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Croal: Resident Evil 5 trailer dovetails with “with classic racist imagery”

Friday, 11th April 2008 07:44 GMT By Patrick Garratt

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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.

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19 Comments

  1. Tonka

    It sure is a hot potato. Unlike the Allah Akkbar chant in Z&W it will be hard to just whip out Ctrl+Z on it.

    #1 6 years ago
  2. morriss

    I’m not racialist.

    #2 6 years ago
  3. SplatteredHouse

    “They’re hidden in shadows, you can barely see their eyes”

    I suspect that things are a bit more scary, that way.

    “and the perspective of the trailer is not even someone who’s coming to help the people. It’s like they’re all dangerous;”

    Errr…I think you’ll find that’s because they ARE all dangerous. They’re infected. You want to stop and ask their circumstances, well good luck with that!

    “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.”

    Has he seen Night of the Living Dead? Zombies (sorry, “the infected”) just aren’t the people they once were, anymore, and won’t be again.
    I suspect N Gai won’t be able to get too far with the game, if he insists on questioning the legitimacy of his character’s goal, for every kill.

    I’m really intrigued by what Capcom will do, to flesh out their story concerning the origins of the virus. But then, as the producer says, you have this whole scenario of ten years having passed, that they can use to further enrich the story, and player immersion. I’m really looking forward to playing this, having understood what Mr. Takeuchi had to say. :)
    End of May, we’ll learn some more about the game.

    #3 6 years ago
  4. pjmaybe

    Great. First “The Cole Train” in Gears of War depicts a racist’s view of a black videogaming hero, now this shit? I mean why now – the trailer’s been around for about 8 months?

    So lemme guess, no spanish got upset about RE4 but we’re all supposed to get upset about this? Fuck political correctness right in its arse…

    #4 6 years ago
  5. mart

    OH MY GOD.

    #5 6 years ago
  6. patlike

    It was always going to happen. There was no way the game was going to be released without there being a debate on its content.

    #6 6 years ago
  7. AMG

    You can’t ignore that imagery. White man shoots up a town full of black people. It doesn’t matter that it’s a game and they’re zombies or whatever, you have to look beyond that and at the very least open it up to discussion.

    #7 6 years ago
  8. Tonka

    My first thought when I saw the trailer was “What are they thinking. They will get into a lot of shit for this.”

    In a perfect world there would be no probs with a zombie game set in Africa.

    #8 6 years ago
  9. Random_H

    SplatteredHouse:

    Which doesn’t the fact that it is – indeed – a classic racist motif. And as such he’s right if he claims it to be racist imagery.

    The intent and reasoning behind the actions and depictions in the game really have nothing to do with it. As AMG said “at the very least open it up to discussion”.

    cheers,

    Alex

    #9 6 years ago
  10. G1GAHURTZ

    I wonder how people would react if there was a game where the hero was a bearded Arab running around killing white American zombies!?

    Maybe Capcom should consider doing that for Resi 6…

    #10 6 years ago
  11. Tonka

    Killing white middle class zombies has been done to death. Putting a Jihad twist to it would instill some freshness in the genre.

    /Starts working onscreenplay

    #11 6 years ago
  12. G1GAHURTZ

    LOL

    Man, maybe I should have copyrighted that idea before I wrote it down!

    #12 6 years ago
  13. Shatner

    Pah, Castle Crashers is the most racialist game EVAR

    Holy crap. That vid was from 2006? What? This game is seriously overdue.

    #13 6 years ago
  14. grandmaster

    Has it taken N’Gai two years to see it? Or has he been ‘uneasy’ for all of that time?

    #14 6 years ago
  15. Tonka

    I think it’s that new dev interview that has reignited the debate.

    #15 6 years ago
  16. Zumi

    Great article. The guy is spot on.

    #16 6 years ago
  17. El_MUERkO

    they should replace all the black people in the games with rabid bears, cause Africa is full of rabid bears

    #17 6 years ago
  18. Hero of Canton

    Capcom should go the whole hog and add in a black-and-white-minstrel unlockable outfit for Chris Redfield and his amazing performing back muscles.

    #18 6 years ago
  19. Whizzo

    I thought the game was set in Haiti.

    #19 6 years ago

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