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Square-Enix pulls controversial Hitman ad campaign

Square-Enix pulls controversial Hitman ad campaign

Tue 04 Dec 2012 3:55pm GMT / 10:55am EST / 7:55am PST
AdvertisingPublishing

Publisher forced to retract "assassination" app after industry outcry UPDATE: Square-Enix statement issued

Update

Square-Enix has issued a statement explaining the app's disappearance.

"Earlier today we launched an app based around Hitman: Absolution that allowed you to place virtual hits on your Facebook friends," the statement reads. "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 offense caused by this."

Original story

Square-Enix has immersed itself in negative publicity over the Hitman series once again with a Facebook campaign which invited users to put a "hit" on their Facebook friends.

The campaign asked fans to pick a derogatory feature to "identify" the victim by, including "small breasts, ginger hair or a small penis" - an insult which was then read out over a video in which Agent 47 was seen preparing a sniper rifle and firing a single shot after studying the Facebook profile video of the target.

The campaign, by "BAFTA winning creative agency Ralph," has now been pulled, after less than four hours.

"The Hitman facebook advertising thing is just all the kinds of messed up. How did anyone think this was a good idea?"

Jos Hendriks, designer at Bioware

The campaign immediately raised ire amongst both the gaming press and other developers, with several figures highlighting the potential damage to vulnerable figures and its possible use as a cyber-bullying tool. Although it has not yet issued an official statement, it seems fair to assume that the campaign has been pulled due to the public reaction.

Some have raised the concern that the campaign would enable the sort of online bullying which has already lead to several young suicides this year, such as those of Amanda Todd, Eden Wormer, Amanda Cummings and Lennon Baldwin.

"I think we just witnessed a game marketing campaign going live and being killed after an hour over popular reaction. That has to be a record."

Giordano Contestabile, Executive Producer - Bejeweled franchise at PopCap Games.

One survey has estimated that a quarter of all children face cyber-bullying, with another study finding 41 child suicides linked to online bullying since 2003.

It's far from the first controversy to embroil the Hitman series. Previously, an ad campaign featuring women dressed as nuns, who then stripped off to reveal PVC fetish gear before attempting to kill Agent 47, resulted in a flurry of editorial and Twitter commentary both condemning the video and offering support to IO Interactive. Previous campaigns for the series have also included a picture of a woman, sprawled across a bed in lingerie with a bullet wound to her head featuring the caption "beautifully executed."

The latest game in the series, Hitman: Absolution, was released to mediocre critical response and sales last month.

Square Enix and ad agency Ralph have been contacted for further comment.

65 Comments

Craig Page
Programmer

381 216 0.6
Does that mean the hits I've ordered on my friends WON'T be done now?

Posted:A year ago

#1
It's amazing what some people can think is a good idea when sitting around a table. Wow.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Trey Snow
Research

3 6 2.0
Sometimes you have to push to find out where the boundaries are. Nothing wrong with that.

Posted:A year ago

#3

James Berg
Games User Researcher

122 107 0.9
Wow. Just.. wow.

Posted:A year ago

#4
Very poor marketing all round - seems Square-ENIX will now take full control of the UK mess - these marketing executives seem to mirror the poor taste and bad business decisions seen to have been made by the newspaper industry recently (any connection)?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 4th December 2012 5:31pm

Posted:A year ago

#5

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

212 635 3.0
@Trey
I disagree, I think there's something very wrong with encouraging people to threaten violence(even pretend violence) against their friends for perceived 'failings' like having small tits(their words, not mine) or an annoying laugh. There's joking around and there's... that.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,210 2,049 0.9
I am curious to know how many people that are cyber bullied actually have their bullies in their friends list.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Stephen Woollard
Online Infrastructure Specialist

146 71 0.5
I think it could have worked (ie been controversial rather than downright daft) if they hadn't had that list of "attributes" to describe people. While it's certainly true that someone thick skinned (and possibly thick headed) like me would see this as a joke if I received one, even I can see that there are far more people who could be really upset by this.

It does make you wonder what was going through their minds, and reinforces the idea that all public facing information/ad campaigns/press releases/whatever else really should be proof read by someone who has nothing to do with the subject, as it is all too easy for a bunch of people sitting around a table to end up getting carried away and making fools of themselves.

