In writing the script for our project’s dialogue, I’ve run into a bit of a conundrum: Do I include language that might be deemed as harsh, perverse or offensive to some? At first the answer seemed simple as +Michelle Robertson coined it “If you don’t need to, why add it?”

I kind of nodded my head in agreement. “Why limit our audience?” Later, while testing potential voice actors for characters, swear words tended to end up in my sample audio clips. I had to ponder again and reconsider these words that come up so naturally for some.

The 4thWall Awareon story, at its heart, is a murder mystery. I consider that a mature topic.

I also perceive swearing, cussing or cursing as something requiring maturity to use effectively. In terms of storytelling, the language I use may foreshadow plot-points deeper into the game. I don’t intend to pepper offensive speech throughout the game, but it would now seem strange to me to avoid exclamations, or certain words in scenes where harsh speech would be appropriate.

I’m still mulling the whole thing over. I’m leaning toward including this language, but as someone who spent most of my life avoiding these words (not as much anymore), I feel my skill with using them may be stunted. I would only want to include what sounds natural to the characters.

On the other hand, I now agree with Stephen Fry: