The debate regarding the link between violence in video games and the real world has picked up since the US elementary school shooting , a Dishonored developer has chimed in on the discussion.
Joe Houston, who worked with Arkane on the first person assassin game, explained the defensive response from gamers whenever violence is linked to video games, but highlighted a deeper root to the problem.
“In light of the recent gun violence in the U.S. and the resultant anti-game talk that has stemmed from it, it’s important as gamers not to simply retreat to the easy reaction, that games aren’t a part of the problem. While I think that might be true…I think it’s a pity to stop there,” said Houston.
Houston feels that committing violence in games is not the problem, but more the lack of choice whether to do so.
“I don’t believe that game violence causes real world violence, but I do believe that it does little to prevent it. And games with meaningful – and potentially distasteful – choice just might do better because they stand a chance of making the player think about what they’re doing on screen.”
Houston mentions that even though Dishonored features strong violence, it was approved by the German government, who are notorious for censoring, and Houston says this is due to having the chance to choose whether to be violent or not.
“One could argue this is largely because the game can be played without killing anyone,” he said. “This doesn’t change all the things you might do in the game, but simply by knowing that it allows non-violence you find that every violent act you choose in cast in a sobering light.”
How do you feel about violence in video games? Do you feel having the choice to not kill in games changes the way you play them? Let us know in the comments and forums.