And believe me, when it comes to cringe-worthy, both-feet-in-mouth, please-let-the-earth-open-up-and-swallow-me gaffs, I've made some howlers in my time so I can consider myself something of an expert in the field of being a bonehead when it comes to other people's feelings.

Posted:A year ago

#8
yeah that's the bit I never get, its easy to block strangers on fb so only friends have any such opportunity for cyber-bullying and even if for some odd reason you feel compelled to keep them on your friends list you dont have to read their messages and indeed can even set them to rarely show any of their posts, so why do they allow it, doesnt matter how young I was, by the time I could use a keyboard myself I was more than smart enough to remove people like that from my friends list, so when I hear of modern cyber-bullying I find it difficult to comprehend in context, sure everyone knows what bullying looks like from some point of view from school even if just a bystander, though with cyber bullying there exists IN SOME CONTEXT the issue of huh, frankly I think they need to give growing a backbone and learning to say no and naff of I dont want "insert name here" in my life lessons in schools, as some kids surely need it, though putting that aside..

To be honest this whole thing is a bit ridiculous, attributing suicide to games like that and saying that's cyber-bullying, jeez that's just a big pile of roasted media hoopla, I've lost count of the number of similar fb games, providing an interesting list of nasty things to virtually do to your friends much in the way the app described above does, indeed a female friend of mine was sending all kinds of dodgy game requests from a game which allowed you to send similar murder requests though probably with far greater variety and inventiveness than in the above title, all good fun, indeed a great many gamers spend most of their time happily murdering each other in varying size murder simulators, occasionally they team up to murder facsimile enemies in the form of ai instead, so why is square-enix ridiculed and the other identical fb games to the game described above that in some cases have been around for years you never hear a word about, merely because its marketing for a popular game that happens to be violent and has attracted mainstream media attention is why,

They should not have pulled it, as long as there's hundreds of other near identical apps with no attributed suicides to any of them yet, me thinks this is entirely being treated out any sort of rational context.

Science is based on evidence, and cyber bullying is rarely merely cyber only, and text messages and posts on peoples wall and private messages are the order of the day by all accounts for such things, having some headlines seeking journo band about some words about ooh, it allows you to make virtual "hits" on your friends so it must be encouraging cyber-bulling and teen suicide apparently... according to said journo's who of course have absolutely no vested interest in trying to make said story as well publicized and outrageous as possible, yes none atall, which is then automatically accepted as fact by those frankly now ignorant of the younger generations and who never take the time to actually think about what they're saying and the company is blamed as though the journalists opinions are now incontrifutable fact.

If journo's really care about cyber bullying how about providing sensible advise of what to do if it occurs in an article and how to remedy rather than attracting attention to a reasonably boring media mini-game and making it out to be evil by definition.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Taylan Kay
Game Desginer

59 93 1.6
And the straw man head in sand award goes to... Alexander McConnell!!! MD!

Posted:A year ago

#10

Taylan Kay
Game Desginer

59 93 1.6
Trey said:
Sometimes you have to push to find out where the boundaries are. Nothing wrong with that.
No, sometimes you have to get your head out of your ass and care to notice where the bloody boundary already is, clear and visible.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Nic Wechter
Senior Designer

27 46 1.7
I can't believe such a big deal has been made from this, they should not have pulled the game, no sane reasonable person could possibly fail to see the joke in the spirit intended. If anyone is genuinely upset by one of these very tongue in cheek video's then I fear for the future of the human race.

It's a joke, I thought it was pretty funny when somebody sent one to me and immediately sent it on to some friends of mine who I know would appreciate it in the spirit intended.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Steven Pick
Lead Graphic Designer

70 14 0.2
This is in pretty poor taste. Reminds me of the story of the woman who posted a message on her Facebook to ask if someone knew a contract killer to put a hit on her husband.

Marketing men = on another planet.

Posted:A year ago

#13

Trey Snow
Research

3 6 2.0
Is the app any worse than the game itself or others like Assassin's Creed? Have some perspective.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

212 635 3.0
Popular Comment
Does the game/others in the genre encourage you to make 'hilarious' cracks about real peoples' appearance or personallities, things that they may be very sensitive about unbeknownst to you? No?

I don't see how 'this game is about doing awful things to fake people' equates to 'I should say horrible/insensitive/jerkish things to real life people to promote a videogame!'

