Warren Spector: Ultra Violence Has to Stop

Speaking at length with GamesIndustry International, Junction Point founder and Epic Mickey creator warren Spector thought the ultra violent themes on display during E3 were disturbing and said that these trends towards ultra violence need to stop.

While Spector admitted that he spent most of the show locked in a room demoing his latest game, Epic Mickey 2, he did notice some overall trends that he was uncomfortable with:

"This is the year where there were two things that stood out for me," began Spector. "One was: The ultra violence has to stop. We have to stop loving it. I just don't believe in the effects argument at all, but I do believe that we are fetishizing violence, and now in some cases actually combining it with an adolescent approach to sexuality. I just think it's in bad taste. Ultimately I think it will cause us trouble."

When asked what he thought of the Hitman Absolution trailer, Spector detailed why he left Eidos back in 2004:

"I left Eidos in 2004 because I looked around at E3 and saw the new Hitman game where you get to kill with a meat hook, and 25 to Life, the game about kids killing cops, and Crash & Burn the racing game where the idea is to create the fieriest, most amazing explosions, not to win the race… I looked around my own booth and realized I just had one of those 'which thing is not like the other' moments. I thought it was bad then, and now I think it's just beyond bad."

He goes on to say that the industry has gone too far when it comes to violence and that it is time to put a stop to it. You can read the rest of the interview here.

Source: GamesIndustry International

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  1. 0
    axiomatic says:

    Hey game companies. How about you just make the game you want to make? Don't over think things.

    Warren here is on a mission to find a soap-box. When he finds it he will white wash it.

  2. 0
    Yammo says:

    That's a rich comment, coming from someone living in a country that thrives on blood & violence, but can't handle a nipple without breaking down into tears. ^_^ Projecting much?

  3. 0
    DorthLous says:

    He explicitly said he didn't believe in the causation effect. He's more worried about the general tone of the industry, the mentality and the reaction of outsiders (like politicians.)

  4. 0
    Mr.Tastix says:

    Oh yes, because I enjoy playing an action game that clearly means I want to go outside and shoot someone in the face! It must mean I absolutely love the idea of slicing peoples heads off like I can do in Skyrim!

  5. 0
    Erik says:

    And the stories from the comics became better for it.  Sure in the darkest days of the 90s comics became a parody of being "edgy", but now I believe they have found some level of equilibrium.  So we no longer have that grimdark bullcrap, but we also no longer have the tripe Super Friends stuff from the "Golden Age" either. 

  6. 0
    MechaCrash says:

    I don't think he's entirely wrong here. After all, comic books tried turning everything "darker and edgier" in the 90s, and became kind of terrible and a joke as a result. I'd rather not have games go through a similar age when we've already seen the same thing happen to another medium.

  7. 0
    Elle says:

    Does Gorn work?

    Or to put it another way, the distinction between shooting/punching/stabbing someone untill they're bloody and fall down and shooting/punching/stabbing someone, lingering on beautifuly rendered sprays of blood, playing one of a hundred animations for creatively and brutaly producing said blood…

    Or, a Quinten Tarrintino movie, but rarely with the same level of quality.

  8. 0
    RedMage says:

    Can we stop with the term ultra violence, please?  At the very least, provide some context for what differentiates "violence" from this super serious "ultra violence" category.

  9. 0
    Elle says:

    Given the people who would be the target of the statement–large AAA devs and publishers–I'm not sure that "current market realities" would make that possible for them (read: sex and violence sells). There's Nintendo, and there's indies, and the more casual games and those are all well and good. But he's not the only one to notice, and publicly write about, the theme that this year's E3 headliners were getting gritty-violent and glorifying it to the point of normal, sane people being uncomfortable about it.

    I do think his main interest is in games as an artform, and depending on cheap thrills for sales is a limitation. And I for one do want to play games that are serious (as in not casual) and mature (as in dealing with mature subject mater, including violence) without pandering to the testosterone base.

    I am not advocating such games shouldn't exist or be published and I don't know that he is either, exactly. I don't read it as a call for censhorship so much as one to "grow up, guys." And I think it's fair to call people out on "I think what you're saying is crass and ugly and maybe wrong and I don't think you should be saying it" without calling for "burn the witch and his books and games". (I'd cite an actual example as an anology but I can't think of any at the moment that don't involve Goodwin's Law).

    That said, I am heavily reading my own biases into it and will admit such.

  10. 0
    Prof_Sarcastic says:

    "I dont like it" is fine.  "It has to stop" is not fine.  Nobody gets to tell me what I have to like or not like.  It's really that simple.


  11. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Well, while I am not sure he is right on scale, I think most people agree there is a line at some point between what is tasteful to produce and what isn't… and I can see the worry that the market seems to be looking for ever more extreme content, which eventually is either going to cap or go into some honestly bad territory.

    If nothing else, 'extreme' is becoming more and more of an industry meme, with the idea that if you don't amp it up consumers will not buy it, so you get an increase across the board resulting in less consumer choice, which of course makes it harder to determine what consumers are actually interested in.

    And whether we like it or not, our industry has a massive effect on culture including influencing norms and standards.  So this is a type of question that we do have to ask now and then since, while we might blame the market, at the end of the day game developers have a disproportionate effect on society.

  12. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    "The ultra violence has to stop. We have to stop loving it." – Warren Spector

    Dear Warren,

    No it doesn't and no we don't.  Those who don't dig games with the ultra violence can play Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two.  Or Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion.  Or Ni No Kuni.  Or LEGO Lord of the Rings.  Or LEGO Batman 2.  Or LEGO City Undercover.  Or New Super Mario Bros. U.  Or New Super Mario Bros. 2.  Or Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time.  Or SimCity.  Or Quantum Conundrum.  Or Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.  Or Rayman: Legends.  Or Jet Set Radio.  Or The Unfinished Swan.  Or The Cave.  Or Tokyo Jungle.  Or Joe Danger: The Movie.  Or Rock Band Blitz.  Or Nintendo Land.  Or Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon.  Or Game and Wario.  Or Just Dance 4.  Or Sing.  Or Little Big Planet Karting.  Or Paper Mario: Sticker Star.  Or Pikmin 3.  Or Rabbids Land.  Or Scribblenaughts Unlimited.  Or Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.


    Best regards,

    Andrew Eisen

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