I won’t be smug about this but Warren Spector might’ve taken these words right out of my mouth. The Deus Ex creator tells GamesIndustry.biz, “The ultraviolence has to stop. We have to stop loving it. I just don’t believe in the effects argument at all, but I do believe that we are fetishizing violence, and now in some cases actually combining it with an adolescent approach to sexuality. I just think it’s in bad taste. Ultimately I think it will cause us trouble.”
He also adds, “We’ve gone too far. The slow-motion blood spurts, the impalement by deadly assassins, the knives, shoulders, elbows to the throat. You know, Deus Ex had its moments of violence, but they were designed – whether they succeeded or not I can’t say – but they were designed to make you uncomfortable, and I don’t see that happening now. I think we’re just appealing to an adolescent mindset and calling it mature. It’s time to stop. I’m just glad I work for a company like Disney, where not only is that not something that’s encouraged, you can’t even do it, and I’m fine with it.”
I’m glad I’m not the only one who has noticed this trend going on during the E3 conferences last week. From close-ups of exploding heads in Assassin’s Creed III and The Last of Us to the on-going controversy on Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft’s extreme physical abuse and the traumatizing depiction of a plane crash in Metro: Last Light, the “ultraviolence”, as Spector would put it, was appalling. Most blockbuster titles of similar genres included intense and realistic scenes of blood and gore.
So violence sells now? Is that the issue with video games now? Does anyone remember the Mass Effect 3 controversy? Of course you do. Last year, a lot of video game characters “died”. Honorable mentions: … No spoilers here! It puzzles me that character deaths are necessary in every game and end of era. It makes me wonder if developers actually take pleasure in doing so. Why do they make it seem inevitable? (No pun intended.) Why can’t a character go on a vacation or retire or heck, live happily ever after? The only logical reason is that humans are constantly surrounded by sadism and use it as an inspiration. Why do we hype up end-of-the-world subjects and such? This is why.
And I have come to a conclusion that Warren Spector’s words are indeed true. If more movies like Tangled and more games like Portal were created, we’d definitely live in a happier world.