So this trailer for Dead Island came out yesterday and is clearly intended to be very emotive. It has already sparked debate and hate over its content. Clearly a jaded bunch, many my colleagues found it more humorous than shocking. This led to a polarizing debate which saw two distinct and obvious views on whether or not kids are "fair game" for violence in entertainment. Certainly when it is done in movies, I can only think of scenes where it is done for character development in a "what would you do" guise.The most common setting for this is the done and done, zombie invasion. It is normally the case however that the protagonist is faced with a child who is already evil, dead and hungry for braaaaaains and in only a very few examples do you ever see violence committed against said child. This trailer certainly breaks this convention and kicks it into touch with not only the child being turned into a zombie but graphically shows her termination by her own father; and if that was not enough, the child being hunted down by the encroaching horde. All of this is played out in an extremely interesting way, in regards to direction while using the semi-realistic animation we have become accustomed to in higher end games. In a word, it is chilling. Our debate moved on and we quickly found ourselves discussing children in first person shooters akin to to Battlefield - modern settings similar to those we see in war-torn areas of the world today. The question was raised, asking if the goal was to make these game more and more realistic, what is the next step. With graphics pretty much being as good as they can be, what else can be done to increase the experience and make is more like the real thing. One thing that can be said for most of these games is that the environments are often too sterile, there is no life in them. From a story point of view this is often explained away by the fighting taking place in remote locations where some terrorist base is being attacked. In the real world, this is not the case; where are all the people? All of the life? If the fight is against insurgents, would it not be logical for them to be among other normal people as is often the case in the real world. If every target area is filled with unambiguously evil guys, surely something a tad more tactical than a mish-mash of armed troops knocking on the door is in order. The result is that you have a very unrealistic game, rendering advances in one aspect of realism redundant. You may as well stick with something more like Team Fortress which is all game play and no fluff - the game is arguably better for it too. If realism is the intention then the situation should be just as realistic. There should be children along with a host of other non-combatants in our games; and they should be a dynamic part of the environment. - This means they should want to fight to defend themselves in some cases and ultimately have a danger of being killed with the repercussions that follow. Clearly some thought would have to go into such an endeavor and it should never be seen that killing non-combatants is "ok". If we just added a bunch of civilians running around like headless chickens I honestly believe you have people shooting them for sport or at the least shits and giggles. Major penalties would have to be enforced, something which encourages careful play and endangers the quality of the game-play itself being affected - not just some black mark against you name, a negative score or an auto-ban from a server. Its certainly tricky and would not be easy to get right. The best suggestion I have is to de-level the character (given that xp and levels is becoming the standard) but I don't think this does enough. At the same time, you don't want to prevent someone from playing because as it is you are already limiting the people who will buy the game and you are doing all of this in the end to sell a product. One upshot I would see though is a change in the use of nondiscriminatory weapons such as so-called "noob tubing". I hate when playing a server and they have rules up preventing those weapons because I happen to be very good at using them in the way they should be but never end up using them. The risk of spray-and-pray would be too great.