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MB: I think technology is part of it, but I think the biggest... We have two things that we need to overcome, that I think to me are greater than that, and it is the mass market's acceptance of video games -- the mainstream acceptance of video games as a serious, mature medium. People need to accept us as that, and once they accept us as a mature medium, then they're going to accept that we make games about mature subjects, and have mature meanings and stories. I think that's the first thing.
What I think the second thing is because -- the same way that you can describe a horrible scene in the book, when you're making a movie, you need to adapt what you show, because you can't show everything maybe, or depending on what you're doing, you don't want to create [a slasher film.]
From movie to movie, you treat your touchy scenes differently. In a movie you're gonna put your camera in a way that maybe you don't need to see the knife going in, but you're gonna get the action, because the camera's gonna be behind the guy stabbing this other guy, or whatever. In a game it's the same thing. We're gonna need to adapt our controls, our gameplay, our interactivity to support that in a way that I think is going to be as powerful as we want those moments to be, but at the same time respectful to our audience.
Like I said, me personally, I am not in there to shock people. I'm in this job to make people reflect, to change people, to entertain them also, but I'm not in the business of shocking. I know how to shock and I could shock, but I don't enjoy that. It's not something that interests me.
But I strongly think there are some stories to tell that are mature and that are touching, and that's where it is interesting, because then you're telling the stories and people can be in control of certain moments. When people get the game, they go, "Holy shit, I want to talk to my friends about this," because this is bad, or this is great, and it is interesting to share, and to have the discussion points with your friends, and to make your reflection of that subject to become better or bigger or more interesting.
RD: And jumping on that point, a lot of it is the word "game," just the connotations of the word "game" are that games are for kids, play is for kids. As long as we've got that subtext built into any discussion of the word "game," it's going to be that much harder to do these mature, interactive experiences that let us play in the sandboxes that handle more mature, darker, more serious topics.
What actually gives me hope in this is comic books. Have you read Maus?
No, but I'm familiar with the subject matter.
RD: I actually talked to Art Spiegelman once very briefly about that sort of thing and he was talking about the before and after, as it were. He gave a lecture on it I was at in Atlanta, and he was talking about how before Maus, if you look at comic books, they're for kids. Superheroes punching faces. You can't do something serious, you can't do something serious, you can't do something serious. All of a sudden something like a Maus comes along, and you can do something serious.
And since then we've had this amazing blossoming of having that form, that medium to tell serious stories, whether it's Persepolis or Harvey Pekar's work, and suddenly our perception of the sort of stories that can be told in comics has completely changed.
And hopefully someday soon we're going to get that moment in games where we'll have that realization, that sort of cultural shift, when it becomes okay to talk about this more serious stuff, and everybody will understand intrinsically the sort of things are things you can do with the medium. It's happened to every medium over the year. Books started just as entertainment and all of a sudden, boom, you can tell serious stories. Movies started out as light entertainment, boom, you can tell serious stories. Hopefully that'll happen to us as well.
MB: It will. Don't worry.