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Hitman Marketing Botches the Job, Sells Us Short

Hitman Marketing Botches the Job, Sells Us Short

Tue 04 Dec 2012 9:28pm GMT / 4:28pm EST / 1:28pm PST
Marketing

Just what was Square Enix trying to accomplish with its bully-friendly Facebook app?

Earlier today, Square Enix launched a new Facebook app for Hitman: Absolution that lets users put out a virtual hit on their friends. Users would then tell Agent 47 how to identify the target from a dropdown menu that included traits ripe for bullying (bad odor, "small tits," small penis), and give him a reason why.

The app was quickly pulled, and Square Enix apologized, saying, “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 offense caused by this.”

“Wide of the mark” is a charitably understated description of how culturally tone deaf the app was. It doesn't take a particularly enlightened person to realize that online bullying is an issue. All it takes is an understanding that the Internet can bring out the worst in people, and the barest shred of empathy for people enduring the hardships of growing up. And if somehow people don't come by those traits naturally, there are plenty of heart-breaking stories in the news about it. (Here's a recent one. And another. One more. And don't forget this one. We could go on.)

"Square Enix decided it was acceptable to not only condone but actually enable online bullying because it might sell more copies of their game."

Let's assume the marketing teams at Square Enix and Ralph (the advertising agency that made the app) understand what it is they do for a living and had some notion this app would cause a stir, helping the recently released game stand out in gaming circles among the talk of Halo 4, Black Ops II, Assassin's Creed III, the Wii U, and now Far Cry 3. Knowing that, they weighed the benefits of increased awareness versus the potential downsides of offending the masses and losing control of the public narrative surrounding the game. Ultimately, they chose that the potential rewards outweighed the risks. They decided it was acceptable to not only condone but actually enable online bullying because it might sell more copies of their game.

The app was offensive and insensitive, an indefensible mistake deserving of many more colorful and harsh words. That's not the headline here; we should all agree on at least that much. But as disturbing as the Hitman app was on the surface, it carries an implication that is similarly unsettling when considered it in context of the game's overall marketing plan.

In a talk at the Montreal International Games Summit last month, Square Enix director of marketing Cord Smith detailed the evolution of the game's marketing plan. Smith said that from the beginning, Hitman: Absolution was developed and marketed as the game that would take the franchise beyond its existing fanbase. It was “The Hitman that was meant to go to the masses,” a designation that created tension with the fanbase early on.

After the team showed off the game with the Run For Your Life level in 2011, Smith said the hardcore fans were deeply critical. They said it looked terrible, proclaiming that IO Interactive and Square Enix had turned the series into a straight-forward action game for a more casual crowd. Winning that hardcore crowd back over then became a priority, something Smith said was achieved by releasing other videos highlighting the different ways players could approach each level.

Of course, the most notorious part of the game's marketing campaign was still to come. Earlier this year, the “Attack of the Saints” trailer drew flack for its celebration of Agent 47's brutal dismantling of a group of female mercenaries dressed in suggestive latex nun outfits. In an interview with GamesIndustry International after his MIGS presentation, Smith said he was surprised by the reaction that trailer received, and that it was never intended to shock.

"After the team showed off the game...in 2011, Smith said the hardcore fans were deeply critical."

"In general, you'd imagine any controversy provides increased awareness of the game's existence," Smith said. "So if you're just looking from an awareness standpoint, maybe it's helpful in spite of the tone of some of the comments and debates that went on. But I don't think it was something we would want to exploit, that sort of awareness.”

While that comment might be particularly relevant now, it was actually another part of the same discussion I found myself reconsidering after today's marketing stunt, comments he made about the Hitman community's reaction to the Attack of the Saints outcry.

“I was really impressed with how the fans rose up to represent the franchise,” Smith told me. “Not necessarily to represent the company, and not necessarily to shut people down in terms of a smart, intelligent debate about how we craft, create, or design female characters in games, or is violence against women something we need to take seriously… But within the fiction and the universe of Hitman, these were guys who'd been there and knew the tongue-in-cheek nature of it.”

Putting aside the notion of “Is violence against women something we need to take seriously” being a question up for intelligent debate, anyone who reads the comments on gaming sites' Attack of the Saints editorials knows what Smith is referring to. While Smith might not have seen the response as looking to shut down intelligent discourse, it was clear that when the brand was threatened, its fans flocked to its side with defensive hostility and eye-rolling dismissiveness.

1

Hitman has a track record of questionable marketing.

