Decoding is a regular column about the games we love, and the tricks and traditions that make them tick.
“Oh shit, I pressed the wrong button and killed that guy.”
It happens to the best of us. You could play Watch Dogs 2 [official site] for days without firing a gun, or causing a fatal traffic accident, or beating someone to death with a billiard ball. Lead character Marcus Holloway doesn’t seem like the kind of person who’d leave bodies in his wake, and the ease with which he can become a killer is jarring. Like so many of our protagonists, he walks through life with the safety off and his finger on the trigger.
Open world games, particularly those of the urban variety, have a violence problem, and it’s mechanical rather than philosophical.