Virtuous violence: ShootMania devs explain how the game’s lack of brutality helps everyone

Virtuous violence: ShootMania devs explain how the game’s lack of brutality helps everyone

Nadeo wants to create the first mainstream first-person shooter eSport. To that end, they're developing ShootMania. We've already talked about ShootMania's game play and how you'll be able to tweak and modify the game however you see fit. We know the game will have a comprehensive map editor, and that it's being designed with eSports in mind, but it's always the game's stance on violence (or lack thereof) that seems the most curious. The Report asked the developers to explain this focus, and the team's response was surprisingly obvious: more players. The more people who can enjoy ShootMania without objection, the better for Nadeo and publisher Ubisoft.

Who's it for?

There is no specific demographic Nadeo is targeting with ShootMania. It's not “for” anyone other than gamers looking for a fun first-person shooter. Everyone is the right type of player, everyone is meant to feel invited. Joshua Milligan, Senior Director of Online Strategy, told the Report that, “Our motto is 'competition for everyone' and we wanted to create an experience that brings people together. At our events we will see parents with their children playing the game and we are proud that families can share the game without concerns about the content being too violent.” Anne Blondel-Jouin, Managing Director of Nadeo Live explained that the motto extends beyond just families and spectators, it has implications for players – both pro and casual – as well as developers. “For the spectators, parents do not have to worry if their kids want to watch ShootMania games over the Internet or if they want to attend an event,” she said. “TrackMania was built from the same idea and this year, we had our first TrackMania tournament for kids 6 to 12 years old as part of the Electronic Sports World Cup. This was a great success and experience for the kids who played, the parents who were supporting them, and the thousands of spectators gathering to watch the competition. To us it was a great proof of what we can achieve with openness when it comes to games” “The more people you can play with, the better,” Blondel-Jouin said.

Shifting focus

I asked Milligan and Blondel-Jouin if the relatively tame nature of ShootMania had caused any backlash. Was anyone unhappy with the decision to make ShootMania a game without blood or gore? Blondel-Jouin explained that the lack of blood actually helped the developers focus on creating tight, responsive, entertaining game play. “In a sense, we could say it is putting much more pressure on the game design and the game play as they do have to be really, really good,” she said. “We can't rely on a certain level of violence to entertain the players.” “[Creators] can build amazing maps targeting everyone with no second thought. They only have to care about level design, game play, balance, and know that a very large community will be able to enjoy and give feedback on their creation,” Blondel-Jouin said. “We feel that violence is not compulsory in an FPS as long as players are having fun from chasing and trapping each other.” Toned down violence is also a boon for pro players. Nadeo has partnered with IGN Pro League, which provides news coverage, videos, and regular tournaments for ShootMania, but all of that would be a waste if no one watched. Less objectionable content like blood and gore means more viewers, more viewers means more possibilities for sponsorship, sponsorship means money. It's always okay to question whether a game needs violence, how that violence affects us, and what to do about it. Sometimes, violence can send a message that shocks us or teaches us. Other times, we just need a fun game to play, and ShootMania looks to show how that can be a winning situation for all involved. ShootMania will be available April 10, with an open beta scheduled for February 12 to launch.