Neill Blomkamp isn’t resting on his laurels but is creating some amazing speculative fiction shorts. Both Rakka and Firebase are out now, and each of these provides tons of inspiration for both writers and RPGers. I’m only going to look at it from an RPG perspective.
Rakka is kind of an apocalyptic/bodyhorror/alien invasion short which looks at the way humans try to fight back. There are shades of the backstory for Terminator – which became a frontstory(?) with the imperfect Terminator Salvation – Aliens, eXistenZ, and District 9 while still remaining briskly original. For inspiration, there is the enemy itself – one that has both technological superiority but also psionic superiority – those humans that survive the aliens’ experimentation (maybe the super-powered PCs?), and the hinted-at saviours of the world. Is the Earth caught in the middle of an interstellar war, useful because of its strategic location? Does one side view Humans only as an irritating pest while the other recognizes sentience? Or do our saviours merely seek to use us as proxies, to avoid their own casualties while still hitting at their opponents?
I actually enjoyed Firebase more than Rakka. Neither one is really complete, although Rakka feels like its complete, just ambiguously so. Firebase teases more to come. It has many elements similar to Rakka, but this time it’s in Vietnam during the war and the force being faced seems more supernatural than interstellar. What could be interesting is taking the premise of Firebase and transporting it to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, trapped in decades of fighting and insecurity, and use it along with a riff on “Heart of Darkness” – itself the inspiration for Apocalypse Now. As the team gets closer and closer to the River God substitute, things get weirder and weirder. Reality is breaking down, but the characters/PCs are able to stand outside this decay for some reason – maybe for reasons they also don’t understand. I think the premise is very cool, and it is ripe for use in an RPG.
I can’t wait to see what else comes out of Oats Studios, because I will bet it will be as pregnant with inspiration as these two pieces have been.
You can see both Rakka and Firebase at Oats Studios.