Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Battlefield 3 avoids tempting its players
With DICE's blockbuster title Battlefield_3 coming out this Fall, there has been a lot of buzz about civilian casualties - or, in this case, the lack thereof.
In an interview with Rock, Paper ,Shotgun, executive producer Patrick Bach explained that there will not be civilians to get caught in the crossfire.In the interview, Bach expressed his concern that gamers, when given the option to do "bad things," will frequently do them.
This is not a foreign idea. Games like Grand Theft Auto have built a gaming empire on this principle, allowing players to cheat, steal and murder their way to the top - and then rewarding them for it. You look at other games where the criminality is not as central, such as Bioware's Mass Effect series (a personal favorite of mine). Throughout the game you have opportunities to make either paragon (moral) or renegade (immoral) decisions. You don't have to be a renegade, but the results of the action are often far more entertaining than alternative. This can also be seen in various other sandbox games such as the Fallout and Fable series.
So, we like to do bad things (I'm sure there is a biblical message hidden somewhere in that). We enjoy it. It can be fun to be a little bit bad - maybe shoot that NPC who keeps wandering in front of you...
So why not do it in Battlefield 3? I'm sure that many of us remember in 2009 Call of Duty took the civilian casualty element to a new level with the airport "mission". To some degree, it seems like exploits like this have desensitized the gaming community. It's become the norm to include things like this for sheer "shock value." Many gamers now mock Bach's statements and some of them claim that the lack of eCivilian casualties detracts from the game's status as a war simulation.
However, despite many people's complaints against the studio's decision, Bach provides a very clear and profound statement: “I think games need to grow up a bit,” he felt, but was sure that “They will grow with gamers. There will always be games for children – I want games for grown-ups, games I can play. As long as I’m in the business I will make games that I want to play.”
I can respect that.
Don't like it?
Then don't buy his game.
While this type of attitude isn't always profitable, it is refreshing to see developers take pride in their work - especially in this current gaming landscape mired with cheap stunts and low-effort titles.