BioWare's Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka think it's only a matter of time before games that are completely without violence aren't only possible, but will have an audience.
Whether it's Super Mario Galaxy or Gears of War, most of the games we play nowadays involve violence as some central part of their gameplay. Violence is an easy way for a game to create a sense of conflict and drama around the acts of problem solving that lie at the heart of their structures - getting from point A to point B seems a bit more exciting if you have to kill some aliens along the way - but is it really essential to a game's success? BioWare, purveyors of some of the talkiest games out there, don't think so.
"We talk a certain amount internally about whether you need to have combat as part of the experience," Greg Zeschuk of BioWare said. "Certainly the core gaming experience, folks that are used to playing games over the last ten years, they want to have those battle moments, and the fighting. But there are different audiences that would maybe just enjoy the story. I think it's actually possible."
The problem isn't so much that you can't make games that don't have violence of some form - of course you can - it's just that right now there isn't a viable audience for them. Once that audience exists, games without violence might be able to flourish. "I think once we've got the breadth of audience available to us, there could be really good opportunities created by different people coming to games that are story-driven," Zeschuk said.
Zeschuk's partner in crime, Ray Muzyka, agrees. He thinks the games industry has just reached a "mid-point of maturation" where it can start to welcome various kinds of experiences in games as it starts to welcome a wider and wider mainstream audience.
"I think the videogame industry is at that point now where you're going to start to see this blossoming of all kinds of really cool, multiple dimensions of different kinds of settings and genres and kinds of characterization as the gaming industry moves from early adopters to early mainstream, to the mainstream who are now embracing games as their main form of entertainment," Muzyka said.