Posted:A year ago

#15

Andrew Ihegbu
Studying Bsc Commercial Music

416 111 0.3
@Jessica, they are your facebook friends, so I assume you would know them to some degree. Just because you CAN use the app to send things to people that might find it offensive does not mean it's all of a sudden the apps fault that you chose to. I can do the same with my SMS app and I see no bans. I know quite a few women, both ample cupped and no so much that would appreciate the spirit of the joke if I sent them a hit message on facebook citing them having small breasts (and I am using that example both because it was the one you used above and because I know your stance on all things feminism).

If you can condemn the app for sending that you could have just written in a facebook post, then you may as well come out with your insecurities and admit that one of the options on the list hit home for you. I see plenty of people here apart from you condemning the idea of this app, forgetting that they condemned the idea of Grand Theft Auto when it came out and it's probably outsold 99% of all games ever made.

To truly capture the attention of a market, you must be disruptive. Venture Capitalist rule no.1. So far Hitman Absolution has done a bloody good job, ethical or not.

Posted:A year ago

#16

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

212 635 3.0
you may as well come out with your insecurities and admit that one of the options on the list hit home for you
Thanks for projecting, but no; I'm quite happy with my appearance, breast size, hair colour, stupid laugh etc. When I was a teenager I was very self-conscious about certain aspects of my appearance(like many people are, even if they don't tell you all about it; we live in a very shallow image-obsessed society) however, and if someone 'jokingly' sent me a message like this I would have been hugely upset and embarassed.

Just because you can use Facebook to send potentially illegal messages to someone you know doesn't mean that you should or that a marketing campaign should encourage you to do so.

To truly capture the attention of a market, you must be disruptive. Venture Capitalist rule no.1. So far Hitman Absolution has done a bloody good job, ethical or not.
To hell with those pesky 'ethics', right? Who cares if people are upset by an ad campaign so long as it makes money for the product?

Posted:A year ago

#17

Jason Sartor
Copy editor/Videographer

105 33 0.3
Maybe the physical features attack was over the line (but anybody who has ever played any sport, has heard far worse), but having your friends on a facebook "hit list" is harmless and an obvious prank/joke - and I am sure guys will tell you not the most embarrassing joke played on each other either. Since when is friends trash talking each other cyber bullying? Before we could facebook head shot people, we would crush heads.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=i%27m+crushing+your+head&oq=i%27m+crushing+your+head&gs_l=youtube-reduced.3..0.10314.14878.0.16647.22.9.0.13.13.0.187.907.7j2.9.0...0.0...1ac.1.Of5Lo0Txux0

This PC nonsense can go straight to hell, stay there and burn.

Posted:A year ago

#18

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

212 635 3.0
Well, I'm sorry if not being encouraged to harass and threaten your friends is inconvenient to your social interactions, but you know, you can always do it the good old-fashioned way.

Posted:A year ago

#19

Jonatan Crafoord
Neuron

33 55 1.7
Popular Comment
If you can condemn the app for sending that you could have just written in a facebook post, then you may as well come out with your insecurities and admit that one of the options on the list hit home for you.
I cannot believe I am reading the above on GamesIndustry.biz. That is not a professional comment, rather bordering on harassment.

Posted:A year ago

#20
Love how some are trying to defend the indefensible. Makes me wonder if they have a vested interest to tone down the outcry?

How about we touch on the real reason why cooler heads at Square-ENIX stepped in and closed down the marketing plan... it was nefarious!

Seems no one read the use of service requirements on Facebook app development, and how what was being proposed contradicted the license of use!...as well as just avoided common sense!

"...just because they can, dose not mean you should"!

Posted:A year ago

#21

Nic Wechter
Senior Designer

27 46 1.7
Did you actually see one of the video's the app generated Jessica? I find it difficult to see how anyone could take it as anything other than a harmless joke intended as laugh between friends and if they did get upset about it I'd argue they were being oversensitive and probably find many situations in their life hurtful, you cant go through life wrapped in cotton wool.

I'm now thinking Eidos might have pulled the app and made a big deal of it purely to get aboard the free publicity train.

Posted:A year ago

#22
Now why would the Guerrilla Games (developer of Killzone2) want to defend a little bit of "harmless" advertising?
http://www.destructoid.com/more-killzone-2-ads-pulled-after-child-saw-a-monster--124846.phtml
-banged to rights!

Posted:A year ago

#23

Aaron Brown
BA Computer Science Student

59 22 0.4
Pulling the app makes perfect sense. I know many people that would use an app like this to blatantly insult someone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dNR6TZQD28

follow the link to see the app.
Funny app but Its just common sense.

