IO Interactive says it wasn’t trying to stir up controversy with last week’s Hitman: Absolution trailer.
By now you’ve no doubt seen and probably formed an opinion about last week’s trailer for Hitman: Absolution, but on the off-chance that you’ve missed it, it goes more or less like this: a group of smokin’ hot nun assassins wearing light bondage undergarments attacks Agent 47 and he messes them up badly. Some people thought the video was silly, others found it offensive, and still more were offended by the apparently shabby treatment being given to their beloved Hitman franchise.
But Hitman studio IO Interactive apparently saw none of it coming. “We’re sorry that we offended people – that was truly not the intention of the trailer,” Game Director Tore Blystad told IGN. “We were surprised that it turned into such a huge topic. Something similar happened with our Sniper Challenge pre-order bonus… We just wanted to make something cool, it wasn’t the intention to stir up anything.”
The trailer is actually based on a level in the upcoming Hitman: Absolution called “Attack of the Saints,” in which the Agency sends a team of female assassins to punch 47’s ticket once and for all. As for why they’re dressed like nuns, Blystad explained that it’s a combination of the game’s natural extremism and the influence of film directors like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.
“The grindhouse theme is something that we’re using throughout the game,” he said. “It tends more towards sixties exploitation movies – these were a fascination [for us] because they were so extreme.”
I can buy Blystad’s story that the trailer wasn’t meant to be taken quite so seriously, but his statement that it wasn’t intended to “provoke” people is nonsense. The specific purpose of promotional trailers is to inspire a response; otherwise, what’s the point? I also have a hard time believing that nobody at IO saw any potential problems with the video. They aren’t “real nuns” (or even real people) but given the relative immaturity and insecurity of the videogame industry, surely somebody, somewhere, must have paused for a moment to consider the implications of graphically wiping out a squad of Holy Sisters. Not that I’m suggesting the video shouldn’t have been released, but claiming surprise over a not-entirely-positive reaction to it strikes me as just a tad disingenuous.
Hitman: Absolution comes out on November 12 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.