Spec Ops: The Line writer calls for less violent games

Thursday, 28th March 2013 02:21 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Spec Ops: The Line writer Walt Williams told a GDC audience that violent games are “creatively too easy”, calling on the industry to produce more diverse stories.

“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,” he said, as reported by Gamespot.

“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.”

Non-violence is a bit of a non-starter for shooters, but although he acknowledge the difficulty, Williams seemed to suggest there are ways game narratives can differentiate themselves anyway.

“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,” he said.

On the subject of Spec Ops: The Line, Williams said the controversial shooter’s success was something of a surprise, even to him.

“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,” he said.

Thanks, PC Gamer.



  1. Telepathic.Geometry

    Man, I really wanna play Spec Ops The Line, but I have such a ridiculous load of games on my back-burner now, I won’t touch anything that isn’t a triple A masterpiece, or a must have indie.

    Some day though, I’ve heard a lot of good things about this game…

    #1 2 years ago
  2. AmeriToast

    @1 – Youa re missing out. One of the best sp games I have played in a long time. The story is really good and really makes you think. I recommended it to a friend and he told me it was one of his favorite sp stories ever.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Telepathic.Geometry

    Yeah man, I believe you, but it’s also a shooting game so even though I know it’s a thought-provoking game, it still has that against it. I still have Crysis 2, Doom 3 and Rage sat here unplayed. Although I intend to play them some day, shooters are generally not my thing, so I find it hard to get motivated to run out and buy…

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Ristas

    Actually, not enjoying the shooting mechanics could actually help you enjoy the story/game even more. It’ll make sense after you played through it :P

    #4 2 years ago

    Volent games?

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Telepathic.Geometry

    Yeah, it’s just that I heard that there are a few sections where you’re doing kinda long and grindy shooting sequences. I get that it’s all going somewhere, but my time is seriously at a premium. Anyway, I’m looking forward to getting around to it in the lull between my PS3 and getting a PS4 (probably in late 2014 to early 2015).

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Telepathic.Geometry

    Fair play Giga, I usually spot those things… I’M LOSING MY SHIT!!! ZOMG

    #7 2 years ago
  8. DSB

    @6 I think that’s spot on. It’s mostly a generic grind through mediocre content, wrapped in precious few insightful moments and a lot of what this guy is actually talking about – Cheap digs at emotion.

    The last 10 minutes or so are pretty special, but it takes you five hours of grinding to get there.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Telepathic.Geometry

    So, the whole game takes about 5 hours?

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Aretak

    My Steam played time was 6 hours and 20 minutes after I finished it. That’s also taking into account time spent fiddling in the menus and quite a few deaths, given I’m crap at shooters. I’m sure someone well-versed in the genre could blow through it in 5 hours (or less).

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Prometheus

    less violet games? haha.

    How many people do you kill in Spec Ops, 100? 200?

    The cutscenes were nice and made me thinking, but between the cutscenes you were killing non-stop and it didn’t help the game.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. f1r3storm

    The writer probably isn’t responsible for the gameplay…

    #12 2 years ago
  13. YoungZer0

    @11: The violence in The Line had a reason. There was reason why Walker started killing his enemies more brutal as time went by. There was a commentary about Walkers violence.

    I think he’s mostly talking about mainstream games. Games like Godfather 2, Assassin’s Creed, Sleeping Dogs, Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider.

    Games where you play a sane character, doing insane takedown.

    Godfather 2 had some of the most brutal takedowns I’ve ever seen in a game.

    We’re supposed to believe that Connor (AC3) is a good guy, yet he mashes his Tomahawk multiple times in his enemy, as if there was nothing to it.

    Booker rams his railing thing in into the neck of an enemy till his head falls off.

    SD has a hero who will put enemies in a meat grinder.

    Lara has a takedown where she places her AK to the chest of an enemy, starts shooting and pulls it up to his face. Please keep in mind that Lara had less violent takedowns before, for some reason you can update her takedowns to more brutal ones. The result of such actions? No results at all. Lara is still fine and untouched.

    Not even Walker was that sadistic and brutal.

    The violence is mindless. Not a second is spend on thinking that our hero might be mentally challenged if he does such things on a daily bases. It serves no purpose. We’re supposed to believe that we’re still the good guys but the killing is absolutely evil.

    Most developers just don’t think that killing someone in a brutal fashion should impact the behaviour of our main ‘hero’. You can’t push someone into a meatgrinder and then talk about justice.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. YoungZer0

    Here’s the actual video:

    Very interesting stuff.

    #14 2 years ago

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