It’s rare that videogame violence makes me feel uncomfortable. After all, it’s just polygons, only code. I like the idea of games that purposefully make me feel uncomfortable with the heinous acts I commit – in ways more nuanced or subtle than po-faced script writing, at least. But I don’t think that’s what Sniper Elite 3 is going for with its X-Ray killcam. I think it’s going for, “hey bullets are awesome, look at how badass they are.”
The developer diary below outlines the changes to the system in their next World War 2 sniping sim.
The developers in the video explain that the killcam is there to convey the reason why soldiers were so afraid of snipers, but I don’t buy that. They were afraid of them because they had guns and were unseen, not because their bullets did a particularly graphic job of killing people. The very next developer refers to the killcam as the “money shot”, and I think that’s closer to the truth. There’s something lurid and scuzzy about the slow motion bullet impact. I don’t like the sense that I’m spunking lead up inside people’s brains.
Which isn’t to say I don’t like the game anyway; I just know that I’m a terrible person for it. It’s due out in a few months, and I’ll be there, hoping the multiplayer is as tense and compelling as in Sniper Elite V2.
Thanks, PC Gamer.