Though the discussion of violence in games is usually triggered by some misinformed attack by the national press, recently there has been a far more measured debate over the gore-fest of titles on display at E3.
A confluence of arguably excessively brutal trailers and an overwhelmingly gratuitous E3 has forced players, developers and reporters have been forced to step back and think about the place violence has in video games
Warren Spector - the co-creator of classic titles such as Deus Ex and System Shock - recently said he was concerned with the intensified levels of gore in games.
"The ultra-violence has to stop," he said. "We have to stop loving it. I just don't believe in the effects argument at all, but I do believe that we are fetishizing violence, and now in some cases actually combining it with an adolescent approach to sexuality. I just think it's in bad taste."
In the spirit of betterment, CVG has looked back through the E3 archive and picked out games that could grow into something better if they toned down the violence.
God of War: Ascension
Hear us out. This may be a tough pill for some fans to swallow, and it's understandable that some people believe that tearing through anything and everything on a whim is a routine component of the God of War experience.
However, God of War: Ascension could benefit if Sony Santa Monica put more context into Kratos's methods and motivations. The last three games and two spin-offs have all been about mercilessly murdering deities due to a galactic level of anger-management issues.
There was a time when Kratos was driven by a desire to absolve himself of the sins he committed in desperation. The guilt plaguing him made his objective in the first game simple: serve the gods and topple Ares, the treacherous god of war. In return he'd have his sins forgiven and be free of his personal nightmares.
And then came the sequels. With his task complete, Kratos continued to maim and mutilate his way through four additional games. Kratos started off as a character that we could understand on some level, but over the years it's become difficult to relate to him, we're too busy drowning in a pool of blood and guts to figure out what's driving him anymore.
God of War: Ascension, which in terms of narrative is essentially the preface, could be a good opportunity to ground Kratos once again.