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Ancel attacks gratuitous FPS violence

Devs should take inspiration from movies.

As it has done for the past few years, the FPS genre dominated E3 this month. However, as exemplified by the likes of Brothers In Arms: Furious 4, Far Cry 3, Rage and Modern Warfare 3, the class of 2011 seemed to boast a particularly brutal streak.

Ubisoft's creative lynchpin Michel Ancel – the man behind the Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil series – wasn't impressed. Speaking to Eurogamer in Los Angeles last week, he argued that it's time for the industry to grow up and display a little more artistry in its approach to storytelling.

"I don't like it," he complained, before suggesting developers should look to Hollywood for inspiration.

"Yeah, I think violence is not the problem, the problem is when it's not done... if you look for example at Saving Private Ryan, the Spielberg movie. It's violent but there is really dramatic and artistic storytelling behind it.

"The problem I have with violence is when there's nothing behind it – when it's just violence."

"The thing I hate the most is when you see people doing bad things and the player can say, 'okay I have the right to kill them in horrible ways because they are horrible'. If you kill Nazis with the same methods as the Nazis themselves then you are Nazis too, no?

"It's strange," he continued. "I really don't understand the message behind those games. With Beyond Good & Evil we wanted to push it in new directions. You know, Jade is a journalist – her weapon is a camera.

"I like the way the movie industry is able to have storytelling, to talk about violence, sex and everything like that with real talent. Today, I think we have a lot of things to learn from that."

"It is very important to ask questions. We want to make games where there are those situations – how can we make the player have these kind of [violent] interactions but with some meaning?"

Next up from Ancel is the decidedly headshot-free platformer Rayman: Origins, due on PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360 later this year.

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Fred Dutton avatar

Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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