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.