Free speech, big publishers and game makers

Wait… womens server in the USA army?

dude…come on. It isn’t endearing.


As I’m sure you realised, I was simplifying things in the interest of brevity.

Bogost is just expecting them in summer blockbuster popcorn games.
I’d say he’s expecting them from somebody, anybody in the big publishers. Medal of Honor is just the current topical case to hang the article on. It doesn’t have to be that particular game. It could be, though, the potential is there and that absolutely should be said out loud until somebody with power takes action.

So there’s hope! That’s great!

Large companies can’t really afford to do the “art” games and keep the doors open.
… until somebody goes ahead and does it. Breaking the vicious cycle starts with one visionary. Stating the status quo is an immovable object does nothing to create the unstoppable force required to change the status quo.

Agreed. Unless your core message is something unique to the setting, but an overall “killing dehumanizes the killer as well as the victims” type of message can be easily done with space marines or musketeers as well as whatever conflict is current.

Of course, one could also argue that video games are particularly suited to “ripped from the headlines” issues since by its very nature, video games are dated by their tech anyway.

Does anyone seriously believe EA or Activision give a shit? We’re not talking about people with souls here.

Really? You honestly think James Cameron is really on the edge with his deeper meanings in his movies? His stuff is just as popcorn lite as any video game.

A straight man soon ceases to be amusing when he proves to be just a fount of addlepatedness.

Firstly, these are publicly traded companies with a board of directors/trustees/whatever who legally owe account to the shareholder public and to consider their best interest (rising the value of the stock) first and foremost; for should they not a lawsuit is inbound.
This makes a risky game-statement, political, philosophical or otherwise, something that is very hard to do without some good explanation how this brings contribution to the share value to justify undertaking.

And then…there’s Kotick.

And yet, publicly traded companies continue to make statement movies, books, TV series, stickers, posters, rolls of toilet paper and thongs.

Big publishers cannot make statement games because they have not made statement games. Repeat until barbiturated.

(not aimed at you, Foxstab, or anyone else personally)


EA is a publisher, not a developer, common mistake.
Unless you call Madden 502034999 a game. Good one.

Fair enough. Sorry about the choice of words. Look for a new, improved proclamation coming soon to your favourite game post download service!

Big publishers cannot publish statement games because they have not published statement games. Repeat until habituated.

Nothing personal Warren, but what would you say the message behind Gears is (apart from promoting general gayness in the space navy) ? Because I feel it’s a series with a strong direction… At least it tries to tell something about a dirty war, about camaraderie… Is it a dimension you consider important, or just a setting good enough so that it won’t shock the general gaming public and hence provide a huge bonus check ?

This used to be true of movie studios too. But you won’t find a large, profitable, summer blockbuster making movie studio that doesn’t have an indie arm as well anymore. I think the big game companies need to move in that direction if they aren’t already.

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t want to make games that have no meaning or are as shallow as the day is long. If a game can have a message, I think that’s great. However, I don’t consider it a necessity.

Movies as a form of entertainment and as a form of social communication is much more mature than video games. People (and by that I refer to paying customers) are ready and willing to watch movies with a message. Can we say the same thing of video games?

I appreciate what Jarmo is saying, but I seriously doubt that video games with a message are going to come out from the mainstream and major publishers. It sure as heck isn’t going to be coming from EA. At this point, there is no audience for this type of video game. I would guess that such a game is likely to come from an artists looking to explore the boundaries of art rather than from a traditional video game developer.

So one side are obsessed with religion, and is a giganteous offense to see a nipple.

The other side, [NAME CENSORED], is misogynist.

The audience will emerge once there is something to see. People never know what they want before they see it. Just catering to current tastes leads to a commercial downward spiral; witness the superhero comics.

but I seriously doubt that video games with a message are going to come out from the mainstream and major publishers.
They surely won’t if we don’t keep pushing them to do it. The way to coerce, force and seduce the medium to mature is expecting, asking and inspiring it to change. Revolutions are begun by the talkers and fought by the newly spirited doers.