An organization of Swiss policemen wants to ban The Darkness II, which allows the player to shoot cops.
Life is rough for Jackie Estacado, protagonist of The Darkness series. First, he gets possessed by an ancient spirit of unspeakable evil, and now he may be banned from Switzerland. An organization called The Swiss Christian Police Association (CPV) wishes to see the game barred from sale in its native country, due to the player’s ability to shoot and kill cops in a fairly gruesome manner.
“When police in England are the target of mobs running amok, it is important that police are not portrayed as the enemy,” said Felix Ceccato (president of the CPV) in The Local, an English-language Swiss newspaper. Ceccato and his fellow CPV members believe that violent depictions of police killings could incite violence against cops.
Gamesrights, a Swiss association that protects consumer rights, disagrees. “Unfortunately it is not new that certain scenes in video games are taken out of context and deliberately portrayed as the total goal of the game,” remarked Thomas Riediker, Gamesrights co-founder. “Those against deliberately try to misinform, robbing games of their complexity and depth, portraying the most shocking and offensive view.” Riediker plans to launch two big initiatives later this year to educate non-gamers about game content in a straightforward, level-headed way.
The CPV’s view is understandable: Cops have a dangerous job, and very few people would intentionally want to promote violence against them. However, since The Darkness has a mobster protagonist, going up against the police seems like an unavoidable part of the narrative. For now, the game is still on track for release in Switzerland in early 2012.
UPDATE: 2k Games has offered the following statement: “Reported stories regarding police officers in The Darkness II were erroneous. To be clear, there are no police officers in the game.”
Well, that would seem to settle that, now, wouldn’t it?