The Apostle Paul and The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1

“I caused many believers to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus. I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities.”

 – Paul of Tarsus, Acts 26:10-11

Paul makes himself sound a lot like the Big Bad Wolf.

shifty

Magic keeps Bigby Wolf (of Three Little Pigs fame) looking human as he finds himself cast as a brand new good guy among the folks he used to torment (Fables). But ugly pasts make for difficult relationships — especially when you’re thrust into leadership.

Paul also became an important figure in the community he used to rip apart. He reconciled with the survivors of his crimes through the forgiving work of Christ. But like any reconciliation story, past tensions threaten to burst from the seams, both in Paul’s case and Bigby’s.

Paul once wrote, “Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Weirdly, Paul wrote this towards the end of his ministry even after saying, “We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.”

So which is it, Paul? Are you the new man or the old?

Bigby faces that question fifteen seconds into being assaulted by an old foe, “Do I let the old man [wolf] take over? Or do I summon even greater strength to exercise self control?”

cabbed

Bigby’s early attempts to “exercise restraint” left something to be desired.

Bigby’s universe doesn’t yield much room for Christ’s existence even if Mr. Toad’s choice expletives suggests otherwise. But Bigby is caught in that old man versus the new conflict just like Paul.

It’s here that the player steps into the fray.

Bigby’s old self boils just below the surface during his first house call. A drunk foe slings curses in the Wolf’s direction before catching him between an axe and a hard place. The player struggles to get Bigby’s hands in the right spot. Soon, they’re through the window. Before catching his breath, the player mashes the controller to keep the aggressor from strangling Bigby’s throat. Bigby’s eyes glow a foreign color as violent protection turns to desperation. At the last second, the “damseled” working girl, whom Bigby tried to rescue, saves him from giving-in to his old powers.

Later, Bigby’s boss pours all of his anger and insecurity on him. It’s a low priority on the decisions-o-meter for the game, but it’s key in determining to whom Bigby gives voice: the reconciler or the wolf.

Paul had a unique advantage over Bigby. Namely, the Holy Spirit transformed him from the inside out. And meeting Jesus in the resurrected flesh didn’t hurt. Paul went on to become the most influential person in church history other than Jesus. Bigby can’t live up to anything like that (Editor’s Note: Well, he is a video game character.)

Bigby presents the perfect conduit for experimenting with Paul’s old-man/new-man dilemma. Through Bigby we give in to our anger or practice self control. I slightly doubt those impulses shape the grand narrative of The Wolf Among Us from episode to episode as much as the “door one or door two” decisions that arise. But the tension of how we deal with the small stuff forms the gist of the play, so I’d like to think that for the next four episodes of The Wolf Among Us, we’re gonna find out what kind of person we’d like to be: the kind that rips enemies apart, or the lamb in wolf’s clothing.

About M. Joshua Cauller

M. Joshua is a missionary to his basement — where he leads a videogames-and-spiritaul-formation group called GameCell. He makes indie game trailers by day, which you can see at mjoshua.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.