“Deathloop”: the Meta(modern) Immersive Simulation Game

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"Deathloop" (Arkane Studios, 2021) was upon its release critiqued by both professional reviewers and fans for not adhering to the genre conventions of “immersive simulation games” found in all previous games of its developer, Arkane Studios (i.e., an emphasis on choices and consequences, divergent play-styles and emergent gameplay resulting from interconnected systems). The article argues that Deathloop embodies the aesthetic sensibilities of metamodernism (Vermeulen and van den Akker, 2010), which are a continuation and reaction to modernist and postmodernist aesthetics. Metamodernism emphasizes indeterminacy, truthfulness and hopefulness, striving for more ethical and less cynical art in all media. The article analyzes the construction principles of the genre of immersive sim, and how Deathloop departs from its conventions, before introducing metamodernism as a theoretical backdrop for a hermeneutic analysis. The analysis correlates game structure, mechanics and narrative of Deathloop to illustrate how the game overcomes both the genre restrictions of immersive sims and the modern and postmodern sensibilities found in earlier games of a similar style.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGame Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Genre
  • criticism
  • FPS
  • RPG
  • immersive sim
  • metamodernism
  • metareferentiality


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