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Is this idea too offensive ?

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My game idea was a isometric top down shooter, the main point of the game would be to cause as much destruction as possible, the setting would be in a suburban american town (not in an actual or based on any real-life town), you would control a depressed emo kid and you would need to do various objectives to progress through the levels (ideas I had were blowing up a church with hand grenades,lighting a teacher on fire,and running over a Liberal Protest with an SUV), all while massacring authority figures with various weapons, I do not endorse any of this stuff and it would be wrong to do in real life but im just wondering if I could get in any actual trouble for this, this game would be a minor experiment and would be anywhere from free to $10.00 and would not be reflective of content I would put in the games of others.

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just wondering if I could get in any actual trouble for this,

Sure. You can be sued at any time by anybody, whether or not you make that game.

this game would be a minor experiment and would be anywhere from free to $10.00

Trouble you can expect is to lose money making the game (and not make it back from
sales or other monetization method).

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Hatred comes to mind too.  If it's out there and highly offensive and people get upset by it, guys like me will buy it just to support your right to make it.  I bought Hatred when I heard different morons in government suggest banning it in different countries.  I'm an adult and despise with all my being those that believe they know what is best for me or others.

But as Tom pointed out, there is always the chance you could get sued or sell very few copies to make it worth while.  Now if you don't care about making money, more power to you.

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As others have implied, I wouldn't be as concerned about it being too offensive as I would that it is too unoriginal. There are already plenty of games out there like this, some having been mentioned in previous replies. There's even a game where you're the Columbine killers and the objective is to kill as many students and teachers as possible before time runs out and you kill yourself. In fact I think there's even another one that's more of an RPG made in RPGmaker or something. So, yeah, worse has already been done.

Whether or not you can get in any legal trouble for it completely depends on what country you're in, but as long as you're in a reasonably free country, I wouldn't be too concerned about that.

Edited by HighTreason

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Like any other 'art', whether or not it's "too offensive" comes down to why you're making it in the first place.  If you're trying to make some kind of point, then the level of offensiveness is probably intentional and "too much" might be exactly what you want.  If it's meant as a "lol it's funny to do offensive stuff", then that kind of humour will fall flat with a lot of people (myself included) and if your game gets any traction, it'll likely receive a lot of heat from people who really don't find it funny, and a lot of support from people who share the sense of humour or like to push boundaries.

I think the part you need to be careful with is not so much the level of offensiveness, but how you handle and justify that content.  If you say "I want to explore these experiences in a safe way, create something introspective, make a point, etc" then that's one thing, but if you handle something offensive as if it's a joke, or pass it off as "lol, just kidding, just a joke, just an experiment, just a prank", then you'll likely experience very different reactions.

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As usual, if you need to ask, it most probably is.

 

In this occasion I am going with "yes" even after a more in depth look at your idea. Sure, shooting dudes in the face has been a staple in gaming for decades.

Killing unarmed civilians however, depicting school shootings and stuff like that will not sit well with most people in the best case, get your game black listed in some countries in a slightly less good case, and get you sued worst case.

I would REALLY think long and hard about making your game about "edgy" subjects like these, unless you want to gamble for getting away with it for the additional publicity your game might get thanks to the controversy. If you just do it for the "being edgy and stuff" thing, well, maybe find an edgy subject that has nothing to do with killing civilians in a real life setting. Let the emo kid suffer in his own psychological hell without taking it out on the general public, or transfer the whole thing into a fantasy world where people will be more forgiving with stuff like this.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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Hatred comes to mind too.  If it's out there and highly offensive and people get upset by it, guys like me will buy it just to support your right to make it.  I bought Hatred when I heard different morons in government suggest banning it in different countries.  I'm an adult and despise with all my being those that believe they know what is best for me or others.

But as Tom pointed out, there is always the chance you could get sued or sell very few copies to make it worth while.  Now if you don't care about making money, more power to you.

I thought about Hatred too, and honestly, I played and loved it. The plot is surely not a masterpiece, but it was fun to play, the graphics was pretty good and the overall experience was enjoyable. I literally stopped watching all the videogame websites that gave the game a 4 just because it was "pure violence".

Going back to the original question, if you make it good enough, which is not easy, you'll surely have a lot of criticism and bad advertisement, but it's up to you to make something good out of it. As a general rule, I'd say that you should do what you want with your game, as long as you can motivate your choices.

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As usual, if you need to ask, it most probably is.

 

In this occasion I am going with "yes" even after a more in depth look at your idea. Sure, shooting dudes in the face has been a staple in gaming for decades.

