Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A step in the right direction

I saw a piece of encouraging news today. WhatTheyPlay.com is reporting that Gears of War 2 will have filter settings for language and violence, so that gamers will be able to turn off the excessive gore and the foul language.

While some bloggers choose to laugh this off as childish or silly, I personally applaud this move. Finally, some choice is being given back to gamers to control the kind of experience they want to have (and expose their families to).

I'm certainly not naïve to think that it turns an 'M'-rated game into a 'T', but at least it gets rid of the over-the-top violence and language that so completely turned me off of Gears 1 with just two minutes of game video.

And as I believe I mentioned before, it's not just about my kids. My kids don't get to play 'M'-rated games — the console is in the family room, so we can monitor its usage, and we use parental controls to help enforce this rule. Also, as a rule, I don't play 'M'-rated games until they've gone to bed. So if it were just about them, the content of an 'M'-rated game wouldn't matter one way or another. It does matter, however, for the simple reason that I just don't like it. Period. So being able to turn some of it off is very appealing.

Does this mean I will run out and put a preorder down for Gears 2 and join the throng that will be battling locusts on "Emergence Day 2"? Eh, no. It's still a pretty violent game. I need to see what these gore settings reduce. If the main character is still running around with a chainsaw graphically ripping bodies in half, even without blood splattering over the screen, will I be comfortable with that?

Ideally, a demo would help me make this decision, but as before, "CliffyB" doesn't think his game needs a demo to sell. (Apparently not to the masses, just to me. :shrug: ) I'll have to wait until I see some hands-on gameplay videos and see what the swear-less, gore-less experience turns out to be, and if it's for me.

But this ability to turn off the excessive junk that doesn't affect game play is a very good thing.

While I would of course prefer the stuff not be there to begin with (Halo never went close to "over the top", nor did Call of Duty, and they both did just fine), I hope future developers that find the need to add language and gore, also have the sense to add the option to turn it off. Gamers like me certainly appreciate it.

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