Spec Ops: The Line dev wary of “gore porn” direction

Thursday, 9 February 2012 12:12 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Spec Ops: The Line senior designer Shawn Frison has told RPS that the development team has constantly walked a line between “messed up” and “gore porn,” saying it’s difficult to portray the horror of war without tipping towards gratuity.

“I think it’s a really fine line,” said Frison. “It’s something that we have really struggled a lot with while making the game. How do you show how messed up all of this is and then moving into gore porn or gun porn. I think there’s less risk of that 20 years ago because people hadn’t gotten so used to it, but it’s become such a huge part of gaming, that it’s fun to make somebody’s body explode.

“It’s difficult to say, ‘This is happening because this is what happens in war,’ rather than, ‘This is happening because it’s fucking awesome.’”

Spec Ops, set in a ruined Dubai, has leant towards “horror” war from the outset, with a mentality similar to the seen in Apocolypse Now. Heart of Darkness has been named as an inspiration. Frison added that finding the right tone has been a tricky business for developer Yager.

“There is a tension between the horror of war and a fun shooter, and it’s hard to balance,” he said.

“We have you joyfully bombing the hell out of people, which gives a sense of power, but then you have to go down and walk through the aftermath of what you actually did, so you get both sides. The fun side and then the regret of what you did. I think the fact that it felt fun makes the impact that much worse.”

Watch it in action below. Spec Ops was recently pushed back from “spring” to an unspecific release in the first half of Take-Two fiscal 2013.

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