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BloodSpell Development Updates

Leipzig and BloodSpell

BloodSpell Development Updates

Leipzig and BloodSpell

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As you'll probably know, we were very excited about going to the Leipzig Games Conference this week to show BloodSpell.

On Friday, the Leipzig Games Conference people asked us not to show BloodSpell at the conference.

They feel it is too violent.

They feel that German journalists are looking for violent scenes in video games*, and wish to show Machinima as "a positive example of what players do with games." The implication, of course, is that BloodSpell is not one of those positive things.

I'm quite angry about this. I'm angry that we're being singled out - EA and Take Two are both showing games at least as violent as BloodSpell. I'm angry that I'm being asked to censor my work, and by doing so to implicitly agree that BloodSpell is unwholesome, or at least suspect. And I'm angry that the reason we make Machinima - the chance to tell stories - is being treated as a mere by-product, something that can be chopped, changed or censored at will.

(I was initially asked to show only "peaceful and violence-free scenes". I don't think I'll ever forget the suggestion that "maybe you can come up with some arguments of why "Bloodspell" is the title of your movie but maybe it's about "blood brotherhood" in a metaphorical sense")

I've still been asked to come along to the Conference. I've declined.

As far as I'm concerned, Machinima is filmmaking. That's it. It's not a quirky Internet movement that journalists can get an easy by-line from. It's not something neat that kids can do with those nasty computer games to "express themselves" (whenever I hear that phrase, it seems to come with the association that the end product will be crap, but who cares, right?). It's a way to tell quality stories that will matter to other people.

We're making Machinima so that we can tell the stories we couldn't tell any other way. We're making Machinima so that we can tell stories free of interference or censorship.

If the Lepzig event is not about that, then I don't see any benefit in attending.

P.S: I'm not dissing any of the other Machinima people involved. Their hands are tied, and they're doing what they think is best, just as I am. I don't agree with all their decisions, but I can see why they're making them.

*I'm not even going to touch the "violent games cause crime" argument. It's dumb. We know it's dumb. The Leipzig people know it's dumb. Everyone knows it's dumb.
  • My understanding is that violence gets censored in Germany more than elsewhere, with gore in games a particular blood-red flag. Having said that, it does seem pretty shallow to judge the BloodSpell story that way, and I think your response is the proper one for an independent film-maker.

    On the incredibly selfish side, does this mean you'll release the new episode any earlier now that there's no premier to worry about?

  • (Anonymous)
    I'm so sorry to hear this sad and infuriating news. I fully support your not going to the Conference and agree with you that their request is unreasonable. It does seem that you are being singled out. Well, it's their fucking loss. But I am sorry you were disappointed and insulted like this.
    • (Anonymous)
      I'm sorry, that last comment was by me, gToon.
  • Creative Commons?

    I was under the impression that your work is CC licenced - that is what BoingBoing says at any rate. So I cannot understand why you care that your work is censored - you are giving people legal permission to alter it and reshow it in any way, so you can't be that precious about it. If you are that precious - perhaps future works should have more copyright attached to them.

    You cannot have it both ways - these people are legally in their rights to edit and show your film as an adaptation or derivative work. They have been nice and asked you for your permission - and asked that you do it yourselves to maintain as much of the original essence as possible. Perhaps next time you should maintain some protection on your work, although I can guess that you want to share it with the world.

    Perhaps there is no easy answer, but good luck anyway. You make fine films.
    • Re: Creative Commons?

      It's the representation.

      I was asked to come over and show BloodSpell. I agreed. Then I was told that I couldn't show BloodSpell in the manner I felt was appropriate and gave best coverage to the material, but was still asked to appear. Therefore, I didn't agree to that.

      Anyone can do anything with BloodSpell within the restrictions we've laid out. But if you want Strange Company to put our stamp of approval on it, turn up, and say "we think this is good", you need to be doing something we agree with.

      Thank you for the compliments!
  • dont get upset

    i'm german and i've been working as a games journalist for years. let me tell you this: the german officials are just mad about violence, comparable to the US stance on sex and nudity. so its been a wise decision to ask you not to show this beatitful movie in leipzig instead of plainly throwing you into the fire. and sorry, this world has a lot of censorship going on. we got to deal with it. dissing the GC people wont help.
    best regards, Fritz
  • Just a nightmare but we are a awake!

    Wow - Bloodspell being censored for violence by a western nation?? I would never ever have predicted that - especially with Jack Thompson as the most visible anti-game crusader here in North America. Is the new girl in charge of Germany a little hard core or is it something else?
  • Violent games cause crime

    >>*I'm not even going to touch the "violent games cause crime" argument.
    >>It's dumb.
    >>We know it's dumb.
    >> The Leipzig people know it's dumb. Everyone knows it's dumb.

    Well, I used to believe exactly the same thing - that this is just a load of bunk.

    I've recently realized that I was mistaken. This may be hard to believe, but I myself fell victim
    to the subtle, but razor clean brainwashing of violent video games.

    Last week I was in an ice cream parlor and the girl behind the counter told me that she wasn't allowed to accept my €50 bill. I was outraged. Before I knew it, I had opened my wrist in order to summon a giant, half spider demon to devour the souls of everyone in the shop.

    The spider demon, after it satiated its lust for destruction on the bones and flesh of the girl behind the counter, gave me a tripple scoop butterscotch for free.

    I now realize that what I did was wrong, but I can't help but blame violent video games for the a Atrocities I commited. I sleep much better when I'm not accountable for my own actions.

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