Macquarie University and The Ethics Centre are teaming up to discuss war and games with developers from Spec Ops: The Line and This War of Mine

War and Games under the microscope

The Ethics Games and War event in Sydney next week will be hosted by SAE Institute in Sydney, and will feature Cory Davis, lead designer of Spec Ops: The Line, Michal Drozdowski, lead designer of This War of Mine and Jose Zagal, games scholar and editor of the Videogames Ethics Reader.

The event came about as a collaboration between Dr Malcolm Ryan Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computing at Macquarie University and John Neil of The Ethics Centre. Ryan told Develop:

"My student Dan Staines and I are interested in looking at the design of videogames for training ethical intelligence. Ethical decision making is more than just being shown a situation and deciding right or wrong, it is also about the sensitivity to recognise such situations, the motivation to care and the courage to carry out the decision. We want to integrate all these things into a game.

"This project is still in its early stages. We thought a good way to begin would be to get a bunch of varied experts from game design, psychology and philosophy together to talk about the topic. Given the popularity of Spec Ops: The Line and the buzz around This War of Mine, which has just been released, we thought that looking at the representation of war in videogames would be a good focus for the discussion. There is such a disparity in the representation of war between games and other media. There is an abundance of film and literature questioning the morality of war in one way or another, yet hardly any of our games do the same. We are interested in asking whether this game can be bridged, and if so, how.

"Ultimately we hope that this workshop will be the launchpad for a long term research project in designing deeper, ethically challenging games, and promoting the complexity of the medium in general."

The panel is set to take place on Monday 24th November, and tickets can be purchased here.

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