God of War team "pulling back" from violence against women

Sony Santa Monica addresses violence in God of War: Ascension, admits extra sensitivity to issues of violence against women

God of War: Ascension's game design manager, David Hewitt, has admitted that the Sony Santa Monica team has "pulled back" from depictions of violence against women.

In an interview with IGN that focuses on violence in games, Hewitt referred to the recent controversy surrounding Crystal Dynamics' reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise, in which Lara Croft is subjected to an apparent sexual assault.

"I think where this has been an issue is with violence against women - the team's pulled back from some of that and assessed that a little more carefully," he said. "There are certain things that carry a different kind of resonance that we don't want to get into.

The team's assessed that a little more carefully. There are certain things that carry a different kind of resonance that we don't want to get into

"This isn't about statement-making in that regard. It's about fleshing out [Kratos]."

The God of War: Ascension demo was one of the talking points in the discussion about violence following this year's E3 Expo. However, Hewitt defended the series' extreme violence as relevant to both the premise and the motivation of its protagonist.

Indeed, Hewitt suggested that Sony Santa Monica has a "set of rules" regarding the game's approach to violence. Hewitt claims that this is evident in Kratos' lack of "flourishes" when it comes to killing enemies - "There's nothing about this that he's enjoying."

"I think if the context is a wartime setting or something a little more modern than our game it has a different impact. Your reaction to that might be a bit more ambiguous. But we're far removed from what your day-to-day experience is when we're in this vastly different and weird mythological world.

"The series has wanted to keep upping itself in presentation and making sure we have those moments where people kind of recoil a bit - genuinely uncomfortable moments that are part of the feel of this franchise. We've stuck by those, but the game's not driven by those."

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Latest comments (8)

David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers5 years ago
God of War without extreme violence is just not God of War. Kratos is, notably, a bit of a softie when it comes to the women; his wife and his daughter seemed to be the only things he loved, and there's a similar character that assumes that in 3. The whole Tomb Raider thing was a bit overblown, but the worst of Kratos' violence has always been directed at fictional creatures and deities, not women.
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Tony Johns5 years ago
The day that Japanese game industry does worries about games that depict violence and women...that will be the day that Japanese game industry stops being the Japanese game industry that I love.

worrying about violence against women will not help the real violence against real women in real life.

At least talking about it in games does help us all to understand that some disturbing things can and have always happened in real life. Being worried about the social reaction to things will never help us to understand the real issues of violence in general.
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee5 years ago
I'm pretty open-minded and even I felt a bit uncomfortable about the 'sex mini-games' in God of War 3. I don't think women should necessarily be treated as a special case but at the same time I do thing companies should be mindful of what content goes in to their games generally. With there being so many injustices in the world against women, it would make me uncomfortable to see more violence against them in games. Also, further to my earlier point in this comment, I don't want games developers to go to extremes to attract me as a 'male' customer.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 20th July 2012 6:07pm

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Show all comments (8)
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
Amusingly enough, there are female enemies in GoW games, but they're mythological creatures (ugly-looking harpies, a non-human female boss sea creature I forget the name of), so you won't hear anyone criticizing the game makers over what happens to them...
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Sean Lane Artist/Animator, Sneaky Games5 years ago
What Japanese games would those be?
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 5 years ago
Rather than referring to killing harpies, siren, Medusa etc, I assume they mean the bits in GoWIII for instance, when Kratos snaps the drunken Hera's neck, or as I recall he puts forth a female sacrifice when he's close to getting Pandora's Box.
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers5 years ago
Right you are Terence - I recall there's some temple maiden he lets get ground into some gears because she happens to be there and he has to use her for that puzzle. I think there's at least one instance in every God of War where Kratos callously sacrifices someone - his general indifference to the the suffering of most people is part of his character. It's always the characters that he feels compassion to that are special - so long as that stays the same, I don't care if every person he kills happens to be a man.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
@Terence: Oh, I know that. I was just being not so amusing, is all. I figure someone has to speak up for the mythological ladies being knocked off by the boatload in the GoW games (as PETA seems to be silent on the matter). Interestingly enough, like Adam, I know people that aren't fond of Kratos' pottery-smashing bedroom antics for a few reasons...
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