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Spector: "Gaming's Ultraviolence Has To Stop"

Matt Gardner
Disney Interactive, E3 2012, Epic Mickey, Junction Point Studios, Ultraviolence, Video game violence, Warren Spector

Spector: "Gaming's Ultraviolence Has To Stop"

Acclaimed industry veteran Warren Spector has decried the level of "ultraviolence" witnessed at E3 this year, calling for the games industry to stop "fetishizing" violence, calling the approach to mature themes in today's industry "adolescent".

"The ultraviolence has to stop," he told GII. 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."

Spector notes that this trend isn't new, suggesting that in much the same way he looked around eight years ago and noted a lack of diversity in terms of design goals.

"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. I thought it was bad then, and now I think it's just beyond bad.

"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."

Spector's not the only developer to slam the level of violence at this year's show, with Portal co-creator Kim Swift also criticising the prevalence of violent games.

Elsewhere in the interview, Spector notes that he's sometimes asked when he'll make a mature game like Deus Ex again. His response is simple:

"I don't make games for kids; that hasn't changed, ever. Everyone asks me, 'when are you going to make another mature game like Deus Ex?' And I say, 'I never stopped.'

"I don't know why people immediately assume if you're making a cartoonish game it's gotta be for kids. No one makes that assumption about Mario. Adults play Mario games, adults play Zelda all the time, adults play Ratchet and Clank. There's something about the Disney characters that people have an idea in their heads, and we certainly wanted to break that mold and get people to rethink that assumption. I think the statistics bear out that we did that."

Add a comment2 comments
phil16  Jun. 14, 2012 at 17:03

Totally agree. I use to love gaming. Quality games like tie fighter, freespace, commmand and conquer 1, The dig etc. All where good to play and had good stories. Now 99% of games are just bland shooters (even Mass effect 3 has started down this path). Good thing indie games are filling some of the gap!

gunnx  Jun. 14, 2012 at 18:38

I think there has always been violent games but with graphics now it perhaps is becoming at bit too much. Was there not a similar thing with gore and blood in movies.

I do get his point about Disney, perhaps I'm a big kid still but I love most Disney games.


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