Today, in the context of the batch of featured contracts in Chongqing, I discovered there’s yet another NPC who commits suicide in this trilogy.
I’m probably missing some, but it appears to be quite a reoccurring theme in the game:
- An NPC in Landslide after an interaction between his girlfriend and Abiatti
- A gardener in Hokkaido
- Hector Delgado
- Jeremy Bolt, the facility guard in Chonqqing
- Alexa Carlysle
I had missed most of those suicides because most of them were pretty out of the way, and I had only vaguely heard about them. Some of them were presented in an absurd way, like the Landslide NPC simply jumping from a low pier into the water, rendering it quite comical.
But, and I don’t want to seem like a little snowflake, and I know this is just a video game, and it is for Mature audiences who know this game heavily involves death and killing, still I have to tell you that I was utterly shocked when I saw Alexa Carlysle jump off her balcony, and really felt quite uneasy for some time afterwards. Thinking about the scene actually still makes my skin crawl. The fact it came so unexpectedly definitely contributed to that.
I know there’s something paradoxical about my shock, as I was preparing to push her off that same balcony, but the feeling of shock isn’t rational, it was quite emotional.
This is the first in-game suicide I witnessed after following a pretty common mission story, so I’m assuming everyone saw it. And the uneasy feeling led me to the question: did they go too far in including these kinds of deaths in a videogame?
I don’t want to go on a witch hunt against IO, I know they are good people with the best intentions, but suicide and suicidal thoughts are a very severe issue. The gaming community, with an important subgroup of escapists, counts many people coping with heavy stuff in its ranks.
Shouldn’t these suicides be framed better? I’m probably reading too much into it, but we see people jump to their deaths because of romantic or professional issues. I’m not sure this is a healthy message. In Belgium, when a suicide is depicted in fiction, usually there is mention of a hotline where people can turn to if they have dark thoughts. Could IO perhaps include something similar? Or am I blowing things out of proportion?
Whatever the case, I think at the very least in a few years from now these graphic depictions of suicides in the game won’t age very well.