What’s the Meaning of Immortals After Dark?

In case you’re wondering, the title of this article isn’t some sensational marketing ploy to get you to read it. Turns out the game Immortals After Dark has a special significance to those who played the original Immortals and feel connected to the series’ world. And who isn’t connected to that world anymore?

Let’s dive into the details. Back in 2004, Capcom released a gorgeous, turn-based strategy game for the Xbox called Immortals. The game combined intense action with bone-crunching battles with computer-controlled opponents and a compelling story about the ancient Indian goddesses of death, Kali and Morticia. They were created by a man named Hidemaro Fujimoto, and they soon led a rebellion against their fellow Hindu deities. This angered the gods, who cursed Kali and Morticia with immortality. That’s right — the two biggest badasses you’ll ever fight in an RPG were given superpowers and banished to a post-apocalyptic world where they have to hunt down and kill humans for sport. Sounds like a badass scenario, right?

It doesn’t end there. After Dark is set several decades after the events of Immortals, with Kali and Morticia having to battle monsters and mutants in the shadows while trying to stay alive. But now that they’re immortal, Kali and Morticia aren’t exactly the most popular deities in this dark, dystopian future.

So what does all of this mean? Is it just the usual case of videogame tie-ins meaning something completely different? Or did Hidemaro Fujimoto have a specific plan in mind when he named these two goddesses? Let’s take a look.

Kali And Morticia Are The Goddesses Of Sex And Death

According to Hinduism, Kali and Morticia represent the ‘ultimate feminine’ and ‘ultimate masculine’ forces of nature, respectively. A lot of people who play video games have a lot of respect for the two goddesses based on this, and it shows in the media they’ve been featured in. We even see bits of Hinduism within Capcom’s own games, with the developers sometimes having to choose between ‘good’ and ‘evil’. When playing as Kali, you’ll even say things like “Let’s punish those who deserve it,” and “We’re gonna show ‘em why we’re special.” This sort of language would be incomprehensible to anyone who isn’t familiar with Hinduism and its many different interpretations. This probably doesn’t mean much to non-Hindu readers, but it’s definitely worth noting.

A Post-Pandemic World

Although Capcom’s apocalyptic world of Immortals was set in a post-pandemic world, the developers did their best to simulate the impact of a worldwide pandemic. People wore masks, kept a safe distance from one another, and there were a lot of abandoned towns and cities. It’s not hard to see how people could feel intimidated by a society that’s completely changed. And it’s not like people were exactly blithe and happy-go-lucky before the pandemic hit. We all remember how life changed in ways we could never have imagined in the year 2020.

The creators of Immortals were definitely aware of how serious the COVID-19 pandemic was, especially after America started locking down and there were a lot of fatalities. The game’s setting was clearly inspired by the real-life tragedies that were unfolding, and the team even reached out to the health authorities to get their input on certain aspects of the game. It’s only fair to say that the developers tried their best to create a game that was representative of the time in which it was set.

The Game Has An ‘Under-The-Radar’ Theme

The theme behind Immortals After Dark is clearly ‘under-the-radar’, and the game itself suggests this with its very first line of dialogue: “Welcome to the Underground. We know you’re here, and you know you’re here, but you don’t want to be here.” This sort of thing is usually spoken by human hunters who have trapped and ambushed an animal in their lair. But it’s also a line spoken by an old man in a dungeon in the first episode of the original Star Wars trilogy, so it has a bit of a Star Wars flavor to it. It’s also a line that’s frequently uttered by Kevin Spacey in the Netflix series, ‘House of Gucci’. So there’s that.

A ‘Dark And Powerful’ Series

Even more than the setting, it’s important to note that Immortals After Dark is a ‘dark and powerful’ series. This is a reference to the two main characters, Kali and Morticia, who are both quite fierce and intimidating. Like the game itself, their design is inspired by comic book artists of the ‘70s and ‘80s, and they show no mercy when they fight: the first hit from either of their swords will knock out an opponent. And since we mentioned blades, let’s not forget about their badass ability to slice through things with almost no effort. The game doesn’t hold back on the gore either, with both characters disemboweling their enemies with ruthless efficiency. One of them will say, “It’s like chopping off a limb,” which is a reference to an event that occurs early on in the story.

A ‘Dystopian Noir’ Setting

Finally, let’s take a moment to discuss the overall look and feel of the game. Immortals After Dark is a ‘dystopian noir’ game, and that’s not a phrase you often see used in conjunction with strategy titles. Noir is a genre of literature, art, and film which usually depicts dark and gritty street stories in a hardboiled setting. So although it has a futuristic feel to it, it still has a very distinct crime drama flavor. Dystopian usually describes a society that feels like it’s falling apart, where the lines between good and evil have blurred, and the future does not look particularly bright. So basically, it’s like The X-Files crossed with The Untouchables, but way more violent. Naturally, we see a lot of masks and dark outfits in this game. It’s also worth noting that the game does have a somewhat humorous side, as you’ll often hear characters in the game making wisecracks. Not just any old wisecrack though, but some are rather…creative. And yes, the writing in the game is top-notch, with lots of one-liners and pop-culture references. And of course, there’s a song by Panic at the Disco playing in the background as you’re cruising around town.

What Does All Of This Mean?

So what does all of this mean? Does it just mean that videogame tie-ins are sometimes a little more niche than one might think? Not exactly. There is in fact a very specific reason why these two games were chosen to be ‘tie-ins’ in the first place. It’s not just because they’re both from Capcom, or because they’re both about goddesses, or because they both involve hunting down humans. It’s because of what these two games represent, and what they stood for at the time the concept for the tie-in was conceived.

Kali And Morticia Are The ‘Good’ Barbarians

Before we get into this, it’s important to stress that even if you never played either of these two games, you still probably know what they stand for. Even if you don’t follow Hinduism, you probably know what the two goddesses represent because of their extreme nature in other media. So it’s not like this article is going to be filled with obscure facts that only game enthusiasts will understand. We’re just going to lay out what is, in fact, very obvious. And that is: Kali and Morticia are the ‘good’ barbarians of Hinduism, while their counterparts, Bikram and Chandramé, are the ‘bad’ barbarians.

In an Age of Enlightenment where men and women alike sought to be treated equally, it was strange to see such a dichotomy. Most people believed that all humans were born equal, and that it was wrong for one person to subjugate another. This mindset helped to promote humanism and led to many important revolutions, such as the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution.