Here’s an interesting e-mail exchange between me and the Ubisoft folks in regards to their amazing new game, Splinter Cell, Chaos Theory…
Customer (Jason Kasper) – 06/06/2005 01:04 PM
Hi there. I would very much like to buy Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, but I don’t want my children to have to listen to all of the swearing. Is there a code or patch or preference that I can use to turn off the swearing or talking?
Response (GREG) – 06/06/2005 04:16 PM
Jason, unfortunately there is no profanity filter in this game. This is not a childrens game. Even if you remove the language, you are still shooting people…
LOL. I don’t know why I find this funny, but I do. I suppose that I’d made an unconscious decision at some point that there’s a line of acceptability for games for my children to be able to enjoy with me, and that games which involve fighting (Street Fighter, Star Wars ROTS), shooting, hunting, and stealth (Mech Assault, Splinter Cell, Halo, Star Wars Republic Commando) are okay, but games which have swearing/vulgarity/profanity are not. Now, this might seem like a contradiction but I’m not sure it is.
Case in point: I have played for hours and hours with my kids, working through Splinter Cell, and we have a blast together. So I bought Splinter Cell, Chaos Theory expecting to have fun with my kids again as we play through the game. The game itself is absolutely amazing (you can finally play split-screen co-op mode!), but apparently Ubisoft felt that they needed to add more realism to the game by having more realistic cursing and vulgarity. I REALLY wish they hadn’t.
I guess it comes down to this…. I am fully able to explain to my children that there are amazing, brave, real-life people in our country that are specially trained to protect us and they have to do some of the things that are in the game (stealth, killing, break/enter). But I cannot stand letting them hear the kind of vulgarity, swearing, and threatening language that Ubisoft has put into this last Splinter Cell game. I protect them from being exposed to that from movies, and I will continue to protect them from being exposed to that from games as well. Will they ever be exposed to it? Yeah, unfortunately, they will. But that’s far different than ushering it into my living room and helping to feed it into their minds now.
So, Ubisoft, I have returned your $45 game, and you won’t be making that money back from me as long as you insist on adding this kind of language to your games.