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Why Aren't There More Civilians In Military Video Games? 431

Posted by Soulskill
from the gunning-for-realism dept.
Jeremy Erwin writes "A columnist for Slate asks why there aren't any civilians in today's military shooting games. Quoting: 'Mostly, they don't want to face the consequences of players' bad behavior. In an interview with the website Rock Paper Shotgun, Battlefield 3's executive producer Patrick Bach explained that he doesn't "want to see videos on the Internet where people shoot civilians. That's something I will sanitize by removing that feature from the game." Bach believes that video games are serious business but that players' irreverence is holding back the form. "If you put the player in front of a choice where they can do good things or bad things, they will do bad things, go [to the] dark side because people think it's cool to be naughty, they won't be caught," he said.'" (Note that there are civilians in Battlefield 3, you just can't kill them, accidentally or otherwise. Despite this, the author's point stands: "By removing civilians from the picture, developers like Bach are trying to reap the benefits of a real-life setting without grappling with the reality of collateral damage.")
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Why Aren't There More Civilians In Military Video Games?

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  • Duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:14PM (#37382728)

    If I wanted to grapple with reality, I wouldn't be playing a video game.

    • by snero3 (610114)

      Exactly, I thought that this was obvious?

    • Re:Duh. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by LS (57954) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @12:35AM (#37383640) Homepage

      If I wanted to grapple with reality, I wouldn't be playing a video game.

      Nice platitude, but in the end it's bullshit. Are front-line battles with civilian casualties considered "reality" in most peoples' lives? No. People play video games to simulate situations they couldn't or wouldn't otherwise experience, whether they are fantasy, or an aspect of reality they either can't or don't want to experience for real.

      LS

  • by redJag (662818) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:23PM (#37382782)
    Just imagine the "ammo" this would give anti-game violence arguments. They shot civilians in game to practice shooting civilians in real life!
    • by lexsird (1208192)

      And it's sinful, don't forget.

    • by houghi (78078)

      I shoot people in real life, because games don't give me that opportunity.

  • This can be handled (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xaoslaad (590527) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:24PM (#37382792)
    I believe in Arma2, which is far more realistic than most of this crap (and yet is still nowhere near real) I believe you can shoot civilians. If I'm not mistaken it can also be set up to trigger mission failure. Basically kill a civilian, you break the roe and mission ends failure. Doing stuff like that allows civilians to walk around town and add a little realism while preventing people from simulating a massacre....

    Also, it's a game and just pixels. Get over it. I did 4 years in the Marine Corps and it's pretty safe to say it's all unrealistic bullshit. Fun to play and fun to escape reality but its not real or realistic...
    • Unfortunately, as you might know from your experience, it's possible to act in accordance with the ROE and the laws of war and still kill civilians. That's not a message anybody wants to send, even those who oppose using games to "recruit" soldiers. I mean, who wants to teach everyone that civilians dying is an inevitable consequence of war?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 12, 2011 @11:50PM (#37383484)

        Perhaps such games could be used to draw attention on how the ROE are callous with regards to civilian lives.
        Look at the following stats:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Body_Count_project#March_2003_to_March_2005_report

        37%. US-led forces killed 37% of civilian victims.
        9%. Anti-occupation forces/insurgents killed 9% of civilian victims.
        36%. Post-invasion criminal violence accounted for 36% of all deaths.
        11%. Unknown agents (11%).

        The USA until 2005 were those who killed the most civilians, way ahead of their enemies.
        Now, most people typically believe that the USA killed about 10% of civilians while the insurgents killed 40% or more by using callous tactics such as placing IEDs and attacking US forces in the middle of crowded streets. (I was actually surprised by those numbers myself).
        Also, in comparison, the USA lost only about 5000 troops while civilian casualties for the whole war are around 100,000 (possibly up to twice as many). Assuming the stats above did not change much since 2005, this means the USA killed 37,000 civilians while losing only 5,000 of their own troops...

