Posted by Chuck Corbin on Jan 31, 2013

Don’t Expect To Torture Anybody In Splinter Cell: Blacklist…

Over the past twenty years or so games have gone from having brightly colored, vaguely life-like blocks and turned into hyper-realistic models that can show every single pore on a man’s face. With that added realism comes the fact that games have become more realistic in the subject matter as well. And sometimes, real life is downright ugly.

Sometimes, the ugliness can help get a player into the mind of the villain, like in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. On one of the missions the player (who has infiltrated a Russian ultra-nationalist group) ends up helping the ultra-nationalists in massacring civilians in order to make it appear that the United States was behind this act of terrorism. This was a huge controversy back when the game was first released, and for good reason: you’re killing civilians!

It appears that Splinter Cell: Blacklist may have gone a bit too far, however. At E3 last year it was revealed that in the game the protagonist Sam Fisher would be torturing an enemy within the first few minutes by plunging a knife in his neck in order to extract information. And for the record, this wasn’t a cutscene, but rather it was a completely player-controlled event. It was revealed yesterday, however, that Ubisoft Toronto has made the decision to remove that particular scene from the game.

I can’t say that I disagree with this decision. After all, torture is an ugly, ugly practice, one that quite frankly doesn’t need to have the protagonist engage in unnecessarily like in Blacklist. That doesn’t mean that we should censor every kind of torture scene like it, but when the player is required to twist a knife in a guys throat all that’s going to happen is that the anti-video gaming lobby will get another piece of ammunition in their crusade against video games, and at the same time alienate Splinter Cell fans who don’t want to be the bad guys here.


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