Killing unarmed civilians however, depicting school shootings and stuff like that will not sit well with most people in the best case, get your game black listed in some countries in a slightly less good case, and get you sued worst case.

I would REALLY think long and hard about making your game about "edgy" subjects like these, unless you want to gamble for getting away with it for the additional publicity your game might get thanks to the controversy. If you just do it for the "being edgy and stuff" thing, well, maybe find an edgy subject that has nothing to do with killing civilians in a real life setting. Let the emo kid suffer in his own psychological hell without taking it out on the general public, or transfer the whole thing into a fantasy world where people will be more forgiving with stuff like this.

 

Fairly good rule of thumb here. If you have to ask, there's a pretty good chance that it is.

 

Hatred and Postal are the main games that come to mind. Just google them and see what comes up. 

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Fairly good rule of thumb here. If you have to ask, there's a pretty good chance that it is.

 

Going out on a limb here you could extend the rule of thumb to "if you got to ask, it most probably is. If you are asking anyway, you are just looking for an excuse to do it."

If you want to do it, just do it. Don't ask others if it is okay, because they will not be the ones hit by negative consequences if there are any. Ask your own consience if you think a game like this should be made.

If you think its an important subject and your game should spawn a public discussion about it, do it. Maybe just think about if this is the right way to spawn the discussion.

If you think a little controversy will help your game achieve more sales, do it. Be aware that controversy is a double edged sword though and can taint a studio or Indie long term.

If you really think this is plain fun, well, I am not here to tell you what you should think. Do it! But maybe ask yourself if you REALLY find this fun and entertainment.

 

TO most probably knows that this is not the right subject to create a game about. At least from the standpoint of modern western society. We can discuss at lengths if this is limiting freedom of speech or whatnot. I am the last person trying to SJW people into one or the other direction.

But to all the guys who bought and supported hatred, I hope you looked into who created that game. If you did and found them to be a bunch worth supporting, well, your decision. After all, I am also not here to tell you which political party you should support.

 

Just buying / voting based on protest and edgyness brought us "Make great again" guy as president, and a lot of useless shovelware games on the steam store. But again, not telling you this is wrong. Just sayin'....

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If you make a game celebrating something, you definitely are endorsing it. You're putting time and energy into making, in this instance, terrorism into something fun, that you invite other people to come and enjoy. There is no stronger endorsement you can make other than doing it in real life.

If on the contrary, you do it to show the player something about themselves and what makes these activities fun for them, if you offend people who like to offend people, then you are not endorsing it, on the contrary, you're making something really really special, and I would support someone who has something to say about real world violence beyond "Ha ha, take that liberals!"

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To add my grain of salt to what Gian-Reto and deltaKshatriya said, IMO, if you have to ask, then it is indeed "too" offensive, which, for me, is exactly the point of why you should make it, especially if it's an experiment.

I think video games are an amazing way to make experiments, and see how things turn out. For me, it's a medium that is made to push boundaries, and test the limits. And as a few mentionned, it wouldn't be the first time too offensive games were made, and were successful. 

I don't think making a game on a subject is by default endorsing it. IMO, it depends on how you present it. It all depends on why you created it. I don't think RockStar and the others encourage violance in real life. Often, it's  more a way to escape, and to experiment things that you wouldn't experiment in real life. And it's also often a way to point out quircks of today's society by exaggerating them.

However, it is indeed a touchy subject, and you should expect a lot of criticism, and heat rising from it. But if you're ready for it, and if you are at peace with why you created this game and why it is appropriate for you to have created it, then go for it!

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 Isnt EMO a rejection/disengagement with general/normal society/culture?  The overt violence reaction you're talking about is pretty atypical behavior for them isnt it?   

 

You might be able to make this some kind of psychological representation.  The 'emo kid'  could see thing in his head shown different from what they really are, but bringing this strong reaction (so to not be a pure sociopath out to destroy just for the sake of destroying things).   So maybe with the overhead view you could mutate the things seen on his 'missions' into the symbolic things he recognizes and wants to destroy/negate/deflect (false/artificial/manipulative things).   Even the actions themselves might not be what is being acted out (so they get mutated too into symbolism).   There also would be obstacles that get in the way (similarly symbolic).

 

Maybe you could transfer the external actions into the emo 'cutting themself' (or similar self damage)  - that way reacting to the 'wrong' things  witnessed (and thereby avoiding showing that overt barbaric destruction you specified that might get general condemnation if done in a game).

