Newsweek games journalist N’Gai Croal has expressed unease at the content of Capcom’s Resident Evil 5 teaser, saying he thought that “a lot of imagery in that trailer that dovetailed with classic racist imagery”.
“I looked at the Resident Evil 5 trailer and I was like, ‘Wow, clearly no one black worked on this game,'” he said, speaking to MTV. “Because I wonder, and I haven’t sort of really dug into it that much, but I wonder what sort of advice Capcom gave them. The point isn’t that you can’t have black zombies. There was a lot of imagery in that trailer that dovetailed with classic racist imagery. What was not funny, but sort of interesting, was that there were so many gamers who could not at all see it. Like literally couldn’t see it. So how could you have a conversation with people who don’t understand what you’re talking about and think that you’re sort of seeing race where nothing exists?”
Croal went on to explain why, in his opinion, the depiction of the zombies in the trailer was suspect.
“There was stuff like even before the point in the trailer where the crowd turned into zombies,” he added. “There sort of being, in sort of post-modern parlance, they’re sort of ‘othered.’ They’re hidden in shadows, you can barely see their eyes, and the perspective of the trailer is not even someone who’s coming to help the people. It’s like they’re all dangerous; they all need to be killed. It’s not even like one cute African — or Haitian or Caribbean — child could be saved. They’re all dangerous men, women and children. They all have to be killed.
“And given the history, given the not so distant post-colonial history, you would say to yourself, why would you uncritically put up those images? It’s not as simple as saying, ‘Oh, they shot Spanish zombies in Resident Evil 4′, and now ‘black zombies and that’s why people are getting upset.’ The imagery is not the same. It doesn’t carry the same history, it doesn’t carry the same weight. I don’t know how to explain it more clearly than that.”
Resident Evil 5 is set in a an impoverished African village, from footage seen so far. It has no release date as yet.