'Dishonored' game developer speaks out on game violence

Posted Jan 14, 2013 by Can Tran
In regards to the talk of violence let alone game violence, one of the developers for "Dishonored" from Bethesda Games spoke out on the issue.
Dishonored - Debut Trailer
Dishonored - Debut Trailer
Last year, Bethesda Games released a first-person stealth action game called “Dishonored.” While this can be dubbed as a first-person shooter game, the game play mechanics highly discourage doing that method as your character can get killed easily. While you can play like this, players are encouraged to use critical thinking and go for the stealthy and preferable nonlethal approach. That means, kill only when necessary; but, do the best you can of not killing people. With what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, 2012, there have been plenty of scapegoats.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) and the video game industry were branded as scapegoats; but, the NRA blamed video games for what happened. One has to look back at the press conference held by NRA CEO and vice-president Wayne LaPierre that was held a week after the horrific shooting. The video game industry has been on the defensive as a result. This brought up the issue of video game violence. Joe Houston, one of the developers for Dishonored, spoke on the issue of game violence and gave his opinions. It is reported that Houston did the coding for the neck-stab assassination move.
When talking to the online publication called “Rock, Paper, Shotgun,” Houston said that he's desensitized to the game's violence but still feels discomfort. He talks about one of the stages, where you have to infiltrate a masquerade ball at the Boyle Estate. This is supposed to be a stealth and espionage mission; but, you can still do the front door method and go around killing people.
A promotional wanted poster for Corvo  the main character for  Dishonored.
A promotional wanted poster for Corvo, the main character for "Dishonored."
Houston said that while it's more fun and better game play experience to utilize the stealthy and nonlethal approach, there are still players that choose the “lazy option” to go around killing people.
Houston, when addressing violence, believes that video game violence do not cause real world violence. At the same time, he feels that video game violence does little to prevent real life violence. He talked about how Dishonored is one of the few violent games that is not censored in Germany; this is due to the fact you can play the game without having to kill anybody. Houston does address criticism from people saying that the developers “want” players to do the “correct” path versus the violent path being “more fun.” With that, Houston said that it's a delicate balancing act for game developers.
A Kotaku article on that same piece gives the possibility of making games in which you prevent violence. Also, keep in mind, there are plenty of nonviolent games in the market such as “Ace Attorney,” “Katamari,” “Brain Academy,” and so forth.
While Sandy Hook has reignited the debate on guns, it has also dragged the video game industry and Hollywood into the mix. Friday of last week, United States President Joe Biden had met with various groups such as the NRA, Hollywood executives, and video game industry representatives. In a Kotaku article, it is reported that Biden wasn't out to connect video games and the Sandy Hook shootings let alone at the meeting. In this respect, according to one person at the meeting, Biden looked to be encouraging the video game industry to work on their public image and to be part of the solution.
In Dishonored, you take on the role of Corvo. Corvo is the personal bodyguard for the late-Empress who was assassinated. Being framed and sentenced for execution, Corvo escapes and tries to clear his name while uncovering a dark conspiracy.