Jesus Walks, Touch the Sky, I Am a God, Ultralight Beams.
Kanye West has always factored faith into his music. The evolution of his belief in a Christian God is not just a part of his lyrics; it’s a part of his mythology. Kanye has humbled himself on Jesus Walks and shown his human flaws on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. He declared himself a god on Yeezus. Now, Kanye is taking his faith-based storytelling somewhere unexpected: video game development.
Only One is Kanye’s first game. It’s based on his song of the same name, a toned down ballad featuring Paul McCartney. Details on the game are sparse. It’s unknown who helped him to develop the actual graphics and gameplay, but the concept is undoubtedly Kanye. He debuted the concept during a livestream that featured both his new album and clothing line. In Only One, you play Kanye’s mother Donda West as she travels “through the gates of heaven.” The brief trailer depicted a dreamy, cloud-filled world that has bright shades of pastel coloring the cosmos. The art style is gorgeous. Donda West appears with angel wings, soaring through the sky. “That’s not easy to do, man!” Kanye said, “Y’all just be acting like that shit is regular.”
Everyone, even Kanye, knows that nothing that he does is exactly regular. He has enough influence to bring his art to any medium. Games may seem to be a long shot, but Kanye has a fiercely loyal fanbase. His music is has always been exclusively personal. Kanye rarely raps about anything that isn’t a part of his immediate family. His work is so autobiographical, that a video game about his late mother seems almost like a natural evolution.
There are many games that explore faith indirectly as themes or character traits. Kanye has gone so far to make a game entirely about the quest for heaven. It doesn’t look heavy on metaphors, either. Only One appears to be a very frank, personal journey. It resembles That Dragon, Cancer in terms of its unique art style and tale of loss and hope. Hopefully, it lives up to expectations.