        I understand troops do a hard job, they want to get back home alive... BUT:
        - The USA started the war, those civilians didn't ask for it
        - Who's doing the fighting? The soldiers should be doing it, not the civilians.
        Troops should be taking more risks than civilians. When I see so many civilians are dying, and I see the USA killed so many of them, I start to question the tactics used by the US military. I mean what, are they bombing entire buildings full of civilians just because an insurgent with a pistol is hiding inside and they don't want to risk sending troops to get him? What is going on? It's suspicious and I wouldn't trust the US military to tell me the truth... They've been caught repeatedly hiding facts that cast a bad light on them or the war, so they aren't credible. Now, if they were not afraid to come forward and admit their ROE sometimes endanger civilians, I'd have more faith in them.

        Anyway, my point is, games that show the real ROE could be a good thing. I don't expect any war to be perfect, I know civilians will always suffer. My question is, how much do they really need to suffer? When are civilian casualties too many casualties? How many of these casualties could have been avoided? How easy were they to avoid, how reckless are the ROE exactly? Video games could help us have an opinion. Of course no game could be 100% unbiased, but it could still help us get closer to the truth.
        There's a war going on for hell's sake! Innocent people are dying by the thousands and we're all busy trying to pretend it isn't happening because that would be bad for public relations. Let's have a sense of responsibility for a moment and admit to what is really going on. Let's discuss the issue, all of us, not just those suits in Washington! Let's all decide whether or not the US military are doing things properly or if they're needlessly endangering innocents. Let's show the American public what war really is, maybe next time they'll think twice before paying taxes so their government can start a war on some innocent people. Because that's what it's really about: we don't want Americans to know how murderous war is for civilians. We want the American public to think the USA are kicking terrorist ass while saving innocent civilians. We want to think US soldiers will gladly catch a bullet for an Iraqi child. Well in reality things are not like that at all and the American public should know.

        Also, a game that presents US troops as the bad guys could be interesting too. It could show the perspective of the civilians and the insurgents, and people would realize it's not all black and white but very grey. Yes, even insurgents have good reasons to fight, sorry to break it to those of you who didn't realize that. Kicking the asses of people who came in your country with

        • by FhnuZoag (875558)
          Iraq Body Count is a load of shit, FWIW.

          It's likely a massive underestimate of the civilian toll.

        • by the_raptor (652941) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @03:21AM (#37384312)

          The reason civilian casualties were so high in the initial years of Iraq is because the US military had been deliberately equipped and trained to fight conventional wars against ex-Cold War opponents. The US military had NO INTEREST at the highest levels in counter-insurgency or "small wars" as a result of Vietnam and Operation Gothic Serpent (aka Black Hawk Down). If you go back and look at Gulf War I the leading Generals tried to get their Arab partners to carry most of the load because they did not want to "get involved" and end up with another Vietnam (and all those guys were Vietnam vets, so they knew the reality). In the Balkans conflicts the US tried to limit its involvement to an air campaign only, despite such an approach probably increasing civilian casualties (as you don't have eyes on the ground to verify targets).

          This led in the early 21st century to a military that was not equipped in the slightest to fight either a counter-insurgency OR fight in a way that limited civilian casualties. It was trained in the Cold War style where a commanders number one priority was carrying out the mission and keeping his troops alive, even if this meant dropping a 1000 pound bomb on a village with two snipers in it. In conventional war civilians have always got the worst of it, the various bombing campaigns of WWII mostly did no real military or industrial damage and just slaughtered civilians.

          This is way so much of the direct fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan after the invasions fell to Special Forces units as they were trained for counter-insurgency and limited warfare. But Special Forces soldiers take a long time to train.

          You can't take an 18 year old, give them 6 months to a year of basic infantry training, and expect them to be able to fight a counter-insurgency with low civilian casualties. Especially when, politically, every friendly casualty costs you more then a thousand foreign civilians dead, which is the reality of the modern media war.

        • by ianare (1132971)

          Part of the reason so many civilians were killed is because the insurgents would hide from and attack US troops from civilian buildings such as houses, buildings, mosques, schools, hospitals, etc ... And in many cases civilians actively helped the insurgents. So of course any legitimate retaliation by US troops would injure and kill civilians.

