Intentionally or accidentally – the iconography, cultural references and the similarity between events in the trilogy and real life turn Gears of War into an allegory for the United States of America and its wars. Considering the political context, this – made in America – shooter title has a really disturbing ending with disturbing implications and intolerable messages.
This was a pretty hard article to write for me, because I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of somebody finding the way the trilogy ended appealing. To me it was just offensive and disturbing. The only way I see to possibly gain any satisfaction from this ending is from an American perspective – a perspective I have no actual insight into.
I’m bound to fuck something up here, I’m bound to step on someones feelings and I sincerely apologize for that.
Still, Epic Games made a horrible statement here. They chose to glorify a fascist society and to celebrate a super holocaust… … and made me, the player complicit in it. And that’s not okay. At all.
I did my fair share of virtual kills and fatalities, accepted many stereotyping enemy clichés as entertaining cannon fodder and allowed myself to even dwell in pretend misogyny. Sometimes without caring much and sometimes by being able to put aside the socially questionable or downright wrong implications of video game narratives. Gears of War 3 made that impossible for me. I was disturbed by the way the story ended and felt like I was playing a villain all the time but nobody told me. Where I was hoping for redeeming value, I was answered with increasingly barbaric sentiments.
A few things come together here:
– The strong analogy of the Gears v Locusts conflict to US wars
– The dehumanization of the so called Locusts
– The final solution for the Locust problem
A couple of major plot points and motifs that make Gears Of War analogous to US war conflicts. For example are almost all Gears modeled after stereotypes of US citizens:
Language, names, iconography and ethnic mix make the COG distinctively US America. What could have been a cultural mix or something vague, is defined to be US American. Most obvious examples include the characters of Cole and Dizzy. Cole is an American Football (Thrashball) playing and ebonics speaking black character. And Dizzy is a bearded caucasian trucker, wearing a cowboy hat, speaking with a strong texan accent and is shouting “Yeee-Haw!” from time to time.
There is one character – called Tai – who is not directly representative for American culture. His appearance and demeanor resemble what an uneducated white person thinks a polynesian native is like. He is the games noble savage or magic native american and Epic games makes an explicit point out of his otherness and the fact that he is not from them same culture as the rest of the COG.
So who are the Americans fighting in Gears of War? I’d argue they fight people from the middle east. Let’s have a look at the unfolding events of the war and see how this maps with the conflicts between the united states and arab/persian nations:
Humans in search of immulsion, a valuable liquid fuel source to be found underground, invaded and damaged the cave habitat of the Locusts – a nation living where the immulsion is – forcing them to head to the surface. The human characters refer to the war as a “war over immulsion” critically.
Waging a “war for oil” is a popular subject for criticism against the US engagement in war against Iraq under President George W. Bush.
When the war over immulsion escalates, Locusts resort to attacking human cities, killing large numbers of civilians and making sky scrapers collapse. The invasion of the Locust territory (in GoW 2) as a response to the attacks against human cities is directly analogous to the invasion of Afghanistan as a response to the attack on New York on september 11th 2001.
Actual quote from the game: “We are taking the fight to them.”
Putting the American iconography of the Gears, the timeline of unfolding events in the war, the immulsion motif and the terroristic nature of the Locusts together, you get a fairly strong but distorted mirror image of what started as the American War on Terror. This makes it pretty hard for me to not regard the way the fictional conflict is resolved in Gears3 as a fantasy blueprint to end that war. And it’s not pretty.
Trying to make other races appear to not be real or full people, dehumanizing them is the oldest trick in the book to make justifications for inhumane behavior towards them. Especially when there are clear visible distinctions like skin color and when the oppressive group can claim the oppressed group to be less civilized.
It is done with prisoners to beat them up, was done with slaves to keep them as property, native americans to drive them from their lands, to indigenous people in colonized nations, to african tribes to justify ethnic cleansing, to jews to put them in camps and on and on and on…
I know it’s the internet. Bloggers and commenters are playing the Hitler-card like nobody’s business. And yeah, usually those people think they are making a point, but just fail by drawing a completely ridiculous comparison between their minor complaint and a unfathomable act of madness and injustice.
But in this case the comparison is the meat of the problem.
