Games

How not to turn child abuse into a game

A trailer for David Cage’s Detroit: Become Human hints at the danger of trivialising sensitive social issues

To what extent might a semi-autonomous robot maid be able to intervene in domestic abuse cases of the future? The question underpins Detroit: Become Human, a forthcoming PlayStation game directed by the French game maker David Cage.

Last week, during a press event held in Paris, Cage showed footage of the game, due for release next spring, in which Kara, an android housekeeper, bears witness to an American father’s psychological and physical abuse of his daughter. “What are you looking at?” the man demands over a fraught dinner, as the girl, Alice, winces.

The deeply troubling implication is that, to escape violence, a victim need only make the 'correct' choices

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