          Now, I don't mean to defend some of the truly cowardly, crimes against humanity type of actions which were perpetrated by American forces, but it's too easy to entirel

  • Simple. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nemyst (1383049) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:27PM (#37382806) Homepage

    Most game developers don't want to show up on Faux News' front page with the headline "X is promoting killing of civilians!"

    Combine player freedom with a clueless and/or biased press and you'll see why devs mostly just don't want to deal with the hassle. The only ones that do, do it because they actually LIKE said "scandals". Rockstar's thrived on scandals.

    • by lexsird (1208192)

      Consider how Wal-Mart would probably boycott them as well. You can't be boycotted by the god of retail.

    • Most game developers don't want to show up on Faux News' front page with the headline "X is promoting killing of civilians!"

      I don't think you got the politics of that correct. It was Al Gore and his wife that were behind the 1980's crusade to restrict access to music and movies they thought inappropriate. Parents Music Resource Center and all that crap. They later expanded into video games. I believe that during the 2000 presidential campaign Al Gore threatened the music, movie and video game industry to "clean up their act" or a Gore/Lieberman administration would introduce legislation to *compel* them to "mend their ways".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I don't think you got the politics of that correct.

        No, he got it right. Both major parities have censorial tendencies. Occasionally they overlap.

        For example:

        McCain [ontheissues.org] (just the first major GOP politician I thought to google)

        "I can take you to a video game being sold to our children where the object of the game is to kill police. I understand the importance of weapons, but to define that as being the major cause [of youth violence], there’s a whole lot of causes."

        Following the Littleton school shootings, McCain was one of four lawmakers who wrote Clinton

        • For some strange reason, people tend to think it's just the conservatives who want to ban things and violate rights. The reality is that each side loves to do it, has its own preferred demons, and sometimes they overlap.

          People forget the left participation in wars against smoking, guns, music and games, and their desire to control what you eat. They've even joined in on the War on Drugs, although some factions are softening a bit. Prohibition was across the board, considered a progressive cause by many, and

      • by artor3 (1344997) on Monday September 12, 2011 @11:26PM (#37383396)

        Here's Fox "News", just last week, talking about how educational games such as Sim City are produced by a left wing conspiracy with the goal of frightening young children into protecting the environment: link. [kotaku.com]

        Funny, because when I played Sim City I made it my #1 goal to cause a nuclear meltdown without using the disaster menu.

        The professional liars then go on to cherry pick the example of "McDonald's: The Game", made by these guys [molleindustria.org] as a representative example of the sort of games kids play.

        Of course, a more popular game would be Modern Warfare. I haven't played one of those titles in MW2, but I distinctly recall a scene in which torture is used to get important intel from a bad guy, after abducting said bad guy from the streets of a sovereign nation (Brazil, I think). Which message would you rather expose your children to: "Torture is okay as long as the government says so!" or "Cities that bulldoze all their greenspace and get all their electricity from unregulated coal power plants end up with smog."?

        Actually, if you watch Fox News, I'm guessing I won't like the answer....

        • From the video I think they are talking about some new SC game (SC Societies?). And if indeed used to promote Green Tyranny and ridiculous AGW theories than I must fully agree with Fox News conclusion. Let kids be kids and stop showing this Green propaganda at them.
    • Most game developers don't want to show up on Faux News' front page with the headline "X is promoting killing of civilians!"

      Somehow I don't think the ultra-conservative Fox network is going to be the problem here.

  • Just imagine the user generated violent and gory pictures all over YouTube and blogs... no developer or publisher would like the face the resulting outcry.
  • by Dracos (107777) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:37PM (#37382838)

    There are no consequences. Make the players endure a court martial and maybe their actions would change.

    This is another reason why the Elder Scrolls series is so incredibly good: if you're seen killing an innocent, you instantly get a bounty on your head, guards chase you relentlessly, and you have to pay the price (although there are ways around it for cheaters).

    But I suspect developers of FPS games aren't that interested in moral realism, just graphics and sound.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's all well and good, but it's also incredibly stupid. No one knows I stole that fork, because there was no one in the building when I took it. But no one will buy it, because it's stolen. That's dumb.

