Recently it seems as though higher profile gaming companies such as Activision/Blizzard and Ubisoft have been more willing to remove controversial content and language from their games through patches in order to maintain the happiness of all involved, which ultimately is a good thing! Nobody should feel demeaned or inadequate when playing video games so ensuring that they are a safe space for all is a good thing that should continue regardless.
Something that has cropped up in my mind however after seeing the controversies surrounding Watch Dogs: Legion and the new Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is the usage of these controversial subjects and words in the first place. The fact that stuff like this is being put into the game and then being taken out afterwards seems to me as though games are slowly becoming more like public works projects rather than something created by individuals. Now this of course isn’t a bad thing as I’m sure many people would rather that the purchasers get their own say in how games are developed and progress over time but with subjects such as these being so frequently included and subsequently removed it makes you wonder exactly when will this eventually end. My fear is that artistic decisions for including controversial characters specifically for the sake of including them as ‘bad people’ will be removed for the sake of keeping the status quo with the purchasing public.
As an example; if in a future game someone decides to include a villain however that character is outwardly racist and says many things that are specifically meant to be hurtful and demeaning in order to establish their position on the morality scale. My concern then comes from the idea that a company might remove a character such as this from their game due to people getting upset that racist ideology is being portrayed in their games despite the clear fact that the story is framing them in a negative light. I stand by the belief that controversial and upsetting characters should exist if only to show the public exactly what these type of people are and helping them understand that unfortunately these type of individuals do exist in the world and they will have to come to terms with them existing.
Overall, as I said, I want gaming to be inclusive for everyone. I simply fear however that this may end up going too far if companies continue to buckle on controversial issues and language being portrayed in their games. I suppose we will just have to wait and see if this eventually does end up happening. That’s all for now, and as always. It’s not just a game, It’s a Life.