Bodycount Creative Director: "F*ck Realism"

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You had me at "F-ck realism."
I hate just about every realistic shooter.

Well that's an awesome statement to give. You, Sir, have probably confirmed a good number of customers!

Where's this realism we're supposed to be fucking? This strikes me as rather like walking into Tehran and boldly proclaiming, 'Fuck Jews!'

Way to be a renegade, Black.

Is this not kind-of-sort-of-definitely what almost every developer seems to be saying, of late, to reduce or stagnate in both graphical quality and depth of gameplay and get praised for it?

Andy Chalk:

"If realism doesn't help the game, fuck it, throw it away," he said in an interview with The Guardian.

I find your ideas intriguing and would like to hand out your literature at the airport.

I really like the way he thinks!

Hurrah! The Counterrevolution has begun!

Eat your hearts out, greyish-brown dystopias of the gaming world!

This is my kind of guy!

I play games to get away from the monotony of reality! Not be emersed further within it.

Andy Chalk:
Bodycount Creative Director: "F*ck Realism"


Bodycount Creative Director Stuart Black has a refreshing approach toward realism videogames that can be perfectly summed up in two simple words: "Fuck realism."

Truth be told, Black's attitude isn't all that unusual. After all, no matter how "realistic" videogames become, certain concessions have to be made for the fact that you're sitting on your couch. And hardcore simulators aside, videogames are meant to be fun and not actual terror-filled brushes with death. Still, there aren't many industry figures who are quite so up-front about their feelings regarding realism than Black, an industry veteran who spent time at studios including Bullfrog and Criterion before coming to Codemasters.

"If realism doesn't help the game, fuck it, throw it away," he said in an interview with The Guardian.

Black said Codemasters, where Bodycount is being developed, is a good fit for him because of its attitude that fun should trump everything else. "I've known Codemasters all my gaming life, but I'd never thought about working for them," he continued. "But it came to me through an agency, and I thought, what the hell. And when I went up there - I was just really impressed by the attitude towards development. It felt like, here's a place I can get some creative freedom, some creative control and really develop something I want to develop."

Bodycount is built on a "general sense of escapism," according to Black. "I don't want Bodycount to reflect the reality that I'm in, I've got enough of that around me," he said. "I want to go somewhere else - I want to be lifted up, to forget about my troubles, and escape."

Bodycount is currently in development for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and is expected to launch in early 2011.


Wait a minute....this person works for Codemasters? THE Codemasters? The ones that published (I know it wasn't developed by them) Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis, arguably the most realistic first-person shooter of all time? That is kind of suprising to hear.

Anyway, I personally like playing realistic shooters and I do not think realism is necessarily detrimental to escapism. On the contrary, most people aren't gun-toting soldiers in their every day lives (and even those that are tend to prefer realistic shooters), so realism helps one immerse himself in the experience.

Having said that, I do agree that not every shooter needs to be realistic to be fun and interesting. Also, when using realism, it should either be done right or not at all, not have mere pretensions towards realism.

It's about time! I don't know about you lot, but I miss the days of games like Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, the aptly-titled Unreal Tournament, and even the original Halo where realism was kicked to the curb for the sake of the almighty Rule of Cool! Realism is fun to a point, but when you need to watch in 15 different directions at once or die horribly, and you restore health by sitting in a corner with your thumb up your ass waiting for the red goo to disappear, it's a bit much. I normally wouldn't mind, but realism seems to have all but taken over FPS games recently.

A quick off-topic observation here. Why is it that while gamers praise realism lately, they still stop at nothing to break said realism with glitches and other assorted exploits? Just seems odd to me.

I wish more people who made games shared his opinion on the matter.


This is the kind of aproach everything needs.

im lookin forward to this

I suppose he's just talking about the game mechanics?

Or does the "mouth-watering selection of contemporary weapons" advertised on their site add something to the game that justifies quotes like these?

All due respect included, I agree that developers too often lose themselves in realism and forget to make games fun. But don't go around yelling things like this when your game uses the same settings and looks as any other realistic shooter out there.

However, if that thing in the bottom left of the screen is a Health bar, I'd like to preorder a copy please.

You had me at "F-ck realism."
I hate just about every realistic shooter.

Agreed. We live in realism, and honestly I play games to get away from it. So, bring it on!

The Great JT:
I agree with Stuart Black. Reality sucks, so why should my video game escapism be chock full of it?

Mostly because a good portion of game players want to feel like they're in the marines or army without having to enlist.
One problem lies in the fact that the better the graphics and mechanics (some) people want the game to act realistically.
I could keep going, but I'm too hungry to type the rest of it in any coherent fashion.