Nazis referred to Jews in terms of them being a plague, vermin, pests, parasites… …Gears call their enemy race Locusts. In battle, the Locust Queen asks, what makes a life of her people less worthy than a human life?
On which Marcus Fenix, our designated hero, simply and confidently replies: They are not people, they are monsters. The big problem here is… THEY ARE PEOPLE! They are an independent society, with spoken and written language, social structures, cultural treasures, art, architecture forced into becoming a war culture by human intrusion.
Granted they are barbaric and ugly. But that does not make them less than people.
Racial segregation is fairly common as a plot device in scifi and fantasy stories, like for example orcs = evil in Lord Of The Rings and subsequently in Warhammer and Warcraft. But in publications like this the makers at least had the dignity to limit acts of violence against enemy races to individuals who have actually shown to be a threat…
I mean, imagine Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli going around and slaying orc babies in their cradle.
But in Gears we should find a sense of victory in killing every single Locust on the planet, no matter if they have done anything wrong yet, no matter the age or personality. They deserve to die – all of them – because they are not human.
“Final solution” (german: Endlösung), for those who don’t know, is a euphemism coined by officials of the Third Reich. It was used to sell the idea of completely eradicating the jewish people in Nazi Germany.
The holocaust. If you don’t know the history behind that word, look it up. Seriously. I’m a german, I live in Berlin, I know that history.
The Nazis had found a way to basically industrialize the killing of people of jewish heritage (and political enemies) by hunting jews, imprisoning them in work camps and using gas chambers to finally kill them. The goal was to eradicate jews as part of an idea of them being a lower inherently evil race. Genetical distinctions, were used to artificially define an enemy worthy of total annihilation.
And as it turns out, launching a super holocaust to solve the Locust problem, worse and more thorough than anything the Nazis were capable of, is the celebrated victory you achieve when beating the final boss of Gears Of War 3.
Adam Fenix (father of the protagonist) has created a machine that is capable of completely and totally killing off every single Locust on the planet. The blow of the machine reaches every corner of the world and is calibrated to kill off people and creatures that carry the Locust genes but does no harm to humans. A genetical distinction decides here who deserves to die and who deserves to live.
This kind of doomsday device – build explicitly for the annihilation of races – is exactly the kind of thing, which a Hellboy, Captain America or aWilliam “B.J.” Blazkowicz would fight to destroy. In the skin of Marcus Fenix, we are fighting to activate it.
After the final battle is won and the machine began the deletion of Locust life, the Locust queen returns to the scene to spell it out for everybody. The is no justice or moral in what the player has fought for. It is just another act of killing.
And while the queen was the only one actually talking some sense, confronting us with the injustice we committed, Marcus takes a knife and stabs the unarmed woman to death, up close and personal. Filled with rage and hatred he says: “That’s from Dom and everyone you killed, you bitch!” while she sinks lifeless to the ground.
After the only voice of reason got stabbed to death,Marcus gets cheered and celebrated, swelling victorious music plays, he gets the girl, can finally throw away his gun armor and look hopeful into the future.
I cannot reconcile being a genocidal hate-filled grunt with being the hero deserving of praise and prizes. But then again I’m from Germany and maybe the remnants of my nation’s history make me sensitive for those subjects. I’m also not even in reach of understanding how it feels to be an American under the pressure of 10 years of war.
Maybe if Osama Bin Laden had killed 3000 of my people, I could relate with fantasizing to kill him up close and personal and make it hurt, any moral implications be darned. Maybe if I knew someone who lost a limb or his life in Afghanistan or if I had to fear to be drafted again, maybe then I could relate to the fantasy of pushing a button to just making it all go away.
I don’t know what it would take to make me find any satisfaction in what I was ultimately fighting for in Gears Of War. But I know I’m far away from that and it is discomforting to me to see that games are a market in which you can excel by selling fascist genocide role play.
- Editor’s note: This article is an edited version of an article originally published in september 2011. You can find the original article and other older articles in the pdf archive.
25 Replies to “Gears Of War And Genocide”
1. The Locust are in fact the offspring of Imulsion miners who were constantly exposed to the stuff. In Gears of War 2, we meet the Sires, who look like half-Drone, half-Kantus hybrids. This means they are not really a separate species.
