab at any particular religion. I know people have said, ‘Oh yeah, it’s a jab at Scientology.’ It was never really intended. I think people get that a lot because the name is very similar.”
The main inspiration behind Unitology, Bagwell elaborated, was a book by Carl Sagan that focused on the origins of superstitious thought. Its driving premise centered around humans’ inability to cope when we don’t understand something or feel like it’s beyond us.
“That’s the commentary we’re making [with Unitology]. In this complex, futuristic world, people are looking for ways to simplify their lives and put their faith in something that they don’t have to think too much about,” Bagwell explained.
Whether it’s a smoke screen to avoid controversy, the honest truth, or a little of both, it’s certainly food for thought – and a more foundation-rocking question than most games are willing to ask. Why do people believe what they do? Granted, the series hasn’t given an entirely definitive answer, but we suppose that’s what Dead Space 3 is for.