Nuns, Guns and Agent 47, the Hitman Absolution trailer that ignited a firestorm of controversy surrounding accusations of rape culture and sexualized violence, "truly represented the vision of the developer," the president of Square Enix Americas tells Polygon. "I'll tell you the one thing that really bothered me about the reaction was people who said this was just like a crass marketing move to get attention because it truly represented the vision of the developer," Mike Fischer said during an E3 interview.
"Nuns, Guns and Agent 47," the Hitman Absolution trailer that ignited a firestorm of controversy surrounding accusations of rape culture and sexualized violence, "truly represented the vision of the developer," the president of Square Enix's Americas tells Polygon.
"I'll tell you the one thing that really bothered me about the reaction was people who said this was just like a crass marketing move to get attention, because it truly represented the vision of the developer," Mike Fischer said during an E3 interview.
The trailer sparked a strong reaction when it hit in late May, with some saying the video — which shows Agent 47 meticulously killing every member of a band of female assassins dressed up as sexy nuns — was juvenile and unnecessarily brutal. A number of writers pointed to the video as the latest sign of a video game rape culture.
The trailer of the IO Interactive-developed game depicts a group of assassins in the game called The Saints, Fischer said, and a level called "Attack of The Saints."
"Disguise was a huge component of the game," he said. "And they just decided to disguise themselves as latex nuns."
Fischer said he thinks that people upset by the trailer are taking it out of context.
"You know the game. You've played the game," he said. "It's got over-the-top violent action. It's got crazy sexy characters in costumes all through it. For people who know the game, they recognize that as being true to the spirit of the game. I think it's the people who are always looking for an excuse to take something from the video game industry out of context."
Fischer's remarks came before IGN published their interview with Hitman Absolution game director Tore Blystad in which he apologized for offending people.
In that interview Blystad also said that the video wasn't created to offend or shock.
"It really came as a big surprise to us how it all went down," he told IGN. "It was never the intention to provoke people with it."
"I want to make a kickass game that makes people say ‘Now I understand why we had the latex nuns."
Fischer pointed out that "real fans" of the series were also upset by the video, but for a different reason.
"The other thing that you could tell that the real fans were the ones who said, ‘Hey! This is all action! I don't see any stealth!'," he said. "And it's like, ‘OK, here's someone who's paying attention.'"
While the trailer depicted a much more in-your-face Agent 47, one who doesn't use stealth to kill, but rather direct, brutal attacks, Fischer said that doesn't mean the game won't allow for a stealth approach.
"The game allows you to plan your kills almost any way you want to," he said. "And you can go in stealthy or you can go in guns a-blazin', and different situations require different approaches. It also depends on how you want to play."
While Square Enix is aware of the negative reaction to the trailer, it won't spur any changes in how the game is developed, Fischer said. He doesn't think, he said, that the reaction points to some sort of sea change in what gamers want or expect from their games.
"I think if you try to come up with the flavor that's going to please everyone, you end up with cafeteria food," he said. "And I don't want to make cafeteria food. I want to make crazy, spicy entrees and over-the-top chocolate desserts that some people are going to love and some people may intensely dislike.
"I want to make a kickass game that makes people say ‘Now I understand why we had the latex nuns.'"
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