After making violent games, devs cleanse their palettes with pacifist bird sims
April 08, 20191 min read
Limbo features a lot of deaths, but as many have written about before, these deaths can be interpreted as a protest to the lax attitude most games take towards violence. Back in the old days, if a parent caught one of their children smoking a cigarette, they might force their kid into a closet and refuse to let them out until they've smoked the whole pack, with hopes that it will turn the kid off from the habit. Limbo's consistent, oppressive murder scenarios feels the same way, though it didn't do much to turn people off from morbid indies.
The American Dream is also thoughtful about its destructive impulses. It is all about gun violence, but passes on death in favor of a more palatable parody of American gun culture. It's clear that the developers of the game love the mechanics of shooting, but aren't necessarily crazy about the concept of shooting people. Likewise, the team behind Monday Night Combat clearly had passion for gunplay-as-sport, but they never embraced the gritty, sadistic side of shooters.
None of these games fully embrace the primitive, violent part of the brain. Maybe that's why many of the people who worked on them are making non-violent bird games now.