2. The Locust’s only goal was genocide, and stopped at nothing to achieve this goal.
4. You talk about misogyny, but Gears of War 3’s two female protagonists are badasses like everyone else. No one treats them differently, they wear the same kind of armor
It also means that the Locust did not exist when Imulsion was first discovered. They didn’t attack because we invaded their caves, because they were not even there.
Thanks for the second opinion. (Just if you are wondering where you jews comment went: trash. This is just too stupid to subject my readers to it.)
Steady on friend,
I have desperately tried not to directly upset anyone (especially you) by using offensive language or by categorically refusing to see it from anybody else’s point of view. I have tried to agree with as many peoples opinions as I could, and trying to be as impartial as possible.
3: You’re right, the entire story has been orchestrated to justify genocide, therefore is biased on the exact morality of genocide, but this is the one and only example you gave on the issue, therefore I thought this was a discussion about Gears of War, specifically.
Regarding GoW, for there not to be the issue of genocide at all, there wouldn’t be a Gears of War, not one we would recognise.
The vibe that you’re giving off, to me, seems like you are whole heartedly against genocide. I am too, I think. Like all the ethnic cleansing that went on in Bosnia-Hertzgovena/Serbia/Croatia absolutely disgusts me. Horrifyingly I was about 13 years of age when my dad told me of some of the atrocities that was happening there at the time, like marching every male from 13 to 70 out of town and executing them into mass graves.
But, in those GoW circumstances is it justifiable? I think so. Humanity had lost absolutely everything to the Locust and had been pushed to the very brink of extinction. Had I spent 15 odd years fighting a ghastly enemy that took no prisoners and slaughtered every single man, woman and child, I’d be tempted to flip that switch too.
Genocide, in our world though? No.
As for Queen Myrrah, I did feel a mote of empathy when she tried to pull the “fascist card”, after she had lost. But then I’m reminded how happily she put ‘my’ race to the slaughter.
Had the Imperial Japanese Army been a little more hospitable in regards to their treatment of POW’s, and their treatment of civilians in the Philippines, Korea or China, the decision to bomb two cities would have been a lot harder.
And thankyou for your concern, I do enjoy my game; part of my enjoyment comes from analysing the game universe, what I might have done different, how I might have handled the situation, etc. But I would like to point out a this moment that because you ‘decided to critically examine the situation and ended up on the genocide condemning side, shows how vulnerable to us-and-them narratives you are.’ You are no different to me. In fact you have a website, dedicated to this purpose.
4: Don’t you dare tell me what I can and cannot defend, don’t you fucking dare. When I was very little my mothers mother showed me a tattoo on her left arm. A18392 it was, I’ll never forget it. I didn’t quite know what it meant at the time but years after she passed away the gravity of what that ink meant finally set in after spending my afternoons watching war documentaries and just how much stigma was attached to the word Treblinka. One of the few things I remember her saying was her parents and siblings were exterminated and her older brother committed suicide a few years after their liberation by the Russians.
That is why I can defend the innocent dead, because whatever propaganda Goebbels fed to the masses, there is no comparison between Jew’s and Locust. As for Africans, watch 12 Years a Slave. Or Amazing Grace.
5: I never said “bitch” isn’t a gendered insult. WTF?
But I do see your problem Herr Anhut, and I recognise its there. This is a very interesting quagmire. Whatever my personal beliefs are has no impact on what I’m trying do; be impartial. If that means playing the devils advocate then so be it, all I want to do is get all sides of the coin told. Since you did such a fine job of getting your side across, I thought I might need to clarify the circumstances which led up to this event. I would still like for people to make up their own mind. Telling your readers what to think was never my intention, and I apologise if I came across that way.
To be honest, I do care, actually. That’s why I took the time and effort to compose that comment, I quite liked your forum, it seemed a place where intelligent people could go and shoot the breeze. I never said you should be less concerned, my goal wasn’t to educate you, and I want you to give as many fucks as you care to give.
I do care, and I like to understand. I am critical and I do my homework. I don’t want people to stay as uninvolved, uninformed and uncritical as you say you want them to.
This is exactly why I have installed a 500 character limit. BTW, I have no clue how you go around that, but no comment longer than 500 characters from you will be published in the future. And depending on the nature of your next reply it may not even be published if it’s concise.
