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IO Interactive responds to Hitman trailer controversy

Thursday, 7th June 2012 03:45 GMT By Matt Williams

In response to the wealth of criticism directed at the Attack of the Saints trailer that debuted at E3 earlier this week, Hitman: Absolution game director Tore Blystad has publicly apologised for the ensuing controversy and provided context for the trailer within the game itself.

“We’re sorry that we offended people – that was truly not the intention of the trailer,” Blystad commented, fielding questions regarding the questionable nature of the trailer and the controversial response.

“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. Something similar happened with our Sniper Challenge pre-order bonus… We just wanted to make something cool, it wasn’t the intention to stir up anything.”

Blystad denied allegation that the trailer was intentional controversial in nature to attract widespread attention, claiming it came as a “big surprise” to the development team. “It was never the intention to provoke people with it.”

Blystad further explained that the trailer was taken from a level in the game of the same name and indicated that the encounter shown was just “one of any number of potential scenarios.”

Deflecting criticism directed at the tight-fitting nun outfits the assassins in trailer are seen wearing, described by commentators as ‘fetishistic’ in nature, Blystad stated that the series “has always been extreme in many ways.”

“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.”

Thanks, IGN.

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42 Comments

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  1. Moonwalker1982

    Definitely a big Tarantino and Rodriguez influence yeah, yeah hope it won’t get ridiculous in the game itself. But after the hands on here and the accompanying video, i have alot of confidendence in IO now.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. G1GAHURTZ

    I have no idea how someone can honestly say that they had no idea that this would offend anyone…

    #2 2 years ago
  3. HauntaVirus

    I think it’s great, I can see how it could be offensive though. I’m personally not offended and plan on buying the game day one.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. roadkill

    “We’re sorry that we offended people” Exactly! You should be! You know very well that today’s gamers are men-turned-pussies and are offended by hot looking females. NO MORE HOT LOOKING FEMALES NEXT TIME! Give them some men. They’ll love those. LOL!

    #4 2 years ago
  5. OrbitMonkey

    @2, It sounds to me that they knew it might offend some, but underestimated the sheer scale of prissy little dweebs (all guys obviously) who got all hyper offended on behalf of womankind… Plus the usual “it’s not Hitman!!” whiners.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. absolutezero

    To be honest I was not offended on behalf of some non-existant female playerbase. I was offended because of how fucking terrible the trailer was. Really it was below Tarantino/Rodriguez standards of bullshit. Terrible trailer, terrible interpretation of Hitman, terrible enemies and rubbish rocket launching, teleporting kills.

    It was horrible and I need an apology to make up for me seeing it.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Christopher Jack

    Tired of all this hyper-sensitivity. Men, grow a pair. As for woman, I’m all for equal rights so if you can glorify all these muscular, shirtless men in games, I don’t see the problem with woman in revealing outfits.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Da Man

    Tacky, idiotic trailer which makes no sense unless you’re mentally ill, which on top of all that had nothing to do with the videogame.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. OrbitMonkey

    ^ Blystad further explained that the trailer was taken from a level in the game of the same name and indicated that the encounter shown was just “one of any number of potential scenarios.”

    You miss that bit?

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Da Man

    I did.

    Thanks, now I know this video game is probably some uninspired bs.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. SplatteredHouse

    @8: Elaborate on the trailer being “tacky”, please. It had a story to tell and delivered it in an arresting way. One thing to consider in the fighting, is the balance. At no point before the end is 47 dominating. There’s a flow, even though by his instinctive tactic to use the storm for audio cover, he is at the advantage, these are not just dumb broads. We’re shown that they too are able to take advantage, are wily and aggressive, and work to limit the hitman’s capacity to fight off their numbers. He carries burdens, and at the trailer’s conclusion he has another.
    No impression is presented that he enjoyed defeating/killing these women, but it’s a part of his life, and job.

    No, I didn’t find it either tacky, or idiotic. I found it promising, for publishers to feel that they are able to uncock the safety a little, and talk as they intend. Absolutely, ymmv, and there is a line; but, if this is around about where it lies, then I think it’s unnecessarily limiting the overall breadth of territory that gaming “is allowed” to cover.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. daytripper

    I liked the trailer (self confessed womanising person)

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Da Man

    You’re asking to elaborate on a trailer featuring rasterized meshes attempting to look like sexy nuns being assassinated by a rasterized mesh called ‘Agent 47′, being ‘tacky’ and ‘idiotic’.

