Where are the seat belts in games?

3 min read

FINAL FANTASY XV 20161205192142

I didn’t grow up in a car culture city. I grew up taking buses, subways, trains and occasionally taxis, never using a seatbelt in any of those vehicles. However, whenever I was in a passenger car or a plane, I’d buckle my seatbelt. It wasn’t negotiable, it wasn’t up for discussion – get in, buckle up. To this day, the first thing I do when getting into any car is to buckle my seat belt. It’s so automatic that it feels strange if I don’t do it when on game drives or other seat belt-less experiences, which is why it’s so weird that it’s still missing from games.

Having sunk so many hours into Final Fantasy XV to get my platinum trophy, I spent a lot of time watching those pretty boys drive around, and it became a serious pet peeve of mine. Sure, the team of pretty boy friends can take on insanely powerful enemies, dash around the battlefield and survive some insane amounts of damage, but does that mean they’re immune from damage if that fancy car of theirs crashed into another vehicle? They would all be thrown out of that pretty convertible, most likely needing a phoenix down upon impact with the ground.

Watch dogs 2 bike

But Final Fantasy XV isn’t the only game I’ve been playing that’s guilty. Watch Dogs 2 is a fantastic game that I finished over the weekend. I loved a lot about the game, but the driving stuff really irked me. Ride a motorcyle without a helmet, or a car without a seat belt? And it’s not just Marcus who is irresponsible with this stuff. There’s a side quest system where you work as a sort of Uber driver, picking up passengers and driving them around the San Francisco area to where they need to be. And yet, neither Marcus nor his passengers ever put on a seatbelt. (Don’t be fooled by some images, the strap you see across Marcus is actually his laptop bag.)

I know this is silly – we only recently have games where characters walk realistically, where faces actually move appropriately when they talk and they can open and close doors without looking like something out of a horror movie. I know this isn’t a major feat of gaming, or of the greatest importance, but it still irritates me. Most characters get into the car and put the radio on. How hard would it be to add an animation showing a quick buckle up? At least then it would explain why no one ever takes any damage even while bashing into all the things during a heated car chase.

I’m not the only one who’s annoyed. A mod for Grand Theft Auto V adds in seatbelts- if only to stop players from hurtling in to the distance on impact.

Some things are simply normal in our daily lives, they ground us even when everything else seems unreal. I can suspend my disbelieve and accept that a royal prince can fight monsters and warp around the battlefield. I can suspend my disbelief and accept that hacking is simply a matter of solving bathing puzzles. Please don’t also make me suspend my disbelief and assume that physics in the game world don’t exist, that a car crash wouldn’t kill the protagonist, that somehow even luxury cars in that world don’t have basic safety restraints. Besides, think of the positive impact games could have if everyone buckled up; imagine if that saved someone’s life when they did the same in real life.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.

Last Updated: January 17, 2017

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let’s get on with it!

  • I get it if the game is about realism. You see seatbelts racing sims and the like.
    When it comes to a game where the characters are doing things no ordinary humans would be able to anyway then it kind of becomes pointless to add something like that isn’t it?

    • Ghost In The Rift

      Agreed, supposed its all up to the type of genre and if its relevant or in case of games like GTA pointless.

    • Admiral Chief

      Spot on

    • HvR

      Ever since Need for Speed nitroboosted a Tesla they can be “forgiven” for shackling any of their games with realities of car crashes.

  • Hammersteyn

    *How people will still play GTA with seatbelts

    • Ir0nseraph


  • Ir0nseraph

    I must be honest, I am busy with watch dogs 2 and the fact that there is no seat belt animation doesn’t really bother me, and if it’s added I don’t think it will change much for me, except if it’s a slow animation that delays my getaway.

    • Hammersteyn

      Or if it makes getting out of the car take longer, especially in a bounty hunt when you want to use your grenade launcher.

      • Ir0nseraph

        O yes that won’t work at all.

        Look I always buckle up and I didn’t learn that in a game, and I won’t leave teaching my son to buckle up to game, so it’s no concern to me.

  • While I was playing FF15, I kinda wondered why the press have not jumped on that bandwagon already xD

    • Hammersteyn

      The press doesn’t care about Japanese games?

    • No please. Asking the question is one thing. But having this turn in to some social issue about advocating safety blablabla… There are other avenues for that. Gaming where you are encouraged to jump off cliff faces, drive at the speed of light, shooty mac shoot face everything in sight is not the place for this.

      • shooty mac shoot face… the guy from Borderlands 2? xD

        • That’s where I got it! Thank you! It’s been bugging me a few days.

          • lol

            Okie dokie, glad I could be of help.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Because wagons don’t have seat belts.

      • then why do they need stations!?