      No one also knows I killed that guy, because I was 100 miles from anyone / I was alone with them in their home, and when I exited, no one was on the street.

      It's just silly. Sure, they can pretend they caught you by having some magic ward, but if they already have that, why does anyone even need guards? Jus

    • by microTodd (240390)

      Well, I didn't RTFA, but I remember Delta Force: Black Hawk Down, there were civilians, you could kill them but if you killed too many you failed the mission. And they would run into your line of fire or even throw rocks at you (and you took damage from the rocks!)

    • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:56PM (#37382944)

      They should make it more realistic than that. If you kill a civillian, your superiors should help you cover it up. If a private leaks it to an international whistle-blowing organization, they then through the whistleblower and the head of the organization in jail on trumped up charges, while you face no repercussions. Problem solved.

      • But you'd have to tread a fine line between getting away with it, and becoming the patsy.

        Objective Complete: Blackmail General Halftrack.

    • by gman003 (1693318) on Monday September 12, 2011 @10:04PM (#37382990)

      Well, there's no civilians in America's Army (the US Army's propaganda game), but, during the training missions, shooting a superior officer (surprisingly hard to do, since the game enforces basic range safety) leads to a short cutscene of the player in a cell in Fort Leavenworth, awaiting court-martial.

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday September 12, 2011 @10:13PM (#37383036) Journal

      This is another reason why the Elder Scrolls series is so incredibly good: if you're seen killing an innocent, you instantly get a bounty on your head, guards chase you relentlessly, and you have to pay the price (although there are ways around it for cheaters).

      But if you're not seen killing, then you don't get a bounty. And it's not all that hard to not be seen. Then there's Gray Cowl of Nocturnal, that lets you go on a rampage in plain sight. And, finally, you can just wipe the guards out - might makes right and all that.

      Even better is Fallout 2. Kill a civilian or several in the wastelands? no-one knows, no-one cares. Kill one in a civilized city such as NCR or Vault City? the guards will be all over you. Kill one in a pit of crime such as Den? unless it's a gang member, unarmed witnesses will just run away, and armed will ignore you. But there is a catch either way - if you kill too many, your reputation as a murderer will build up even without direct witnesses, and you'll start meeting bounty hunters in your wilderness trips.

      And you know what? That's a big part of what makes these games awesome - freedom of choice, and the ability to deal with the consequences. Getting a "game over" dialog box is no fun. Getting into a gunfight with a bunch of guards which outnumber you and are better equipped is, even when the chance of survival is essentially zero, anyway.

      Or there's one more approach, as seen in the recent Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Plenty of civilians around in all city hubs, and all but the few quest NPCs are killable. Of course, if you do start shooting them in open sight, the cops will go after you, and of course you can subdue them as well if you want to. But the game actually encourages non-violent approach to things, and I don't just mean civilians: you get more XP if you use non-lethal takedown means against enemies, for example - even if they are trying to kill you! There is even a special achievement, "Pacifist", for completing the game without killing anyone (except for the four boss fights, where you have to kill to move on) - the game is specifically designed to make this possible.

      Of course, it can still be fun to go on a murder rampage in DXHR just for the heck of it. Alternatively, take it as a challenge - after completing the game as "pacifist", I immediately started over as a "maniac" - the rule is, if it breathes, you kill it. Note, no excuses like "this guy needs to stay alive for quest to count as completed" or "I need the merchant so I can sell loot to him" etc - by the time you leave the map, it must not have any living being on it except for the player. And you wouldn't believe how quickly you run out of ammo (which is pretty scarce in that game) when you start deliberately chasing civvies. Which, I guess, is a counterpoint to your claim - there are obvious consequences here, and the game is easier if you don't take that route, but it can be fun in the same way any challenge is.

      In any case, what's the big deal? So a bunch of pixels on the screen changes color, and somewhere in your RAM a boolean flag goes from "true" to "false" - and?..

