It’s a battle of biblical proportions.
Software-maker Blizzard Entertainment released its hotly anticipated role-playing game Diablo III “from the Burning Hells” on Tuesday -- and “it’s a bad day for demons,” the company said.
At the same time, Lightside Games announced the release of “Journey of Jesus: The Calling,” which it called the first-ever video game based on the life of Jesus.
The timing was not lost on Brent Dusing, CEO of Lightside Games.
“Both games immerse the player, and you are what you eat,” Dusing said in a statement. “While one game goes one direction, ‘Journey of Jesus: The Calling’ players walk in the Messiah’s steps, in an authentic experience of Israel in Christ’s time.”
Despite its demonic name, the hellishly fun Diablo III actually lets characters play the good guys who battle a newly awakened devil. In the role-playing game, players become one of five heroic characters -- barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, monk or demon hunter -- and combat the endless legions of evil in a quest to eliminate the forces of “the Burning Hells.”
“Now that Diablo III is live, we hope everyone’s ready to have a hellishly good time slaying demons and collecting loot,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment.
To play the free “Journey of Jesus,” players log onto Facebook and type the name of the game into the search bar. Then they choose paths, explore the historical world, search for items and artifacts, and learn about the era’s politics, religious landscape, history and everyday life.
Christian leaders offered praise for “Journey of Jesus” in a press release put out by the company.
"Why would a theologian endorse a social-gaming game? Because 300 million people weekly log on to social games and because 'Journey of Jesus: The Calling' takes players closer to the life of Christ in a fun, reflective and entertaining way," said Darrell Bock, research professor of New Testament studies with the Dallas Theological Seminary.
The company said that more than 2 million players enjoyed its last social game, Journey of Moses, launched in 2011.