        • Hammersteyn
          • “fresh” lulz

          • Hammersteyn

            They use quotation marks, stop hating

          • Do you even ENGRISH!?

          • Hammersteyn

            No, but I eat egg salad like a fat kid eats cake

          • Admiral Chief

            And fart like a howitzer?

          • Hammersteyn

            More like an old kitchen door slowly closing

          • miaau

            well, ok then. Um, good to know?

            If not fresh, at least new, right?

          • Hammersteyn

            I didn’t bring t up

          • miaau

            Yes, nobody was talking about up. We get that, at least

            Smiley face inserted here, ok?

          • Hammersteyn

            LOL okay

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          Because they stand still while looking for something to write with!

    • Zoe Hawkins

      Was SO apparently for me in FFXV seeing as there was a whole getting into and out of the car animation anyway – why not add buckling up comments from Ignis or at least the animation when they got in and out?

  • Zoe…asking the important questions.

    • lulz

    • MonsterCheddar


    • Ir0nseraph


  • Unavengedavo

    I have a cousin that use to do crazy stuff, and never drove with a seat belt. Years later she had her 1st kid and everything changed, she started to see the danger in everything and never drove without a seat belt.

    Don’t worry Zoe, I know where this article is coming from. This is your Mommy brain writing O_o

    • You are back!?

    • huh. YOu make a good point. I was just as paranoid when my kid was born. In fact, now that I think about it, I put my seatbelt on just reversing my car out the garage…..

  • Admiral Chief

    Parents that don’t buckle up their kids, or allow them to stand in the middle etc, should be shot

    • Hammersteyn

      shot through the windshield of a speeding car coming to a sudden stop?

      • HvR

        Unfortunately it is most likely the kid standing in the middle that will be the projectile

        • Hammersteyn

          Same should happen to the parents then. Tooth for a tooth, fractured skull for a fractured skull

    • This ^ And the one thing that really pisses me off, is when you tell them to buckle their kids up they retort with ‘don’t tell me how to bring up my kid!’

      • Just reply “No, I’m telling you how not to kill your kid”

        • Dutch Matrix

          Or reply with “No, I am only trying to prevent you from picking up your kid over there a bit, and over here a bit, and again over there a tiny bit… And bring a spade we need to scrape him from this bit…”

          • Wow….. That… Yeah ok but you have a point

          • Dutch Matrix

            I have traveled these roads for close to 15 years now. I have seen some wrecks that makes the blood freeze…

    • Ir0nseraph

      I second this motion.

    • HvR

      And people excusing this behaviour by stating it is an economics issue should get a snotklap as well.

      Freaking kiddy seat at Baby Boom is half the price of a tank of petrol of a family sedan. Cleaned and sterilized one at 2nd hand shop baby shops are half that price.

      • Admiral Chief

        That is on list of top 10 reasons to lose my shit, is to people like this

      • Yeah it pisses me off no end. Not only that but if you can afford to have a baby then you can afford to buy less stuff for yourself and provide for the life you brought in to life if money is an issue.

        Having a kid and expecting the same type of lifestyle you had before money wise is just plain idiotic.

      • miaau

        yeah, we have 4 car seats (two kids, one baby, one toddler), two of them were under R 1000, but still damn good seats, i.e.. safety profiles and so on.

  • DrKiller

    First World Problems…

  • K1FF J1MB0B (sizzle edition)

    It’s called escaping reality. When I’m playing a game I don’t want or need to be reminded about the real dangers that people face each day. If this bothers you then how are you OK with a video game character killing thousands of people during their fun adventure?

  • Admiral Chief

    Seat belts and HEY COUSIN WANNA GO BOWLING should not be in games

    • Dutch Matrix

      I have cousins. They never invite me anywhere. So at least Rockstar got that right in GTA V…

  • miaau

    I do not recall ever stopping at traffic lights or stop sign in GTA V or most other games, either. I just gun it as fast as possible, drive on whichever side of the road feels the best for the next corner and go.

    • Dutch Matrix

      And sorry for the poor soul that wandered into my way…

  • Dutch Matrix

    Oh Dear Lord! It is called a GAME! Not an imitation of real life!!!! If you are dumb enough to drive without a seat belt in real life then you deserve to be splattered all over the N3 north!

    • miaau

      that’s a far way to drive just to get splattered, you know.

      • Dutch Matrix

        Oh I drive that road every bloody day. And people wonder why I am the way I am…

  • HvR

    Just saw this and thought it ties in nicely with this article

  • 40 Insane Frogs

    Just imagine if every time you had to endure the scene wher Noctis climbed into the backseat, Ignis would reprimand him for not wearing his seatbelt. It would have become drinking night fodder…

    I’m only on Chapter 4 now, but I would have snapped the disk in half and set my PS4 on fire.

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