Now we have a list of disagreements because you decide to throw the kitchen think at my article with your original comment. Instead of – you know – a debate about something, we go into bickering about a full stack of points you brought up, you decide what to drop, what to defend, demand responses to a whole load of issues. If that is a hobby of your’s fine. Play somewhere else.
I’m not even addressing the sleezy way you used the trauma of a family member to assert your let-me-speak-for-jews-and-blacks bullshit.
You cloak your entitled attention grabbing in “impartiality”. Really, the devil has enough real advocates, you dont need to play one here. Just stop. You are not caring about the issues. You are not trying to improve things through debate. Your “impartiality” is an intellectual exercise for you to feel important.
This article is political writing, political activism to improve representation in media. You just want to have discourse for discourse sake. …for some weird ideal of impartiality and intellectual objective debate that gets nobody nowhere. Nobody needs devil’s advocates. Nobody needs reminders to stay impartial. The fight against injustices in societies dont need that. You are wasting valuable time.
Now without any “if”: Piss off!
Oh and also: Not using offensive language is no benchmark for a respectful conversation. If you want to be respectful, you respect the concerns and the causes behind critical writing and not divert a conversation into what you care about.
If you want to be respectful, you enter someone else’s space with consideration trying not to be intrusive if possible. You don’t spill a laundry list of debatable points allover someone’s space.
Maybe you really don’t have a clue how fucking offensive your “let’s have an intellectual debate” in a social activism context is. Maybe you don’t have a clue about how fucking entitled your approach to commenting is or how patronizing your self-righteous claims to impartiality and civility are…
Doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to those who have to deal with your derailing nonsense while they try to get shit done.
Well, look at it from humanity’s point of view: (according to back story)
Peace had just been declared after a 79 year long war, only six weeks since the cessation of hostilities, the Locust launch a devastating and unprovoked attack, slaughtering everyone from infants right up to the senile. Even if the Imulsion mining was responsible for the Lambent transformation, no human had yet taken up arms against them. No attempts at negotiations were made, their only goal was speciocide.
After a decade of fighting a merciless and undiscriminating enemy and losing almost every battle, resulting in the loss of vast swathes of territory, Chairman Prescott decides the lesser evil is to destroy Locust-held cities and strong holds, burning 90% of Sera’s land in a last ditch tactical denial defensive. This tactic killed a countless number of Locusts but also billions of humans. (I am not debating this unfortunate decision, in my opinion that is a criminal amount of innocents and certainly didn’t help with keeping our species alive, not to mention the biosphere that would have been lost or the cities razed – but this happened none the less.)
14 years on, humanity is pushed to the brink of extinction, we number only in the thousands, and yet we still cannot seem to make any small victory last.
Along with the revelation that the Locusts practice maiming, flaying and other torture methods on humans that leave the victim wanting to take his or her own life, the very last Humans have a tenuous hold on to life.
It is not hinted that the Locust are lacking in numbers, they still appear to be an unrelenting and numerically superior race(s) who only wish to see our destruction.
Every single surviving human would have lost most of the people he or she knew during this conflict,
Coupled with the new Lambent threat which was an even worse foe than the Locust, the option of the Imulsion Countermeasure Weapon by Humanity’s dwindling numbers was akin to giving Robert Falcon Scott a hot pie and a Bunsen burner – it killed a race that showed no compassion or empathy towards our own, aswell as a mutant creature whose sole objective seemed to be eradicate all life. And finally, peace, which the Humans of Sera had tried 95 long years to achieve, had befallen the planet, the guns had fallen silent. Marcus was given an ultimatum, and no time. Why is it wrong he chose the deaths of a race that wanted to wipe humanity out of the universe over his own?
Also, according to lore, all of the characters had been born into conflict; they were a hard people, a cynical people, and a tired people.
And then, Queen Myrrah had the audacity to try and take the high moral ground after the war crimes she committed (they’re a hive mind, there is no way they could have happened without her knowledge). That was after she ordered Adam Fenix to keep experimenting until he found a way that will kill Lambent and Human, sparing Locust lives, she tries to be the voice of reason, after having almost an entire races’ blood on her hands.
By no means am I defending America’s foreign policy, I am a New Zealander, we have traditionally had a trying relationship. And I am slightly surprised that you’d expect anything less from an American game developer.
