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A photorealistic first-person shooter played from the viewpoint of a police bodycam has become an overnight internet sensation.
The two-minute trailer for Unrecord, which is being developed by French indie studio Drama, shows a police officer entering an abandoned building and engaging in shootouts with numerous criminals.
Co-director and programmer Alexandre Spindler posted the footage on Twitter on Wednesday. At the time of writing, the footage has been on Twitter for less than 20 hours and has already amassed around 40 million views, with 150,000 likes and 20,000 retweets.
The YouTube version has a further 210,000 views, and has been rated overwhelmingly positively by viewers, with 6,400 likes versus 197 dislikes.
However, the video has also led to a number of debates, with some questioning whether the footage actually is in-game, and others suggesting the hyper-realistic visuals combined with the subject matter may be a step too far.
“This is the only game I’ve ever seen that actually confuses my brain into thinking it’s real,” YouTube user Tingrolla said in the video’s comments. “That’s because it’s not a game but actual footage with filters to make it look like a game,” another replied.
Others pointed out that Unreal Engine 5 is capable of photorealistic visuals, and that the motion blur and grain filters applied to imitate bodycam footage could hide some imperfections to give the illusion of real footage.
Other feedback has suggested the game may prove somewhat controversial given the subject matter combined with the level of detail.
David Goldfarb, the founder and creative director at Metal: Hellsinger studio The Outsiders, said the game looked “very cool” but that it had a “deeply uncomfortable setting and vibe”.
After some suggested he was trying to say the game shouldn’t be made, he added: “Let me be very clear – there is a place for games that make you uncomfortable. Nowhere did I say this game should not exist. Will I want to play it? Dunno. Maybe? Depends what it is.”
“I just don’t think Cop Sim: The Murdering feels great”, he told another user.
Popular Twitch streamer Trainwreckstv also expressed concern, saying: “I’m going to get a lot of hate for this, but this level of realism in video games should be heavily moderated in shooters for anyone under a certain age.
“I hope parents do their job,” he added. “This level of realism for shooting and killing makes me feel uncomfortable, as if I’m watching a real leak from a military or police operation.
“The clear distinction between real and fake is necessary, but this level of realism, in my opinion, gives real credibility to the nonsense politicians have been spewing for years about video games conditioning young people to lose a sense of empathy toward violent tendencies or situations.”