Posted:A year ago

#24

Hugo Dubs

164 24 0.1
In fact, the people using the app seems to find it fun. On my side, I wouldn't dare using this so reveal something like "the one with the tiny boobs" that could hurt of of my friend.

In the end, even if the marketing campaign sucks, it is people responsability to use it or not. Then, I would say it's 50/50.
Also, it would become something fun from a joke perspective. So let say it would be 25(campagin) / 75(users)

finally, I think it was a great move because so much people are talking about it. PR/MK campaign are all about making people talk about you. And no, the fact that this is against you conviction won't affect your judgement about the game. You're not stupid enough to think it came from the same persons ;)

Posted:A year ago

#25

Bonnie Patterson
Freelance Narrative Designer

127 218 1.7
The thing about pushing boundaries is that marketing departments are more concerned with what the public will find acceptable rather than what harms them - society's vocal members will, quite often, loudly and joyfully salute something that psychologists and sociologists proved 30-40 years ago would be a contribution to some horrifically damaging societal pressure-trend.

As groups concerned with protecting minorities (and majorities) from such things grow more educated and spread that source knowledge, such outcries are going to get more common, unless some marketing firms pull their socks up and become equally educated. If a marketeer knows anything, it should be psychology, and it's past time that some firms raise their bar above just looking at what appeals to the fourteen year-old male that hasn't been their primary marketplace for a decade now.

Posted:A year ago

#26
The inabilities of the current consumer game executive pool to demonstrate high level management skills is a concern for many of us observing the sector. The marketing skill-gap exhibited by the equivalent toy industry marketeer against his opposite number in the consumer game scene speaks volumes. Some of the fundamentals of target audience estimation and focused brand recognition, totally over their heads, replaced by a lads-mag attitude to using naked-girls, fart jokes and explosions, to try and sell complicated IP. No wonder the investors are bailing!

Posted:A year ago

#27

Robin Clarke
Producer

275 600 2.2
Anybody defending this (a number of whom I suspect have registered just to post in this thread) needs to take a long hard look at themselves.

The concept of the campaign (while extremely lazy and hackneyed - facebook apps generating 'custom' videos from API info have been around for at least three years) is basically sound; it's the mean-spirited execution that people have objected to, and SquareEnix have quite rightly distanced themselves from.

More evidence that most ad agency 'creatives' are dickheads.

Posted:A year ago

#28
@Robin - well observed, regarding the 'fake' registration - this is a sign of the perceived influence of these comment areas. Gi.biz must feel pleased that they are seen to be so influential that fake accounts would be created to try and attack criticism of particular vested interests - you may have noticed a number of deletions of posts - showing the moderators are on the ball (any chance they will name and shame those caught?)... oh the power!

Posted:A year ago

#29

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,199 317 0.3
As for the suggestions that you don't need bullies on your friends list, this is an adult rationalization. Makes sense, but that just isn't the same way teenagers think.

Posted:A year ago

#30
I wonder what went through the RALPH advertising agency's mind when they conceptualized this idea.

Posted:A year ago

#31
No it's common sense, and its the way most think, something available to all ages but sadly lacking across society today, and apparently from the latest gen of kids, I love how some people above have decided to demonise and insult everyone who were not in support of ridiculous hate storm as though anyone with a brain could actually feel threatened by receiving such a request, way to push your point like adults.... not, you merely proved my above premise, there are dozens of identical games that in some cases have been around for years on facebook, anyone who is your actual friend will laugh when you send something on them, such things have floated through my friends list before, and frankly if you cant take a list of your faults from someone without feeling insulted they're not your friend, common sense does not dictate that the entire society of human beings should have to pander to the extremely insecure, that's called political correctness gone mad.

There is nothing to defend, so how can it be indefensible Kevin, my premise is that no one with any degree of sense or in their right mind would be threatened by anything receiving from that app, so regardless of your personal opinions on taste, no wrongdoing can be based on it, additionally the vehement attacks on anyone who does not fall into line by several dubious characters, demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt that they have nothing of any concrete basis to say in defence on the point in hand as no one feels the need to insult their opponents if they're point is a sound one, ironically they do so in defence of casting down an app they feel insults people so had to be removed and I've been here for years, so you can't claim victory due to absentia with me, this game cannot be said to push boundaries they're boundaries little Facebook game makers waltzed over years ago with little aplomb, and now they're been seen as something new to be discouraged, for media purposes and those who like to argue for the sake of arguing.

