By ssdelorean 82 Comments
Opinions run rampant in the video game industry, be it in journalism or the development teams themselves. There is a lot to be said about what can be considered "offensive" these days and what isn't, but at the end of the day it is a human right to be offended, and no one can take that away from you. I don't plan on talking about every hot-button topic that could trigger the slightest debate, rather I want to talk about something I just heard on IGN Podcast Beyond, Episode #305.
I was not aware of this, but throughout the development cycle of Bioshock: Infinite, one of the staff left due to religious reasons. Ken Levine spoke later on the topic, and it was concluded that the part of the game that bothered the staff member was near the end, where Booker is being baptized. As a Christian, I was not offended by this, but I can understand where this guy was coming from. It was blasphemous, to say the least, however in the context of the story it was conveyed in such a way that it's not as if it was gratuitous. There was a point to be made. Exceptionalism is the driving force of this game, as the citizens of this city in the clouds believe that Columbia is the new America, the better America. As America was built on Christian fundamentals, they still hold most of that true, but as Comstock found this new land they began to worship him in a way. The baptism scene is sure a disturbing one, but not one that could be easily taken out of the game in an attempt to stop from offending someone.
For Christians, certain storytelling devices such as this need to be studied and watched carefully instead of dismissed as simply "offensive." There is even a concept album by the band Zao called "The Funeral of God," which at face value could be seen as satanic and tossed aside. However, the album is by a Christian hardcore band, telling the fictional story of what could happen if God became fed up with humanity, stepping away and leaving them to their own devices. In the album, the world becomes war-torn and is left on the brink of self-destruction before man discovers what they have done to themselves, and wait for God's return. The concept album "Cancer" by Showbread tells the story of a fictitious band who has risen to fame in a totalitarian-like America after being very pro-government, and quickly fall due to their true rebellious message being deciphered.
Movies, music, and video games are not black and white. There is a meaning to story that can only be seen when we get the entire picture. Some stories are so convoluted you need to talk to someone else about them. We can't just play Doom and say, "it's evil because you're killing everything," or, "it's good because you're killing demons."
Well, maybe you can say that about Doom. There wasn't that much story there to begin with.