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Too Much? A Comment on Profanity in The Walking Dead and Telltale Games

posted by zgamer on - Viewed by 10.9K users

Let me make this clear: I'm not here to say no one should ever swear. I personally don't swear and that's my choice, but I realize that swearing exists and people do it. Sometimes it can really sell an emotion, sometimes it can be funny and sometimes it fits a character or tone.

However, I feel there is such a thing as proper use of swearing. Usually the best examples are punctuated moments, where there has not been a lot of profanity before and then a harsh word is used to make a point. The more casual and persistent swearing is, however, the more I feel it lessens the impact of the writing. There are exceptions and on a whole The Walking Dead, Grand Theft Auto V and other similar games can be tremendously written games even with excessive profanity...

..yet I feel they could be better if they were reined in more. One of my biggest pet peeves in writing is when EVERYONE in a story equally swears like a sailor. Especially when not everyone is a "hardened character." If the nice guy and the rebel just drop casual f-bombs with no consequence, it just becomes gratuitous. They no longer have distinct vocabularies or sayings that only they use or that will make us go "Oh, just like so and so to say it like that."

For me, I feel 400 Days in particular was pushing it. I can handle Vince's story having a lot of swearing since they are criminals, even if it did get pretty excessive with the two black criminals who died early on (because we all know black criminals can only talk to each other with strings of F-bombs, right....? Sigh...). However, seeing it be used very casually with characters like Russell and Shel made it feel excessive. They hardly seem like the characters to be so comfortable using excessive profanity from what we know about them, yet they just talk like everyone else. As good as their dialogue is, it can start to become stale from just being as profane as everyone else. And seeing how The Wolf Among Us is equally casual with its strong profanity, I would really not want this to become a trend.

I know I am and will be in the minority here, but I just would love to share this to the Telltale writers since they are some of the strongest writers in the industry. Just be a bit more controlled in how you use profanity. Space it out, tone down certain words, etc. Sometimes it is fine for a character to drop an F-bomb, but sometimes saying nothing is just as good if not better. I would only hope the best for future projects and I think this could help to even a little degree.

I dunno. Anyone else agree with my ramblings here?

98 Comments
  • But you forget that 400 days are actually 400 days. The Social fabric of society degenerates fast during times of crysis... In the end it's usually signs of agression that keep you safe. Swearing usually is seen as a sign of agression especially when people are angry or pushed into a corner!

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    FreddeN93 BANNED

    I swear every time something bad or wrong happens to me. It's a sign of agression, frustration, and the characters in The Walking Dead have all right to be frustrated.

  • Well I guess we can agree to disagree. These games are rated M for mature and I enjoy the adult gameplay. I would not go to a R rated movie and expect any less. I can remember when Jaws came out and it was a PG movie. Swearing and all.

    • Yeah, but Jaws had very little profanity in spite of that. And again, it's not the fact there is profanity but that the profanity is just so random and thrown about that there's no real value to it.

      And the stuff about characters and social fabrics and whatnot are a bit moot because the writers are in complete control of what is or isn't in the story. The TV show is essentially an R-rated movie, and yet they have no hard R swear words or very little. I'm not saying the TV show is better because of that, but it is possible to have society crumble and everyone not become hard swearers.

  • In my experience 90% of people swear. It's a normal reaction to stressful/painful situations. I don't really understand how swearing could make anything worse.

  • The concept that the English language still has taboo words in the 21st century is beyond my understanding. So a writer can craft a scene where a decaying corpse with it's throat hanging open can chase down a child, but should think twice about having a character say "fuck" because THAT's obscene?

    • I could go on about the use of violence too, but that's a whole other thread :p hehehe!

  • If you have a problem with swearing, don't buy M mature games..

  • Well if I wake up one day and zombies are running around eating asses, my first words will probably be "OH SHIT"

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