Hitman trailer: "never the intention to provoke people"

IO Interactive answers critics of its Attack of the Saints teaser

IO Interactive game director Tore Blystad has responded to the controversy over the trailer for Hitman: Absolution, which featured fetish nuns being punched and killed.

"We're sorry that we offended people - that was truly not the intention of the trailer," Blystad told IGN.

"Of course we understand, this has been a very big topic for us and we've been reading as much as we could of the articles and responses. We were surprised that it turned into such a huge topic… We just wanted to make something cool, it wasn't the intention to stir up anything."

He explained the subject matter represented the "extreme" nature of the Hitman series, and denied it was deliberately provocative, saying the resultant media storm was a "big surprise."

"The religious themes have been there from the very beginning, along with outlandish party scenes. And there are a lot of movie influences in Hitman Absolution, like Tarantino and Rodriguez. The grindhouse theme is something that we're using throughout the game. It tends more towards sixties exploitation movies - these were a fascination [for us] because they were so extreme."

GamesIndustry International's Rob Fahey recently put forward his thoughts on the trailer, and argued one of the biggest problems with it was the industry's inability to debate the issues it raised properly.

"Absolutely none of the responses that I have seen have actually addressed the issues being raised," he wrote.

"Either those responding simply don't understand the issue as it's being presented, or they understand that the real nub of this matter is something quite indefensible, and that the best way to defend it is by distraction and whataboutery."

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Latest comments (19)

Personally, I sympathise with IO who wanted to make something cool, but this is absolutely ridiculous that they have to appease or write a mea culpa. You dont see objections to Uma Thurman in Kill Bill wiping out the Crazy 88 which is a perfect role reversal. People are obviously not intelligent enough or opinion trigger happy to turn this into a gender or violence issue.

If you really want to talk about violence, the Michael bay version of E3 is a perfect summary of it all, and everyone is culpable
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Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief9 years ago
Just to be clear, you think "people are not intelligent enough to turn this into a gender or violence issue"?

And that you that that the sexualisation of violence is a good thing for a piece of entertainment to do?
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No one is condoning it, but you dont see people attacking art, movies , comics, and other established media forms. Its too easy to use interactive media as a posterboy scapegoat
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Show all comments (19)
gi biz ;, 9 years ago
@Chee: it's a lost battle. I've been saying that since when I was 14 maybe. Resident Evil and Silent "Kill" (tactical mis-spell for "hill") were in every newspaper. Even the attentive mayor of Rome was concerned about that game where you have to bury live girls in order to win. Nowdays that's called "trolling", and I tend to ignore it.

Worst thing is that while society wanted to protect me from the modern violence, at school I was forced to study Crime and Punishment, the Odissey and other commonly accepted books, where old ladies get killed in gory ways, corpses get dragged around by horses and there's not one page where sex and blood don't get at least mentioned.
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For the original Sin, check out any of the "good" bibles. And we think our games are shocking.

Saying that, i'd love to have some good old adventure games of the point and click puzzle yarn. Indy Jones and the Fate of Atlantis or the Dig still feels great (through the lens of nostalgia)
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development9 years ago
This is not in any way comparable to Tarrantino or Rodriguez. From a cinematic perspective it is just plain awful.

Books like the Bible and Torah are aiming to give an "account" of something that happened, so whether you believe it is a true account or not, it's gore is excusable.

Tarrantino watched many films before making his own and he has a gift for picking appropriate camera angles. Rodriguez knows how to make us laugh, he knows how to be inappropriate, when to make fun of himself and what is considered cool. Just look at Machete, it's just so stupid yet he manages to build a digestible movie experience out of it.

There will be people against games, yes, but in this case I think they were just against a poorly executed idea.

I do believe the problem that games have is that western society still sees it as a medium for children. This medium is still new in comparison with the other arts so we are still having to fit it into our societies. Where there is change there is opposition. But let's not ignore the protests completely, perhaps there is something to think about that we will eventually discover somewhere down the line.

But going back to the trailer, let's not defend it and just admit that it wasn't a good production, Fantastic Four was terrible and Gigli was just plain awful. Three videos I wish I could unwatch.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 7th June 2012 11:20am

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gi biz ;, 9 years ago
@Keldon: I don't get what you mean by "its gore is excusable". A child is either allowed to hear violent stories or not. If you allow a 14 years old boy to read the Inferno, then there's no point in rating the relative game 18+. Unless you assume he's not going to understand a word anyways.
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 9 years ago
I really had no issues with the hitman trailer. I just thought it was dumb. Female assasins in high heels dressed as slutty nuns... with bazookas... just think about it... just stuuuuupid.

Acceptable in a game like Saints Row, not hitman.

