In our live blog of Nintendo’s E3 2011 press conference, I wrote at one point, “They’re really highlighting the blood. This is definitely appealing to the hard core gamers.” I may have been reaching a bit there, as I think a lot of hard core gamers will write off the Wii U because Nintendo’s name is on it. Their loss.
And anyway, does blood = hard core? Games can be violent without blood, of course, and games with blood can be much easier and less satisfying than games without. It’s a weird thing I’ve never fully understood. I remember back in 2001 when Bungie (remember them?) announced Oni (remember that?) for Mac. It was an excellent third-person action combat game that would’ve been ahead of its time had it been released on time. Maybe it still was.
At one point in its development, there must’ve been blood. And at one point in its development, that blood must’ve been removed, because I clearly recall a forum post that read, “No blood in Oni, no interest in Oni.”
I found that fairly ludicrous, and somewhat creepy. I mean, those Zelda games can get pretty violent, and the action is no less intense for lack of blood spurting forth from Ganon’s forehead, for example. In fact, I’d argue the scene Wind Waker was enhanced by the stark of image of just the sword and Ganon’s head. Nothing to distract from the impact of the moment.
But in their E3 2011 press conference, Nintendo went out of their way to show us plenty of blood. They were practically begging the core gaming audience to pay attention, and maybe it worked. It does seem that a few of the launch day titles getting the most press are also the bloodiest.
Consider Assassin’s Creed III…
… Call of Duty: Black Ops II, ZombieU, and, of course, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, which has the kind of blood that makes Sam Raimi crave bigger budgets:
Necessary? Well, in that image from Assassin’s Creed III up there, dude is being shot in the arm. It adds to the realism, without distracting from it.
The image from Ninja Gaiden 3, however? Yikes! It somehow manages to be both grotesque violence and stunning artwork at the same time. I don’t know if it’ll enhance the gaming experience, but I do know I won’t be letting my kids play it, pretty much solely because I don’t want them taking that image to bed with them. Chopping dudes in half is inimitable behavior, after all. They can separate fantasy from reality, and although I don’t lay claim to Dad of the Year, I sleep soundly knowing that my kids have no desire to chop anybody in half.
Regardless, those looking for blood will have quite a few options come November 18th, with much more to follow. I don’t care so much for the violence that comes with it (fighting games tend to bore me), but I am looking forward to the horror. I’m too detached from what’s happening on screen to get wrapped up in scary movies, but in horror games, I’m an active participant. So if blood and gore accompany those titles, bring it on.
Read all entries in the Wii-U Countdown.