Games should honour the "rules of conflict" says Red Cross

Bohemia Interactive rises to the challenge.

War games are becoming so realistic that it's time virtual soldiers started obeying the Geneva Convention, the Red Cross has argued.

The statement comes from a BBC News interview with Red Cross spokesperson Francois Senechaud. He argues that not only are games becoming more realistic, but they're also rewarding players for carrying out acts that in reality would be considered war crimes and subject to international prosecution. Targeting civilians, torturing prisoners of war and stealing dog tags are all illegal actions that have been used in games without penalty.

The torture scene from Splinter Cell: Blacklist was removed before the game launched.

"Video games that are representing battlefields... are very close to reality and actually it's very difficult to [tell] the difference between real footage and the footage you can get from video games," Senechaud said, as transcribed by Gamasutra. "We are arguing that we have to get even closer to reality and we also have to include the rules of... conflict [as well]."

Marek Spanel, CEO of Bohemia Interactive, publisher of the realistic ArmA series of battle simulators, is also interviewed in the report, and describes how they made such restrictions a part of their game world. "What we realised was that some players just went into the game...and fired at everything that moved," says Spanel. "We felt that this is just not right. We introduced a very simple but intricate mechanism that if you do this, and there are friendly troops around you, they will attack [you]."

Coincidentally, at the same time an interview with Infinity Ward producer Mark Rubin ran over at Game Informer, in which he insists that while Call of Duty aims to feel "authentic" and uses military advisors, it has no intention of being a realistic portrayal of a soldier's job. "We are trying to be a cinematic movie experience based on authentic equipment and authentic experience", Rubin says. "A lot of the stuff that we show in the game has been done by someone, but it's not a representation of what they do or it's not an equivalent in any way of what they do. We're just trying to make a fun movie."

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.

Jump to comments (56)

About the author

Dan Whitehead

Dan Whitehead


Dan has been writing for Eurogamer since 2006 and specialises in RPGs, shooters and games for children. His bestest game ever is Julian Gollop's Chaos.


Battlefield 2042 features series' first non-binary character

Four new Specialists add much-needed diverse representation.

Shadow Warrior 3 delayed into next year

Needs "a bit more time to sharpen its blades".

You may also enjoy...

Supporters only

Comments (56)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer Merch
Explore our store