    Am I supposed to write a thesis on this?

    There’s nothing funny, clever or interesting about it, yet it takes itself seriously.

    I don’t think the mesh is enjoying anything, not at all. Customers however, which it’s aimed at..

    Elaborate more?

    That’s like asking to elaborate on Pulp Fiction being shit, or Silent Hill being a Steven King wannabe gibberish. At some point you either have this threshold of perception or you don’t. There’re things better than Pulp Fiction or Steven King out there. Since they exist, those two are deemed poor.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. DrDamn

    @13
    “There’re things better than Pulp Fiction or Steven King out there. Since they exist, those two are deemed poor.”

    So what you are saying is everything is deemed poor except for monkey pirates? As monkey pirates are clearly better than everything else.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. absolutezero

    1. If a banana is yellow, then the paint is dry.
    2. A banana is yellow.
    3. Therefore, the paint is dry.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Da Man

    As long as there’s something similar/having similar theme but more well done, their attempts are poor. Why even advertise a freaking video game with these?? Back in the days we played Darkwing Duck and Streets of Rage, and those didn’t have any bs trailers to make us want to play it..

    Of course there ‘ve always been the likes of Harvester, but oh well.. They weren’t that successful anyway, since they didn’t mask their bs.

    So anyway.. I didn’t like the trailer, see.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. YoungZer0

    If you don’t get why this trailer could be offensive … what do you get?

    #17 2 years ago
  18. OrbitMonkey

    ^ it’s not a question of knowing how it could be offensive… Its not understanding the mentality of those offended.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. YoungZer0

    @18: You don’t understand that? Really? Maybe it’s less the fact that it’s over-sexualized but more the fact that it’s completely stupid?

    #19 2 years ago
  20. OrbitMonkey

    If I perceive something as stupid, why would I be offended? I’d just stop paying attention… Or create a intelligent counter… I certainly wouldn’t get all offended and storm the forums.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. ManuOtaku

    And many people did criticize nintendo for the bingding of Issac Issue.
    p.s insert scratch heads noise

    #21 2 years ago
  22. YoungZer0

    @20: But it is offensive. I mean there is no fucking reason for the female Assassins to dress like nun-strippers. One of the few times where we get a band of female assassins and THEY HAVE to look like strippers? Why?

    There is no reason for them to look like this. There’s nothing to gain. It’s not for disguise and it definitely doesn’t serve any purpose.

    Shit like this has been going on for far too long and we need to ask the question “Why?”

    Unlike most people on the internet i think it’s a good thing that we start to question these kind of decisions.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. OrbitMonkey

    ^ Well before the full trailer I believe was a screen titled *tease* and the sexy nuns in the actual trailer certainly served that function.

    And yes asking questions is certainly your right… Though the answers are simple. It was the artistic choice of the creators to do this. Simple as that.

    So what next? Well you can ignore, create something better or join the horde of moaners, who believe moaning is somehow productive… Bit like the guys who don’t like the new look of DmC ;-)

    #23 2 years ago
  24. YoungZer0

    @23: No you see, this is where artistic choice hits a wall for me. I can live with games like Lollipop Chainsaw because it’s clear what they want. It fits the game, it fits the style.

    This doesn’t fit into the Hitman Games at all. Don’t get me wrong, Hitman always had a lot of ‘sex’ going on in their games, but at least they fit the setting. Some kind of swingers-meat-sex-club, that’s fine. It fits. It makes sense that they dress like this.

    But Nun-Stripper-Assassins at the ass of town, driving a school bus to get to 47? Where does this make sense to you? I can live with Nuns, if they have body armor under that, or use their dress to hide weapons. That would be fine with me. But all these Latex and high-heels is pushing it. There is no reason for that. Just imagine that they have to walk into a specific store, order handmade latex clothes, just to assassinate a guy.

    How unbelievably stupid is that? Let’s be honest here for one second, this has nothing to do with artistic choice. All they wanted with this is attention and they got it, they got negative attention for it as well and they sure as fuck deserve every little bit of it.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. DSB

    @22 Why? Because it’s awesome. Some people are gonna complain about it, but they’re not going to show up on the sales numbers. They’re just gonna be another bunch of people showing up on TV or in news media, getting offended by a videogame. All that does is help sales by hyping that videogame.

