A Christmas Theme in a game is sometimes so delightfully inappropriate that it’s tough not to feel the cheer of the season. A prime example comes the way of Borderlands 2 and the Pandoran holiday of Mercenary Day that includes hunting down a gigantic, deep-voiced snowman and saving Smaller Than Average Timmy and his village. Magical barely even covers it.
Many games go criminally against the season of Claus, but these five games shouldn’t go any further into Krampus territory. These are the games that, for one reason or another, should have a Christmas theme sewn into their relative majesties.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
It was discovered within mere hours of launch that Snake has himself a little birthday bash depending on the date you select at the beginning of the game. Thankfully, Christmas comes on the same day for everyone, and how better to celebrate the occasion than with a humorous cutscene? Throw Ocelot into a Santa suit and have him pass out presents like a Hamburger Cookbook to Miller, a Chia Pet for Code Talker, eye patches for the troops, and a full outfit for Quiet. D-Dog could be dressed as Rudolph and be jealous of D-Horse’s attention, D-Walker could shoot presents out of its Fulton launcher, and by golly, maybe even Eli—should he still be around—can have a Christmas prank on his father foiled.
This might all sound a little heart-warming for such a bitterly angry story, but a lot of people decried the lack of humor in Phantom Pain when it came out. Maybe a Christmas theme like this is a way to celebrate the series’ humor without interfering in the game’s overall message.
Speaking of places that could use a laugh, how about the Victorian-era Yharnam and the other locales of Bloodborne? The Souls series is one of the more focused lines of gaming you can find with very, very few distractions taking you from the core value of cyclical woe. Would it really be all that bad to see a Christmas decoration or two in one of the houses, or to see a beastly version of Santa fly overhead?
This PlayStation 4 exclusive doesn’t have the benefit of PC-heavy mods to throw in some cheer from time to time, leaving it up to From Software to deliver on this kind of idea. And while this little scenario would probably never happen, picture this for a bit: You enter that house where you meet the first wheelchair/gatling gun fellow, slice him down, and as you leave, a single beam of light comes from the ground. Sleigh bells begin jingling from some far away spot, and a tree arises from the brick and boards, fully decorated for the seasons and covered in light snow. You question this immediately but still approach slowly, seeing an “Interact” prompt that, upon commanding, turns the tree into a Mimic that eats you to death. Is that not just the sweetest little marriage of cruelty and Christmas ever?
Yoshi’s Woolly World
This might seem like the most obvious pairing of this quintet. Combine the warmth of Yoshi’s latest yarn with the crackling fires of the winter holiday, and you may fall comfortably asleep just picturing the idea. Create a level where Yoshi has to traverse an open living room in the middle of a family’s holiday gathering with various puffs and balls of yarn tumbling for the titular dinosaur’s use. Set the main theme of the game to a light Carol of the Bells backing, helping to create one of the coziest experiences a game has ever been able to. Get to work Nintendo!
Bungie and Activision almost certainly have some kind of event in mind for the game but probably not this one, and this is an event games could’ve used for a long, long time.
There’s a reason a lot of people say “Happy Holidays” instead of just “Merry Christmas” anymore, so shouldn’t that option be a part of games as well? Destiny, for all of its issues, probably experiences the tightest loop of gamer-complaints-into-developer-solutions out of any title on the market. So for the last two weeks of December, why not offer multiple ways to celebrate the holidays instead of just throwing everyone into the same Christmas-like ceremony?
On one of the patches, throw in a question: Do you want to celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, or any other holiday in the game? Then, launch within their game the event based upon what they chose, offering whatever kind of reward at the end. The highlight should be the way these various observances are handled in the game and not-so-much the end prize, but maybe even those would push some people to try something new and see how other holidays are celebrated, even in an exaggerated video game-y form.
Star Wars Battlefront
On the back of holiday diversity, let’s talk about Life Day. This Wookie tradition is about cherishing life and remembering those that have died in the three years between celebrations on Wookie home world Kashyyyk. Plus, it’s the topic of one of the weirdest spin-offs to a movie franchise you’ll ever see.
In Battlefront, this holiday could take on a slightly sillier manifestation. Change all the rebels into various Wookies with different faces while all of them sport the traditional Life Day, floor-length red robe. While getting Kashyyyk in there will probably happen by the end of next year (bank on it), the Rebels would still be able to show support in this small way this year while mowing down Empire soldiers.
That’s all for the games that should have holiday cheer and/or a Christmas theme thrown into their DNA. Would any of these doses of holiday cheer bring you into the mood?