BioShock designer clarifies quotes about realistic violence

Ken Levine clarifies original comments, saying one of the responsibilities for art as a whole is to demonstrate a genuine depiction of reality, but no specific piece needs to fulfill an agenda.

BioShock designer and industry veteran Ken Levine has clarified his recent quote where he said art--including video games--should not hide the gory reality of violence.

Writing on his Facebook page, Levine said the way in which his point was demonstrated was not made "as eloquently or comprehensively as it should have been."

To that end, he explained today that "no individual piece of art has any particular responsibility to fulfill a particular agenda." Levine originally said that the mainstream media has a way of hiding the bloody reality of violence and war, and art--including games--should not follow suit.

"What I was trying to say is that art, as a whole, has a number of responsibilities: to entertain, to educate, inspire, to question the status quo, to infuriate, to challenge, to make people want to bang their heads, or just to make things kinda awesome," he said. "The list goes on and on."

Levine further explained that art should show things as they are, though he tempered that statement by saying he means art as an industry, not every specific example.

"One of those responsibilities (for art as a whole, not for every example of every art ever produced), should be to show things as they are," he said. "For every Rom Com, there are devastating movies about the pain of love, whether that's Eternal Sunshine or Amour. For every movie that portrays valor in war (Saving Private Ryan), there are movies that focus on its most dehumanizing elements (Full Metal Jacket)."

"I wasn't trying to imply violence should always be realistic in art. I was primarily questioning the notion that ultra-violent images have NO place in art," he added. "As I've always thought, not all art is or should be the same. But I don't believe any topic should be off limits to art as a whole."

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Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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