There is indeed a very fine line between what is socially and morally acceptable and what is not. Unfortunately, Square Enix finds itself being accused of stepping over the line with the “Attack of the Saints” trailer of Hitman: Absolution.
I am a huge fan of the Hitman franchise and coming across the trailer on YouTube was nothing short of a treat for me.
The way Agent 47 is attacked by his former comrades, Saints, and how he quickly adapts to the situation to turn the tables by bringing their life to an end swiftly and skilfully had been gasping for breath. I was literally stunned with the awesomeness of the whole video.
Since the very first game in the series, the main protagonist had been depicted as one of the best assassins in the world and that is exactly I and many other had expected of him in case he was attacked.
However, it turned out that people were not too happy about Square Enix generously depicting violence and sexualised women in the trailer.
These critics alleged that the ad not only glamorised violence against others, particularly women, but also condoled it.
They further went on to criticise the studio that produced the trailer for portraying women in such a demeaning manner, putting them in outfits that is normally worn my dominatrix. These PVC-clad women were also depicted as nuns at the beginning of the trailer, something that added fuel to the fire.
Calling the depiction of violence and women as sexualised stereotypes offensive and depressing, the critics just could not seem to get enough of grilling the publisher and developer and the studio that produced the trailer, going as far as filing a complaint against it with the ASA.
While everyone is entitled to their opinions, I am still struggling to understand why such a huge uproar was caused by the trailer.
First of all, it was a trailer of the latest offering in the Hitman franchise, a series that is based on an assassin who takes his targets out. If anyone has a problem with violence, then why would they even want to search for a trailer of such a game?
Secondly, saying that just because a game shows a man killing women, the developer or publisher is glamorising the act or condoning it is pure rubbish. If that is the case, why are games with men killing each other acceptable? Is it okay for a man to kill another man?
The thing to understand is that games are meant to be taken as games and nothing more. It is the same case with films, where there are both violent as well as sexual acts. It does not mean that the gamer or audience is trying to be influenced into doing those things.
Thirdly, the trailer was placed behind an appropriate age gate, which Square Enix mentioned as well. YouTube users needed to log in and provide their date of birth in order to access the trailer and thus the underage viewers are kept away from the video. That is the most that could have been done and that is exactly what the official uploader of the trailer did.
People seem to be searching for opportunities to start making a fuss over something. I really appreciate ASA’s decision to reject the complaints filed against the video and allowing it to remain as it is on YouTube. The audience really need to start showing more maturity.
Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the editorial policy of Wishfree.com.