Posted:A year ago

#32

Tom Pickard
Lead Environment Artist - Campaign Map

308 382 1.2
Based on the uproar the marketing department just got more headlines than they would have with a clever campaign... ~cha ching bonus time! well done everyone uproar sells games.

Joking aside how this ever got green lit by the brand managers who already had backlash from the sexy nun assassins video earlier in the campaign is anyones guess...

Posted:A year ago

#33
It's just a PR stunt. They've gotten a lot of press on this now = mission accomplished for Square Enix/Ralph.

Posted:A year ago

#34

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

212 635 3.0
Popular Comment
Threads like these are a great way to add to my 'people/companies I wouldn't touch with a forty-foot pole wrapped in a giant condom' list. The amount of empathy-is-weakness vitriol coming out here is just incredible.

Posted:A year ago

#35

Dave Herod
Senior Programmer

517 731 1.4
First of all, I totally agree with Jonatan Crafoord and I honestly hope Andrew Ihegbu is utterly ashamed of what he said to Jessica. There's just no place for that here.

Besides that, I can't believe people are actually defending this app. If you think people are being oversensitive, you really don't understand bullying and the harm it does, and by being so dismissive about it you're actually being part of the problem. Kids being bullied are often afraid to get help because adults are dismissive about it. They think if they go get help an adult will just tell them they're being a big baby and so they suffer in silence instead. While no one act of bullying may sound that serious, sustained minor abuse can really get people down over time.

To those that say "well, just delete them off your friends list", again, think about it a bit more. If it's someone at their school, and they delete them from facebook, they'll probably get asked why and it could lead to things getting worse, so the kid just puts up with it to avoid more attention.

Posted:A year ago

#36

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

212 635 3.0
Popular Comment
You claim to be empathetic, then shrug off everyone who's ever been bullied as 'whiney pussies'? Grow up. Stop assuming that just because you got over being bullied by apparently becoming a heartless jerk, everyone else will too.
and as someone said earlier, do people often friend bullies on facebook? and not looking at or ignoring, defriending or my god going outside and meeting Real life friends never occur to them?
People are often bullied by people they know, and often the person being bullied is led to believe that the bully is actually their friend, and that by taunting them for whatever idiotic reason the bully is 'just trying to help'. Being emotionally or physically abused is not helping, it's not 'life lessons', it's not healthy. Trying to cut off the bully by unfriending them on FB can be met with even worse abuse in real life(astonishingly, many people we know on Facebook we also know in real life!) so 'just unfriend and ignore them' is not quite the panacea people like to believe it is.

Defending bullies, the methods and language they use('oh it's just a joke, you can take a joke can't you?' 'lighten up, don't be so sensitive!' 'you should die because you have a tiny penis, this is hilarious!' etc) just furthers the belief that this kind of behaviour is acceptable or part of normal human interaction. It's really not.

Posted:A year ago

#37

Doug Paras

117 61 0.5
Really I don't see the big deal people are making of this, it can't be used yo bullie a person as only those on friends lists can use it. If you are bullied and you allow those who bully you onto your friends list then you would have far, far more problems then a silly app that posts on your FB page you have a hit from a video game.

Posted:A year ago

#38

Dave Herod
Senior Programmer

517 731 1.4
You are not informed you have been deleted by someone on facebook so they would not know.
Unless you're waiting to see their response to an insult you sent them via some stupid marketing app and then when you search for them they don't appear any more.

Posted:A year ago

#39

Dave Herod
Senior Programmer

517 731 1.4
but what you just did is a personal bullying attack to me,
Well done, you just proved you really don't know what bullying actually is.

Posted:A year ago

#40

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

212 635 3.0
I wasn't insulting your height; I have no idea how tall you are or aren't and being quite short myself I find throwing insults based on people's relative sizes deeply tiresome.

What I was insinuating was that you're coming off as more of a whiny foot-stomping child than the people you're insulting yourself. Not because of any of your physical characteristics, but because of your vociferous defense of your right to bully people in exactly the same way(but via a different medium) that you were bullied. Grow a sense of decency, then come back to the argument when you realise how ridiculous you sound.