To recap, Square Enix believed Hitman fans were turned off by the idea that their series changing in an effort to make it approachable for to the masses. Next, it released the Attack of the Saints trailer, embracing all the exclusionary and misogynistic stereotypes the masses believe about the game industry. When observers beyond the series' core audience complained, the fans came rallying to Hitman's defense. After all, the people complaining were the same people for whom Square Enix was gutting the brand, the casuals who would cause it to be turned into just another Gears of War or Call of Duty. Any furor over the nun trailer thus engaged fans of the series and got them further invested in Absolution. Then the game launched, and Square Enix released a Facebook app not just appealing to exclusionary and misogynistic stereotypes, but actually facilitating and encouraging exclusionary and misogynistic behavior. Now we get a flood of critiques from the press, and in turn, more caustic defensiveness from a reinvigorated and re-engaged fanbase.

This whole sad stunt speaks to what little regard Square Enix has for the victims of bullying, and to the publisher's paucity of conscience. But that's obvious, and it's an idea that will be heard from a lot of people today. Slightly less obvious (but no less insulting) is what it says about how Square Enix perceives the gamers who make up its customer base, that they condone misogyny, that they are as narrow of mind as they are mean of spirit, that they can be made to buy games out of spite for people who would be offended or disapprove of their game.

That dim evaluation of the target market's tastes is certainly in keeping with the franchise's previous marketing. In October, GameStop ran a Hitman contest promising to give gamers “a shot at living the extravagant life of a professional hitman,” because apparently killing people for money is something cool and a fantasy that gamers should aspire to. Long before that, the series sparked another debate about sex and violence in games with a 2006 ad for Hitman: Blood Money, which showed a women lying prone in a revealing gown with a bullet hole in her forehead and the tagline “Beautifully Executed” above her corpse.

And for those of us in the media who have been manipulated into talking about this, into increasing awareness of a product for the dumbest of reasons, we must take some small solace in the knowledge that the Square Enix marketers are in the wrong, even if their fans prove them right.

73 Comments

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
It is sad that console gaming is in a cultural cul-de-sac of violence. The industry is plumbing further depths with publishers attempting to out compete each other. A low point for the industry. What will GTAV have to do to shock us.
Just look at the charts. Call of Duty. Far Cry. Hitman. Assassin's Creed. Halo. Dishonoured. Medal of Honor. ZombiU.
What an utter disgrace for what is supposed to be mass market popular entertainment.
There is the whole of the human condition to portray. As books, films, television, theatre, opera and even ballet do far better than us.
No wonder outside observers feel free to criticise us.

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Matt Hewitson Senior QA Technician, Crytek UK

10 5 0.5
At least all this outrage won't grab them any headlines.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

846 732 0.9
Controversy sells. I would not be surprised if all this marketing had the only objective of making us speak about it. Would not be the first time and won't be the last.
The part I also dislike is how this can taint the work of a quite good game like this is.

@Bruce

Did you noticed that, to blame console gaming, you used 6 examples of games that also are on PC? Some of then being violence that obeys to the storytelling and dramatic strength of the game?

Have you ever played Dishonored or Far cry, for example? how do you dare put those tittle in the same sentence as "disgrace" for the industry?
Book do better than us? you say this in a context of violence? Have you ever read "A Song of Ice and Fire" maybe? "Frankenstein"? "Dracula"? ANYTHING from H.P. Lovecraft at all?
Movies maybe? "Thin Red Line"? "Downfall"? "Pulp Fiction"? "Old Boy"?

Allow me to tell you what a real disgrace for the industry is: Marketing people so disconnected from reality that do not even know in which platform the games he criticizes are. Don't know how a CMO can dare and trow such statements...

Ok, now for real: There is a truth in the games industry the affects everyone (and that you don't seem to know); does not matter if you are tester, programmer or CEO. When you speak or write on the internet, you always speak for your company at the same time. So think for a moment the kind of fame you are giving to Kwalee when what we see here is his CMO throwing such misinformed statements in a regular basis.

Now it's up to you, I'm done wasting my time. If I wanted simple zealotry I would go to Gamespot's forums, not Gamesindustry.biz

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters

528 788 1.5
Dishonored, of course, being a stealth game that rewards you for solving problems in non-lethal ways. Even in the Hitman series itself, all the previous games put a large emphasis on NOT killing anyone other than the target.

Posted:2 years ago

#4
I quite liked Myst when it first came out, I loved the adventure of Indy Jones & the Fate of Atlantis, I love that civilixation is both educational, teaches management and strategic skills. Games are interactive entertainment, and like any medium can be used for good, informative and less informative purposes. Dont blame the medium

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Alfonso Sexto
What you say is utterly ridiculous. Other popular entertainment media may contain violence. But they do not have the preponderance of gratuitous violence that the console game industry has. And they portray wider aspects of the human condition. Games industry themes are mostly pretty retarded. Also I do not make ad hominem attacks against people who add to a debate. Neither should you.

Paperback fiction charts:
1) Reflected in you
2) Bared to you
3) Fifty shades freed
4) Fifty shades of darker
5) Fifty shades of grey
6) The Woman Who WEnt to Bed for a Year
7) Wolf Hall
8) Lone Wolf
9) The Innocent
10) Three letters

We look pretty silly in comparison.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Dr. Chee Ming Wong

I blame the suits.

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Jonathan McEnroe Freelance 2D artist

47 20 0.4
@Bruce - Errrr, you can find violence on PC and Tablet games too, not just console games! Hell, violence isn't exactly absent from games that kids play too, in Mario you need to jump on enemies and crush them. There isn't any gore but you're still jumping on something's head to defeat it. I think we need to accept that there are games for a wide range of age levels and violence won't ever dissapear.

"Other popular entertainment media may contain violence. But they do not have the preponderance of gratuitous violence that the console game industry has."

Are you kidding me??? There are a large number of films that contain more gratuitous violence than games do. Gratuitous violence isn't just exclusive to video games!!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jonathan McEnroe on 5th December 2012 11:32am

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
Popular Comment
"It is sad that console gaming is in a cultural cul-de-sac of violence." Yeah, but it's okay to publish shit with names like "Pussy Flip".

Posted:2 years ago

#9

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
@ Chee - have you tried Myst on the ipad? Bought it but haven't really tried it yet - looks beautiful though.

Posted:2 years ago

#10

Farhang Namdar Lead Game Designer

75 47 0.6
Really guys what's the problem here, games are made for fun, the marketing should be fun. Sure this might not be your kind of game or friendly marketing but it does sound like the guys at square don't take themselves too seriously. So their product might suffer from a bit of irresponsible marketing but who cares really? How is this worse than swamping every possible medium known to man 24/7 with advertisements of a game?

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Fran Mulhern

What makes Pussy Flip a shit game? It is the best App Store implementation of a game that in its physical form has sold over 30 million sets. Which has national championships in many countries and which just had its world championship in Holland.

Pussy Flip has reached the top 10 in the board game charts on the App Store in 32 countries and also within the top 10 strategy game charts in 18 countries. So far.

Posted:2 years ago

#12

Sandy Lobban , Noise Me Up

319 231 0.7
Whilst marketing people will always have to ride the tightrope of what's morally acceptable in order to cut through the noise and get some coverage, this does seem like a fairly amateur attempt, if the intention was indeed to grab headlines in that way.

HOWEVER...I suspect this wasn't the case, and its just been picked up on as bad social media integration idea by people assuming kids should be allowed to play a game that's age 18 rated. As an adult feature I think its fine.

Posted:2 years ago

#13

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
@ Bruce. What's the board game called? Pussy Flip may indeed be a good game, but the name is a blatant attempt at sexual innuendo.

http://www.kwalee.com/2012/06/27/new-iphone-pussy-multiplayer-game-coming-soon/

“The cat sounds are hilarious too, purring when you stroke them and screaming when you poke them!”

Then again, with a CMO who once said "We had booth babes, but they were tasteful", and who makes comments about "female offspring", I really shouldn't be surprised.

Posted:2 years ago

#14

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Fran Mulhern
So you concede that Pussy Flip isn't a shit game and that you were wrong. Good. If you had played Pussy Flip sufficiently to form a valid opinion you would know what board game it is based on.
As a student of our website you should have noticed this: http://www.kwalee.com/2012/11/27/kwalee-game-release-pipeline-update/
"Firstly we are bringing out a massive upgrade of Pussy Flip that will even have a name change!"
This because the name doesn't work in many territories' languages.

Posted:2 years ago

#15

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
I didn't say it was a shit game in the first place, and I didn't say it WASN'T a shit game in the second. Pay attention.

Bruce, I never go on your website because, frankly, you've turned me right off anything your studio would produce.

Posted:2 years ago

#16

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@ Fran Mulhern

But if you never go on our website how do you manage to quote from it?
And you did say that Pussy Flip was shit without even knowing what it is.

Posted:2 years ago

#17

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
Popular Comment
Bruce, i'm not even going to bother arguing with you. It's like arguing with a senile grandparent.

Have a nice day.

Posted:2 years ago

#18

Greg Knight Freelance Developer

56 49 0.9
Ah brilliant! This is like The Chaos Engine all over again.

Posted:2 years ago

#19

John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London

486 457 0.9
Popular Comment
Bruce says "we look pretty silly in comparison" to the top ten paperback fiction chart. You do realise that the entire top half of that chart you just posted are tacky BDSM porn for bored housewives? I don't see how that's any better or worse than your average video game top ten full of violent games for bored teenagers.

Posted:2 years ago

#20

Ben Simpson CEO & Co-founder, Box Of Frogs Media

8 36 4.5
Popular Comment
Bruce, I'm surprised Mr Darling lets you out to play with all the damage you do to your reputation and that of your company by spouting so much b*****ks with little actual thought.

Posted:2 years ago

#21

Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

343 812 2.4
So let me understand, games should be free to explore any subject matter, aimed at adults, unmolested by tabloid witch hunts and heavy-handed rating systems... unless they're on consoles, in which case they're just 'video nasties'. No glaring hypocrisy there then!

Posted:2 years ago

#22

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

292 704 2.4
Popular Comment
The No1 reason I read the comments on GI.biz is to see what whacked out bullshit that Brucie comes out with next. My staff think he is funny as hell and we often sit around laughing our asses off at some of the bat-shit insane crap Brucie comes out with.

Thank you Brucie for making my afternoon coffee breaks so funny. It's what we call a 'Brucie Bonus' at the office. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 5th December 2012 2:46pm

Posted:2 years ago

#23

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,287 2,507 1.1
I agree with Sandy. I think the marketers genuinely thought it was a great gimmick and didn't intend for it to be solely a controversial headline grabber. And to a degree, it's not a bad gimmick. The pre-selected phrases may be a bit churlish to some but I can't see this being nearly as bad as many are making it out to be.

Bruce (I can't seem to make it through a single story without having to retort to you in some fashion), gratuitous violence is prevalent in every single entertainment medium on the planet. To lay the most blatant cases solely at the feet of video games is asinine.

And how in the world did you guys not see a problem with the title "Pussy Flip" in the first place? Nobody once popped up during development and made note that 'pussy' is common slang for vagina for a large portion of the English speaking world? Or....was it intentional?

Posted:2 years ago

#24

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Jim Webb

British humour. A homage to Molly Sugden: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unmkX15AeN8

Posted:2 years ago

#25

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,287 2,507 1.1
Yes, Bruce. I'm aware that pussy is not common slang for vagina in the UK but see, I'm an American and know that. How can you be British and not know the American (and rest of the English speaking world aside from England) connotation? Watched many American movies lately with an R rating?

Posted:2 years ago

#26

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
Jim, pussy is very common here. If you stop a woman here on the street and say "can you show me your pussy", she's not going to say "I haven't got one, I've got a dog". She's going to slap you.

I'm sure Kwalee knew exactly what they were doing. the fact that it's a video from 1975 that's used to jusitfy the name, shows just how out of touch they really are. What next? Coming to an app store near you: Queer Bash, by Kwalee. A video game where you hit strange looking shapes for points. But don't worry, the name's just a play on how in the mid 70s sections of the population thought it was fun to beat up homosexuals.

Posted:2 years ago

#27

Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer

482 293 0.6
@Bruce

Pussy is definitely slang for female parts here in England and has been since school days! So calling a game Pussy Flip can't have somehow been an innocent mistake. Having said that, the game itself is a good representation of the board game it's based on but, you really shouldn't have commented on this thread without expecting your own marketing decisions to be called into question based purely on the Pussy Flip name alone!

I strongly doubt many intelligent American Women would find that title amusing in the slightest and would likely place it up there with the people who came up with the hitman nun killing fiasco.

Posted:2 years ago

#28

Taylan Kay Game Desginer, Nerd Corps Entertainment

61 109 1.8
My staff think he is funny as hell and we often sit around laughing our asses off at some of the bat-shit insane crap Brucie comes out with.
We really need a Report Comment feature on this site. This is a very unprofessional personal attack, and its ilk is becoming more and more frequent on GI. It's completely ruining the debate for me. I won't stick around for much longer if things continue to degrade at this rate.

Posted:2 years ago

#29

Giles Smith Studying maths, University of Sussex

12 6 0.5
You are being a bit unfair on Bruce here, how you choose to interpret the title of his games is of course up to you. However it is standard literary practice that when a word has multiple meanings it is the author of the work who chooses the interpretation, so if Bruce professes innocence on the matter then you have only yourself to blame for any offense you choose to take from the title of his games.

Posted:2 years ago

#30
@ Fran - Myst exists on the IPAD! seriously! That just made my day!

Posted:2 years ago

#31

Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent

281 815 2.9
This is why I don't post anymore. Sad reading indeed. Sad reading.

Posted:2 years ago

#32

Taylan Kay Game Desginer, Nerd Corps Entertainment

61 109 1.8
Now if I may take the discussion back from Bruce to Hitman: I hear a lot from people that marketing should walk a tightrope or push boundaries or whatnot, from people who cannot tell the difference between marketing and advertising (Hitman sucks on both accounts). Getting attention is only one part of advertising. What adds to your bottomline is what you say after that. Advertising is a form of marketing communications and its goal is the delivery of a message, usually a compelling reason to buy a product or service. Agencies like Ralph tend to forget the latter part, as the more shocking their creative ideas get, the more visibility the agency itself gets. That the awards in the ad industry are given for creative idea and execution rather than their measurable impact on sales is part of the problem. This whole ugly spectacle will cost Square dearly, but Ralph might just have lined up its next mark because of it.

