Detroit: Become Human has come under scrutiny from MP's and abuse charities after the latest trailer involved a domestic abuse scene.
The trailer, at just over 3 minutes long, involves Kara, Todd and Alice - the android, abusive father and daughter. We see that Kara has recently been 'reset', presumably by Todd. The reasons why soon become clear to see.
The game also shows how your decisions can influence how the story is told. Putting you in total control, similarly to Quantic Dream's previous game, Heavy Rain.
Take a look at the trailer being dicussed below.
“Enter a tense vision of future Detroit where humans and androids maintain a fragile co-existence and the decisions that you make build the story around you.”Detroit: Become Human
Quantic Dream, the games' developers, and Sony have come under criticism for including such dark and tormenting material in their video game.
As stated over at eurogamer, Andy Burrows, of the NSPCC, said: "Any video game that trivialises or normalises child abuse, neglect or domestic violence for entertainment is unacceptable."
Meanwhile, Peter Saunders, founder of the National Association of People Abused in Childhood, said: "Abusers will get off on this stuff and the other thing we know beyond question is that video games end up being played by children and, scarily, the proliferation of salacious and abusive images is actually encouraging violence and abuse. And we know that abuse in all its forms is escalating on this planet so why not help to tackle it constructively rather than sensationalise and make money out if it?"
In defence, Quantic Dream said, "The scene we are presenting is a very important moment in Kara's story: we discover that Kara is owned by a human, Todd Williams, the single father of a little girl called Alice. Confronted with Todd's violence toward his little girl, Kara feels compelled to disobey and risk her life to save Alice."
Then, Detroit: Become Human development chief, David Cage, shared his reasons for including such hard-hitting subject matter.
"I try to tell a story that matters to me, that I find moving, interesting and exciting and my role as a creator is to maybe deliver something that people don't expect." He continued, "Would I be doing my job as a creator if I was making the game you want me to make? I don't think so - I'm creating something that I find moving and meaningful. And I think people should see the scene, play the game and see it in context to really understand it. The rule I give myself is to never glorify violence, to never do anything gratuitous. It has to have a purpose, have a meaning, and create something that is hopefully meaningful for people."
Tory MP Damian Collins, who is Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, went on to suggest that video games should not depict domestic abuse at all.
"It is completely wrong for domestic violence to be part of a video game regardless of what the motivation is. Domestic violence is not a game and this simply trivialises it. I worry that people who play this who themselves have suffered abuse will use this game to shape the way in which they deal with abusers. It's dangerous to plant the seed in people's minds that the way to deal with abusers is to use violence against them. It's counterproductive and could put them in even more danger."
Now, I'm sure everyone would agree that this subject is disturbing and above all, categorically wrong - no matter what way you look at it. But video games provide a platform to tell a story. Just like music, just like movies and just like books.
As David Cage suggests, it is his job to create a story that will captivate the intended audience (which is adults, of course). Watching that trailer made me feel on edge, it made me feel emotional. But what I did got was something that makes video games so special to me - an experience that totally loses me. Detroit: Become Human did that and it was only the f**king trailer!
It will be interesting to hear your thoughts on all this; but please be respectful and sensible when discussing such a sensitive topic.
Should video games be able to explore dark themes or is there a line?