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Violence is Not Personality

/ Jun 18th, 2015 No Comments

Bethesda Violence

From Mortal Kombat to Grand Theft Auto, video games have long been associated with unnecessary violence. In recent years, more compelling games with thought-provoking themes have helped dispel this stereotype. But each year at E3, these meaningful games are put on the backburner as publishers play to video game tropes and showcase over-the-top violence.

Holding its first E3 press conference ever, Bethesda fell victim to the trap. Fallout 4 took up a bulk of its presentation, but the publisher also showed off gory trailers for Doom and Battlecry, and neither of these titles came off as more than a violent bore.

Violence is Not the Answer

Bethesda led off its conference with Doom, a long-running franchise which pioneered the first-person shooter. Doom follows a similar format to previous entries in the series, introducing players to a space marine on the planet Mars. Of course, the locals aren’t too happy about their visitor, and players will have to fight hordes of alien enemies.

Gameplay footage from Doom showed graphic violence and gut-wrenching weapons. The faceless main character wandered around the screen tortuously murdering aliens with fists, chainsaws and powerful weapons for seemingly no reason.

However, what was lacking during the Doom gameplay segment at Bethesda’s event was any sort of personality. The nameless player-controlled main character said nothing while mowing down countless enemies, not even a Lara Croft-like grunt or yell. Viewers were given little context as to the events of the game, making it obvious that this display was just violence for the sake of being violent.

Judging by its E3 footage, Doom is designed for players who don’t want to be distracted by plot or immersed in character interaction. The franchise has always been about shooting enemies, and it hasn’t evolved much even as the industry has. Maybe id Software, the developer handling Doom, is simply trying to give fans what they expect from a Doom game, but the visuals of alien guts spilling across the screen does not define the game or give it a unique disposition.

Make This Battle Cry

The free-to-play PC title Battlecry also showed poorly during Bethesda’s media event. A fun art style and different character classes showed flashes of charm, but it dissipated as the trailer reverted back to violence and crudely animated blood.


A character from Battlecry.

Perhaps Battlecry is not the type of game that shows well at events like E3, but the trailer displayed helpless enemies being badly defeaten as blood drained from their bodies with each undefended attack. There seems to be more to Battlecry than was shown in the trailer at E3, but Bethesda chose to show violent, boring gameplay.

These types of experiences may be what players wanted in 1993 when the original Doom came out, but gamers expect more in 2015. Mortal Kombat is known for its brutalities, but the game has spanned console generations because of its gameplay. Much has been said about the ability to pick up and murder prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto, but players can go through the entire campaign without ever encountering a lady of the night. Violence alone is not a defining quality of a game. Violence is not personality, and games need personality.

Bethesda’s entire E3 2015 press conference can be viewed below.

Bethesda E3 2015 Press Conference


Ryan Bloom

Ryan Bloom

Chief Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Ryan Bloom is a writer and avid gamer from Orange County. He received a B.A. in Communications with a minor in American Studies from California State University, Fullerton in 2010. Follow him on Twitter @BloomsTweets.
Ryan Bloom

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