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Published on July 12th, 2009 | by Brian Browne

Violence required to make great games?

Spinning off our discussion on the hotness known as the Truthcast, I couldn’t shake this question. For those who are unaware, Greg Zeschuk, the creative officer at BioWare, known for games like Mass Effect and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, feels that violence in video games isn’t a necessity.

Folks that are used to playing games over the last ten years, they want to have those battle moments, and the fighting. But there are different audiences that would maybe just enjoy the story

he states. As I recall my internal library of games that were some of my favorites such as Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Final Fantasy VII, and Super Mario 64, I realize that these are not blood and guts violent games, but they do contain elements of combat. Another key element all these titles were able to achieve, was an excellent storyline. Most of the games that are out there, contain the key element of Good vs Evil and requires us to come to resolution. In most cases however, they cannot coexist peacefully, so this is acted out with the characters fighting one another.

There have been titles that have been able to succeed with out the use of violence. The Big Brain Academy series, a set of logic based puzzle and test games, has been extremely popular since its release a few years ago. The Sims and Tetris have achieved massive staying power without the element of fighting. Still, the truth is that it is extremely difficult to name a lot of nonviolent games that I thought were worth my while, but BioWare is to be commended for taking a creative approach and trying to push games into a different direction. The question is will the consoles follow them?

The Wii for the most part, seems to be the only one willing to put all its weight out on this limb. Wii Sports and Wii Fit have developed a cult following and don’t seem to be letting up anytime soon. Nintendo doesn’t seem to have a problem with everyone else jumping on board so late (i.e Project Natal and Milo), because they have laughed it up to the bank multiple times over already. While these games are entertaining, they only provide a limited amount of enjoyment because they contain no story to keep you hooked.

There is no question that if BioWare is taking this quest seriously, they definitely have their work cut out for them. History doesn’t seem to favor them as you look at industry changing games (DOOM, HALO, GTA, AND GEARS OF WAR), but they would be pioneers if they came out of this challenge unscathed. How about you? Would you buy a game for storyline alone with no violence, or is violence a must have?

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