​Real Talk On Video Game Violence From A Puppet

Sometimes wisdom comes from unexpected places. In this case, from a puppet controlled by an introspective game developer.

In this video, Drakengard 3 director Taro Yoko speaks through a puppet and offers an unusually candid and almost wistful look at video game violence and his own place in the game industry. He laments that so little has changed in the ten years he's been making games, that the "invisible walls" that exist still mandate that a $60 game requires a certain length, and is usually devoted to trying to conquer others or kill things.

Yoko also reflects on his game Nier, and how his vision for the game was influenced by 9/11 and America's subsequent war in Iraq. He ends the video with a bittersweet sentiment: Looking at his work over the last ten years, he says there has been "no revolution or great change," and that he perceives that as a personal failure.

"I remain convinced of the tremendous potential in games," Yoko says, as the puppet's mouth flaps, "and with the assumption that this interview will be subtitled—right around here, I presume—there is something I want to get across to people in game development worldwide. I think the hidden barriers are many and various, visually and functionally, but I also think we are close to breaking through them. Especially regarding the limitations in having to kill in our games, perhaps the solutions to breaking through such limitations may not be found in a place like Japan where it is relatively peaceful, but in countries that are more directly impacted by terrorism and war. What I would really like to see is for game developers to not take these limitations as a given, to bring about some real change in the world."

Promotional "developer diaries" like this are almost always PR-approved fluff, and rarely do they get this honest and introspective. Maybe they should put puppets into these things more often.