War is never good. In war, terrible things happen to good people and innocent lives are unjustly taken. When it comes to developing an authentic war simulator, how then do you capture that harsh reality… or do you simply avoid it all together?

When playing a video game in the safety and comfort of your home, using digital recreations of real-world weaponry to lay waste to perceived enemies, it becomes easy to do unrealistic things, make unnatural decisions. In Grand Theft Auto, players kill police officers and steal their cars because it’s fun. In first person shooters, if civilians are around, some will shoot them to be “naughty” and this is something DICE does not want to be a part of Battlefield 3.

In fact, they won’t even allow the possibility, according to Battlefield 3 executive producer Patrick Bach in chatting with Rock Paper Shotgun.

“In a game where it’s more authentic, when you have a gun in your hand and a child in front of you what would happen? Well the player would probably shoot that child. Me personally, I’m trying to stay away from civilians in games like BF because I think people will do bad. I don’t want to see videos on the internet where people shoot civilians. That’s something I will sanitize by removing that feature from the game.”

I can’t say I agree with this broad generalization of gamers. If the narrative and characters depicted in a well-written story empower the player to play their role, why would they gun down innocents they’re attempting to protect? Can’t you say the same for multiplayer and co-op when it comes to teammates?

In video games with choice, a lot of us choose the path of “good” – just look at all my characters in the Mass Effect and The Elder Scrolls games. Why not just end the mission if a player points and shoots at an innocent and have them restart? Then there’s no enjoyment from it, not that there was any in the first place.

“That doesn’t mean that I don’t want people to feel that war is not good,… We are trying to do something that is more mature. Mature not being gore —some people confuse the two. That’s childish actually, to want more blood.”

Giving the choice to gamers is the more mature option one would think, rather than a form of censorship but we can understand their side of it in avoiding bad PR from the select few doing things in-game that are controversial, things that would have FOX news lamenting against games (again).

In every possible way, Electronic Arts has taken jabs at Activision in the growing Battlefield vs. Call of Duty competition, and this smells of a jab about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s infamous ‘No Russian’ level which had players working as an undercover operative, forced to gun down civilians in an airport. That level sure helped the franchise gain publicity, but with it came an onslaught of controversy, controversy that DICE does not want associated with Battlefield 3.

Battlefield 3 releases October 25, 2011 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Rock Paper Shotgun

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