Agony Developer: Content Limits Should Not Exist in Video Games
Madmind Studio, the developer of the controversial and hellish horror game Agony, is gearing up for the release of two new horror titles – Succubus and Paranoid. The developer’s first title and its adults-only unrated re-release was not shy about displaying some truly horrific things on screen. Based on my own time with Agony Unrated, it wasn’t very long from the intro that one would face such scenes as demons having – likely non-consensual – sex and a mother feeding her own excrement to an infant.
In an upcoming interview with Madmind Studio, I pushed on the topic of extreme subject matter (i.e. rape, child death, etc) in video games and whether or not there’s topics too taboo for the medium.
“To a large extent, it depends on how the creators decide to present a given issue. If it was an explicit promotion of those themes and was encouraging them to be repeated in real life, it would be very clear that such a game should be banned.
However, if these sorts of uncomfortable scenes were related to the story and presented in the game to create a shocking tone or form an integral part of the created world, then the author’s vision shouldn’t be limited. Games have age restrictions just like films, and censorship shouldn’t be applied to the adult section. People who buy these products know what to expect and consciously choose whether they want to immerse themselves in such a dark world, or if they prefer to look for something else.”
“…it all depends on how the developer decides to show the scene. By using a more serious and dramatic approach to the controversial topic, you can arouse disgust and anxiety in players, instead of, for example, making them seek gore. With this approach to production, developers would have the opportunity to raise important topics that are currently only reserved for movies. If limits do not exist in the film industry, they should not exist in the gaming industry either. That is why we have an age restriction for adults only.”
In the full interview, I also inquire about the studio’s response to criticism and the approach they’re taking to their psychological horror game Paranoid, which features a protagonist with a real world mental illness.
What do you think about these comments? Do such taboo topics have a place in video games? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.