I posted this on ResetEra, but I understand Waypoint may be more appropriate for this sort of topic given the thought that goes into some of the discussions on here.
In one of the more recent interviews (https://www.buzzfeed.com/ericsams/d…ng-team-behind?utm_term=.bd0zEk2E9#.slDNvM2vG) Naughty Dog mentioned using reference footage to emulate actual gun violence.
Yeah, there’s that moment when the woman dips her head below the car and you see her in frame for a second and then you shoot her and her face changes immediately. It goes slack, and the first time I saw that I was like, Whoa, that’s a very effective, very small thing. It’s just BOOM.
ND: A lot of that— our co–art director John Sweeney, when we did a similar scene like that, we had a lot of gore and stuff shoot out of the back of the head, and the thing he kept fighting was, That’s not realistic. Actually it’s very subtle and the blood doesn’t start pouring until you hit the ground. And there’s all these things that make it real and make it more disturbing, and that’s really what we want to capture.
At his point I am questioning what the final objective of emulating realistic violence in a videogame format. Is the eventual goal to look like blurry camera footage of death found on darker corners of the internet? I just find it concerning. Back in the day we all joked about “murder simulators”, but now with reference footage and technology we can actually simulate the reactions of someone getting murdered. But why? Is it worth putting something out like this into the videogame culture that is still largely marketed to kids and teens?
I absolutely understand that there are many games out their that are for adults, but one way or another kids end up playing them. I think though the difference is now we are well beyond violence of older games like GTA3, DOOM, and Mortal Kombat, games that were held back by the tech to depict violence in a realistic manner. Now with the wonders of technology, animation, photogrammetry, and reference footage, you could in a sense realistically depict a murder, and now a major game developer is dipping their toes into this with the backing of a AAA budget.
I’m not sure what this all means, I feel like the research of how videogame violence can affect people is quickly getting outdated by the tech. From what I could find the latest research used GTAV as its “violent videogame” to measure levels of aggression changes, but from what I played of GTAV it contextualizes the violence in a satirical parallel universe where violence is not treated with the same level of seriousness as it would in the real world. Mortal Kombat similarly bases its violence of schlocky 70s horror splatterhouse in which there is a certain level of cartoonishness to it all. These studies also seemed to focus on metrics of aggression rather than other metrics such as desensitization and each mention lack of research into long term impacts.
Now Last of Us 2 will be one of the few games to play it straight, focusing on the disgust that violence brings. Which on one hand as an adult I can appreciate as it is an interesting experiment at play, but on the other hand do not think that level of thought would be held by a teen or kid playing it. At some point the violence is going to become white noise over 20hrs, and I am not sure what it means to turn realistic depiction of violence informed by real world reference footage into gameplay mechanics. It feels like Naughty Dog is playing with fire here and we are taking another step forward as far as violent games are concerned.
Curious if I am alone in this thinking. Are others out there thinking this is a step forward that may go beyond traditional debates and answers over videogame violence?