Posted:2 years ago

#33
@ Fran - many thanks

With regards to Ralph - I wonder how much direction/free reign was had in the development of this app marketing, and if there was any relations with Io, or was it more from a Squeenix marketing front

Posted:2 years ago

#35
I really wonder how many times I've bought Myst now. First the original CD, then probably half a dozen times over the years as new formats come out. Pretty amazing really.

Posted:2 years ago

#36

Jonatan Crafoord Neuron, That Brain

33 55 1.7
I completely agree with Taylan regarding some of the comments posted in reply to Bruce. It would be nice if everyone was entitled to their peacefully expressed opinions and met with a constructive disagreements rather than with insults, even if you think they are wrong more often than they are right.

I personally feel that these statements do not belong here:

"The No1 reason I read the comments on GI.biz is to see what whacked out bullshit that Brucie comes out with next."

"Allow me to tell you what a real disgrace for the industry is: Marketing people so disconnected from reality that do not even know in which platform the games he criticizes are."

"Bruce, i'm not even going to bother arguing with you. It's like arguing with a senile grandparent."

"Bruce, I'm surprised Mr Darling lets you out to play with all the damage you do to your reputation and that of your company by spouting so much b*****ks with little actual thought."

Posted:2 years ago

#37

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

368 1,598 4.3
To be fair, I'm hardly surprised at the reactions Bruce gets these days - he's made himself enough of a reputation for self-serving oblivious waffle on these comment threads that most of us are sick to death of trying to get any sense out of him.

Posted:2 years ago

#38

Jonatan Crafoord Neuron, That Brain

33 55 1.7
That said, I do understand why some people get upset by blanket statements insulting the whole game industry. Perhaps though it would be a better idea to call it out than to return the favor with personal insults.

Posted:2 years ago

#39

Jonatan Crafoord Neuron, That Brain

33 55 1.7
I also disagree with much of what Bruce says, but I do not feel that it is constructive or professional to call him a self-serving oblivious waffle for that. "I disagree with most of what you are saying for reasons x, y and z" tends to suffice.

Posted:2 years ago

#40

Laurens Bruins Jaywalker, Jaywalkers Interactive

135 158 1.2
@Dan Howdle

I have noticed you did. Let me at least having said that your posts are some of the ones I have enjoyed the most. It's a shame that the ones who have the least to say are the ones who shout the loudest. However, please remember that your posts have not gone unnoticed, even if it might seem like that from time to time.

Anyway, I would like to echo your and Jonatan's sentiment in this regard and it's exactly what I tried to describe in the Hitman Controversy thread and the #1ReasonWhy thread. In any case, let this be a reminder to the fact that not everyone is representative of the childish and vocal minority, so don't let it sadden you too much. It unfortunately doesn't change the status quo, but at least know you are not alone.

Good on ya, chaps. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Laurens Bruins on 5th December 2012 10:04pm

Posted:2 years ago

#41

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,218 1,053 0.9
@Jonaton

I was saying this to someone the other day funnily enough. I can understand the annoyance but not the un-professional manor, gets too much and starts to look like another example of on-line bullying, even if the involved parties don't see it that way.

I read pretty much every article here and I have a high opinion on many things but I don't feel the need to berate others, which some do even before their target appears in the comment threads.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 5th December 2012 5:10pm

Posted:2 years ago

#42

Mariusz Szlanta Producer, SEGA Europe

16 13 0.8
I also come more often now to Game biz to read Bruce comments but I have to admit that I find it harder and harder to digest.

Another hero story of Zynga is usually good fun, but that Pussy Flip lie is rather disgusting.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Mariusz Szlanta on 5th December 2012 5:42pm

Posted:2 years ago

#43
Agreed. Talking about Hitman after doing the exact same thing. I was going to make that point.

Oh and I believe the board game is called Othello (lloking at the adverts) just with cats and DrawSomething multiplayer. :-P Given it's one of the oldest games in the universe it's no surprise it sells so well!

Posted:2 years ago

#44

James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada

190 250 1.3
An 'Ignore' feature here would solve a lot of problems. People realizing they're ostensibly professional adults posting on a widely-read industry website would solve a lot more.

I think the advertising campaign is shameless and ugly, and in that regard, mostly indefensible. That being said, it's something you can post to your friends, not random strangers. If someone is your Facebook friend, they've already got the opportunity to bully you at will, so this app was really just an adjunct to an existing problem, not an enabler. I think it would have avoided the controversy and kept the 'fun' aspect if it had removed the physical characteristics feature, or replaced it with the ability to enter your own (displayed as text).

What I think is *really* unfortunate is that it misses the mark of Hitman so widely - the game has historically been about sneaking in, killing -one- target, and getting out. It's not a shoot-em-up, it's a strategy game.

Posted:2 years ago

#45

Liam Farrell

66 13 0.2
Yeah, games are fun. They can be a great escape. But what's fun about a cynical PR stunt that's essentially online bullying disguised as marketing?

