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Games capable of sophisticated expression - Harvey Smith

And they'll get there, he says.

Midway Austin's Harvey Smith believes videogames are capable of the sort of sophisticated expression that would put them on the same footing as Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel "Maus", which told stories of life in Poland before and during the Second World War.

Speaking in the context of the Church of England's declaration that it would demand an apology from Sony over the use of Manchester Cathedral in Resistance: Fall of Man, Smith told Eurogamer that the belief games are "trivialising [difficult] subject matter because inherently they are not capable of sophisticated expression" is comparable to what people "believed about comic books" prior to Maus' publication in the 1970s.

"I'm not saying that we're Maus," he clarified. "Film has done much more subversive stuff than what we're doing, for instance. But at the same time, I do think that videogames are going there."

"America's Army is the most political game anyone's ever made. It is a complete commercial for the right wing. So, if that's a super-political game, what's wrong with making a game that questions the role of the US military in the world and the role of the military-industrial complex? I don't think we're any more political than America's Army - we're just on the other side of the split."

Smith was referring to his current project Blacksite: Area 51 - due out later this year on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC - which deals with issues as complex as insurgencies on US soil, and US foreign policy and its impact on people from different backgrounds, despite riding in under the banner of what Smith admits is, at its heart, "a pure shooter".

And while the game is still yet to be completed, Smith is already looking ahead, speculating that the next game to bear the "Blacksite" name (although a sequel to Area 51, Blacksite aims to push away from that game's comedic action) could have a broader scope for world-exploration.

You can read the full interview with Harvey Smith, who is studio creative director at Midway Studios Austin, along with impressions of Blacksite: Area 51 on Eurogamer soon.

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Blacksite: Area 51

PS3, Xbox 360, PC

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Tom Bramwell avatar

Tom Bramwell


Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.