On the violent themes of Lone Survivor

Thankyou for covering the game, Rock Paper Shotgun!  Having read the initial batch of comments I feel the rare urge to respond in some way, and that, rather than clog up the thread there, I’d leave them here.

First of all, I should note that this post explains some of the intent of the game which you may not wish to know in a spoiler-sense.

But I felt I should write it down because it seems that some people find the trailer unnecessarily dark / provocative. Which I can now see, looking at it another way. But I would defend it this way…

I tend to dislike games with unnecessarily-realistic / glorified violence in general, it’s a bit of a theme in this game, and others I’ve made… In fact this is the first game I’ve made with a gun. I’ve made a big thing out of the fact that you can get through the game without killing anything, and that taking pills, killing or eating rats is entirely optional…  and the game will recognise this.  I want to make a game where you think about the consequences of picking up a gun.  Some drugs can even be beneficial too though, right?  That’s another question I’m thinking about a lot.  It’s a game about looking after yourself as best you can, in a bad situation.  Some players may relish exploring the darker aspects, but I’m betting the majority stay clear, at least in their first playthrough.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played and continue to play games which are violent, as combat is so frequently the main mechanic… but I’m more choosy about which ones I enjoy now, either it’s light-hearted and cartoon-ish, or it has some purpose to its portrayal of realistic violence, besides to shock.  Silent Hill 2 continues to be my principle inspiration here, as the nightmares were things a man with psychological problems had conjured up, abstract and representative. Lone Survivor is not a game about zombies.

I remember being quite turned off by a popular game whose principal USP on the back of the box was ‘strategic dismemberment.’  Lone Survivor attempts to provide (far less realistically portrayed) options for committing violent acts, but attempts to draw attention to just how weird / disturbing it actually would be to do them through the text.

The game is slowly paced, the fights are quite rare, as are the few moments of gore.  I hoped that by making it in a very low resolution it wouldn’t be visually shocking, but it’s perhaps turned out more so than I imagined.

There is a very positive ending to this game, if you play it in a certain way. I want it to be full of hope.

Anyway I hope that explains my intentions with the game a little better!

Thanks for reading as always,


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  • Comments (4)
  1. avatar
    • Anonymous
    • October 20th, 2011

    Any game where combat takes a backstep to roleplaying is up my alley. Try playing Planescape: Torment sometime — there are parts of the game where you can go hours without swinging your weapon, yet still gain thousands of XP.

  2. avatar
    • Jesse
    • October 13th, 2011

    Wow this is getting better and better 😀 I love games with multiple endings! but i will probably get a bad ending the first time. D: and is it possible to beat the game without getting the gun?

  3. avatar
    • Simon
    • October 13th, 2011

    “First of all, I should note that this post explains some of the intent of the game which you may not wish to know in a spoiler-sense.”
    Didn’t reeeally read past there (: But honestly, people think it’s ‘unnecessarily dark’? What do they consider ‘necessary’ in a game? It’s your game, just make the game that you want to play, and you can’t please everyone. I don’t think you need to offer explanations or apologies at all…

  4. avatar

    This looks very interesting, and I really appreciate your explanation and goals you set for the project and how people will be able to play it. Looking forward to its eventual release.

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