A Hitman: Absolution
analysis.When I see articles like this, and understand what it is they're saying, I don't feel all that great about the idea of adopting videogames as Art.
Like, we can all generally get being various superheroes, or soldiers, or adventurers.
That doesn't require a lot of cognitive filtering.
But I think about someone who's not a gamer seeing this, and wonder if I could convince them that what they're not looking at is in fact not
a slut-murder simulator.
Here's a thing that's weird to me: it took a lot of design and effort.
Like, Night Trap
was creepy and tasteless, but it was also experimental. The programming crew for Chiller
could've easily been just a couple of people. Ditto Custer's Revenge
But this? This is the work of dozens
. This is art direction and storyboarding and model designs proposed and rejected and voice actors/actresses being asked to "do that death scream again, but a little longer" and layouts and some guy sitting there thinking "this Saint should be kinda punky -let's give her torn up fishnets instead of latex and rubber. Maybe shave half her head, maybe a nose stud. She'll have the higher-pitched fourth voice set, too. Give her kind of a screechy, trashy affect. Oh, and beauty mark!"
This is talented, skilled professionals spending hundreds of hours touching up wrinkles on catsuits and contemplating just how much nipple should be outlined under dominatrix wear. Then they watch that character get shot in the head and chest over and over to be certain her breasts move just right with the jerking of her torso. Check the lower angles too, because buggy ass-jiggle is amateurish.
Then it's submitting a gold print copy to SCEA to pass mustard on a final rating.
SCEA gives a thumb's up, and then it's on to advertising.
And at no point does anyone ever stand up and say "WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS GAME?! Is it just another multi-million dollar shrine to fucking hating HUMAN LIFE except that the women are all harpies, whores, or helpless murder-bait?"
I have to admit I know the answer at least in part. I've worked in slaughterhouses and watched unedited porn shoot footage and it's all pretty much just laugh through the day as best you can and get on with life when it's time to hit the showers, so I can't expect the result to really be any different.
Maybe the difference is in that those cases the misery is peripheral to the production and in this one the misery is the point
of the product?
I tend to wonder why there isn't the option to rape them. I mean, why go half-hard on atrocity porn? I'm going to kill them, and in some cases I'm going kill them rather inefficiently, so why can't I cross this other line back here? If I'm really going to strangle and stab and maim how is watching 47 grunt out his mindless sociopathic rocks any worse?
I think the answer really is about sanitization. About keeping a certain spacing between the audience and intended emotional outcome and payoff.
There will never be a scene in which the Saints are in their Evil Murder Nun locker room helping each other pin up their hair and passing around skin lotion for squeezing into all that squeaky clothing, where the new girl complains about having to get implants so she cuts the same silhouette as the team veterans. Nobody breaks a heel or runs out of shampoo or forgets where she parked or laughs about that time she had to haul an incredibly fat, greasy target up three flights of stairs and afterwards got a ration of crap from requisitions for burning her corset afterwards.
There will never been a scene when in the guy's locker the various Evil Hitmen argue about who had the ugliest tour of duty before The Agency. Or who talk shit about Marines versus Army for the millionth time. Or who debate caliber, round composition, distances, and/or stopping power with one guy who thinks firearms tech reached it's apogee with the 1911A1. Or how he is really looking forward to getting paid because he dropped a grand on a sports bet and that was before his SUV needed a new radiator and tires.
No. Never happen.
(Besides in Spec Ops: The Line
, of course.)
I like vicious, violent games but every once in a while I hit something that makes me spew onto the forums out of sheer rancid disbelief. Is there any answer? Or is that these kinds of things gain a momentum and pretty soon what counts is reaching sales numbers and anticipating a certain Metacritic score range and fuck it -ship it, it's done and that's what counts.
So, anyway. Makes me wonder. What effort, what skill, what focus into creating something so carefully, specifically awful.