Gears of War: Judgment Writer On Game Violence, Storytelling

The writer of Gears of War: Judgment and Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter, Tom Bissell, says games are “way too violent” and that the writing in these games only serve to undermine the intelligence of their audience.

Bissell made his comments in an interview with New Yorker on his work in the shooter by Epic Games.

“I’ve been asked a few times to weigh in on the ‘violent videogames’ debate, but I hestitate because I feel like the NRA set a trap by shining a spotlight on videogames,” Bissell said.

“Which isn’t to say I think games are completely blameless,” he added, “games, generally speaking, are probably way too violent.”

Bissell says that the possibilities offered by games, at least in regards to storytelling, are fascinating, but that that they’re also constrained by the medium.

“There are various kinds of storytelling avenues a game can take. Some have multiple, various paths but wind up at the same destination; some plunge straight ahead in a linear path, so that the story is pretty much the same for every person who plays it; and some are fearsomely, awesomely variable.”

“The point is that there’s no such thing, really, as “video-game storytelling.” Different kinds of games have different kinds of storytelling methods. Writing Gears has more in common with action-movie screenwriting than writing something like Skyrim does. But what’s interesting about writing a game like Gears is that there’s just so much procedural dialogue you wind up having to write. By that I mean dialogue that’s totally dependent on what the player’s doing: shooting, killing, blowing stuff up, reloading, taking cover, all of that.”

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