GDC 13: Violent games lack creative ambition, says Spec Ops writer

GDC 13: Violent games lack creative ambition, says Spec Ops writer
Aaron Lee

By Aaron Lee

March 27th 2013 at 3:10PM

Walt Williams admits he's surprised the shooter made it to market

The writer behind Spec Ops has said that violent games are too easy from a creative perspective.

Walt Williams said he regretted the universal act of killing in many first-person shooters, during a panel at GDC in San Francisco, GameSpot reports. He said such actions have not only become mundane, but also mediocre and are at times just used as filler.

“We’re in an industry full of very intelligent, knowledgeable, and progressive people. It’s getting harder and harder for us to play these games and to look at them critically and say, 'This is OK.' This makes sense, especially as we get older,” said Williams. “I would like to see less violent games out there. Not because they're bad or wrong, but because I think creatively they're too easy.”

Williams’ session was about contextualising violence through narrative, using Spec Ops: The Line as an example.

"Honestly, the game was very much an experiment. One that, to this point, I'm kind of really surprised that it ever made it to the shelves," Williams said, explaining that it was remarkable that it ever came out at all.
The writer admitted he is unsure what it will take to life narrative in shooters, but suggested that creating more hopeful characters would be a positive start.

“Where do you go after doing a game like this? How can you make another shooter…that leaves your characters arguably alive? I think we need to get to a point where we can move back to maybe trying to write characters…that are a bit more hopeful. I think that might be a good first step.”


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