(WWJ) Players have a variety of brutal and bloody choices in Detroit: Being Human, a high concept choose-your-own-ending style video game where androids join violent scenarios, including one where a father beats his daughter to death.
In development for PS4, the video was purchased by Sony and expected to be released internationally early in 2018.
The game will only see the light of day if domestic violence support groups fail in their bid to have the game shelved — permanently.
In the UK, both the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the National Association of People Abused in Childhood are working to have the game banned.
“Any video game that trivialises or normalises child abuse, neglect or domestic violence for entertainment is unacceptable,” Andy Burrows of the NSPCC is quoted as saying.
Esther Rantzen, the founder of Childline, a childhood protective services program that operates across the United States, is calling for the child killing scene to be removed or for the game itself to be withdrawn from sale.
David Cage, the Frenchman who wrote and directed the game, deflected criticism by describing the hyper-realistic game as “very strong and moving.” He has not said why it’s based in Detroit, a place to which he has no apparent ties.
“We wanted to push the limits with Detroit and have an engine that would offer us some more features regarding cinematography, especially” Cage said in a Youtube interview.
Set in the near-future, the game features lifelike androids that have become part of society. They’re so realistic, players see the pores on their faces, sweat on their skin, strain in their muscles and expressions.
Players choose which android to play and they decide how the story unfolds by making choices with their controllers, prompted by options flashing up on screen, per reports. If you choose to play the game as housekeeper Kara, you encounter a scenario where she works for abusive father Todd. He orders her to clean the house and look after his daughter Alice.
At one point, Todd explodes with rage over dinner and blames his daughter for the break-up of his marriage.
The character’s dialogue says: “Throwing the dining table at the wall, he screams at Alice: ‘Maybe you think this is easy, maybe you think it’s my fault your f****** mother took off. F****** whore walked out on me for a f****** accountant.’
A terrified and tiny Alice runs upstairs. The player hears screams and then sees Todd lay Alice’s lifeless body on the bed. He says, “It’s all over now, Daddy isn’t angry any more.”
The game offers players the chance to prevent Alice’s beating death by deciding if Kara runs upstairs with the girl, locks a door or tries to argue with Todd. Each option has different outcomes.
Other outcomes aren’t much more pleasant. Kara is either punched in the face by Todd or Alice picks up her father’s gun and shoots him while he beats her.
And there’s this charming gem: “In another clip, Todd screams at Kara: ‘She [Alice] is mine. I do what I want with her,’ Then he strikes the android in the face as his daughter looks on.”
Sony Interactive Entertainment has declined to comment on the game.
There have also been outcries in the past to abolish popular game Grand Theft Auto over scenes that include drugs, hookers and felony auto theft.
Online reaction in the gamer community to Detroit: Being Human is enormously positive, with one Youtube reviewer writing, “All Michiganders are in HEAVEN, if you don’t know what I talking about, Michiganders are very regionalists, meaning the care more about their state more then the country, so a game in Detroit is PERFECT.”