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I wonder what would happen if we put Infinity Ward, DICE, or EPIC games into an isolated chamber for a few years where we fed them positive, uplifting news stories. What kind of game do you think they would develop?
People are influenced by their surroundings. If you're subjected to peaceful surroundings for an extended amount of time are you more apt to include less violence in a game?
At what point did we decide we were okay with simulating the murder of digital characters? I understand the need for competition, but who said "I think we should simulate killing human-like characters?"
And let's be honest — who is going to miss another Call of Duty or Battlefield? They're all basically the same thing wrapped in a new layer of pretty each year. They add nothing to the industry besides keep it relevant, as that's where most of the money made in the games industry flows from. The amount of money spent on Call of Duty alone is mind-boggling — especially when I think about how generic it is.
I'm not some zealot advocating peace on Earth, though I think it's a pretty groovy idea. I just don't understand where, as a species, we decided violence was the answer. I find it hard to believe that, at this point in our admittedly short span on this rock, we haven't evolved beyond the need to do horrible things to one another.
We need more forward-thinking developers; Thatgamecompany co-founder Jenova Chen (Flower) can only do so much. And when I say forward-thinking, I don't mean people who develop a fun new way to jump over walls or remove someone's head. We need developers who believe that we as a species will overcome our petty squabbles and get on with living and enjoying the world around us.
Journey forces you to play with someone you don't know. You don't know if they're black, white, Asian, or Hispanic; you just don't know. And it doesn't matter. You are left to share in an experience with someone you don't know. It's like a mini team-building exercise for the human race.
I can't imagine my 20-year-old self saying these things. At the time, I was all bullets and blood. I wouldn't play a game if I couldn't rip someone in half with a machine gun. But as I'm getting older, I'm starting to appreciate the world and people around me. I'm no longer out for blood, I just want to have a good time. It doesn't matter who you are, where you're from, or what you believe in.
When can I expect games to be more forward-thinking in general? Where is the game that conveys hope? (and I don't mean the "I hope the evac chopper gets here soon" kind of hope.) I mean those experiences game designer and author Jane McGonigal was talking about that let me play and solve world problems while having fun with my friends.
I want to work my brain, not my trigger finger. I'm past that stage, and I think everyone else should be as well. When can the industry start shifting toward mature-rated games that don't mean someone's getting shot? When will the "M" rating indicate tough moral choices? And my final question: When can I expect Jenova Chen and thatgamecompany to develop a game based in a beautiful, futuristic city where we all get along but have to rely on each other to make it through a tough time or journey? That's what I want. Make it happen.
And before I'm judged, I'll have you know that I squished some enemies with my crate in Trine 2 just a few days ago. So I'm not some hippie looking for hugs and sunshine; I can be brutal.
I just want the games industry to evolve to where every piece of interactive entertainment isn't about killing things.