Posted:A year ago

#41

Alfonso Sexto
Lead Tester

714 496 0.7
I'm quite tolerant in general with this kind of stuff but... Sorry. According to what people here is telling me (Ubisoft, btw), this was a terrible idea And I say this exclusively for the sexism on it, so you can add the rest to my statement.

Like Marilyn Mason said: "Being transgressor is creative. Every idiot can make a scandal"

Posted:A year ago

#42

Nic Wechter
Senior Designer

27 46 1.7
I still don't understand the anti-bullying angle on this, if somebody is going to be bullied on FB its unlikely to be purely through a silly tongue-in-cheek Hitman promotion.

I don't think anyone could seriously argue that bullying is a good thing but removing this app is going to do absolutely nothing to decrease on-line bullying.

A person could be bullied by a bully posting a link to a nasty video on their FB feed, should we remove the ability to make YouTube links so that nobody could use that as a bullying tool as well?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Nic Wechter on 5th December 2012 9:58am

Posted:A year ago

#43

Jessica Hyland
Character Artist

212 635 3.0
@Nic
There's a difference between disabling people's ability to bully others(unfortunately bullying is carried out via all forms of communication, so it's difficult to shut it down in that way) and directly enabling and encouraging people to send potentially offensive, illegal and hurtful messages to others.

Posted:A year ago

#44

Daniel Hughes
Studying PhD Literary Modernism

410 455 1.1
Name something about friends that some arseheaded collective consciousness has decided is a 'bad' thing and have a video rendered of them getting shot for it. That's my issue with this campaign. It's not an issue of the industry sending an anti-bullying message to these marketing idiots so much as it is (as Jessica points out in her most recent comment) preventing this ad campaign from directly or indirectly enabling (and by extension encouraging beyond the scope of this campaign's game) people to send offensive messages. What's more, by turning it into a social network game like they have done, the ad campaign sends the message (to impressionable teenagers and denser individuals) that it's absolutely fine to insult people based on physical appearance: something no marketing department should ever encourage anyone to do, especially not when part of your target market is the teenage market.

It's one thing to have jokes between mates about these things (and yes, you can only send this to friends on Facebook but hang on a minute), but it's a completely different matter for a corporate entity to trivialise and encourage this behaviour towards anyone on your friends list. Playing on outmoded, stereotypical assumptions of what is socially acceptable for someone's appearance is flat-out juvenile, and has no place in the marketing campaign of a professional industry.

Small tits? Ginger hair? Big ears? What next? Skin colour? Ethnic origin? Religious affiliation?

I'm not easily offended, but this is one of the very few genuine cases where a line has very clearly been crossed.

Posted:A year ago

#45

Mark Richardson
Independent developer

5 3 0.6
This idea that people don't have bullies in their friends list is stupid. For those of us out of school that might not be the case but for younger people they might be in a position where they have to have the bullies in their friends list or it could cause problems. As Jessica pointed out earlier, so called 'friends' can be bullies too.

The attitude towards potential self-esteem and image issues I've seen from some people here is ridiculous too. People do have insecurities that they deal with but don't necessarily want to share with the world and this app could trigger some people. As some people have said, bullying wouldn't be done exclusively through the app but why risk giving someone a new platform to do it from anyway?

I don't see how anyone can look at this as anything other than a mistake.

Posted:A year ago

#46
Popular Comment
I'm not sure whether to be deeply disappointed by the sheer lack of understanding being displayed by a handful of people in this thread, or quietly pleased that the tide is very clearly against them - I don't think that would have been the case a few years ago, when the industry was far more dominated by that kind of completely thoughtless fake-macho bollocks.

If you're too lacking in empathy or intelligence to be able to put yourself into the position of a kid being badly bullied - even for a few short moments - and see how this kind of marketing stunt is just another tool to pile on the hurt, then it might be best if you didn't embarrass yourself by announcing this to the world - let alone doing it with such obvious, chest-thumping pride. Still; at least people like that in the industry are far outnumbered, and quite clearly a dying breed - although sadly, one of their number at Square Enix appears to have been promoted FAR beyond his abilities...

Posted:A year ago

#47

Darren Adams
Managing Director

188 332 1.8
Regardless of my (or others) personal thoughts about the whole 'Hitman Marketing Fiasco', nobody can deny that the main objective of any marketing campaign is to get your product in front of as many people as possible.

