Gears of War: Now with 100% less blood!

Epic Games’ Gears of War franchise can be described as many things. The descriptors are usually along the lines of violent, over-the-top, chock full of shooting many things with very large guns. One thing Gears of War isn’t is family-friendly. But apparently that has stopped Epic from attempting to placate some parents out there with an all-new kid-friendly content filter for Gears of War 2.

However, the removal of distasteful elements like unsavory language or copious amounts of hemoglobin seems redundant to me. At the end of the day in Gears of War you’re still taking a chainsaw gun directly to the face of the oncoming Locust, gory visual icing be damned. It’s a fundamental disconnect that occurs in the rating of games (and to be fair, in other forms of media also) where the trappings of the game seem more important than the actual mechanics and what they simulate. The controversy of Fallout 3 in Aussie-land is a perfect illustration, the mechanic of drug use is not penalized as much as the usage of a real-life drug versus a fictional one. Never mind that again the interactions are exactly the same.

I’m not the ESRB and one of its faceless judges responsible for rating games through video clips. And there’s no doubt that the context of a player’s interactions do make a difference. But if I’m letting a guy taste the curb removing the subsequent geyser of hemoglobin doesn’t make it more suitable for children.