Posted:2 years ago

#46

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

292 704 2.4
To those who decided to jump on what I said;

Jeez chill out people, quite a few here find Brucie's comments funny as hell and I just was being truthful. But then again that is the state of the world these days where everyone needs to right some wrong or stand on some cyber soapbox to have their opinion heard. Bottom line is none of this really matters. It is all inane banter with no deep message or meaning. Some will use it as ammunition to fuel their stand on whatever it is that they want to champion on a particular day. Good for you.

Of course I don't think Brucie is a bad person, wish any harm upon him or in fact dislike him. I think he's a funny guy and being the honest chap I am will say exactly what I think. If I don't agree with what he says, I will say so. Whether you decide to listen or take it to heart is entirely up to you.

Posted:2 years ago

#47

Colin McBride Studying MA in 3D Design for Virtual Worlds, Glasgow Caledonian University

35 6 0.2
If I don't agree with what he says, I will say so. Whether you decide to listen or take it to heart is entirely up to you
This is the problem with the internet. Simple courtesy and politeness goes out the window and rudeness is dressed up as 'frankness' of 'telling it like it is'.

Looking at this thread today I'd say that the games industry is never going to grow up until some of those working within it learn to start behaving and conversing like adults.

Posted:2 years ago

#48

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,630 1,509 0.9
@ Colin
This is the problem with the internet. Simple courtesy and politeness goes out the window and rudeness is dressed up as 'frankness' of 'telling it like it is'.
Meh. As Darren says
Some will use it as ammunition to fuel their stand on whatever it is that they want to champion on a particular day
Whilst I'm sure Bruce is a nice guy, his comments are always angled to his interests. I try damn hard to make sure my comments are even-handed, but some here - including Bruce - don't. As such, "this thread" is less about "growing up", and more about acknowledging that a certain number of people have an obvious bias, and how easy it is to mock them.

Which, getting back to the article at-hand (kind of), can be another form of online bullying, if let unchecked.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 5th December 2012 10:40pm

Posted:2 years ago

#49

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,196 1,176 0.5
Yeesh. When will PR folks learn that GOOD games never need these sort of backfiring marketing tricks? Just put out some solid advertising (pre and past launch), concentrate on less gimmicks and let the quality of the work speak for itself at the end of the day.

While I'd never have used that Facebook app at all, I do have to ask a really stupid but necessary question:

What's the difference between targeting friends (or "friends") on one's fb page with insults and a fake bullet and going online with strangers (some of whom try very hard to be friends) and being targeted by similar to far worse insults and many more fake bullets in any FPS these days? If I'm good enough friends with someone, occasional friendly banter with little gentle to harsh ribbing (which isn't taken personally) is common.

On the other paw, i refuse to play another MP mode in a shooter with total strangers online because it's like going to a Don Rickles show (well if Don was on meth and a total racist, homophobe and sexist jerk).

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Greg Wilcox on 5th December 2012 10:57pm

Posted:2 years ago

#50

Paul Jace Merchandiser

955 1,449 1.5
Hitman Marketing Objective: To promote new Hitman game

Current Status: Mission Accomplished

Posted:2 years ago

#51

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

292 704 2.4
@Colin

This is nothing to do with the 'games industry growing up'; that is the one of those silly buzz phrases that is gets bandied around when anyone from the games industry says/does something that someone else doesn't agree with. The games industry is like any other; it is driven by people and those people will come in all shapes, sizes, beliefs and motivations. What makes us so special that we are all supposed to be angels?

C'mon, we make insignificant games for a living that will do nothing to stop world hunger or save the planet and we know it. We do it because we enjoy it, a purely self serving act.

Sure, there are idiots in the world and you can quite happily say I am one of them, that is your prerogative. But don't confuse the 'grow up industry' with what you feel people should act like according to the code of conduct you would follow.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 5th December 2012 11:28pm

Posted:2 years ago

#52

Taylan Kay Game Desginer, Nerd Corps Entertainment

61 109 1.8
What makes us so special that we are all supposed to be angels?
Being a polite human being who can make a case without name-calling and/or character assassination is not being an angel. When you frame basic professional decency as an unattainable utopian ideal, you pretty much guarantee that this medium will richly deserve all the criticism and lack of respect it will garner.

Posted:2 years ago

#53

David Canela Game & Audio Designer

70 156 2.2
Edit: i see there's been enough comments on bruce's charts comment, but since I already wrote it, might as well leave it:
@Bruce:
Errr, do you actually know dishonored? You can play through it without killing anyone (and that modus operandi is encouraged). It's unfortunate its marketing campaign didn't think of a better catchphrase and took something with "revenge". Also, console gaming brought forth titles like flower, journey, fifa, rockband, dance central, gran turismo, wii sports, singstar, ico, shadow of the colossus, heavy rain, the walking dead...

