The subject of matter of games has expanded from the small list of genres it used to cover, Brutal Legend designer Tim Schafer thinks, but in order for the medium to become a mainstream form of entertainment, it’ll have to grow even more.

You could write a book (or at least a very long and pretentious blog entry) about why videogames have yet to achieve true mainstream acceptance alongside TV and film, but beloved game designer Tim Schafer has a pretty straightforward explanation. “I think it’s a subject matter barrier,” he said. “Not everybody wants to get into these super violent worlds and yet here I am making a game about broad axes and decapitation.”

Not that games haven’t made progress, however, Schafer thinks. “It’s getting better, it used to be that the games industry had a short list of inspirations. You had Tolkien-esque fantasy, Star Wars, and then new things get added,” he said. “I think GTA brought a whole new level of inspiration. And I think the broader that gets, the more people will be interested in games.”

Right now, people are getting more interested in games, but if their scope never moves, as Schafer says, beyond “the summer action blockbuster,” then people might start writing games off as simplistic fare. “[Games] haven’t really gone outside of [the blockbuster model],” Schafer said. “But I think they will, and hopefully they will soon, or else people will be solidified in their view of games. Their expectations are set.”

What’s one way to get more people interested? Schafer offered one solution that he’s proven particularly adept at handling. “I think humor would get more people into games,” he said. So even though his Brutal Legend is “a game about broad axes and decapitation,” maybe it’ll be funny enough to get people interested.


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