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Capcom aiming to avoid future controversy

Publisher puts in place measures to try to prevent criticism suffered by Resi 5

Capcom has revealed that it has taken on board the criticism leveled at it over the content of action horror game Resident Evil 5, released last year.

The title was rapped by some critics for what they considered to be a racist slant, based on the African village setting - meaning that the zombies were all black-skinned.

At the time the publisher denied the accusations and seemingly took no action to change its approach, but in an interview with Gamasutra it transpires that certain steps have been taken to try to prevent such situations from repeating themselves.

"Since the RE5 controversy, we have become much more aware of how important it is that we are part of the asset creation process early on so that we are able to have a say in the end product," said Capcom senior PR manager Melody Pfeiffer.

"We are also designing a lot of our own assets from this side of the pond, so that we are able to make strategic pieces of content that make sense for our market.

"We are working really closely with our producers in Japan to construct these materials for the West and they are open more then ever to hearing our thoughts and ideas for assets," she added.

The subject was first mooted by then Newsweek games writer N'Gai Croal, who expressed his concern after watching a trailer for the game at E3 in 2007.

"Wow, clearly no one black worked on this game," was his first reaction to seeing the trailer, he said in an interview with MTV Multiplayer.

"It's like when you engage that kind of imagery you have to be careful with it," he went on to explain. "It would be like saying you were going to do some sort of zombie movie that appeared to be set in Europe in the 1940's with skinny, emaciated, Hasidic-looking people.

"If you put up that imagery people would be saying, 'Are you crazy?' Well, that's what this stuff looks like. This imagery has a history. It has a history and you can't pretend otherwise.

"That imagery still has a history that has to be engaged, that has to be understood. If you're going to engage imagery that has that potential, the onus is on the creator to be aware of that because there will be repercussions in the marketplace."

The controversy didn't seem to harm unit sales, however, with the game selling 1.5 million copies in the 21 days after launch in the US alone.

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