Rockstar is no stranger to controversy. As a matter of fact, you could say they’ve built their entire gaming empire on the foundation of controversy. Today’s release of The Lost and the Damned DLC is no exception to this. The exclusive Xbox 360 content features a new story, new protagonist, and full-frontal male nudity. All this for a paltry $20.
The scene in question shows a man getting a massage. Once he’s done, he gets up and walks around naked for a while before we finally see the full monty. It’s obviously an attempt to shock the player. In my opinion it does nothing to add to the scene, as we already know he’s naked by the comments at the beginning of the scene. It’s not a point that needs to be driven home at the end.
Proponents of Rockstar’s methods will argue that gaming needs to be pushed in new directions if it is to become a viable medium. Music, movies, and television have all been through the growing pains we are now experiencing. And no one can argue that we haven’t come a long way in a very short period of time. Unfortunately, the public perception of video games has not grown at the same rate, and we continue to be scrutinized for mature content.
Pushing the envelope for gaming content is something developers should be doing, whether it be in the form of gameplay, story, or a combination. Developers should be looking for ways to show the rest of the world that gaming can be an art form. That it can be used to tell a story on par with other creative mediums like movies or television. That they can bring more to the screen than space marines and World War II. Personally, I don’t think that putting a penis on the screen for the sake of shock value moves anything forward.
So, what say you, Nation? Do you feel like Rockstar is using this an an opportunity to push gaming in a new direction and flex their story telling muscles? Or do you think it’s all just a stunt to get free publicity from every gaming site and blog on the internet?