Is it a sign of a maturing games industry that questions are increasingly being asked about violence and sexism in games?
For the first time one high-profile developer has openly come out and criticised his peers for their relentless focus on violence.
Imagine what they could do if they spent as much time on it as they do now modelling a gun,” Epic Mickey, Thief and Deus Ex creator Warren Spector told Eurogamer.
"I’ve been actively trying to shame some of my fellow developers, specifically John Carmack [co-founder, id Software] and Tim Sweeney [founder, Epic Games]. Can you imagine what games would look like if those two guys spent as much time working on non-combat AI as they do on rendering?
Can you imagine what games we would have if John Carmack decided he wanted to create a believable character as opposed to a believable gun? I mean, oh my god! Those guys are way smarter than I am. I don’t know how to solve the problem, but they could figure it out.
"Stop rendering! Start creating humans or mice. I don’t care which. We focus a little bit too much on violence, but we all know how to do it. It’s easy. And a lot of players seem to like it. It isn’t all we can do and it certainly isn’t all we should do."
As noble as the sentiment is, what Spector’s comments ignore is that games production is ultimately dictated by the consumer. Why do studios focus on guns and violence? Because guns and violence sell.
Of course, creative non-violent games sell too, but rarely in the same numbers.
Those developers who choose to focus on such projects do so for personal and ethical reasons as much as anything else, but the consequence is that their projects are often far smaller in scope due to the limited resources that projects of that type are able to fund.