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The Forgotten City is the best adaptation of Lost to the video game

There are a few things left to say about The Forgotten City. Born from a wildly successful Skyrim mod, it was released last year as a stand-alone title to great critical and commercial acclaim. It unites the use of Outer Wilds-style time cycles, research similar to the excellent Return of the Obra Dinn, or the need to dialogue to find answers as if it were Disco Elysium. Still, it uses a Roman setting not seen in video games and a tremendously elegant design—one of the best games of the past year.

OK, Locke, Shepard, Sayid, and the rest of the characters from the groundbreaking series from the beginning of the millennium do not appear. Still, it is impossible not to see the enormous number of parallels between the Modern Storyteller game and Lost. But as I was playing it yesterday, I couldn’t help but think that, in its way, it was the best video game adaptation of the Lost series.

An island and a mystery
In The Forgotten City, it takes us a few minutes to reach an underground city populated by Roman citizens. There is no way out, and little by little, we are seeing that this place harbors many more questions than those that the inhabitants answer. They all arrived in the same way, after a traumatic event, the majority after the fire of Rome in 64 after Christ. And we all remember Oceanic Flight 815.

Beyond the arrival of these people, the reality is that what is interesting is how the stage is one more character. In Lost, the island is a mystery that grows with each chapter until it is revealed in recent seasons. In The Forgotten City, it’s the same, as behind an overlay of OK, they’re Romans cut off from the rest is the Golden Rule.

The city’s inhabitants are subjected to community punishment: if any of the sin, they will all be turned into golden statues. In Lost, we have the shadow of the lord in black and smoke, a predator who always keeps the tension between the survivors.

Of philosophy and characters
In Lost, they were pretty expensive. All characters have a reference to a philosopher in their name. Desmond Hume, John Locke, Rousseau, and Faraday are some of the ones they used during the series; they also looked for his philosophical theories to permeate the fictional character himself. In The Forgotten City, we are presented at all times with a tremendously rich and well-planned philosophical debate.

Topics such as group punishment, the differentiation of good and evil, the nature of the gods, or even if the environment is the one who sets the rules or has to be oneself… All this is in The Forgotten City. It is not that they quote great sages from the ancient world and recite his works, although good old Horacio stands out for doing so, but rather that they make you be in that debate and be part of it.

It is a matter of perspective. There is a very eloquent moment as soon as you arrive in the city in which Sencio, the city’s magistrate, argues why things like slavery, the differential treatment of men and women, or the battle to the death in the coliseums are perfectly legal ( and to him, not sinful). By the way, Sencio is quite similar to Linus, the leader of the others. He goes so far as to kidnap his daughter to prevent people from leaving town, to remain his leader, and uphold the Golden Rule.

But beyond the philosophy, what is perhaps most Lost about the entire game are the characters. Lost wasn’t so much about why there was a polar bear or why Dharma wanted such a thing, but how the characters interacted with each other, their common threads, and the choices that got them where they are.

There comes the point where parallel to the great mystery, we have a great story of characters. They all have a specific past and a role in this new utopian society of just over 20 people. Love relationships, hate, scams, and even signed agreements bend the Golden Rule. In The Forgotten City, exactly this happens.

It is impossible not to fall in love with Galerie, Duli, or Georgio, while you will not like Malleolo. This sense of interconnectedness that it is a community comes about because the game is designed so that by progressing through a side quest, you get clues for up to four other tasks.

Religion and a very similar ending (spoilers)

In both Lost and The Forgotten City, there is a moment when religion takes center stage. In the final installment of JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof’s series, a very Biblical story about Jacob and the Man in Black is revealed, which talks about the gods of the island. If we go to the game, we end up having the presentation of Pluto, Hades, Osiris, or Nergal, the actual creator of the Golden Rule and responsible for this sociological experiment in the form of a bet carried out with his particular Charon.

In the canon ending, the one that takes the longest to unlock and is considered the true ending by the game creator, we come to something exciting. After managing to defeat the God by word of mouth and a little Dormammu-style trick in Doctor Strange, we have a meeting with most of the town’s inhabitants at a museum.

It is impossible not to think about the end of the lost and that church in which all religions had a place. And the truth is that it works as a tremendously satisfying ending. It is true that, as in the series, it does not answer all the questions, but it does give you an enormously emotional end for all the characters—one last meeting in the theater, but this time changing it for the Roman history museum.