    And certainly helping IO Interactive with their publicity stunt. Or Medal of Honor, or Modern Warfare 2, or any other game that feels it needs a little boost in the media.

    @24 I don’t really see the argument that strippers aren’t tactically sound. Since when is 47 tactically sound? He wears the same suit to every hit, doesn’t disguise his face, and has a huge barcode on the back of his head.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. viralshag

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1352388/

    #26 2 years ago
  27. OrbitMonkey

    @24, Criticism with context. Only the devs and testers know how this scene fits into the overall theme of the game.

    But tbh it sounds like your just pissed at the perceived change of direction this game may have taken. Which is cool, but that’s all it is. No biggy :-)

    #27 2 years ago
  28. YoungZer0

    @25: Yeah, well i think it’s anything but awesome. It’s stupid and a lazy way to attract attention. The sex-sells mentality is old and needs to die. It’s for marketing dinosaurs who have no fucking clue how to properly sell something.

    I’m not saying i won’t buy it. Nobody says this, but its stuff like this that makes me lose respect for a developer. Which is a huge shame considering how much i love IoI.

    “And certainly helping IO Interactive with their publicity stunt. Or Medal of Honor, or Modern Warfare 2, or any other game that feels it needs a little boost in the media.”

    Again, all i can say is that its lazy.

    “Since when is 47 tactically sound? He wears the same suit to every hit, doesn’t disguise his face, and has a huge barcode on the back of his head.”

    That’s part of his identity. The clothes, the red tie. That made him memorable. It’s iconic.

    He can change his clothes, he can blend in. You can’t do anything about the barcode though. Taking his barcode away is like shaving Mario.

    Personally though i would’ve changed it a long time ago, since i never much gave a fuck about such things.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. YoungZer0

    @27: … and you couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m all for change. I love the idea of instinct mode. I love the fast and fluid gameplay, the cinematic experience, the superior gunplay when you fuck up. Even the new voiceactor and the new composers. Everything i’ve seen so far makes me love this game, but then came the nun-strippers.

    Such a cheap way to gain attention.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. DSB

    @28 You’re certainly entitled to feel that way, but my point is: People like me, like killer latex nuns. I think it’s hot, funny, and stupid.

    For publicity purposes it’s a shortcut, sure. It’s cheap, but it only works because people who claim to hate it, take the bait every time. You can’t exactly accuse people of not doing their job when they manage to shore up sales and worldwide publicity. That’s a good day for the marketing department.

    It’s a shame that Tore Blystad feels the need to lie to people about it, just like Infinity Ward and all the guys before him, but I guess that’s part of the schtick.

    In my opinion you’re far better off just being honest, and I really don’t think there’s any difference between this and No More Heroes or Lollipop Chainsaw, but the difference is that Suda 51 is fine playing on filthy female stereotypes.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. viralshag

    @28, If you acknowledge and recognise 47′s attire as part of his identity why can’t you do the same for the assassin nuns?

    I mean I don’t know how they fit into the story but surely if that is their identity as less professional “wild” assassins in comparison to 47, why isn’t that acceptable?

    I thought the crazy variety of hitmen worked in Smokin’ Aces, I don’t see why something couldn’t be applied here. I’m not a diehard fan of the Hitman games, I’m just calling it as I see it.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. Ireland Michael

    There’s nothing wrong with the image in and of itself. Only a prude would be “offended” by it, and as an adult you can make the coscious decision not to look at it.

    But taken in the context of Hitman, it’s completely out of pace. Since when the fuck was Hitman “grindhouse”? It has always played things fairly straight and on the ball. It’s a stylistic shift that is completely out of place, and if this permeates the whole game, it genuinely worries me that these guys really don’t have much understanding of the franchise and what makes it work.

    I’m not going to completely dismiss the change until I’ve seen the game itself, but it does worry me a bit.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. OrbitMonkey

    ^ Well it certainly seems a strong reaction for IO having a bit of fun. Which is all this was.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. DSB

    @32 I’d propose to look at it from a different perspective.

    For one thing, the original Hitman got extremely weird towards the end. You can’t say they haven’t challenged the limits of disbelief.

