Why Can't You Shoot Women Or Children In Battlefield 3?

Battlefield games take place in urban environments, and even in the most war-torn regions on earth, those places are still usually full of people. Ever wonder why none of them are around while you're capturing command points?

It's not a technological limitation. It's a design decision based, and I think this is the right call, on the behaviour of most players of multiplayer shooters.

The game's producer, Patrick Bach, tells Rock Paper Shotgun that "if you put the player in front of a choice where they can do good things or bad things, they will do bad things, go dark side—because people think it's cool to be naughty, they won't be caught…"

"In a game where it's more authentic, when you have a gun in your hand and a child in front of you what would happen? Well the player would probably shoot that child."

Which might make for an amusing chuckle from a teenager and some awkward YouTube compilations, it could be bad news for the game's developer, publisher and its legal team.

"We would be the ones to be blamed. We have to build our experiences so we don't put the player in experiences where they can do bad things."

Truth be told I never even noticed the lack of civilians in the games, given their "arena" style of combat. That said, I've always wanted more of them around in war games, particularly contemporary ones; not as target practice, but as combat limiters.

We're trained via games to shoot at anything that moves. It'd be great to see us have to put a little restraint on that, consider that the consequences of putting a rocket into a second-story apartment may be greater than simply removing a sniper. It might be killing that sniper's neighbours, kids and dog as well.

But that's for another game and another time. Battlefield is about driving tanks, shooting people and crashing planes, and dammit, that's how it should stay!

Why You Can't Shoot Civilians In Battlefield 3 [Rock, Paper, Shotgun]

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Comments

    There have been a few interesting Kotaku articles recently about the lengths games go to show the 'fidelity' of war.

    I think it's probably a good thing that BF3 and its ilk don't give players the option to shoot civilians, apart from the usual moral panic and associated legal wrangling, it's simply not feasible for games to model every part of a conflict. Games can't possibly show everything, and nor should they.

    Perhaps games going for more realistic battlefield simulations might include civilians for training purposes, but something that's meant to be a competitive shooter (and whose player base isn't always conscientious) isn't, I'd argue, the place to introduce moral qualms or the ethics of rules of engagement.

    If it were possible to shoot women and children non-combatants in a game, there'd better be a significant consequence of doing so.
    The MW2 "No Russian" did have this - to an extent.

    Another thought - children as combatants? It does happen in the real world. How would gamers take that?

      While the argument of "gamers are murderers waiting to happen" has more holes than a fishing net the size of the moon, games are still a form of media, and media can, and does, influence your mindset in a some ways, most notably desensitisation.

      We're already flooded with war imagery, as fake, diluted or flat out lied about as it may be to the point we're past saturation point and into not giving a shit land. Child combatants wouldn't be received as "oh my, that child is a solider, that's terrible and thought provoking", it will be received as "Oh goody, a point token who looks like that twat who bullies me!"

      Most people won't care, and can draw the line between reality and fiction, however children, the main targets for these games, are at the age that they are a) testing boundaries and their own self identity, and b) easily impressionable, a fact well known by the entertainment industry who uses it as a form of brain washing.

      The end result I fear, after the ignorance parade and acl shitstorm, is the games would actually end up encouraging children to play war - maybe not go so far as to shoot, or otherwise intentionally wound/kill each other, but violence would certainly rise, especially in primary schools(I kid you not, these places have armed gang warfare).

      Really, a fps based around shooting children has no redeemable qualities. The game, and thus developers, shouldn't shoulder the whole blame, but if a child were to use it as inspiration, they would be partially at fault for producing a scenario that encourages that behaviour, when there's not a legitimate reason. It would be like playschool putting on a show about how to fight bullies.

        I was listening up until "however children, the main targets for these games"

        I'd have to agree - "games are for kids" is how that sounded.

        Also, I'm not implying a game based on shooting children, I'm saying confront the player with an unusual scenario of a 14 year old with an AK47 aiming at their head. There would have to be a reward for somehow dealing with the situation with no loss of life, and some form of consequence for not.

    I'd like to have civilians in games, men, women, kids are a bit of a touchy subject. The penalties for collateral damage would have to be pretty severe though. It would certainly stop grenade spamming =) and it would heighten the danger when faced which is missing from the constant respawns of COD & Battlefield

      That's what I was thinking. Make it that if a Civilian gets injured in anyway, it's a fail/game over. Just don't pull moves where civs are litterally jumping in the path of bullets, but have them open doors and duck back in and so on. If they do so when there's no active enemies around, have any npc marines tackle them to the ground and arrest em.

