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Bleszinski: Gears of War's violence is 'slapstick,' not revolting

According to Cliff Bleszinski, creator of Gears of War, no one is supposed to be revolted by the curb-stomping, chainsawing, gore smattered kill-fest that is the Gears of War series; it’s supposed to be funny. At least that’s what he told the BBC in a recent interview.

“When we create our games we use a slapstick type of violence, we poke each other in the eyes and hit each other with frying pans like the old Warner Brothers cartoons. It's funny because the industry sometimes comes under fire from watchdog groups with regard to this sort of violence.”


Above: whoopwhoopwhoopwhoopwhoop

These comments come just after the opening volley of arguments for Schwarzenegger v. EMA last week, so it is no surprise that some studios are starting to feel the need to put their work in context.

“We always believe that when we first see this muscular space marine beating down a lizard man and heads explode with water melon guts spewing out of them, you're morally inclined to smile and giggle rather than be revolted.”

"The majority of what we implement into the game we do for feedback and interactivity, not because we're strange sadistic people who want to see how much blood we can put on the screen when you shoot one of the lizard creatures.”

"We do it to let the player know you did in fact succeed, that you are hitting a target and you need that kind of feedback in order to create what is a successful interactive experience."

While Bliszinski certainly seems to appreciate the cathartic properties of a little ultra-violence, he is also quick to assure us that his team is dedicated to depicting that violence responsibly.

“We have an internal moral compass where we will decide, 'No that's a little bit too much,' or ‘we need to cut the violence back a little bit’. So there's still ways of showing violence to an affecting user without showing too much."

Nov 10, 2010

14 comments

  • mrmorozov987 - February 9, 2011 3:41 a.m.

    I wouldn't go as far as to say that it's all funny, but I often giggle at the physics in GTA IV.
  • RAYZOR12 - November 12, 2010 2:07 a.m.

    @n00b The rights of movies was decided decades ago. There is a committee that gives them ratings. That is why they can show gratuitous violence onscreen. I agree with CARDYKEV and FoxdenRacing. Gears is meant to be a violent game. Are some of you trying to say that curb stomping, dismembering, and beating an opponent to a pulp with your fist or a weapon is funny? The actions themselves are not, but the dialogue associated with the actions may be the only redeeming quality (Ex: When Carmine screams like a frightened child everytime that he chainsaws a locust). And the way I see it, this EMA case is already won. The rights of film, music, and even comic books have been protected by the supreme court; the freedom of speech in multimedia entertainment will never be questioned as long as the ESRB still plays a role in the industry.
  • g4m3rk1dd - November 11, 2010 10 p.m.

    "Medal of Battlefield Duty" ...id play that... with that said the gore in gears is what makes it complete...there will always be people around who think that when something comes apart and you see red that its wrong...too bad they dont say anything when it happens in real life...
  • FoxdenRacing - November 11, 2010 4:33 p.m.

    Gears takes itself seriously, ergo it's not comic violence. It's a matter of overall tone, not realism. Tone is the difference between Bugs Bunny handing Elmer Fudd a box with a bomb in it [black, sooty face, or reduced to a pile of ash with blinking eyes] and Soldier of Fortune. Tone is the difference between Kill Bill's Crazy88 scene and slasher/snuff films. I've played plenty of games with comic violence, and Gears isn't one of them. MK2, Primal Rage, Halo, Star Wars Battlefront, Unreal Tournament, Borderlands, Team Fortress 2, and many others were comic. Gears, Soldier of Fortune, and several others are downright graphic. Realistic? No. Ridiculous? Sure. Stomach-churning? Yes. The only spot in Gears that might qualify is someone being turned into bouncing ham hocks by the train. And it's possible to make a game that contains genuine violence (not just conflict) without being either comic or graphic; The splinter cell series, the Rainbow Six series, the entire Medal of Battlefield Duty cluster, the list is nearly limitless.
  • n00b - November 11, 2010 3:43 p.m.

    @Bloodstorm that's exactly what i was gonna say even with the kill bill reference. therefore i will use another one the watchdog groups complain about violent video games but i just watched Inglorious Bastards a while ago and wondered how no one bat an eyelid at the violence that was on screen.
  • Bloodstorm - November 11, 2010 1:04 p.m.

    Gears gore is so over the top it is funny. Like Kill Bill vol 1, you didn't get crossed out by the shower=heads of bloods coming out of them when their heads and other parts were cut off, you laughed. Its too over the top to be believable in any sense of real gore and dismemberment.
  • CARDYKEV - November 11, 2010 12:13 p.m.

    Does this mean after the biting the curb scene during American History X Edward Norton should do the face slapping "woop woop woop woop woop" thing? Violence is what it is
  • NeelEvil - November 11, 2010 11:50 a.m.

    @510BrotherPanda True they'd get away with violence against the Locust but they'd get screwed on player deaths. On a side not, I love the headshot noise in Gears. Damn the delay of 3 to hell!
  • 510BrotherPanda - November 11, 2010 10:50 a.m.

    Technically, since Justice Sotomayor said something along the lines of "If it's Vulcans being maimed, tortured or killed, it isn't deviant violence,right?"... It's A-Okay to murder a bajillion Locusts. I'm not a fan of gore and blood, but look at me playing Katamari...
  • AGENTJORRRG - November 11, 2010 7:55 a.m.

    Cliffy, you sarcastic bastard. I think...
  • Brutalicus - November 11, 2010 5:25 a.m.

    Despite my undying opposition to Gears' story and writing, the gore has always been awesome. Good to know that it's supposed to be hilarious, lol. Glad I saw this, it added a few shades of gray to my hate of Gears.
  • Vitreosity - November 11, 2010 4:30 a.m.

    Always keeps me giggling whenever I chainsaw a Locust in half, only to have his friend's head pop off in a fountain of blood beside me. Good times. Can't wait for Gears 3.
  • batman5273 - November 11, 2010 3:58 a.m.

    Good article. I personally love the blood and guts of Gears of War. And I do find is so over the top humorous.
  • kyle94 - November 11, 2010 3:57 a.m.

    Why do those watchdog groups complain about completely unrealistic violence in games like Gears of War and ignore more realistic violence in games like Soldier of Fortune? Sooooome people never did their research.

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