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 Blacklist  director explains why the team backed away from 'shock'
Blacklist director explains why the team backed away from 'shock'
August 15, 2013 | By Kris Ligman

August 15, 2013 | By Kris Ligman
More: Console/PC, Design

In an interview with Gamasutra's Christian Nutt, Splinter Cell Blacklist director Maxime Beland shares why the team decided to rethink their approach to interactivity.

After critics decried a (now-infamous) E3 2012 trailer depicting the game's protagonist Sam Fisher brutalizing an interrogation subject, the team retooled that section of the game. Beland explains why the imperative for player freedom doesn't always supercede other concerns.

"I don't want to [use] shock value just to shock," he tells Gamasutra. "And I guarantee you that we have scenes that we've toned down because they were that."

He continues,

"The strength of our medium is that people are in control and that it's -- to quote Spider-Man -- "With great power comes great responsibility." It's a lot different from seeing an interrogation scene in Zero Dark Thirty than it is when you're actually doing it yourself. So we looked at them and we make the modifications, because I think as a team we felt that we weren't doing something that was meaningful enough to justify the emotions that we were creating."

Though Beland maintains that "the line is fine" between an interrogation scene and a scene of torture, at the end of the day he and his team were left questioning, "Do we really want people to see this and want people to be interacting with this?"

"I'm in this job to make people reflect," he continues to Gamasutra; "to change people, to entertain them also, but I'm not in the business of shocking. I know how to shock and I could shock, but I don't enjoy that."

Read the complete interview with Maxime Beland and Blacklist head writer Richard Dansky here.

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Rainsing Tsai
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That 'interrogation' feature in Conviction is nothing but a bunch of cool animations. I failed to see any interactivity in it.

Maria Jayne
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Somebody decided games look better when you remove the flaw holding the controller. Because then you can script the whole scene and make the player think they did something awesome when all they were doing was X....XXX....X...Up.

Happens a lot these days. I think it's because the industry is trying to appeal to people who would rather watch a movie.

Amir Barak
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Also, I suspect, a lot of people in the industry would rather make movies.

Dave Hoskins
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They should look at Splinter Cell 1 for inspiration. As far as game play and entertainment goes, it went down hill from there.

Nicholas Heathfield
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Surely Chaos Theory was at the height of the series? Especially the interrogations...

Jennis Kartens
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SC series went straight up to CT being the star of that series with just more of the same, but perfected in details, added Coop (even though that one never worked very well... or at all in my case) and a lot of mechanics some could've wished for.

Since then, it's going down the drain. Granted, Conviction did better in the end as expected, but it just was not the same in it's soul anymore. Felt often as it was rather catering to market trends and assumptions of what the "public" wants as an honest title fitting into the universe of SC.

With Blacklist, the way the production team has argued in the public lately it was very offending to anyone actually played and loved the first 3 games of the series. Especially Jade Raymonds outbursts about the "community" and stuff, when she wasn't even part of the initial development of that series but joined the team when they made the absolute worst (and overall bad game, SC or no) title of that series, Double Agent.