Hitman beats up assassin nuns, is confused by backlash
E3 was a lot more controversial this year than probably any other I can think of. At the top of the list of ‘things people sucked air in at’ was the trailer for the new Hitman game ‘Absolution’, and boy was it a doozy! If you haven’t seen it you should watch it before coming to a moral conclusion because otherwise you’re just being ignorant (fact!), but nevertheless I would be surprised if you didn’t find something a little whiffy about it. For starters, it’s quite violent, which isn’t uncommon in itself except it’s usually men on the receiving end regardless of the gender/species dishing out the punishment. Now while there is something to be said of the whole ‘equality’ issue regarding women being figures of videogame punishment, there is nothing here to suggest that the women are in any way being portrayed fairly or ‘equally’ to their male henchmen counterparts. I now draw your attention to their very obnoxiously, suffocatingly tedious ‘sexiness’ (played here by their skimpy statures and figure-hugging nun costumes), a trait that would only work in the world of bloodthirsty mercenaries if you were a seducing-spy type, not an RPG-totting thin rake of a woman. Combine the two and you have some quite upsetting imagery that reminds one of masochistic-porn (not that I’ve seen any, you understand) and last time I checked Nathan Drake off of Uncharted wasn’t shooting at pouting men in tight jeans and cherry-flavoured chapstick.
Obviously it’s meant to shock, and shock it does, but for what purpose? If it was intentional, which isn’t exactly an unknown marketing tactic, then what I’m doing right now is increasing the games publicity. But people need to speak out and say that this sort of portrayal of women in videogames isn’t progress and isn’t welcome. I wasn’t intending to buy the game beforehand, what with my faith being dashed by the material released so far, but now I feel even less inclined to invest in a company that seems to either: ‘get off’ on this sort of thing; or presume that we ‘get off’ on it, which is far more insulting. And the Hitman games haven’t been squeaky clean up until this point either, what with Hitman 2’s mission in a Sikh temple that allowed you to kill Sikh men at their holiest site, but then that was an issue of game design rather than publicity and the team very humbly removed the mission from all future releases. This time however IO do not seem to be totally apologetic for having caused controversy, rather that it caused so much.
But regardless of all the above and whether or not you think the trailer is okay or not, the fact remains that it is completely incongruous to any sort of gameplay you would expect to find in the completed package, an annoyingly and increasingly common aspect of videogames that suggest many things (an article in itself. Maybe next time?) but which ultimately undermine the game purely by showing you exactly what it’s not. It seems to be aware that as a stealth-based game it may lose out somewhat in a market dominated by action titles and action-title lovers, so it shamefully tries to kiss up to those aforementioned ‘lovers’ by waving its arms wildly and shouting ‘Look! We do hot action violence too! Come see our nuns! They’re dying to meet you! Ha, ha! See, we’re funny as well! The best game ever!’ Tut, tut. Shameful. And to think you used to be cool Agent 47. I hope Diana is proud of you (in-game reference).