      BF3 probably isn't the best game for it since it's primary focus is multiplayer but it would be nice to see something like this in the singleplayer campaigns.

    Civilians are in Deus Ex, including a small number of children (which iirc, look exactly the same no matter where in the world you are)

    Or how about if you shoot them you fail. Plenty of games have done this. Besides, it can really add to the atmosphere of the game if you can include them. Who cares what some little kid thinks is funny? He's not even supposed to be playing the game for reasons like this. and if it was up to me they wouldn't be allowed to play any game online.

    shoot a man, shoot a woman, shoot a kid - morally it's all still a human life..
    But I agree, keep it the way it is.

    As developers, dice understand their limits. Any problem people have with these decisions can't be put back onto the developer.

    Dice just do as they're told. While "kids with guns" and the occasional hostile woman in a black piece disobeying soldiers shouting at her, while she proceeds to a crowded area - may seem like realism to us - in reality, is just not acceptable in this day and age.

    Men can be ripped apart, have their heads blown into pieces, etc, but anyone or anything else (even animals) can be seen as an issue.

    Now that's a problem with today's society and its tabboos. This "dark side" of ours is not a new thing. Back in the middle ages, we were blood thirsty creatures just as much into public hangings as our current middle eastern counterparts. Yet in today's society, they are the "animals".

    It's just the way the human race progresses socially. I don't know if we're pretending to be humane/compassionate creatures, or if we are genuinely born that way. I think as children we are indoctrinated into understanding that we have moved on from our "blood thirsty" ancestors.

      Which reality are you talking about?
      I think you'll find not all of us have moved on from our "bloodthirsty ancestors".

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_use_of_children

    Uhh, its all killing isn't it? And its all just a videogame? I think this is splitting hairs...One thing that I haven't really thought of before though - why no women soldiers in games? Surely some chicks play call of duty right? No?

    I would definitely go on a child murdering spree after what those little brats in Fallout 3 were like.

      This is why we cant have nice things.

    games like bf3 are meant to be fun multiplayer action, not thought provoking war documentaries on the reality of war. they are just about capturing that "lets go on an adventure! lets go to war and be real men!" fantasy in a safe way where you don't end up on the wrong beach in gallipoli invading some guys country and watching your friends die slowly

    Make it so you can shoot them. When a civilian does get shot, they can just vanish into thin air/no blood etc.

    Shoot a second one and the screen cuts to a black screen and you fail the mission.

    Just because something happens in the real world doesn't mean it needs to be portrayed in video games or that it is even right.

    Battlefield is not a realistic game, so why would they put those things in?

    I think if the game wanted to be realistic, theres a LOT of other things that need to be changed without even getting to the local populace

    To be honest, I was kind of expecting civilians in BF3. A crowded street would add a lot of suspense and give the game some different elements. As long as the consequence is on an appropriate level, I don’t see the problem.
    Not to mention that it being a “realistic” game seems like a bullshit excuse. GTA3 was seen as realistic back in its day.

    Perhaps I'm some sort of morally-upright weirdo but, when presented with the choice of doing a good thing or a bad thing in games, I nearly always choose good. I will avoid killing virtual law-enforcement wherever possible and will go out of my way to help NPCs even if it's not financially viable in-game. Am I the only one? Or do any of you fine people play the same. Someone's gotta be good, right?

    I just started playing inFAMOUS, and always try to do the good deeds. My 14 yr old brother was playing last night and when I commented that the Karma Metre was blue he said "yeah, I want to be good not bad".

    Not all kids get kicks out of mowing down civilians in video games. Some do, but many are more sophisticated gamers than the media, and some developers, give them credit for.

    Yes, I do wonder why there's no civilians.

    I think there should be, and killing them should be bad. Like fail the game bad. Make it so they can't just shoot at anything that moves, the old arcade shooters used to have this. Sometimes a "friendly" person popped up and shooting it was an insta-fail or big score penalty.

    Truth is they didn't want the media stink if they put civies in though. Remember the infamous "russian level" of cod:mw2?

      A level which you could walk through without killing anyone, skip without hindering your progress and was completely valid in terms of context?

      That was a massive media overreact.

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