I'm not partial to any one platform, they're all legitimate for their own situations and applications; but mobile might have a lot of catching up to do in terms of that exploration of the human condition that you bring up...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Canela on 6th December 2012 2:00am

Posted:2 years ago

#54

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

292 704 2.4
@ Taylan

There we go again confusing my personal behavior with 'bringing down the games industry' to somehow add extra weight to your statement. I know these comments are generally read by people in the games industry and therefore will not go much further, so the chances of my posts influencing the general public's opinion of the games industry is pretty much non-existent.

Be honest and say it for what it is.

Posted:2 years ago

#55

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
One of the things I did not like about the marketing for this game is that it hardly, showed off any of the game play. All i knew is that it was about killing people, but nothing of the gameplay features was advertised. Nothing that would tell me to buy this game over another because it had something unique. All i saw were grizzly and bloody full motion video cinematics and cut scenes. No real footage from the actual game and very little describing what you do in the game besides killing in differant ways. The "Beautifully Executed" add I would never ever know it was advertising the Hitman game unless it said it. I just see a woman with a bullet hole in her forehead. I mean if your gonna advertise hitman, let people know its a game and the things you can do in it that seperate it from other games, besides kill. And its clear, sex did not sell this game. For all the nuns with huge boobs and sexy adds, it didnt help push as many sales as they hoped. Plenty of porn out there if I want boobs. But if you want to sell me the game, show me the game. The add camaign disgusted me simply because they tried so hard to shock me that I found it rediculouse. Lots a sex, blood and woman getting killed. I guess having hot chiks for enemies in the game is better than killing tough guys. The advertising failed to deliver a message that this was a seriouse sophisticated AAA game title.

Dont know man, I seriously dont know what went through the marketing peoples heads when they came up for the advertising for this game. I know controversy sells, But bad controversy doesnt help sell a game. This game already had so much negative feedback even before anyone played it. Doubt it would be fixed after its release.

Anyway, its just sad when a company has to go so low to sell a product.

Posted:2 years ago

#56

Richard Hill-Whittall Director, Icon Games

31 10 0.3
@Fran - do studios actually use your recruitment services? Because reading some of the stuff you post on here I'd think they would want to give you a very wide berth!

Posted:2 years ago

#57

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
@ Richard. They do indeed. I've recently staffed up Pitbull's entire new Guildford team, working with Epic on developing Unreal, for example. I appreciate your thoughts though:)

Posted:2 years ago

#58

Colin McBride Studying MA in 3D Design for Virtual Worlds, Glasgow Caledonian University

35 6 0.2
Actually it does. While hardly curing cancer, games production is still a profession. That means that those within it should be able to behave like professionals instead of stroppy teenagers. Not being taken seriously is a continual refrain from the games industry and I'd say there's a case to be made for saying that those in the industry are often their own worst enemy in this regard.

Basically at the end of the day, good manners cost nothing. Apart from the fact that it's a better way to conduct yourself personally, it helps instill confidence in the people who deal with you professionally...

Posted:2 years ago

#59

Daniel Hill Marketing and Business Development

8 2 0.3
What an unbelievable thread. It's like being back in the school playground. If you don't like what someone says, then don't read or respond to their posts. If you want to make a point, do it respectfully and articulately. And stop being so pious! Online communities should become self-policing, but that requires a foundation of respect and the realisation that we're all working towards the same goal. Gaming's image has come a long way in the past ten years. You wouldn't think it reading this thread.

Posted:2 years ago

#60

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

292 704 2.4
@Colin
Actually it does. While hardly curing cancer, games production is still a profession. That means that those within it should be able to behave like professionals instead of stroppy teenagers.
No it doesn't.

Again you are confusing my personal behavior with the 'image of the games industry', they are not one in the same. You may have a point if I was on a TV show watched by millions and then started spouting crap, but I am not. I am talking to a bunch of people from within the industry of which I am part, whether you like it or not.

How you define 'professionalism' is entirely up to you. If you find my behavior 'unprofessional' then so be it, everyone has the right to make decisions based on what they believe. I run a company and everyone I know respects the way I conduct myself and my honesty towards people. My professionalism has never been called into question.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Darren Adams on 6th December 2012 2:04pm

Posted:2 years ago

#61

Sandy Lobban , Noise Me Up

319 231 0.7
like a hair salon in here. meoww.

Posted:2 years ago

#62

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

292 704 2.4
Can I have a cut and blow dry please? Go easy on the product. :)

Posted:2 years ago

#63

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
I just need a head polishing:)

Posted:2 years ago

#64

Laurens Bruins Jaywalker, Jaywalkers Interactive

135 158 1.2
Darren, I dont want to speak for someone else, but my point is not that everyone should be angels all the time or that honesty is not appreciated. And, I very much agree that we shouldn't confuse some people's behaviour to reflect the games industry as a whole, a point I made myself in a few recent posts. I also have a bit of an allergy of high horses, political correctness, overinflated opinions and just generally blowing things way out of proportion.

