Update: Threaten Your Friends With Hitman Facebook App

Update: Threaten Your Friends With Hitman Facebook App

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An app promoting Hitman: Absolution is sure to spark some controversy.

Like communism, some ideas work well on paper and tend to falter when it comes to real-life implementation. Take the latest ad campaign for Hitman: Absolution, for example. The game features a remorseless assassin taking out targets in a brutal but efficient manner, so a social media campaign in which you can "assassinate" your friends does make a modicum of sense. However, the Hitman: Absolution Facebook app that materialized may have gone a bit too far. The program allows you to put a hit on a friend, for reasons including "bad fashion sense" and "cheating on her partner," then customizes a video for your target that shows Agent 47 putting a sniper round through his or her skull.

The app itself is fairly simple: Select a target from your list of Facebook friends, choose an identifying feature that he or she possesses, then specify a reason why he or she deserves to shuffle off this mortal coil. The appearance descriptions and justifications range from the simple ("her shortness;" "she's on Facebook far too much") to the bizarre ("his silly moustache;" "he supports a crap football team") to the borderline offensive ("her small tits;" "she works at a job she hates").

While the unfortunate victim has to agree to let the app access his or her personal information in order to view the video, the resulting ad takes full advantage of whatever it's been given. The Hitman: Absolution app uses a profile picture to show Agent 47 stalking the target, announces birth date and relationship information to identify him or her (I got "romantically unattached, for obvious reasons"), and finishes with the titular hitman firing a sniper rifle right after a montage of additional photos.

To recap: The Hitman: Absolution app makes it possible to send a death threat to a small-breasted Facebook friend for cheating on her spouse, or suggest that a lazy friend identifiable by his big nose should get one right between the eyes. The idea behind it is understandable, given the nature of Agent 47's work, but it's not over-the-top enough to be an outright joke, and Hitman's protagonist tends to target crime bosses and enemy spies, not fashion victims. Expect to see some controversy following this app in the days to come.

Update: The app, formerly located at hire.hitman.com, appears to redirect to the main Hitman: Absolution website now. At present, there is no way to access the program.

Update: Following the removal of the app, Square Enix issued the following statement.

Earlier today we launched an app based around Hitman: Absolution that allowed you to place virtual hits on your Facebook friends. Those hits would only be viewable by the recipient and could only be sent to people who were confirmed friends.

We were wide of the mark with the app and following feedback from the community we decided the best thing to do was remove it completely and quickly. This we've now done.

We're sorry for any offence caused by this.

Source: Hitman: Absolution via Rock, Paper, Shotgun

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So, taking bets, how long before someone gets arrested because they sent a death threat with this?

Just a Heads up, they seem to have pulled the app down.

Also, the PR team really really really needs a good slap and wakeup call on all this really stupid marketing.

They pulled it down really fast, I kinda doubt that they really wanted to use that app. Maybe someone put it up by mistake or maybe Square's PR department really is full of idiots.

Reminds me of that Splinter Cell promo where they had actor terrorists actually take hostages...

I was just wondering: did they include a way for the target to find out who ordered the hit?

What seems to go through the minds of these game company PRs during meetings anyway?

Idiot 1: "Okay they sexy nun killing was a great controversy, but we need to think of something better."
Idiot 2: "Well how about we make an app that allows you to place a hit on your Facebook friends?"
Idiot: "Brilliant! With this more people will want to buy our game! Nothing in that plan seems wrong at all."

After implementing this plan the two idiots then when to go and sniff some glue. Seriously what is with moronic PR teams!? Square you're just hurting yourself. Just release Versus XIII and Kingdom Hearts 3 already and I'm sure we can let this pass.

This is ridiculous. This is starting to remind me of some of the other famous marketing blunders in recent years.

But which is best?
Hitman's poor taste sexy nun slaughter and death-threat facebook app that insults your friends genitalia size?

EA's "Sin to Win" promo with Dante's Inferno, and their fake religious protestors?

