God of War Director Responds to Donald Trump Blaming Video Games for Shootings

The director of the video game God of War is skeptical about President Donald Trump partially blaming mass shootings on video games.

The United States is facing a horrific loop that appears in no danger of changing anytime soon. Somewhere, someday, there is a horrific mass shooting that makes national news, and politicians offer variations on thoughts of sympathy and vague statements of prayer while doing little or nothing to curb gun violence. Indeed, the only recent action was President Donald Trump reversing the Obama era regulatory rule that had restricted those who had “mental impairments” and needed help managing government benefits from buying a gun, including the kind of assault weapons used this past weekend in nightmarish shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

So President Trump standing in front of a microphone and promising change again is hardly surprising, but given one of the primary aspects of American culture he holds responsible is video games—and not, say, personally referring to Hispanic migrants at the border as an “invasion”—it is understandable if you maintain some skepticism. One such person is Cory Barlog, the video game director of popular M-rated games God of War II (2007) and the God of War remake (2018).

Taking to Twitter, Barlog wrote, “Wait… that’s it???? Violent video games and mental health? Not the high powered weapons of war being sold to civilians by the millions that are actually being USED to carry out these acts of domestic terror??”

Barlog is referring to statements Trump made Monday about the shooing in which the President of the United States said, “We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now common place. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence.”

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While it is hard to argue that we live in a culture that celebrates violence, it is easy to wonder if that celebration comes more from a society that sells weapons designed for the battlefield to people who claim they will use it in their backyard. For example, Japan has the biggest video game revenue per capita in the world, yet there are less than a dozen gun-related deaths per year in that country whereas, in 2017, there were 39,773 reported gun-related deaths in the U.S., which was up more than a thousand from the year before that. So maybe the difference between the two is more than video game culture?

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David Crow is the Film Section Editor at Den of Geek. He’s also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. Read more of his work here. You can follow him on Twitter @DCrowsNest.