    • Thomsen mentions Haze, which apparently features drug addling psychoses-- making it harder and harder to be effective in combat. Perhaps military simulations could include PTSD.

      Kill a civilian, and your character might not be very playable. Some might take this as a challenge though.

      On the other hand, if the NPCs don't trust you to behave responsibly, you won't get assigned to the interesting missions. Earn the respect of your CO, and you might go far.

    • by Dhalka226 (559740)

      But I suspect developers of FPS games aren't that interested in moral realism, just graphics and sound.

      They aren't. By and large, that's a different genre -- which is why you had to reach for Elder Scrolls as an example.

      I love Oblivion, and Skyrim and I have a date for release day. They're fantastic games, and a large part of the reason is the large amount of freedom the player has to play how they want: Good or evil, fight your way out of trouble or talk, etc. But that doesn't mean I don't also enjoy

    • > But I suspect developers of FPS games aren't that interested in moral realism, just graphics and sound.

      Yeap, its the same reason you don't see children in Left for Dead, nor in MMO's.

  • by vgerclover (1186893) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:45PM (#37382864)
    I loved to play the Rainbow Six series, and those fucking civilians would always get between my gun and the head of the last remaining terrorist. I also remember killing scientists in Half-Life just because they wouldn't move anymore after some map point.
    If games now don't have civilians in them is just because the games distributors don't have the balls or the will to take a little heat from stupid people that don't understand that a deaths in a video game are just as bad for your development as seeing a nipple: not at all.

    If you put the player in front of a choice where they can do good things or bad things, they will do bad things, go [to the] dark side because people think it's cool to be naughty, they won't be caught

    And that's bad because...?

    • by Spacejock (727523)
      Maybe I'm too old to be a gamer, but I've always chosen to do the good things instead of the bad. On the other hand, my kids would always sacrifice followers in Black and White to gain mana.
      • Yep, when I get immersed, I'd follow a similar pattern. Which pissed me off in GTA because many times it was just, hey, kill that person and I felt like, wtf, man, I'd rather handle you and and your goons than go murder that witness.

  • by Tony (765) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:45PM (#37382866) Journal

    Yeah. The one level in Modern Warfare 2 that people objected to? Yeah. That was shooting civilians.

    It seems censors don't like shooting civilians.

  • Good vs Evil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ryanw (131814) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:51PM (#37382906)

    I don't think it's fair that it is just assumed that people will choose to do bad behind closed doors. I think the problem is the reward system is off balance. If a game truly implemented a true eco system of consequences and rewards for doing good vs evil you would see a different picture.

    I, for example, played the game "Black & White" and your kingdom would morph to how you portrayed yourself. I actually was good "all the time" while I played that game. I slowly learned that the rewards for being good the whole time was limiting vs what could happen when you were evil. I only tried being evil once the reward for being good seemed to stop the gameplay.

    If a game fully implemented repercussions for hitting civilians or doing evil, people would choose to do good. But when there are either no repercussions or just pure "cool eye candy" for killing people without consequence, people are really just looking to explore the dynamics of the game, they're not trying to do evil. So ultimately it comes down to the game designers making evil actions more appealing than doing good. That's the paradigm that would need to shift ...

    Just think, if you killed a civilian in a mission you had to sit out a round or two in multi-player ... or if you had to go through an extra training course... This could also playout to be repercussions for 'friendly fire', instead of just disabling friendly fire all together. People would pay more attention to the goals of the game and stay more true to the role they're playing.

    With "counter-strike", people choose (or get selected) to be on either the terrorists or counter-terrorist groups... same thing with most all multi-player games. In a way the "counter terrorists" are the good guys, and the terrorists are the bad guys... The bad guys kill the good guys here. Why not put civilians in the terrain and in the city? If a terrorist killed a civilian they would leave a blood trail behind or have to hide the body, or someone would scream and they would be easier to find, etc... There would be real repercussions for doing this. And if a 'counter-terrorist' killed a civilian by mistake or because it was a hostage or something, he would need to sit out for like 2 minutes or something before being allowed back in....

