Epic has an “internal moral compass” when deciding the amount of violence in its games

Tuesday, 9 November 2010 21:56 GMT By Stephany Nunneley


Cliff Bleszinski has said the violence depicted in Epic’s games are more of a slapstick variety than just all out brutality.

Speaking with the BBC, Bleszinski said when developing games for a mass audience, Epic relies on its “moral compass” when deciding how much violence in a game is “too much”, and when it’s just downright fun instead.

“When we create our games we use a slapstick type of violence, we poke each other in the eyes and hit each other with frying pans like the old Warner Brothers cartoons,” he said. “It’s funny because the industry sometimes comes under fire from watchdog groups with regard to this sort of violence. But we always believe that when we first see this muscular space marine beating down a lizard man and heads explode with water melon guts spewing out of them, you’re morally inclined to smile and giggle rather than be revolted.

“We have an internal moral compass where we will decide, ‘No that’s a little bit too much,’ or we need to cut the violence back a little bit. So there’s still ways of showing violence to an affecting user without showing too much. The majority of what we implement into the game we do for feedback and interactivity, not because we’re strange sadistic people who want to see how much blood we can put on the screen when you shoot one of the lizard creatures. We do it to let the player know you did in fact succeed, that you are hitting a target and you need that kind of feedback in order to create what is a successful interactive experience.”

However, there is still an underlying message of war and drama to the escapism in Epic’s games, and while Blezsinski admits the Gears of War franchise is “a bit of a throw back to the lost 80s era of manly men” movies, there’s still “interesting themes about loss and the actual prices of war” inherent in the titles.

Yes, Cliff. There are. We cry every time a Carmine dies. Damn it.

Gears of War 3 is slated for release in fall 2011, and we’re getting really excited to find out whether the last Carmine lives happily ever after or not.