A real assasin or any assasin that takes themselves seriously would not be dressed up like that, unless it was relevant to a particular mission, like a holloween party, frat-house, whore house assasination attempt and you had to dress like that to infiltrate the area. i can see these assasins dress up like that to infiltrate a whore house and kill some bigshot pimp or drug dealer... erm... cardinal or priest... but the way all this was laid out in the trailer was just bogus, lame and stupid.

But the whole gender thing is irrelevant. Its like the whole racism thing with resident evil 5... I mean hellooooo... it was set in africa. If all the assasins sent to kill agent 47 happen to be female, then its ok for him to kill them, its just dumb for them to be dressed the way they were for no reason. Other then to get young guys horny so they can have a hard on and purchase the game.

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 8th June 2012 1:37pm

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Whilst on teh subject, we should highlight that some fantasy clerics have a interesting phenomena where the less they wear, the more impervious their Armour stats become, together with full fledged heels. When can we move away from heels in plate armour, mech suits and battle me wonders :)
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development9 years ago
@Keldon: I don't get what you mean by "its gore is excusable"
In the context here I mean the use of gore in something that is written as an account should not be judged in the same way as something written as a creative expression of what the writer considers to be a fictional idea (note, I was responding to his mention of "good" bibles).

Should a 14 year old child read Inferno, and gory stories? Sounds like we need to split the thread as that's a related topic but requires an independent discussion of it's own :-) Or we can wait for a related article and bring it up there. And I do think that is an interesting question we should explore, but we wouldn't want to have too many different conversations going on here.
I really had no issues with the hitman trailer. I just thought it was dumb. Female assasins in high heels dressed as slutty nuns... with bazookas... just think about it... just stuuuuupid.
Ditto. Of course I wouldn't want to insult the efforts of the creators, I'm just critical of the result. It should never have left the drawing board, not without a series of adjustments and consultancy.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 7th June 2012 2:13pm

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gi biz ;, 9 years ago
@Chee: lol! You're so right! When I pointed out to some co-workers that all our female characters wear high heels while fighting in forests and swamps against ugly monsters, they looked puzzled as if they had never thought about it... Now, that's a sexist cliché if you ask me!
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D9 years ago
I guess I'm alone here. I thought it was a great trailer. If we'd had nuns like that at my school instead of Christian Brothers, I'd have turned out completely differently:)

But that's just me:)
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James O'Reilly 2D Artist / Animator 9 years ago
Yeah why the hating on the trailer? I think it's cool too. Hot chicks and violence. Don't read into it.
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What we need now is a female assasin who kills using the spike in a heel on teh forehead of....male zombies! yeah!
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Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 9 years ago
To IO Interactive: You shouldn't care about angry people only willing to spit their anger on whatever they can. As said GTA4 game director, people are using violence and controversial themes in every other mediums such as books and movies, all without being pressured under criticisme. If people doesn't get your point of view, or find that your game isn't ethical (which is not according to 47 profession...), they just have to move on and forget about you.

There is real problems outside that need a lot more attention: Like the fact the 100k of people are able to watch real crime videos on the Internet (Luka magnotta is a recent worldwide example). Games are fictive, if you don't like their content, don't buy.
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Ian Jarvis artist 9 years ago
The tone is the crucial thing here. The hitman trailer is incredibly graphic and brutal. A little humour would have gone a long way, but I presume that isnt the tone of the Hitman games, which is why this trailer was so inappropriate. With a grindhouse movie the effects are usually so primative and the acting so wooden that you cant help but laugh rather than be offended.
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While it's true the tone is incredibly dark and brutal, I find the juxtaposition of the tone against the absurdity of a horde of half-naked nuns wielding bazookas part of the fun. I laughed and winced throughout the trailer, which I think is what IO was going for.

I'm with those who feel this whole thing has been blown out of proportion.
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Colin McBride Studying MA in 3D Design for Virtual Worlds, Glasgow Caledonian University9 years ago
The difference with Crime and Punishment is that the murders of the old women is not merely portrayed as 'something cool' and never addressed again. The whole book is an examination of the effects of those actions on Raskolnikov.

But agreed that video games are still being used as the convenient whipping boy for tabloid hysteria. Personally I think the same rule that should apply to all art and media should apply to games -- violence and even the juxtaposition of sex and violence is fine so long as the ramifications for having it there are properly understood and can at least be justified.

I don't think anyone's got an issue with the content of Hitman per se, just the throwaway use of questionable imagery used in order to sell the game. And these are questions worth asking because at the very least it opens the industry up to suggestions that it still has some growing up to do...
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D9 years ago
"a horde of half-naked nuns wielding bazookas"

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