Also, I doubt the addition of the word “bitch” was meant as an affront to femininity, I’m sure had the gender’s been switched, “bastard”, or “dickhead” would have been used without a second thought.
By the way, could you please refrain from liking the dehumanisation of the Grub’s to the dehumanisation of the Jews and the blacks. While I am neither, I’m almost certain that is quite offensive to them both.
One more thing, could you please stop saying that these people are being brainwashed by COG propaganda. Just because our views align with COG’s doesn’t have to mean we’re being tricked into thinking that.
And so I leave you with a question:
Were you Marcus Fenix, what would you have done instead?
1: how the fuck did you circumvent the 500 character comment limit?
2: how the hell do you expect someone to read and address an almost 700 word long comment?
3: Justifying genocide wont get you anywhere here. Even in a fictional context. Since the fictional context has been put in place by the same creators who decided to put the genocide into their game, the fictional context has no justification powers. The fictional context of Gears of War is not an external circumstance in which genocide may or may not be reasonable, it’s an artificially created context by the same people who wanted to glorify/justify genocide.
This is what political propaganda is.
The fact that you are literally looking for a justification for this genocide reveals that you are exactly that kind of sucker for political propaganda that these kinds of narratives try to trap. It would be one thing, if you would just ignore the political subtext and enjoy your game, but now that you decided to critically examine the situation and ended up on the genocide defending side, shows how vulnerable to us-and-them narratives you are.
People like you are the exact reason why articles like this need to be written.
4: Since you are neither a jew or a black person, don’t you fucking dare to lecture me on their behalf.
5: Of course “bitch” is a gendered insult. WTF? And yeah, “bastard” and “dickhead”, even though gendered as well, are not even remotely as significant and problematic here. Gendered insults towards the privileged gender have little to no impact, while gendered insults towards the oppressed gender are confirming the oppressive paradigms. Sexism is not what happens in the moment, it’s the accumulation of instances that create the unequal makeup of societies, so swapping the genders also changes the significance of actions. Feminism 101.
Your comment is basically a list of “the problem the author sees is not there”. If you don’t see the problem WTF are you doing here? Do you want to educate me on being less concerned? Do you want me to give as little fuck as you give? That’s not how that works.
There are people who care and who want to understand, who rather do their homework then to try to convince everybody else to stay as uninvolved uninformed and uncritical as oneself. This website is for them. So, if you one day feel like learning and developing an actual critical view of games, alright, you are welcome here.
But if you want to keep advocating for not giving a fuck like you did here, piss off.
This is why I hated Wing Commander III. The first two games portrayed the Kilrathi as people ruled by an evil, imperialist government but people nonetheless, and understanding and mutual respect between humans and Kilrathi as both possible and desirable. The third game portrays the Kilrathi as inherently evil (American propaganda “Japs”) and retroactively makes a good Kilrathi evil, and ends the war with a genocide weapon (the “T-Bomb”) used to destroy the Kilrathi homeworld, killing billions.
Addendum: yes, III really is that heavy handed and crude. The Kilrathi follow ridiculous “honor codes” that include the ritual murder of prisoners, the Confederation culture is uniformly white American (far moreso than America itself!), ships have American WWII names (Yorktown, Hellcat, Thunderbolt, etc.). The few token non-Americans in WC2 are reduced even further in number, and a woman who played a key role in the second game (Jeanette Devereaux) gets fridged to motivate the (male) protagonist
I think it is easy for you to empathise more with the Locust because of your German history. Locusts, like Germans attacked without previous warning and begun a genocide on an unprecedented scale on others, razing cities and ravaging huge numbers of innocents, and ended up defeated and broken, but for most players it is easier to identify with the other side, the one that fought hard a war of extermination to its end, and ended up winning albeit after heavy losses.
My criticism of casual genocide in fiction comes from me empathizing with nazis because I’m german…
…I don’t know where to start.
I could go over how german does not equal nazi and how in germany almost nobody sees themselves in any way related to or empathetic towards nazis and those who do are shunned by society. How offensive it is that you are using “german” to mean “nazi” like in the fucking 1940s because somehow nobody made you catch up with history. Or maybe how you equate superiority of force with moral superiority. Or how you dare to categorize “most players” as part of the winning side of a war, while nearly all of those players have not fought in that war. And how… okay, I stop now.
