Violence as a Side Course

I've spent about a dozen hours over the past two days delving into Nom Nom Galaxy after the on-site QuickLook, and the combination of exploring-for-new-ingredients and automating-harvesting-said-ingredients has sunk its claws into me. This follows 2 dozen hours I put into The Curious Expedition, a game about exploration and survival where you can beat the entire game without fighting anyone. While I've been playing those, Splatoon has splashed onto the scene as a fun FPS that focuses more on territory control than kill-death ratios.

One comment comparing Splatoon to Titanfall stood out to me:

"I think Splatoon will last longer than Titanfall. Titanfall said it was revolutionary, but it just bolted better movement and giant robots onto the same goal of killing everyone else that's been recycled dozens of times. Splatoon is more revolutionary because it removed that goal and replaced it with territory control you can win without killing the enemy team."

Months ago, I read a blog by Keith Burgun. In it, he argued that basing almost all of our games on violence has severely restricted which mechanics and systems we put into games. And while all 3 games I mentioned have some violence, it's not the focus. Nom Nom Galaxy is about exploring for ingredients and building an automated base. The Curious Expedition is about exploration and surviving with limited resources. Splatoon is about marking territory and... well... splatting enemy players. (Alright, violence is still one of the goals there, it's just not the primary focus.)

I know non-violent games have been around a while (Lemmings and SimCity are two of my favorite games), but this feels like a trend towards non-violent mechanics in genres previously based on violence (real-time strategy, roguelikes, first-person shooters). I've been having a lot of fun in them with mechanics that would normally be secondary to combat, like base-building, resource-gathering, and capturing territory.

Do you think more games will relegate violence to a secondary (and perhaps optional) objective? How come? Know of any other recent examples?

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