However, namecalling and the likes add nothing to the conversation. When most of the posts consists of "lol Bruce you are an idiot!" or whatever, it's just not constructive. A results of that is that people who actually have something to say and can give new perspectives on things to further to conversation, just stop doing so. And that, at least for me, is a shame, because I like reading what other people have to say about things.

So while I very much agree with parts of what you are saying, I don't think that's the point.

Posted:2 years ago

#65

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

292 704 2.4
@Laurens

Sure, I can respect that. I agree that ridiculing Bruce is not 'good form' (not that I was the only one, but then again I look a good target), but I have been reading Bruce's posts for a while now and IMO he does talk crap. True, I could have kept it to myself, but I don't like to be 2-faced about things.

Don't get me wrong, I do like Bruce and if I met him on the street I would buy him a pint any day of the week.

I will say no more on the matter.

Posted:2 years ago

#66

Laurens Bruins Jaywalker, Jaywalkers Interactive

135 158 1.2
On that we can agree aswell. I already assumed you wouldn't punch Bruce in the face, so don't worry about that. And, I don't want to be a white knight either, so let's leave it at that indeed.

Anywhos... I think we should all have a pint someday. It will be funny. These kinds of forums aren't always the best way to have a conversation anyway. ;)

Posted:2 years ago

#67

Nick Parker Consultant

306 186 0.6
The Jimmy Saville case has shown that what was acceptable 30 years ago would not stand up to scrutiny today. When the UK office of Sony Computer Entertainment were in the early stages of the PlayStation launch in 1995/96, it produced PlayStation branded reefer papers for music festivals and the US office created posters saying that PlayStation was more powerful than God. We have to be sensitive to the times.

Posted:2 years ago

#68
GI biz night pub crawls would be ace!

Posted:2 years ago

#69

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
I don't mind ad hominem. It shows that the person making it has lost the argument. That they have no valid reply so all they can resort to is personal insults.
Some people on this thread really have sullied their professional reputations and even their businesses. If they resort to hurling insults instead of engaging in civilised discussion do you really want to know them?
And yes, it does reflect very badly on the industry when supposed industry professionals cannot engage with each other and respect each other's views.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bruce Everiss on 7th December 2012 9:42am

Posted:2 years ago

#70

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

292 704 2.4
Bruce, I have no problem with you as a person but I do think you talk crap. I also was truthful when I said I read the comments to see what you are going to say next. There was no argument or message in my post apart from taking the mickey, if that has offended you personally then my apologies.

Though as I have mentioned before, what I say does not reflect badly on the industry because it will never get outside the industry. Stop trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

Posted:2 years ago

#71

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D

863 707 0.8
Bruce, I assume your comment is a reference to my comment about you and senile grandparents. I completely stand by that. You never listen, and, frankly, you seem to come on here just to troll - I think you take the view about all publicity etc. Instead of accepting, or even arguing, that Pussy Flip was a blatant attempt at sexual innuendo, all you did was make inane comments about "oh, you had to read our website to get that", etc, etc. So before you start criticising anyone else, I'd suggest you take a look at your own obvious arrogance - from the feedback on the comments I'm obviously not the only one who is, frankly, bored of you. you can make all the comments you want about professionalism, but I'd suggest you look a lot closer to home before you even think of doing so. As for me, I'm more than secure with the relationship I've got with studios - and individuals - I work with. No skin off my nose if it bothers you or some others on here.

And if you're offended, big freaking deal. There are wars going on and people dying and being exploited all over the world as we sit here in our comfortable chairs and throw arguments over the internet. Bruce, or someone else on this thread, is all upset because of something someone said in an argument on an interwebs site? "Oh, stop the world, I need to get off, I'm all upset." Get a grip ffs. Richard, that goes for you, too.

Bruce, once you start taking a line other than "consoles are dead, the future is what my current employer does", then maybe you'll get the respect you seem to think you deserve on here.

And yes, an ignore feature would be awesome here.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Fran Mulhern on 7th December 2012 11:18am

Posted:2 years ago

#72

Abraham Tatester Producer

71 53 0.7
Bruce,
You don't voice "views," you merely support your agenda and spray marketing for your cheekily named games. Trust me, it's certainly not ad hominem when I say that the majority of us here would love it if you went away or just stopped posting. GI.biz was a far more collegial place before you came along. I've been reading Fran's posts on this site for much longer than yours and I have come to appreciate his insight. I only wish you cold offer the same, but by now, it's clear that you can't.

And the only thing reflecting badly here are your posts on your company. "Some people on this thread really have sullied their professional reputations and even their businesses."? Yeah, take a look in the mirror.

Posted:2 years ago

#73

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