I’m think I just leave this comment here. For …uh… reference or something.
Humanity didn’t damage locust caves and cause them to attack – the lambent did. I don’t understand how in this entire article you make no mention of them.
It was the lambent that attacked the locust and drove them to the surface. The Locust Queen contacted Adam Fenix and asked for help, when he couldn’t come to a solution in time, the locust just decided to attack humans and take the surface for themselves. They’re explicitly an entire species of dicks.
The Lambent you are referring to are Locust which are poisoned by emulsion. The Locusts got poisoned thanks to the pursuits of humans who where drilling for emulsion.
Just a reminder, Locusts and Lambents do not actually exist, they do not actually have a history. …they are created by designers.
So even if the designers of GoW would have written a story that conclusively totally and without any room of interpretation made the Locust evil in every meaningful sense of the word… …it still would have been the designer’s decision to do so while at the same time drawing an analogy to real life conflict situations of the USA.
And we would still end up with the same “Genocide to our enemies, yeah, USA, yeah!” sentiment.
Arguing from a diegetic perspective in completely fictional scenarios wont get us very far.
If you want to correct me on game lore at least do your research.
The lambent are a product of humans drilling for emulsion.
God, real life privileged denial in fictional spaces… it exists.
Where in Gears did it indicate that human drilling for imulsion caused the Lambent infection? Not arguing your points here but I’m curious. I recently did a playthrough and don’t remember any history of the Lambent prior to discovering them fighting the Locust in the second game.
I did think it was pretty weird that the game suddenly made an effort to provide some perspective from the Locusts point of view, making them sympathetic, and then killing them off anyway.
I think grim ethical aspects of the Gears of War series are intentional by their creators.
I have only played Gears 1, but already there there were allusions to the past and present of the human society on the planet. The first third of the game happened in a ruined city full of monumental archtecture, which felt not unlike Stalingrad or Berlin in the Third Reich. The larger than life building with columns, spires, statues etc definitely gave the place a totalitarian feeling. This was confirmed by some names of places, that were mentioned briefly (Hall of Heroes, Plaza of Victory – if I remember correctly), also a staple of dictatorships. I think the intention was for the player to ask questions like ‘are we the good guys after all?’ and ‘is this society worth fighting for?’.
From the article I can see that these themes were expanded in the later part of series. I have the following theory on why that is the case: the devs of the modern, self-concious shooters (GoW, also Spec Ops, Bioshock Infinite and others) have realised that the shooter genre is necessarily nihilistic. These are games were the player is a force of destruction, pure and simple. This cynical, nihilistic nature of these games is what supposed to give them their cathartic quality. The increased appearance of these kind of bleak, morally questionable shooters is the result of the game writers and developers realising this fundamental truth and creating themes that go along with it.
What need to be said is that while the vast majority of players are neither cynical nor nihilistic they like to indulge in the fantasy in which they are. This applies to other aspects of the fantasy that games offer – to play the roles of kings, CEOs, warriors etc – the roles most people can’t play in life. So there is absolutely nothing wrong in playing violent games, they do not make people violent in real life. The only objection that can be reasonably raised is that such games might not be the most productive way to spend your free time. But nobody can be 100% productive 100% of the time, unless they want to go crazy.
Umm, I actually kinda like that bleak “larger than life” Stalinist/Nazi architecture. And place names such as Hall or Sovereigns (I think you were referring to?) Its unfortunate that hundreds of thousands had to die for me to appreciate them though.
In a way it gives a sad history to Sera, an unfortunate state of affairs. I suppose I see those winged statues as a headstone of sorts, millions died fighting a war (fictional or real, their choice or not), and they’re monument to all those graves.
I don’t see how this correlation is being made. Genocide is awful because it occurs against our own species- fellow man butchering fellow man to the last scant few numbers that are left alive by genocide.
The Locusts however are clearly not human. They’re a separate species originally seeking to speciocide humanity and have butchered countless humans. They’ve made it clear they want to annihilate all of humanity. They have no rights regarding their existence- as they’re a non-human species that is attempting to compete for our niche as the absolute ruler of the planet.
