A new trade paperback edition of the 14th century epic poem Dante’s Inferno is planned as part of a marketing push of Biblical proportions for Electronic Arts’ video game adaptation, which is due out Feb. 2.
The text will be Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s English translation from the original Italian, and it will contain a 16-page, full-color insert chronicling the road from Renaissance literature to next-gen consoles — specifically the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the handheld PSP. The game’s executive producer, Jonathan Knight, pens a new introduction for the classic work as well.
Is this bordering on literary blasphemy? Perhaps. But it seems natural that the first high-profile game to be based solely on a work of classic literature should have its own reprint. Games inspire crappy novelizations and “original” novels all the time … what’s wrong with exposing one of the greats to a potential new audience?
Oh, check out the book’s cover — wrapped in promotional artwork from the game, of course — which I first saw over at Wired:
This is just the latest in a controversial crusade of promotions for the Dante’s Inferno game.
In June, EA secured an early seat in Hell with a publicity stunt involving a staged protest against its own game to coincide with the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles. They also offered a $6.66 discount on 09/09/09 and sent $200 checks to video game critics, daring the journalists to cash them.
There was also a viral marketing campaign that involves a website and promotional video for a nonexistent game called Mass: We Pray, which links to the Inferno game’s official site and a Facebook app.