 

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To add my grain of salt to what Gian-Reto and deltaKshatriya said, IMO, if you have to ask, then it is indeed "too" offensive, which, for me, is exactly the point of why you should make it, especially if it's an experiment.

I think video games are an amazing way to make experiments, and see how things turn out. For me, it's a medium that is made to push boundaries, and test the limits. And as a few mentionned, it wouldn't be the first time too offensive games were made, and were successful. 

I don't think making a game on a subject is by default endorsing it. IMO, it depends on how you present it. It all depends on why you created it. I don't think RockStar and the others encourage violance in real life. Often, it's  more a way to escape, and to experiment things that you wouldn't experiment in real life. And it's also often a way to point out quircks of today's society by exaggerating them.

However, it is indeed a touchy subject, and you should expect a lot of criticism, and heat rising from it. But if you're ready for it, and if you are at peace with why you created this game and why it is appropriate for you to have created it, then go for it!

 

Sure, but:

That is not how the OP framed his question or idea. If he made it CLEAR that his game would show violence against civilians and terrorism as a medium to reflect on what that violence does to people (both the aggressors and the victims), how it changes society for the worse, and/or how in the end it benefits no one besides some few sleazy guys making profits from selling weapons and outfitting armies and terrorists alike, I might have had different words to say.

This certainly is an important question to ponder. ESPECIALLY as in our society, terrorism has become a wrongly used term. As soon as someone declares war on terrorism, he is the good guy. No matter if that war on terrorism will mostly serve to oppress a minority that has done nothing wrong other than wanting to live on the land of their ancestors and keep their language and traditions.

 

Now, even if the OPs question would be framed like that, I still had my doubts if showing open violence, and letting the player loose in a sandbox is the best way to ask these question.

Giving a player a sandbox where he can run over people and kill prostitutes, and expecting the player to ask deep philosophical questions and make conclusions is like giving a tasmanian devil a piece of meat and expecting him to have deep thoughts about the circle of life and the nature of surviving by killing other animals while feeding on the meat...

That might be a rather negative opinion about GTA players, but lets face it: while the GTA campaign MAYBE quite clever and give you a lot of context and maybe one or two philosophical questions together with the mayhem and violence (don't know, never played GTA), the open sandbox where most people are "experimenting" is not really giving anything other than... an empty sandbox to do what ever you like.

Sure, most people are just doing experimenting with it, they just want to see what they can do to get a chuckle out of it, they might go cuddle a bunny if that would be something no other game has done before. Still, when you can run over civilians and do stuff like that WITHOUT context, or with a context framed wrong (opinion alert), your game is promoting violence.

Sure, running over people is what a criminal might do, so if you play the sandbox as a criminal, that is actually a realistic thing within that context. But getting points for running them over... erh. No. UNLESS the context is a "run this specific person over because <contrived story reason #1>" quest, and you are getting point only for killing that one person, your are rewarding players for violence without context, which to me (opinion alert) is highly wrong.

TL;DR: an open sandbox is actually one of the games that is most at risk of being offensive. Mostly because many expect something more than just an open sandbox, where doing what society says is wrong is mostly the fault of the player, while giving the tools to do just that is just being honest about wanting to give a true sandbox expierience by the dev. Many players expect some kind of achievement system, and THERE is where most of the danger lies to go into the wrong direction, handing out points for acts of vandalism and multiple homicides without context other than "the game rewards me for that behaviour so I'll do it". THIS is the fault of the dev, not the player anymore.

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To be honest with you indie games are like the wild wild west.  There is nothing offensive enough to be prohibitive.  If you are asking if your concept is likely to offend some people then the answer is yes.  If you are asking if the title is likely to be so universally offensive that its premise alone will prevent it from being marketable to a niche audience then I would say no.  I would recommend however that if you proceed you are certain of the niche you are targeting and you are conscious of the emotional, political or intellectual devices that appeal to them.  

For the sake of emphasis I will provide an example.  The attached  video is considered to be highly offensive by some who grew up in the inner city and found themselves or friends to be victims of an system of unchecked aggression.  However, prior to the artists incarceration at the hands of the federal government on murder conspiracy charges this was a number 1 hit on the American pop charts.  This video has received over 330,000,000 million hits on youtube.com, that is more than 1 hit per citizen in America.  Bobby Shmura - Hot N****.  Please note that according to the United States Federal Government the first verse of this song makes reference to a murder.  Eventually, the artist in the song would be convicted on conspiracy charges related to this same murder. 

My point in this is not to condemn your idea.  My point is only to shed some light.  In the modern landscape there is nothing so offensive that it cannot be marketable...if you understand your Niche. 

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