For one, it isn’t genocide, it’s speciocide. Secondly, I don’t see how it’s ‘bad’ at all. In the game’s universe, they’re fighting a war for survival and vengeance with the Locusts wanting nothing more than their complete destruction. They even tried to negotiate with the Locusts, but it always ended in failure. They simply wanted to butcher all of humanity (and killed off save one percent of the original population) and thus humanity countered by killing them completely off. So instead you wished that humanity simply laid down and let themselves get killed off?
Before you review a game, you should actually bother to research its story.
– article describes how historically the dehumanization/demonization groups was used to justify genocide and how this is done in GOW3 as well.
– commenter ACCEPTS the dehumanization/demonization of the Locust group as valid – which is done on purpose by the designers of EPIC – and therefore now argues, that the genocide is justified.
I rest my case.
You’ve STILL missed the point. The Locust were not written to be sympathetic at all. Humans did not know the Locust existed when they went digging for the fuel, and there was no attempt at diplomacy or negotation. The Locust simply began abject and rampant slaughter. On top of that, the Locust torture and maim people so badly that the only recourse is to mercy kill them because they’re so broken physically and mentally that they cannot function.
On top of that, while the Locust Queen TRIES to be the voice of reason, she fails miserably. Ironic that she scorns the protagonist for the slaughter of the Locust, when she herself was attempting to annihilate the entire human race. She only calls the protagonist (and perhaps by proxy), the player out AFTER she’s lost, after she (for a very short time) holds whatever tenuous moral “high ground” exists. But it’s impossible to sympathize with her considering that, if the roles were reversed, she’d have no problem killing every human being on the planet. So she falls flat in trying to be offended that you’ve wiped out her race.
The problem is that you’ve tossed Authorial Intent clean out the window. Yes, when you substitute the Locust for middle eastern cultures and the COG for the United States it becomes an Unfortunate Implication, but then you’ve also subbed out the context as well. The Locust don’t care who they kill, so long as they kill human beings. Man, woman, white, black, straight, gay, etc. If you’re a human, they’ll murder you.
The genocide is justified in a purely fantastic sense because your enemy is fantastically evil. As the original poster pointed out, in the context of GoW’s story, what was humanity to do? You can’t say “Well they could’ve written it this way!” because that’s a cop-out. ANYTHING could have been written different. But in the original, intended context of GoW, what choice did COG have? It was kill, or be killed. Yes, you could interpret the story as being like oil conflict, but then you have to utterly ignore the science fiction narrative.
“The Locust were not written to be sympathetic at all. ” – same goes for jews in the third reich or africans in times of slavery ect.
“The problem is that you’ve tossed Authorial Intent clean out the window.” Yes, I do. Becasue messages are always more, than the intend of the author. The author’s intend is only relevant when talking about what the author wanted to say, not what the piece of fiction actually says. Media theory 101.
“The genocide is justified in a purely fantastic sense because your enemy is fantastically evil.” – same goes for jews in the third reich, who also just were evil in fantasy. Propaganda is storytelling, fantasy is storytelling. There is no border between the two, except the intend with which each kind of story was written. Again media theory 101.
“Yes, you could interpret the story as being like oil conflict, but then you have to utterly ignore the science fiction narrative.” No I’m judging the science fiction narrative as a framework for an allegory. That’Äs what the whole article is about.
You can deny the connotations all day long, argue that it’s just a story all day long and look for diegetic justifications as long as you like. All you do is displaying how little you care about understanding how stories work and what their social and historical context is.
Please note, that if you want to insist that there is no need to put the story of gears of war 3 into the same context as political propaganda used by regimes to justify real world genocide… … please save both of us the time and do it somewhere else. This point is mute now.
Spielt es denn wirklich eine Rolle, dass die Königin eine Frau ist? Hier geht es doch nur darum dass sie die Locust angeführt hat, die die Welt in den Ruin gestürzt haben. Da wäre ich auch stinkig!
Na klar, hat Marcus allen Grund stinkig zu sein. Dieser Artikel is ja auch nicht über die Motivation der Figuren, sondern über Entscheidungen der ENtwickler (die übrigens Marcus’s Motivation bestimmt haben). In wie weit das Geschlecht der Queen relevant ist, hängt davon ab, in wie weit man Gears3 im Kontext von Spielekultur betrachten möchte. Ist aber jetzt auch bewusst nur als Bildunterschrift in den Artikel gemogelt und nicht weiter thematisiert.