The Godfather II game sending reviewers actual, real, illegal weapons with their review copies?

Sony's God of War II party, with topless women and a goat whose innards were yanked from its mouth?

Sony's ill-advised "The White PSP is coming" billboard, showing a white woman aggressively assaulting a black woman?

Acclaim's EVERYTHING, ranging from naming your baby "Turok" to offering to pay to put advertisements on your dead loved one's gravestones to offering to pay people's speeding tickets if they broke the law to promote their racing game?

Neronium:
What seems to go through the minds of these game company PRs during meetings anyway?

Idiot 1: "Okay they sexy nun killing was a great controversy, but we need to think of something better."
Idiot 2: "Well how about we make an app that allows you to place a hit on your Facebook friends?"
Idiot: "Brilliant! With this more people will want to buy our game! Nothing in that plan seems wrong at all."

*Legal come by after putting down the last fire*

"Okay guys, we figured we'd look over other games after putting out the Final Fantasy XIV debacle. The rest of you aren't opening us up potential lawsuits, righ... HOLY SHIT! WHAT THE F--K IS THAT!?! PLEASE TELL ME THIS IS AN OFFICE PRANK AND YOU'RE NOT PLANNING TO ACTUALLY SHIP THAT!!!"

damn it!

i wanted to put out a "hit" on square enix's PR department.

The whole game is like this - it's not just the marketing. I think IO's just 12 year old boys going tee hee about boobies and pee pee.

Trishbot:
This is ridiculous. This is starting to remind me of some of the other famous marketing blunders in recent years.

But which is best?
Hitman's poor taste sexy nun slaughter and death-threat facebook app that insults your friends genitalia size?

EA's "Sin to Win" promo with Dante's Inferno, and their fake religious protestors?

The Godfather II game sending reviewers actual, real, illegal weapons with their review copies?

Sony's God of War II party, with topless women and a goat whose innards were yanked from its mouth?

Sony's ill-advised "The White PSP is coming" billboard, showing a white woman aggressively assaulting a black woman?

Acclaim's EVERYTHING, ranging from naming your baby "Turok" to offering to pay to put advertisements on your dead loved one's gravestones to offering to pay people's speeding tickets if they broke the law to promote their racing game?

Hmm, I'd add to that list but the ones I can think about are merely "Really freakin' stupid" instead of "Downright offensive."

My vote goes to "Throw them all in the trash compactor"

If Squeenix would've stuck to their guns, I would've supported them. People without a sense of humor could've just declined, when they were asked if they allow this app to use their information.

So.. a little facebook thingy that would have gone by entirely unnoticed, is now bringing attention to their game across most gamer-centric media sites.. and yet we're calling their PR department stupid?

Yeah.. stupid like a fox.

I think the app is actually kind of amusing.

I can see why this would be controversial, but, I'm just saying, if the human race was the Very Odd Race none of this would've happened.

First the trailer, now this. I do believe Square Enix has successfully dethroned EA for the title of most tasteless PR in games.

Congratulations?

Trishbot:

Sony's ill-advised "The White PSP is coming" billboard, showing a white woman aggressively assaulting a black woman?

To be fair on this one, there were also billboards where it was the black woman doing the dominating.

Kwil:
So.. a little facebook thingy that would have gone by entirely unnoticed, is now bringing attention to their game across most gamer-centric media sites.. and yet we're calling their PR department stupid?

Yeah.. stupid like a fox.

^This person gets it.

However, it wouldn't have gone by unnoticed...IF it had even been meant to be released in the first place.

Wow, this much just be the dumbest thing I've ever read. How did Square Enix think people were going to react? Regardless of what us gamers familiar with Hitman think, as soon as some who's never heard of the franchise sees this of course they will freak out. To them it understandably must seem like the baddest of taste. Hitman just can't get enough of that controversy, can it?

while it sounds crazy, you have to admire the ridiculous amount of dedication that the developer had when they were making this really creepy app

if i were a serial killer in need of a pr campaign i'd definitely hire them

 

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