Swearing in video games! !@#$%

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Post » Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:15 pm

Hi there guys, I would like some of your opinions on cursing in video games.

I've been writing a game script, a murder mystery set in the modern day. You play as a police detective who is... *shock* trying to catch a serial killer.

I'm keeping the content fairly adult oriented for the most part. So a little bit of swearing is natural. But I find that when it comes to writing the dialogue for these characters that I just want to make every other word a curse word for some reason. It's just how a lot of people talk nowadays, especially in the police profession.

My question is, how much do you think is too much? Does it not bother you at all? Do you hate it? Are certain words not appropriate compared to others? etc. etc.

This is actually an issue that as a writer I've been struggling with for some time. You're feedback will be most appreciated :)

Discuss!Kazan2012-10-02 22:16:44
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Post » Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:01 pm

I'd say "some" is too much and "a little" is okay if used tactfully. Swearing is usually distracting and will do more to take the player out of the experience than make dialogue seem realistic. Writing is premeditated while speech is usually more spontaneous reactionary, so it comes off as a lazy and crude way of writing. Of course, there is always exceptions, like using it in a stylistic way, such as to contrast one character from all others.

Just my 2 cents!Mulkaccino2012-10-02 23:02:09
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Post » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:38 am

I'm a bit puzzled by your statement " It's just how a lot of people talk nowadays, especially in the police profession".
I'm not sure it is the case, and it also depends on the country I guess.

In US movies, yes you have super cops with quite a swearing language or being smartasses. I'm not sure it's something done regulary IRL though.

As Mulkaccino, I'd say swearing as to mean something. If it is just swearing for swearing, it risks to pull the player out of the game.
If one character in peculiar is a heavy swearer because it's part of its personality, than massive swearing can be handled by the player, if the rest of the cast is more sporadic on swearing.
It all depends on the reasons, the characters and the situations.

Interesting topic and question.Kyatric2012-10-03 00:39:48
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Post » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:03 am

Swearing doesn't bother me, but when to use it highly depends on the characters, the situation and what mood you're going for. There's no clear-cut answer.

As a rule of thumb though, if your characters are swearing every other word, you're doing something wrong.
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Post » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:00 am

@Kyatric
I've been watching a lot of The Wire lately :P

Great input so far, differentiating characters by having them swear more is interesting.

Seems that so far the general consensus is to take it easy with the cuss words and to use them for "impact". I agree, I don't want dialogue revolving entirely around harsh language of course. But it's surprisingly difficult to find a middle ground with it sometimes.

I'm not quite sure how swear words would "pull" me out of the game though so maybe someone could clarify. Do you mean that if a character says the "F" word for example you might find it say.. shocking? And that's what breaks your immersion?

Thanks a lot guys!Kazan2012-10-03 11:02:41
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Post » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:01 am

You watch too many Hollywood movies.
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Post » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:05 am

For me it would all depend on your characters temperament and also the scenario. If done right though I think it can deepens one's connection with it.

Thinking about it more - Its possible that the added connection is formed when the character is mirroring your own thoughts.

If your cops just got to a murder scene for instance, this would be a good time to swear.


On the flip side, Borderlands has some pretty comical swearing throughout the story. I enjoyed that too.

Its juvenile, but my experience with swearing in video games has usually been "Did he just say that!?", "Awesome".GenkiGenga2012-10-03 11:34:00
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Post » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:46 pm

It almost always appears immature and juvenile. There are exceptions, and minor cursing has more of a place in game dialogue. But, in general, it makes the designer/writer look less and less professional and the game appear far weaker than it may have otherwise. Does the occasional 'damn' or 'hell' work in a lot of situations? Of course. Can you get a little edgier? Sparingly. Anything more ruins the experience and takes the player out of it.
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Post » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:20 pm

[QUOTE=Mipey] You watch too many Hollywood movies.[/QUOTE]

In Hollywood it would be: You son of a ... (And explosion censoring the rest)!

Holy Sh... (And explosion censoring the rest)!

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Post » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:54 pm

If it is not explosions, it is boobs.
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