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Former GTA Producer Abandons Violence In Favor Of Meaning

As far as violent video games go, one prominent developer has had his fill.

Former Grand Theft Auto producer Jeremy Pope tells GamesIndustry International that he has made a personal decision to focus on nonviolent games in the future. Pope, who was the producer for Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, said he always used to defend those types of games. But he thinks a little differently now.

However, he doesn't want to take anything away from Rockstar's products. As he clarified:

"I definitely want to make a point of saying that I actually love Rockstar's games and I think that it's unfortunate that their games were specifically called out and targeted by the media, because their games - and we all know this - are really masterworks."

His stance is that he now wants to create something a bit more meaningful from a narrative standpoint. He added that it's a lot easier to just ram violence down a consumer's throat, as opposed to using the interactive medium to express complex thoughts and ideas. That's the kind of effort we should admire, wouldn't you say? Said Pope:

"I do agree that we need to be pushing ourselves [as an industry]. With any storytelling medium or any medium at all, you want to have conflict because that's how you can generate interest, and oftentimes the simplest or most base way to do that is through violence that isn't necessarily tied into a deeper, more meaningful story.

I think it's often easier to do violence than it is to generate meaningful, interesting conflict through nonviolent ways. I would agree in that sense that we need to push ourselves and get away from sequels and rehashing, and taking what technology affords us and using that as a primary means to justify another rehash; in other words, we're just souping up what's already been done."

Pope also said one of the reasons the industry comes under fire is because it lacks an ambassador. He's right about that, too. Perhaps one of these days the right person will step up and properly defend video games from the countless detractors who, amazingly enough, never seem to know anything about gaming. At the same time, though, it's good to see guys like Pope shifting focus to something more meaningful. Maybe he should call up Quantic Dream to see if they need any help...

Tags: violent games, violent game debate, grand theft auto, jeremy pope

5/20/2013 11:20:28 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (11 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 1:05:36 PM
Reply

Heavy Rain did both, no need to choose. He's right about some sames being suped up versions of old games lately.

I'd be happy to be the game world's ambassador so they can attack my talking points on Meet the Press :)

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 5/20/2013 1:07:17 PM

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wackazoa
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 3:10:21 PM


"I'd be happy to be the game world's ambassador so they can attack my talking points on Meet the Press :)"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



You say that.... But go look at the before and after pictures for the last 3 U.S. Presidents. It's terrible how much that stuff does to you, the way it sucks your soul.

Last edited by wackazoa on 5/20/2013 3:10:56 PM

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Beamboom
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 2:24:57 PM
Reply

The challenge with telling complex, non-violent stories via video games is that a game requires some kind of physical action. It's the difference between a passive form like movies and a game: You can base an entire movie on dialogue if you like - you just can't do that in a game.

We, the players, needs to *do* something and what we are set to do better be fun doing for up to ten hours, often even longer. To sit there and select dialogue options, changing a diaper, getting your kid to do his homework or making a table ready for dinner is really not something we want to have to do in too many games before it becomes really, really dull.

So I believe we need to admit that this is a major limitation of this particular medium, and realize that we *need* action filled stories. But there are *plenty* room for good writers to include both deep and challenging stories within the action framework. Again we can look at the movies to find that in plentiful.

Last edited by Beamboom on 5/20/2013 2:39:00 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 8:17:48 PM

I bet I could make a good game based on dialogue... if I could make games.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 @ 1:03:06 AM

Join someone who can. Any development project needs several talents. Most programmers are not good at visual stuff, most designers are not good at writing stuff, and so forth. No one can do everything themselves.

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ryu
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 3:02:01 PM
Reply

okay so instead of pulling out a gun he'll use a big *** dictionary
i can see that work

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wackazoa
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 3:07:51 PM
Reply

Violence is alot like profanity, in that it is not usually neccessary to a story, but sometimes is the best means to get the point across.

Growing up I was always told by my father that profanity is the simpletons way of speaking.(As Im sure alot of parents have told their children.) But as I grew up I did realize that the use of profanity was usually the simplest way out, and that it took more thought to use other words.

Violence to story telling seems alot like that. Yeah I can tell a heartwarming love story or a brainbusting puzzle, but it requires more thought to execute properly and to be able to "touch" the audience. Violent games mostly dont require that much to reach the audience with 'splosions and guns.

Being said I still believe there is room for all at the table. Alot of times we as gamers want that intricate story, to be sucked into the world of fantasy to escape. But sometimes after a hard day we dont want to have to think, just pick up the controller and have a few hours of mindless fun. And thats why it's a blessing that there is that diversity in gaming and hopefully it will stay that way for a long time.

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Kryten1029a
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 6:28:06 PM
Reply

He mentions that Rockstar titles are "masterworks" (he's right, by the way) and says that he'd like a deeper, more meaningful story but isn't that the direction that Rockstar has been going anyway? Every protaganist from Carl Johnson onward has had more emotional depth than is commonly seen in games and they've kept honing their focus. I'd challenge anyone to look at John Marston or Niko Bellic and tell me that there isn't some meaningful character development happening.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, May 20, 2013 @ 8:19:59 PM

They are good characters but I'm not sure they develop much.

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ricksterj
Thursday, May 23, 2013 @ 12:36:28 PM
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To each his own and yeah it's your life and we ALL have to grow, develop and move on but to this former GTA producer - who or what got to you?

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dirtyspence
Thursday, May 23, 2013 @ 9:37:47 PM
Reply

GTA was incredible, as was the original Driver, redefined a genre actually. I think that GTA and subsequent Driver games got into the gratuitous violence, profanity and shock value trap. I took the last GTA iteration back after playing it for one, maybe two missions. I was ashamed to sit and listen to the profanity laden tirades that went on in the first few minutes of the game.

I think that the latest AC managed the right balance of action, and game management especially as went on further into the game. Managing the trade, and hunting just seem more natural to me than gratuitous blood spattered mayhem for no good reason. Jus' my .02. Oh and I agree with the above poster about profanity being the sign of a small vocabulary. :)

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