Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
12 September 2007
The future of violent videogames
The future. Not the future (and probably NSFW for some people). Just so you know.

The longer version is that we've reached the point where more graphic gore doesn't actually make games more appealing. You can have more blood. You can have more fluid-like blood. You can have severed heads and limbs that bump around the environment with amazingly realistic physics. You can even have those severed heads and limbs give off appropriately heavy or squishy sound effects in Dolby Digital 5.1.

But it's all for naught. I think Valve has put their finger on what matters: a visually appealing game that is (hopefully) fun to play. It will be more broadly appreciated. It's not that terribly far removed from Looney Toons that we've all watched as kids.

I don't know what a game like Ninja Gaiden really thinks it will accomplish with gore like that, but the one thing it won't achieve is mainstream acceptance.

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--Matt Matthews at 01:07
Comment [ 11 ]

Comments on this post:

I think Ninja Theory has shown its attitude to "mainstream acceptance" with its approach to difficulty levels, and the designer's open contempt for those who can't handle it. They're happy to produce titles for a large niche of otaku, who will love this gore.

Did anyone watch Peter Jackson's "Brain Dead" and sniff "well, this film's never going to gain mainstream acceptance"?

By Blogger John, at 12 September, 2007 05:18  

When I saw screens for the Conan game and the amount of blood there, I wondered when we would get a game where the blood actually accumulates on a level and players have to wade through it.

TF2 might be a good direction, but still, the question will be "They took seven years for this?"

Killer 7 already moved in this direction, so TF2 visually looks more like a progression from k7.

For some reason, the TF2 screens remind of Raving Rabbids.

By Blogger guttertalk, at 12 September, 2007 09:42  

guttertalk said: TF2 might be a good direction, but still, the question will be "They took seven years for this?"

First, it's been 8-9 years, not 7. TF2 was originally supposed to be an add-on to the original Half-life (as I remember it) either in late 1998 or early 1999. Then it shifted further out once TFC eased the demand for TF2.

Next, most people won't care when the game was originally slated to come out, as long as it's fun. We might gripe about such things here on this blog, but most people buying Valve products on Steam or in a store won't care what promises were made in the late 1990s.

I think Killer7 is a bit different from TF2. There's still a lot of blood there, even if it is very heavily stylized.

By Blogger jvm, at 12 September, 2007 09:58  

The gore looks a lot like that in Gears of War, and it would be tough to argue that it was detrimental to sales there.

By Blogger Damian, at 12 September, 2007 10:39  

Damian said: The gore looks a lot like that in Gears of War, and it would be tough to argue that it was detrimental to sales there.

That's a fair point, and I've not played Gears of War to know how extensive the gore is. But what's being shown of NG2 is practically bathed in blood and chock full of detached heads, which is not true of most media I've seen of Gears.

I don't have time right now to look it up, but are there any official Epic-produced screenshots of Gears that are as graphic as the ones Tecmo has provided for NG2?

By Blogger jvm, at 12 September, 2007 10:48  

Most people probably won't remember those promises, but I thought maybe the game press might and put that question out there.

Plus, this might be an unfair generalization, but I thought gamers, especially on the 360, wouldn't be thrilled about a game that some might think takes a visual step backwards. I'm somewhat surprised. I guess not every extremely late, hyped game has to be a Daiktana.

However, looking at posts and reactions elsewhere, I'm finding neither is true.

Don't get me wrong: I think you're right about graphic violence and fun.

By Blogger guttertalk, at 12 September, 2007 12:32  

The future could easily encompass both types of titles.

Personally, I'd be more drawn to the whimsical style of Team Fortress 2. As the Looney Tunes reference indicates, hyper violent videogames are kind of related to the Tom and Jerry cartoons we watched as kids. So if we're looking for the similar kind of violent slapstick entertainment, why shouldn't it make us laugh?

By Blogger Bruce, at 12 September, 2007 14:40  

Did you see the "Meet the Soldier" video on Steam? It's pretty violent, severed heads and all.

By Blogger Mordrak, at 12 September, 2007 23:02  

I think designers will discover that too much violence overshadows the game, and eventually those extreme titles will be remembered for the gore, not the game. I think the designer's egos will kick in sooner or later, and they'll realize they would rather be remembered as the director of Alien rather than Friday the 13th, part 9.

By Blogger LisaB, at 13 September, 2007 11:59  

I disagree. There is a point here but it's not that gamers don't need/want gore in future games. It is that we want an appropriate amount for the game in question.

The graphic style in TF2 fits excellently with the frantic multiplayer game play. But a style like that would totally kill previously mentioned Gears of War, or at least turn it into a very different experience.

Another example where I feel that blood & guts-heavy graphics is justified is zombie games. Resident Evil just wouldn't be the same without exploding heads & Dead Rising would lose some of it's charm if you wouldn't be able to chop undead into tiny pieces.

But it also works the other way; Super Mario & Zelda-games have nothing to gain from blood & severed heads.

A lot of games feels right to have in somewhere in between the extremes. The Half-Life-series and recently Bioshock comes to mind.

That being said, I do agree that the amount of gore seems quite out of place in Ninja Gaiden 2.

By Blogger kj_, at 15 September, 2007 09:40  

Game developers need to learn what teh visula artsis of film knew for decades: ist not what youi show it is how your show it.

Anyone can make a bloody "slasher" flick, and anyone can make a film that is bloody to the extreem. But, most films that depict violence do so by being very subtle.

This is just my opinion, but I think making a better game would come from toning down gore and increasing the quality of player interaction: better dialogue, better story, better and more subtle use of camera angle. The art of telling a story in games is still developing, but I don't think the road to a better game experience will come from better 'fluid' physics.

By Blogger MonkeyKing1969, at 21 September, 2007 11:57  

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