You may have heard that there is a new trailer for Hitman: Absolution that was released in advance of its major showing at E3 in Los Angeles next week. The video (which we’ve embedded below so you can form your own opinion) has a number of different groups up in arms. The trailer depicts a group of assassins disguised as nuns that peel off their frocks to reveal tight, overtly sexual clothing. To suggest that it might not be the best attire for killing would be an understatement.
Regardless of how you feel about the objectification of women, the killing of those wearing religious vestments or overt violence in general, there is a larger issue at play than what gamers think. This trailer is going to be held up as the embodiment of everything bad about videogames. Those looking for a reason to decry the industry need only point to these two and a half minutes. It’s a buffet of everything detractors warn the world about. Violent? Yup. Over-sexualized? Ripped fishnets say, “yes.” Anti-religious? The argument could be made.
The worst part is that there is no understanding of how this fits into a larger narrative structure. For those that purchase the game and are embroiled in Agent 47’s story by the time this scene occurs in the game, it might make perfect sense. As a trailer, though, it’s out of context. It’s shameful that it was very likely the reason it was chosen. We’ve reached out to Square Enix to hear from them about why this scene was chosen and how it fits into the story. We were told that the European team led the effort, and that a response would be forthcoming.
I understand that E3 is an extremely chaotic event, and that even from my years watching the proceedings from home, it’s hard to cut through the noise and make your game stand out. Still, this is the wrong way to go about it. It diminishes the value of the game play experience and carefully crafted world of an iconic character in favor of sensationalism. In many ways, this video serves the same purpose as booth babes, and I had hoped we’d grown beyond that phenomenon.
I had the chance to see a preview of Hitman: Absolution at PAX East. The game looks fantastic, the AI is smart and the action is tense. It offers a great deal of player freedom, while still rewarding those that choose to go the Silent Assassin route. Put simply, this game doesn’t need the schlock put forward in this trailer.
Please, Square Enix, respect us as a community. Respect yourselves as the publisher, and do the proper courtesy to those working so hard on this game. We all deserve better.