The last Machinima network release we covered was Game World, which followed its protagonist as he becomes the hero of his favorite video game. Realistically, though, if the average gamer was transported into his favorite video game, the law of averages makes the case that he would probably be an extra. The latest Machinima series explores this concept; it’s called Non-Player Character, and it stars an NPC in the violent world of Grand Theft Auto IV.
The titular non-player character is Mike, who just wants to live a normal life in the big city. Unfortunately for him, he keeps crossing paths with Rico, a dangerous psychopath who is clearly a copyright-safe version of Grand Theft Auto IV‘s protagonist, Niko Bellic. The first episode gets off to an explosive start as Rico shows up to ruin Mike’s special night.
Just as MTV rarely plays music videos anymore, Machinima (the network) hasn’t featured many machinima (the animation style) videos recently. Therefore, Non-Player Character represents a return to the network’s stylistic roots. It’s also true to life, in a way; the lead voice actor, Oliver Vaquer, previously voiced a minor character in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.
More importantly, Non-Player Character is very witty. It features enough jokes about the absurdity of video game logic to keep viewers entertained, and it manages to turn an action video game about a self-serving criminal into an existential meditation. The second episode concludes by throwing Mike into a sticky situation, but seven more installments will continue his story.