I'm working on a caveman fps / rpg / simulator.
in the game, one can attack to subdue, or to kill. similar to attack to subdue in original D&D.
subdued opponents can be captured (if you have a rope).
in the game, you can interact with everything in the environment (like in The SIMs), right down to the last plant, rock, tree, and bush (of significant size). This includes captured prisoners.
So when you capture a hostile caveman, and you walk up to them and select them by hitting the space bar, you get the "Captured caveman" menu:
Kill, then eat
Make live with mother-in-law
Tickle to death
Torture for information
Torture for no reason
and then the "Torture caveman" menu...
Fart in general direction
well, this was the logical progression of the design based on the way the game works. you can attack anything to subdue. you can capture anything you subdue with a rope. you can interact with anything you capture, and perform any actions (within reason) that would be possible in reality (circa 40,000 BCE). Since its 40,000 B.C. (or so) there are no laws except the laws of the jungle. So actions like enslavement, rape, murder, torture, and cannibalism are all valid (yet politically incorrect) actions.
when i originally ran into this design issue, I hummed and hawed for a week or two over what to do about it. Finally i decided to avoid the whole issue by simply making subdued hostile cavemen flee. you can run them down and kill them, but you can't capture them.
well, that's all fine and good, keep that PG rating and all that. But now I'm working on the quest generator, and its become apparent that kidnap and rescue quests will require captured cavemen.
So, now this opens up the whole "captured caveman menu" issue again.
I could just let the player free or kill prisoners, but nothing else. on the other hand, realism is a selling point for the game, so things like torture, rape, murder, slavery, and cannibalism are appropriate for the simulation. I'm not interested in gratuitous sex or violence or explicit graphics, that's not what this game is about. Is there a way to model these without being too offensive?
torture for information has a place in the game related to quests. torturing a hostile to learn the location of his band.
murder has a place, in easily disposing of prisoners. besides we murder people everyday in computer games. I'm not really worried about this one.
slavery would open up a lot of gaming possibilities. sort of like having a hostile household member in The SIMs. you could order them around (clean that toilet!), but they'd try to leave at the first opportunity. its also historically accurate, dating back to the dawn of recorded history and beyond.
cannibalism is realistic too. homo sapiens is just one of over 50 paleolithic species modeled in the game. and predators such as a Saber Toothed Tiger are equally happy munching on the carcass of a Wolley Rhino or a caveman. So the animals already eat cavemen anyway. Historical evidence shows it to have been practiced to a limited extent, usually in conjunction with ritualistic practices. But its also a survival strategy.
rape doesn't have a major role at this time. it would affect mood and relations, and cause physical damage, but that's it. the game doesn't model mating and offspring yet.
so, what can be done?
what would be too much?
I'm not necessarily worried about keeping it a T for teen, vs a M for mature game, although it would be nice. not sure how one could do these things in a T rated game.