Video game violence is an ongoing topic of discussion in the industry and one studio is taking a stand – with its game.
Subnautica is an underwater exploration title by Unknown Worlds currently in Early Access, with an Xbox One version on the way. It puts players in the wetsuit of a survivor stranded on an ocean planet, forced to harvest materials to survive.
There are only a handful of ways to deal with hostile sea life: a stasis rifle that briefly paralyses more dangerous fish, or retreating to your escape pod/submarine sharpish.
The game’s forums have been the centre of a long-running debate about the absence of weapons in Subnautica, until a member of the development team finally clarified matters, Kotaku reports.
“I haven’t read all the comments here, but I’ll chime in here, as I’m the main reason we don’t have violent/weapons in the game,” wrote director Charlie Cleveland.
“Subnautica was being birthed right around the time of the Sandy Hook shooting. This was a particularly nasty shooting, although many people don’t realize America has school shootings every day. Every. Single. Day.
“Yet, for reasons I cannot understand, our people and the corporations that influence our country want to continue making it easy for people to get, carry and use pistols, semi-automatic and fully-automatic weapons.
“I’ve never believed that video game violence creates more real-world violence. But I couldn’t just sit by and “add more guns” to the world either.
“So Subnautica is one vote towards a world with less guns. A reminder that there is another way forward. One where we use non-violent and more creative solutions to solve our problems. One where we are not at the top of the food chain.”