Warren Spector, the veteran game developer known for designing Deus Ex, isn’t pleased with the current state of violence in video games, and voiced his opinion on the matter during an interview with Game Industry International on the subject of E3 2012.
“The ultra-violence has to stop. We have to stop loving it,” He said. “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 talks about the reasons why he quit his job at Eidos, feeling alienated by the fact that he cared more about the moderation of violence than anybody else in the studio in 2004. He now feels that the industry is much worse off than it used to be, because of the way that violence has been embraced, and feels that it is presented in a way that is very immature or juvenile.
“I left Eidos in 2004 because I looked around at E3 and saw the new Hitman game where you get to kill with a meat hook, and 25 to Life, the game about kids killing cops, and Crash & Burn the racing game where the idea is to create the fieriest, most amazing explosions, not to win the race… I looked around my own booth and realized I just had one of those ‘which thing is not like the other’ moments,” he said. “I thought it was bad then, and now I think it’s just beyond bad.”
Most of Spector’s games have included violence, System Shock 2 and Deus Ex being good examples, but he says that because the violence is given context and consequences, it is more ethical to include it in a game. It is important to note that Deus Ex was one of the first video games to give players the option to choose between lethal and non-lethal weaponry.
“We’ve gone too far,” he said. “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.”
Spector has been working for Disney on Epic Mickey 2 for the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii, as well as Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion for the 3DS. He’s using these games as examples of games that are done right without the need for extensive and unnecessary violence as he criticized in the lineup of other games at E3.
Source: Game Industry International