Bodycam – The new shooter that provokes ethical questions

Bodycam (source: Steam)

Bodycam is a brand new first-person shooter game that has been released on the 7th June. Since its release it has taken the Steam world by storm with over 16k online players. This ultra-realistic title which runs on Unreal Engine 5 puts players in the perspective of law enforcement officers on a mission. And while the photorealistic graphics of the game are stunning good they are also sparking debates about ethics and the portrayal/interaction with violence.

Blurring lines between real and game world

If you haven’t seen footage of the game let me summarize it like this: sometimes real life has worse graphics. Jokes aside the realism this game provides comes close to the early UE5 Unrecord game teasers we have seen one year ago. And while Unrecord has not been released yet Bodycam is right now available on Steam for everyone to download. Similar to the idea of Unrecord the players navigate tense situations, need to make fast decisions and utilize really good tactics. As the name implies the perspective of the game is from a bodycam, a growing technology in actual law enforcement, situated on the shoulder of a police officer. While this whole experience is incredibly immersive and may early reviews praise the game for it there are also other voices questioning if game can not be too real. The ever old discussions if the violence in video games can be differentiated enough from real life (especially from younger players) rises to new levels when the game increasingly looks like the reality.

Morality and use of Force

(source: Bodycam/steam)

The in-game scenarios place players in morally difficult situations. When to use force? How to de-escalate tense encounters? These are complex decisions real police officers face daily. Critics argue that games like Bodycam simplify these ambiguous situations, potentially giving players a wrong perception of police work and the appliance of force. In the end nobody knows if people even want their video games to be so realistic or if a bit of distance to the real life might be desirable…

Round up

Despite the controversial takes on this new game it is safe to say that from a graphics standpoint this truly is the future of photorealistic games. An while the game is currently still more of a playable tech demo of Unreal Engine 5 it shows what is possible with these new technologies. Additionally it should also be noted that this game is made by two very young developers (17 and 20). Big respect to them for creating such a innovative and interesting technology demo. It will be truly fascinating what kind of realism levels UE5 will be able to accomplish.

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