OT: I love this guy. Reality in games isn't all that great. I live in reality, and it sucks from time to time, so when I try to escape from it I don't want to be launched back into it in any digitized way.

I thought it said "Dead Body Director". My mind instantly jumped to a program that would procedurally spawn dead bodies at different places.

My problem with non-realism is that it causes unintuitive scenarios. Take the unrealistic damage done by knives in Modern Warfare 2, for example. One could argue that the lack or realism in this area causes the game to be more well balanced, but it destroys the game experience for me. A player who is used to the game knows that a knife kills you instantly, while bullets take multiple shots. A player who is used to reality expects the opposite, and is surprised. That why I only ever play MoW 2 (though I don't own it) in "hardcore" mode, where bullet do realistic amounts of damage.

I agree with his philosophy!

Also, I didn't really like Black, but this may be a good game. I'll have to check it out.

Not holding my breath, though.

So long as "fuck realism" doesn't mean "fuck realism but keep everything gritty and brown and gray like every other realistic game out there" I'm all for it.

This article exemplifies the entire idea behind this website. Nice.

The one thing I've hated is a game that doesn't feel realistic at all, but pretends it SHOULD be realistic.

Example: Psychonauts, TF2 not only have no pretense of realism, but it's made very clear that you should not expect it.
However, in a game like Just Cause 2, you get a lot of these cheesy, but incredibly SEREEUZ cutscenes where there's some massive plan to subvert the country in war. What would have been better:
Commander: Rico, the one thing that's been preventing our takeover of installation 527 is this oil rig. Because of the international peace treaty, we can't touch it. So-
Rico: -so you want ME to blow it up.
Commander: What? No! That would be an act of war-!
Rico: Then war it is. (leaves)

Some genuine humor would make this sort of beyond-the-impossible easier to believe.

"Fuck realism" should totally be the tag line for Bodycount! Obviously, they will have to put it on the back of the box, but still... I can't think of a more awesome tag line for a game!

I hate it when developers part from their roots. I mean, have you played Micromachines (NES)? THAT was realism!!!



Micromachines was cool.
And I like Black's attitude.

Agree, Realism has it's place, but when you get down to it a game needs to be FUN...before anything else....FUN!

First, am I the only one who thinks that 18 out of 57 replies all dropping F bombs points to the real point of interest in this article?

Second, it's limitations that create challenge, not freedoms and not all limitations are "enjoyable" (*cough* Soul Calibur IV). Yes, I think it's a great philosophy that every element in a game should have some level of enjoyment, it is after all interactive entertainment, but I don't think that the bottom line or header here should be that reality (and the limitations imposed by or derived from it) sucks. For one, if there's no semblance to reality it's much harder for us to relate to it, much less understand it because reality and it's limits are the common points of understanding between people. Without limitations you are left with just an assortment of one dimensional ideas that, after you've seen them once, don't really offer anything the next time around. You don't need to strickly adhere to the rules of reality per se, just a set of rules to maintain direction, balance and control over what you want the player to experience.

I'm not saying there's any flaw in what Black is saying, far from it I think that many companies do tend to get caught on hooks and trends in the industry which end up shaping their products more than the idea behind the product itself. I'm suggesting that it's a balance of the two, enforcing and breaking different limits that make things fun and at the same time relate-able and/or diverse.

My 2 coppers anyway.

Awesome, a game developer who gets it, we don't want more gritty brown games, we want FUN.

This seems like the kind of game Yahtzee would love.

Fuck Realism I want SURREALism.

Games that aspire to be realistic needlessly are always mediocore...I felt GTA:IV is the villian of all the traps of Realism.

Saw an interview with someone from this team, may even have been him, about this game in a Game Informer. It looks amazing. Sounds like it could top Black, especially since they're focusing on destruction quite a bit.

Yeah 'Fuck Realism' I want super mega death ice cream wafer grenade launchers.(patent pending)

If a developer truly wants to fuck realism, they'll fuck their obsession with realistic graphics. In the games as art debate, a lot of lauded art isn't a realistic representation of something, it's an interpretation. The best artworks aren't all hyper realistic looking.

This is solely regarding visuals mind you.

Is Bodycount a sequel to Operation: Bodycount perhaps? ;)


I read a preview on this game the other day, it sounded so damn good.

Destruction of All buildings, rediculous over the top weapoonry, bright coloufull levels, its all so much awesome sounding-ness for one game to handle.


I want me my giant killer bee shooting death beam and i want it now!

Stuart Black, I love you for this and you are my new God for game design philosophy.

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