Splinter Cell: Blacklist director Patrick Redding believes violence will be less of an issue when gaming broadens its scope.
Speaking to GamesIndustry, Redding said games are scrutinised for their violent content because some genres are so prevalent.
“I think we all agree that for the last several years, games have been dominated by the adolescent male power fantasy-type experiences, across all genres and across all platforms,” he said.
“And I think most of us would like there to be more different kinds of games out there. And if we can do that, if we can provide games that are of interest to a more diverse audience and relatable to a wider range of people, then the presence of some games that are still more violent or action-oriented is going to be less disturbing.
“There will be a sense that this is a medium that’s mature, that’s rich, capable of tackling a lot of different subjects, whether they’re serious and difficult, or frivolous and purely entertaining. Same as any other medium. But it becomes an easy target when it’s the only thing we’re doing.”
Blacklist was one of a number of games shown at E3 2012 which sparked furious debate over whether games had become over-saturated with violence. Redding feels there’s still a time and a place for it, especially if backed up by systemic design – something of a hobby horse of his.
“If we’re willing to embrace a more systemic approach in the future, then we have the ability to explore these kinds of meanings in a way that will be less uncomfortable for people,” he explained.
“It won’t just be about having beautifully rendered blood and extra-visceral bone-breaking sounds. It’ll be more about the decisions, the choice of, ‘Do I believe that ethically, the situation is bad enough for me to do something really terrible to this person in order to get a certain game result?’”
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is due in northern spring 2013, on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.