(with a little lateral thinking)
Very brief story time
One major reason Undertale was cool to me, and the reason I tried to do Genocide first… was momswap/ydverse.
SU was interesting because I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but before I was like… 17? I basically never liked the main characters of anything. For me it was all about the story, the world, the monsters, the game design/aesthetic, stuff like that. I was a weirdly high-concept kid. Eventually, I started thinking main characters were pretty all right. Sometimes I even had a favourite.
But SU was probably the most I’d ever liked the main characters of a thing up to that point. The Crystal Gems (yes, including Steven) are some pretty great main characters.
Then I stumbled onto momswap, and as I was messing around with my own version of it where everything was supposed to make sense (ydverse) had a moment of ‘wow these are some great main characters’ all over again, if smaller since the merits of these characters weren’t clear yet and I was having to guess 90% of them.
Probably the part of it that was the most interesting to me honestly was the possibility that the Crystal Gem trio was still at large the way the peridot team and Lapis were. And that if found, there would be a confrontation where Steven would have to fight the Crystal Gems.
Occasionally I would just stop and think about what it would be like if I had to kill the Crystal Gems, for the greater good of the diamond empire or something. (This is the kind of question that totally falls apart if you focus on the details of it to try to help with answering it, so I didn’t.) Could I do it?
It was a pretty hard question. I never did give myself a definitive answer, and for purposes of my story thing went with Steven secretly befriending them and trying to get information out of them about Rose Quartz, because that seemed more likely than that not happening.
Then Undertale happened, and I was kind of excited. Because now I was going to kind of sort of get to actually face that challenge. Would I be able to destroy all the characters who are so obviously good, if I was never on their side? Would I be able to stick with my stated mission regardless of how cute they were?
I tried. And even without seeing the pacifist route first*, I failed.**
I think the answer to my question is pretty clearly “no I could not” considering in both scenarios I took the pacifist route :p
After setting that to the side with the magic of backing up folders and doing the pacifist run, and after Steven Universe has returned, it’s really made me realise that
Momswap if you take it seriously kinda really does put Steven in the position of Frisk.
If Steven is raised as a member of the diamond empire, “adopted” by Yellow Diamond…
He can either take a pacifist approach and attempt to befriend the Crystal Gems or he can take a genocide approach and side with the diamond empire, erasing the memory of the opposition and helping bring closer the extinction of all life on earth.
Hell, even normally, Steven is still Frisk. Though it’s less clear that there is a path of outright violence, he still has the choice to take the colder approach of the Crystal Gem trio or to refuse to harm any Gem and try to be friends with them instead. Steven, as we all know, chooses the pacifist option fairly early.
Even outside of the two routes thing, Undertale has made me appreciate the CG more and vice versa. Though the hiatus turned me into a very casual fan of SU, I can’t help now but draw parallels between Asriel and them, imagining that if Asriel had not died he would have turned into some kind of amazing Rose Quartz, binding the monsters together against the notion that violence is the best answer and teaching them that love can be the answer. I get maybe a little carried away in this idea of Asriel, being this special royal breed of monster with great power, becoming this realisation of the pacifist strategy in Undertale and that being his major power that nobody else has, actually being able to make pacifism work through wisdom and a lot of character. King!Asriel being kind of this forgotten hero that Frisk in regular Undertale is unknowingly following in the footsteps of and steadily becoming a replacement for. The Steven, if you will…
I think it’s funny how all this time Steven Universe was really Undertale and vice versa, but at the same time, it’s totally no surprise to me that fans of the two overlap so much.