    So the long and the short of it is, it's impossible to base people's decisions to do good vs evil with the games designed today. There is ONLY reward for doing anything the game lets you do. And people like to push limits to things to see what the developers created. Once they get their hands slapped for doing it, they probably won't do it again -- and if they do, they will have to work extra hard to undo the damage they had done.

    • Yeah, but really, what's the point of punishing them for those things (in a way that stops the gameplay and/or forces them to be "good")? It's a game. Who cares if they kill innocents?

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      I don't think it's fair that it is just assumed that people will choose to do bad behind closed doors. I think the problem is the reward system is off balance. If a game truly implemented a true eco system of consequences and rewards for doing good vs evil you would see a different picture.

      And how many real soldiers have been tried & convicted in the last decade for killing civilians in Iraq or Afghanistan?

    • Its a little different killing a real person and killing something that behaves like a robot in a video game. In battle, only 15-20 percent of soldiers will even bother to fire, and even then they wont try to kill a person so they will fire sort of above their heads or to the side, not even really aiming at them. Killing another human is not something you evolved to do unless you are caught between a rock and a hard place and you must, or you have some mental defect, or you have been brainwashed into thinki
    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Well, since you mentioned Counterstrike, I'll point out that there are civilian hostages in some missions, and if you kill them you lose money and have to spend the next round or two armed with a pistol. Oddly enough, the only time that it's good to kill hostages is if you're playing as the good guys. As long as you've rescued one of them, you can kill the rest to win the match!

    • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

      I guess I'm an anomaly since even in games with no penalties for being 'evil' or even an 'evil path', I just can't stomach being an ass most of the time. So I inherently do 'good'. From some psychology and sociology work I'd say I'm not alone. About 10% of people even under stress always chose to do 'the least harm' or 'the most good' in situations. Their is little need for repercussions for these types. A real problem in games tends to be the fact that people find it hard to empathize with characters in th

  • by shellster_dude (1261444) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:52PM (#37382920)
    This article is a glorious example of begging the question.

    The obvious answer is that most companies don't want to deal with the shit-storm that COD Modern Warefare 2 and Battle for Falujah. It has nothing to do with the supposed moral recrimination of shooting innocent bystanders as far as the actual players are concerned.
  • by flyboy974 (624054) on Monday September 12, 2011 @09:57PM (#37382952)

    The same argument can be said about racing games. You can crash into walls going 100MPH and just bounce off.

    The people vs. car thing is a little different but comes down to the same thing. In the car world, a manufacturer doesn't want their car to ever be seen as inferior or have damage to the car. In the war model, we want to always be rewarded for shooting the gun. Negative feedback is bad.

    The reality is that until we start enforcing negative feedback we are encouraging and training a new generation of people that will lack a sense of duty and responsibility and instead will lack a certain understanding of right and wrong.

    • by PPH (736903)
      No pizza delivery guys walking away with nothing more than a 5% tip in porn either. What's up with that?
  • by gman003 (1693318) on Monday September 12, 2011 @10:13PM (#37383042)

    The developers, in general, want to do this. I recall one game designer (for an Iraq-war-setting game) wanting to add a mission where the player went on a lengthy patrol through the city. Civilians would be everywhere, doing normal civilian things. Shooting them, obviously, would lead to a game-over. But the twist was that there would be no actual enemies - you'd go out and see several things that might startle you into shooting (potential car bomb, etc), but it would basically be ten minutes of the player expecting enemies at every corner, yet never finding them. It was supposed to show what actual soldiers deal with daily - almost all patrols go without incident.

    The game shipped without it, but that's hardly the only one where the developers wanted to add civilians, either for realism, or for mood, or even just because. But it's almost always stopped by the publisher, AKA the guys spending the money on the game. It's just far too much of an economic risk. Very few military games do it (without doing something like making them invinsible), simply because of all the outrage the media would cause. Modern Warfare 2 really only included it (in one mission) because of the outrage - they wanted the publicity and the shock.

    • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @12:06AM (#37383536)
      Wow, I didn't know this. That unpublished level with the "twist" really does sound interesting. But I don't think the problem is that there is something outrageous about civilians being mortal, especially if killing one instantly gets the "game over" screen. No, I think it's that there is a lesson that war-glorification games don't want the players to learn: civilians are actually the vast majority of modern war casualties. The perfectly ordinary waging of war, even when care is taken, will still probably result in killing more civilians than bad guys. If they were made mortal and the fighting scenes resemble real modern wars, then players would be finding bleeding, crying, crawling children with massive burns, every twentieth time they fired a rocket launcher inside a populated area. Poorly-built houses would collapse on the families inside. That's how war games would have to look. Clearly nobody wants that in a game. But the reason isn't the fact that players would deliberately kill the civilians. That could be easily prevented by a "game over". Maybe too many civilian deaths would lock you out of certain urban environment missions. No, war games need to make players think that they're doing something awesome. There is a segment of the population who pictures war as awesome, and these people will be appeased by games that glorify it instead of revealing its sickening reality. Then again, maybe there is a small subset of these people who would still find this war stuff is awesome even if there were burned, crawling children and weeping parents, and it's true, nobody wants to see someone enjoying that as a part of a "game". But remember that we still live in the amazing times when the mention of undisputed facts about civilian deaths is done only by protesters and other marginalized people. Some undisputed facts are just too inconvenient when we want to live with our delusions, so they become unmentionable. And game publishers certainly have no incentive to mention these. Quite to the contrary, they would rather show the people back home an unrealistic and glorified picture of war so that ignoring the reality becomes even easier. (Wow, I didn't think the post would end here when I started, but I think I'm on to something.)
  • by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Monday September 12, 2011 @10:19PM (#37383082)
    I'd bring a gun to work.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's easier to convince your citizens to go to war if they can't see the suffering of innocents. The bible makes a Big Deal of Herod and all, what would those oh so pious Americans think if he lived in the White House?

  • Pretty much what it says on the tin.

    I enjoy story with my games. Games like Serious Sam never appealed to me, and I got bored of the multiplayer content of Call of Duty pretty quick; I was really only in it for the stories. Yes, I played the "No Russian" mission and yes it affected me, but isn't that what we play games *for*? To explore things we couldn't explore in real life?

    I don't like the idea that there's no consequences for my actions. The games I've really enjoyed playing: Fallout, Fallout 2, Baldur'

  • But I shot 'em all.

  • There are lots of shooters with civilians, just off the top of my head, the latest Deus Ex game. You can literally mow down a whole street of people.

    Maybe it's not technically a "military" shooter, but whatever.
  • I just assumed that all of the civilians had already been killed or fled to a neighboring country.
  • Probably one of the last games where you could do ultimate rampage of helpless civilians (or cows) and nobody complained. Nowadays in the super whine nature and youtube, twitter, etc this is just unthinkable.

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 anyone?

    On one mission you play as an inside CIA agent whom has infiltrated a terrorist inner circle who go on a shooting spree at an Airport. You get to mow down endless Civilians. Though the mission is skipable. And you actually succeed in the mission, even if you don't shoot anyone and just let your compadres do all the civilian killing.

    See for more details: http://callofduty.wikia.com/wiki/No_Russian [wikia.com]

  • So why aren't there more lawyers, logistics SNAFU's, medical illnesses, auto accidents and pettifogging government bureaucrats in a war-video game?

    Why isn't there a video game of Working Pathetic Service Jobs At Low Wages To Pay Off Your Student Loans And Medical Bills?

    Unless you get to shoot them, it just Is Not Fun At All.

  • Hasn't Peter Molyneux (creator of Black and White, Fable, and other games with open-ended player ethics) said he's always found in games where players could choose good or evil that most people will choose good? I remember playing Back and White, the most frustrating thing was that the controls were imprecise enough that it was easy to accidentally kill people (this may have been by design) and I felt bad that the people had died.

    The GTA series would tend to go against this notion, but I think that's not q

  • by bryan1945 (301828) on Tuesday September 13, 2011 @12:29AM (#37383616) Journal

    Or horror movies, whatever. More politically correct crap. Everyone has to find something to bitch about.

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