Obviously, this is going to be a bias post. While I do think some games such as Hatred and Mortal Kombat may be a bit too much for some people to stomach, I also believe that it is up the the individual to deem what is fit for him or her to consume entertainment wise. If you’re traumatized by blood, perhaps a horror game may not be the ideal choice for you, my friend. In regards to children, I believe it is the parent’s job to determine what their kids can or cannot watch/play. While I wouldn’t mind my children playing Legend of Zelda, GTA:V may not be appropriate for their age. (I don’t have kids, I’m speaking hypothetically).
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk games, shall we?
Freedom of Speech
We live in a world where everything is held under a microscope. “What did he mean by that?” “Is she intentionally offending me?” “Should they be allowed to say that?” Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you can say anything to anyone, but it doesn’t mean you can censor someone for saying something you don’t agree with. In Sony’s case, that something is child abuse. Played out as what seems to be one of the main points in the revolutionary game, Detroit: Become Human, a little girl is physically abused by her father, and her android caretaker is forced to make a decision. If you haven’t already seen the trailer, here it is below.
As you can see, this trailer does push into what some might find uncomfortable, especially the graphic depictions of abuse, but that doesn’t mean the plot point in question should be taken out of the game for the sake of a few individuals. First we have to ask ourselves if the developers are intentionally trying to offend or unsettle people. In this case, the answer has to be a resounding ‘no.’ No developers in their right mind would purposely cut their own profits by intentionally offending a group of potential consumers.
Second, we should ask ourselves what is the purpose behind this scene; to enact an emotional response, or to bring a rarely discussed topic to light? Perhaps it’s simply to add a level of emotional depth to the game, however shallow or lazy that may seem. In the case of Detroit: Become Human, I would say it’s a mix of the three.
Finally, we need to see if the developers approached the issue respectively and sensitively. For this game, we’re not sure yet, but I can only assume that they did as Quantic Dream, the developers of the game, have made many games with deep and thought provoking content, and they’ve done a good job at it.
Detroit: Become Human‘s entire premise is to make you, the player, analyze a situation and really think about what’s going on and about the consequences your actions will have. This is made especially obvious in the trailer above. Very few games can pull something like this off. Quantic Dream is trying to deliver a message through their medium, which is protected under Free Speech.
Not solely for Entertainment
Quantic Dream seems to be trying to bring issues such as child abuse to light; not so much using it for entertainment, but exposing it to the majority of people who honestly don’t think about this problem at all. By putting something like this in the game, Quantic Dream may have people give that potentially abused child on the street a second glance, perhaps invoking a response that could save that child’s life.
A YouTuber I enjoy watching, DreamcastGuy, a victim of child abuse, believes this is the main reason why the scene should remain in the game, and why more games like this should be made. In the end of the day, bringing topics like this to light should be more important than sweeping them under the rug, where no one can acknowledge of find a solution for them. DreamcastGuy openly supports the reason why the scene should exist, and it’s not for entertainment, it’s to shed light on a problem that is very real, and very dangerous.
There’s something to be said about players who they themselves have suffered from child abuse. Scenes like the one in the trailer could trigger flashbacks, anxiety, or aggravation in someone who has lived through abuse before. In a situation like this, perhaps it is best that Quantic Dream used this scene for the trailer, so that players who could potentially be effected by the scene know exactly what is in the game and thus can decide whether or not they should play the game.
I recognize that this game is not for everyone, especially for victims of child abuse. However, it is not up to someone to censor the game for the sake of someone else. At the same time the game can seen as “therapeutic” to some victims. Granted this is very unlikely, and I only know of one person, an internet personality and fellow game enthusiast Boggie2988, who he himself is a victim of child abuse as well, and welcomes this game for the sole purpose of being able to somehow get closure for his past.
Detroit: Become Human is art. Art mimics reality, and the sad reality is that child abuse is very real. Instead of trying to censor the problem, we should give people trying to shed light on it a platform from which to deliver their message. In the end of the day I think we should wait until the game comes out so it can be judged by it’s own merits. If the developers took a disrespectful desensitized approach, then there should be an outcry.
So far, it seems the game is designed to make players question what they would do in a situation like this. Very few games have done this, and I think Detroit: Become Human should be given the chance to be judged by how will it does what it’s trying to do. But that’s just one man’s opinion.
If you haven’t already, check out Boogie2988 and Dreamcast guy on YouTube. They are some of the most entertaining and fun creators on the site. Also, remember to like us on Facebook. Winter break has started and I’ll have more time to post more content for you, so don’t forget to subscribe. Remember to stay safe and game on!