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Devs of violent games in White House reel "should be ashamed" - Spector

Warren Spector calls supercut of gory titles "simply disgusting," says those titles hurt the industry

The games industry's meeting with Donald Trump and vocal critics yesterday didn't yield consensus on how to make American school children safer from shooting rampages, but it did yield a particularly dim portrayal of the game industry's work in the form of a White House-produced compilation of graphically violent scenes in games, including popular franchises like Fallout and Call of Duty.

Even some within the industry were taken aback by the level of violence on display. Specifically, Deus Ex and System Shock developer Warren Spector took to Twitter to lament the ammunition the industry had been giving its critics.

"I don't believe games cause violent behavior," Spector said. "Not for one second. However, the videogame reel shown at the White House on Thursday is simply disgusting. Every shot is in colossally bad taste and everyone associated with those games should be ashamed of themselves. They hurt us."

When another Twitter user pointed out that not all of Spector's games could be called family friendly, the developer acknowledged as much.

"True enough," he said, "but the games I work on typically offer alternatives to violence; I try to show the consequences; there aren't any decapitations, bloody gibbing headshots or ax killings. I don't mind violent games. I mind games that glorify it & present it in graphic, disgusting ways."

Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford replied to defend the games in question, telling Spector the images were taken out-of-context and cut together "dishonestly" as a piece of propaganda.

"Your own games can be cut with such a mindset -pressed into the same service of highlighting depictions of violence to undermine art and expression," Pitchford said. "Such depictions are sometimes necessary if art is going to be useful to our species. Have you not read Shakespeare? The bible?"

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Latest comments (7)

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 3 years ago
White House condemning video showing violence against a black woman, war crimes and torture. Baby steps.

Now who has the balls to serve them a copyright strike?
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Oscar Escamilla Perez Game Designer 3 years ago
Nothing to be ashamed; context is everything. Anyone can do a far worse video with movies, or even with real life videos. Violent games are escapism tools, and might only be problematic if your own culture embraces violence and its tools as a right. The gun violence problem is not solved by censoring the artistic expresions of a violent culture, but by changing that culture and the laws that support it.
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Boris Piker BO$$ 3 years ago
Theres just something about a good headshot that pleasures the soul, maybe its the flashy Critical Hit text, or maybe the pride in landing a skilled shot. who knows.... LOL

i swear man the only people who get violent in real life from in game violence are already violent in real life.

And also the real issue is DRUGS DRUGS DRUGS DRUGS DRUGS. tackle Big Pharma first thanks.
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Show all comments (7)
Christopher Dring Publisher, GamesIndustry.biz3 years ago
Randy is right in terms of the importance of context. However... even with the context, the violence in some of those games is quite excessive. And I think it's hard to justify some of it.

It is more of an issue with the AAA side of the business. There's nothing really wrong with the gory violence in Call of Duty or GTA or Battlefront or Assassin's Creed, but (outside of the sports games) there's not a great deal sitting on the side of the scale.

Hopefully if games like Mario Odyssey, Crash Bandicoot, Zelda, Sea of Thieves etc... continue to do well, then we will see more titles that don't feature quite so many decapitations and NPCs burning to death.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany3 years ago
Putting together a poorly edited video of violent acts without showing the context and consequences in-game of behaving like that it what is disgusting and something to be ashamed of.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 3 years ago
"Nothing to be ashamed; context is everything. Anyone can do a far worse video with movies, or even with real life videos."

@Oscar--You could actually make a far worse video just showing the various transgressions of those that currently occupy the White House. There would be verbal abuse, racism, sexism, gender shaming, body shaming, compulsive lying and self-admitted sexual assault, just to name a few. Honestly I'd really hate to see a mash up of that video as it would make this one seem much tamer.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 12th March 2018 10:13pm

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Edgard Gonzalez-Summers Gonzo850 - 3D Modeler 3 years ago
Warren spector needs to grow up.
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