EDIT: It seems to due a comedy of errors (and perhaps some bugs), I watched the described scene in a very different way than other people-- I think I had accidentally hit cinematic mode, and I was locked behind the character without knowing it wasn’t a cut scene and it all went wrong from there. Whoops. heehee
Content Warning: Red Dead Redemption 2 spoilers and… sigh… implied beastiality.
Well over 40 hours into my adventures in the old west of Red Dead Redemption 2, trying to wrap up the SECOND epilogue in what had been increasingly a real slog, I watched as my playable character, his back to me, apparently blew a dog. His son, standing right next to him, screamed things like, “Suck it, dad!” and, in a tone of horror and betrayal one might exude had they walked in on such a scene, “Dad! Rufus! NO!”.
To explain the scene-- your son’s dog, Rufus, gets bit by a snake in his hind leg, and you have to suck out the poison to save the dog. But with the framing and the dialogue, it is 100% for certain what Rockstar had in mind here.
I turned the game off.
It wasn’t the actual act suggested on screen that had upset my delicate sensibilities. My back ground is in punk music and exploitation films. I think John Waters should be on the 20 dollar bill and this could have been a scene from one of his older flicks. No, it was just the fact that after what seemed like a heartfelt attempt from Rockstar to make a game with some real gravity, some really good story beats at times, a deep (for Rockstar anyway) character who I really believed in, it had all led here: An absolutely on purpose dog blowing joke. We had gone from The Wild Bunch to Old Tyme Canine Fellatio Simulator in an instance. A game that I felt had begged me to take it seriously for so long had finally snapped my goodwill by turning around and laughing in my face. The tone had been broken forever.
OK, Rockstar is not the greatest example to use-- they have charitably been called “irreverent” their entire career (problematic and juvenile might be another way to describe them). But still the question came to mind: Is one sustained tone a reasonable thing to expect from something like a 60 hour plus interactive experience? Consistent tone in something like a novel or a film or a TV series is one thing, but in a medium that demands so much side stuff, so much content, am I simply being a big baby that my shoot 'em up cowboy story was interrupted by edge lord humor?
In short, what are your expectations of “tone” concerning longer games?