    Secondly though, these games have managed to extinguish any desire I had to play and replay them, somewhere along the way since then. It was “understood” design that obviously didn’t care, that games had moved on from the trial and error tenets of design, and I can’t say I ever found a story in any of them that I wanted to care about.

    But I certainly had no problem seeing the genius of the concept. So at least for guys like me, Hitman + Change = Good in pretty much any context short of “first person shooter” or “social experience”.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. SplatteredHouse

    @24: “or use their dress to hide weapons.”
    Which is exactly what they proceed to do. One has twin SMGs concealed beneath that habit, walking with arms down by her side, and a second stashed a launcher. Perhaps, they regularly wear the clothing they reveal, but use the nun’s disguise to pass more inconspicuously, and explain away the bunched female group to onlookers.

    @25: “Since when is 47 tactically sound?”
    Does he actually need to be? Because if things go as planned, 47 interprets opportunities, and manipulates a situation to his advantage. He needs to be a ripple in water, not so often create a great, loud splash. His power grows the longer he evades discovery, and improves his understanding and awareness, filtering in to the scene.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. Ireland Michael

    @34 The latter two were well worth it, especially the last one. That game had some brilliant set pieces, easily on par with the original Kane & Lynch.

    There’s a difference between challenging the limits of disbelief and punching them through the face with a golden brick. This feels way too much like the latter.

    Guess we’ll have to wait and see, eh?

    #36 2 years ago
  37. YoungZer0

    @30: Well, i don’t. I don’t see what’s supposed to be funny about that, i only see what’s stupid about that.

    The controversy definitely helped making the game more famous, but sells? That’s something we don’t know. If the only way to sell your game is by pissing people off, you’re a shit markting person. I’m sorry but that’s just how it is. Everybody can be offending. No skill here. Just lazy and embarrassing.

    All they got from me, is less respect for the developer.

    @31: Because it’s stupid? Because those clothes could make it easier for other people to kill them? That’s really part of their identity? That’s their goal? To be remembered as those ‘Stripper-Nuns’?

    I just can’t imagine that there are people out there, dressing like strippers for the lulz.

    As Michael said, the Hitman games were never grindhouse. It just doesn’t fit the narrative.

    @34: I’d like to think that the games changes would’ve been worked without the stripper nuns.

    @35: Okay fine, but why are they wearing latex under it? Where is the body armor? What’s with the high heels? Ever seen a woman trying to catch a bus with those things on?

    #37 2 years ago
  38. viralshag

    @37, You’re acting as if no one in the world dresses controversially.

    #38 2 years ago
  39. SplatteredHouse

    “Okay fine, but why are they wearing latex under it? Where is the body armor? What’s with the high heels?”

    It’s great that you’ve recognised the need to ensure you’re wearing appropriate thickness, and coverage of body armor in order to deliver an incendiary firework through an unsuspecting someone’s wall. ;) I doubt that they were expecting a close quarters encounter.

    #39 2 years ago
  40. YoungZer0

    @38: I’m pretty sure Assassins would do anything but dress controversially.

    @39: So why were they armed to the teeth then? Knives, SMG’s, Rifles. They had it all.

    The defense is getting somewhat desperate here.

    #40 2 years ago
  41. mathare92

    @32 “But taken in the context of Hitman, it’s completely out of pace. Since when the fuck was Hitman “grindhouse”? It has always played things fairly straight and on the ball. It’s a stylistic shift that is completely out of place, and if this permeates the whole game, it genuinely worries me that these guys really don’t have much understanding of the franchise and what makes it work.”

    Yeah, but you know, you did once proclaim to be “not adverse to people actually trying something different with an established name”, and that you have have “no desire to play the same old shit over and over and over again.” Just saying.

    I actually agree with the argument that the trailer was quite unnecessary.

    #41 2 years ago
  42. DSB

    @40 It doesn’t need defending, it’s vivid imagery. It’s not meant to represent a deeper whole, it’s not there for enterpretation, and for most people, it’s enjoyable for what it is.

    Uma Thurman spent half a movie samurai’ing people to death wearing a yellow latex racing suit after making off in the Pussy Wagon. I’m not going to write a 4 page essay on why I like it. It was just awesome.

    Just because it doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean that everyone else needs to defend it. We’re fine with it.

    #42 2 years ago