Much like the hair and costume folks for Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, the marketing folks for video games know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to getting attention for their product. And as we’ve seen all-too-often with video games, the go-to advertising strategy is sex, sex, more sex, followed by a healthy dollop of sexualized violence against women.
The lastest game raising hackles is “Hitman: Absolution” — specifically, its new trailer, “Attack of The Saints,” which features “sexy dominatrix nuns” getting punched, kicked and shot at by the game’s hitman hero, Agent 47.
On the one hand, I understand how lots of video games are about violence and while the people who happen to be killed in this trailer are a team of women, it could just as easily have been a team of men.
But it wasn’t a team of men. It wasn’t even just a team of women. Choices were made here: it was a conscious choice for the team of women to be “sexy dominatrix nuns.” It was a conscious choice for the nuns to be slim, sexy, pretty and wearing fetish-y thigh-high stockings with black heels underneath their habits. It was a conscious choice for them to be dressed as nuns (which personally does not offend me because I’m pretty agnostic, but certainly will offend some Catholics). These conscious choices made by IO Interactive, the company that makes “Hitman: Absolution,” are all part of the larger problem of glorifying sexualized violence against women. (Other examples? Duke Nukem in the game “Duke Nukem Forever” slaps and spanks a woman. “Bonetown” takes the cake for the most depraved game in the universe. And I hardly need to tell you about the prostitutes being killed in “Grand Theft Auto.” )
Of course, the “Hitman: Absolution” makers are shocked — shocked! — that some people find a man murdering sexy nuns offensive. “We honestly didn’t mean to offend anyone,” creator Tore Blystad told the gaming blog Gamasutra. Look, I understand y’all need to sell video games. Sexualized violence against women sells. (It would be interesting to find out if it sells more or less so than regular old violence, whether against men, women or children.) We get that you’re drumming up controversy for the free advertising from bloggers like me. (You’re welcome!) But can’t you think of something new? Can’t you think of something fresh?
And please — for the love of God — when it comes to your apology, can you please think of something more original and sincere than “We honestly didn’t mean to offend anyone”?
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.