So from a marketing perspective I would say they certainly got loads of people talking about the game/company. People will forget about this in a few weeks so to them I suppose its ‘Mission Accomplished’

Posted:A year ago

#48

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,118 888 0.8
I thought they said they learned their lesson from last time?

Posted:A year ago

#49

Darren Adams
Managing Director

188 332 1.8
I thought they said they learned their lesson from last time?
Yes, they realised they needed to go bigger!!

Posted:A year ago

#50
Interesting discussion and, I agree, a tad disturbing to see an element of 'if it works/gets attention/drums up sales then it's fair game' (no pun intended) in the comments above. The games industry still struggles to be afforded the respect and recognition it feels it deserves but marketing like this feels pretty immature to me, like something a 14 year old would think is funny.

I agree with Rob Fahey's key point regarding bullies and providing them with (yet) another tool to bring misery to a target. I don't think anyone is saying this marketing idea can't work given the right two friends, just that its capacity to offend or hurt (intentionally or unintentionally) is way too high to warrent using it.

@ Jessica Hyland, you're right, threatening pretend violence isn't okay, many of us have heard bullies trot out that age-old line 'what's the matter, can't you take a joke?'

Posted:A year ago

#51
I think the true shame in all this is not so much the 'bad people' on here, but the inability for a lot to engage in an adult discussion. I'm often surprised by the next controversy on this site, and instead of trying to discuss these things in a rational way and trying to understand eachother's perspectives however much you disagree with them, it more often than not ends up in a shouting match by the very people who decry the vocal minority they are so upset about.

Moral boundaries are not written in stone and are highly dependent on cultural and societal factors. Most truly enlightened societies today are the ones who denounced these kind of absolutes and know what issues to make a big deal out of. That doesn't mean it's lacking in morals, quite the opposite I believe, it means it accepts that one person's freedom is another person's hurt. It's far from perfect, but it's the best we can do.

This doesn't at all mean we shouldn't discuss what is right and wrong, because that very thing is how we determine these moral boundaries of society, what we as a collective deem OK and what crosses the line. But it very much means we should discuss this in an open, emotionless environment where people can speak their minds without labeling eachother as passive aggressive enablers of any wrongdoing in society you are passionate about. To ensure your freedom to do and say what you want, you have to ensure the freedom of someone else to do and say as he or she wants, even if it falls well below the treshold of your notion of normal behaviour. To ensure this kind of environment, we should all try to step off our high horse now and again.

Posted:A year ago

#52

Mariusz Szlanta
Producer

16 13 0.8
Jessica Hyland – congrats on keeping cool head when faced with quite a few stupid comments here.

Posted:A year ago

#53

Emily Knox
Associate Designer

44 86 2.0
I tried to use this on a friend of mine, I said he could be identified by being ginger and should be assassinated for being bad at video games (neither of which are true). It didn't work, after posting it and clicking on the link I saw myself getting assassinated, I could be identified by ginger hair and had to be shot for being bad at video games. When a dreadful picture of my face flashed up I genuinely laughed out loud. Not because of the app, but because my face is hilarious. If you think that simply telling someone they have small breasts, big ears, a small penis, or a muffin top is a joke, a funny joke, then you need to take a good look at my face instead, because unlike this Hitman app, my face works and is actually funny.

I'll happily defend a persons right to make a tit of themselves by saying something dumb to their friends, but not a crap, unfunny app, because it's a crap, unfunny app. I'm not offended, but I'm also not amused. Since it's gone, if you feel you are missing out and need to laugh at someone for being ginger, skinny, having big ears, small breasts and hairy legs (that's the joke, right? Or is the joke that they get shot? I'm not sure) then get in touch with me, I'm basically a hilarious walking Square Enix punchline.

Posted:A year ago

#54
Would seem a certain corporate entity has called in all its favors on this - this is not the only discussion on the web that has seen 'fake; rebuttals to the original criticism - one site saw over 20% of its 'new' members suddenly delete their comments after being caught-out. Some one had better tell marketing the game is up!

Posted:A year ago

#55
What... are you talking about, Kevin? Can you back it up or should we just take your word for it?

Posted:A year ago

#56
@Laurens - I would not expect you just to take my word for it - I include a post from the forum where I got the information: http://gmc.yoyogames.com/index.php?s=e20255604cccb1f8f567daa086b4d810&showforum=40

Posted:A year ago

#57
I think you are taking it a bit too far, mate.

Posted:A year ago

#58

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