Talking in an in-depth interview
published on Gamasutra today, Ubisoft's 'Central Clancy Writer' and Manager of Design for Red Storm Entertainment Richard Dansky has spoken out on video game violence and the state of game writing.
Specifically, when talking about the role of violence in games, Dansky suggests: "I think there's a difference between games that incorporate representations of violence into their play – for example, chess, or cops & robbers, or Stratego – and games that are violent for the sake of gratuitous gore."
He goes on to admit: "Yes, a lot of the games I've worked on have a violent aspect to them, but if you look at them closely, you'll find that particularly with the Clancy games, we have a code of ethics that we build into them that I'm comfortable with."
The Red Storm veteran, who has worked on titles from the earliest in the Clancy series to Splinter Cell: Double Agent
explains: "There's a big difference, at least to me, between randomly mowing down pedestrians and innocent bystanders, and working with a scenario where you're trying to save someone or accomplish a goal, and in-game violence is a possible means to a greater end."
Elsewhere in the interview, when asked about the state of writing for video games, Dansky offered: "I'd say the biggest failure in game writing that we're facing is the lack of recognition that we are, in fact, doing game writing. Too many games are still trying to be novels or movies or other forms when it comes to their narrative, instead of taking advantage of the things that games can do that nothing else can."
He concluded: "Part of this is, I think, a failure of language - we really don't have a frame of reference for looking at game writing, so we have to borrow one from the movies, and it doesn't quite fit right."
Further specifics from the Dansky interview, which covers a multitude of topics relating to the state of writing and story in today's video game business, can be read at the Gamasutra feature page
for the article.