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BioShock Infinite: supremacists view game as ‘white-person-killing simulator’ – Levine

Friday, 14th December 2012 11:15 GMT By Dave Cook

BioShock Infinite is full of messages, but creator Ken Levine is wary of political and supremacist groups taking offence to the game’s themes and seemingly politically-charged factions. The Irrational Games developer has discussed the matter in a new interview.

Speaking with PC Gamer, Levine discussed the nature of factions in BioShock Infinite – which sees the city of Columbia engaged in a civil war between the ruling classes and the Vox Populi movement. Both sides have bigoted, harsh beliefs, and Levin felt these views are being taken too seriously by real-life political and activist groups.

“Trust me, I get tweets… When I started working on this game, relatives of mine were very offended, because they thought it was an attack on the Tea Party. Specifically an attack on the Tea Party, which they were very active in.

“Then, when we sort of exposed the Vox Populi people, I saw a lot more left-leaning websites being like, ‘This is trying to tear down the labor movement!’ I remember that I saw postings, unfortunately, on a white supremacist website, Stormfront, where people literally said, ‘The Jew Ken Levine is making a white-person-killing simulator.’

“BioShock had the same thing, where you had Objectivists being infuriated by it, and people more on the left thinking that it was a love letter to Objectivism. I think these games are a bit of a Rorschach for people. It’s usually a negative Rorshach. It pisses them off, you know?

“But I’d way rather have that than to…These games are, to some degree… If they’re about anything they’re about not buying into a single point of view,” he elaborated. “About having a lack of confidence in anything. They’re not ever an attack on a single idea. It’s a bit of a plague on all your houses.”

Ouch. What do you make of BioShock Infinite’s messages of creed, class and race based on what you’ve seen so far. Are people drilling down too far to stir up controversy, or is there a plausible case for criticism? Let us know below.

Thanks OXM.

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16 Comments

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  1. The Auracle

    Fundamentally, this proves one thing: people see what they want to see but it normally mirrors how ugly their personality is and how their fears and other negative thoughts rule them.

    That said, can’t wait until BioShock “White-Person-Killing-Simulator”/”TEA Party Punisher”/”Vox Populi Vanquisher” Infinite comes out.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. OwnedWhenStoned

    Stupid is as stupid does.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. SameeR_Fisher

    it shows that Game Industry won’t grow up until it forgets about these useless people commenting on every little thing, games should be able to discuss stuff that is troublesome, that brings thought, that takes ideas from real life, and show how ugly the real world is.

    Enough with the BS, we aren’t children or little kids, if the game is rated Mature then it should be able to do whatever it want, less over the top violence, more things to think about.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. uomoartificiale

    ok, I get what he’s saying, but it’s not like white supremacist have a right to their opinions. They are spiteful horrible people, or crazies, at best. I wouldn’t call theirs a “point of view”, a place that generates valid criticism. You just ignore them or run for cover.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Dragon246

    Ken should stop paying attention to these attention seeking maniacs and just focus on releasing the game.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. Joe Musashi

    I agree wholeheartedly with @1.

    This is story is good, but it’s not as hilarious as the one where a woman claimed Castle Crashers was racist because it had white knights killing off black knights.

    I think Gamestrailers.com had a video of the game with the voicemail of the offended viewer playing over it. Priceless.

    JM

    #6 1 year ago
  7. dapperbandit

    #4

    “it’s not like white supremacist have a right to their opinions”

    Everyone has a right to their opinions no matter how contentious they are. That said, “White-Person-Killing-Simulator” is exactly the reactionary response you can expect from Stormfront

    I think its a good thing that games actually explore themes that throw up these issues now. The important thing is not to get pushed off the path because people on the internet react a certain way.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. OrbitMonkey

    I thought the game was about some pedo trying to get into the pants of a over-developed 12 year old loli…?

    Now it’s about politics?

    #8 1 year ago
  9. TheDarkWeapon

    > Destroys G.W. ‘robot’… YOU RACIST PIG, WHY DID YOU MAKE A GAME WHERE YOU CAN KILL WHITE FOLKS?

    > Nukes city…. COD MWF IS PRETTY CEWL HUH?

    #9 1 year ago
  10. TheWulf

    @9

    That’s about the most meaningful thing I’ve read in regards to this whole affair.

    I’m terribly depressed, now.

    Thanks everyone. :I

    #10 1 year ago
  11. sh4dow

    The only thing I took note of in this article because I found it surprising and questionable is the thing about Levine’s relatives and the tea party. Although I guess… one can’t choose family and most of my relatives are morons too…

    #11 1 year ago
  12. uomoartificiale

    @7 I mostly agree with you. It’s time for games to broaden their scope and approach delicate social and political themes.
    What I was trying to say is that though everyone is entitled to have his own opinion, as you said, not every opinion gets to be considered in a public arena. Especially when these opinions stem from a false/illogical/unreasonable sources. There’s a limit over which “opinions” get disqualified from the public considerations and have to be seen as private delusions. That is true even in the most liberal societies.
    In that sense the “White supremacy” is not a point-of-view we should even care about in arts, nor qualifies as a competing voice in the pluralist debate about how to govern society.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. Spokker

    “That said, “White-Person-Killing-Simulator” is exactly the reactionary response you can expect from Stormfront”

    It’s about as reactionary as when Uncharted was criticized for being a brown person killing simulator.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. Clupula

    Yeah, I still don’t get the Uncharted racism thing. But then again, I don’t think Resident Evil 5 is racist, either.

    #14 1 year ago
  15. Clupula

    I also wonder if he put on a Southern accent when he made the comment about what Stormfront are saying about him. I know they’re based in Oregon, so they wouldn’t have the accent, but still, whenever I quote people like that, I automatically feel like the sentence needs the accent for context.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. DSB

    @1 is spot on.

    I really don’t see how anyone could find love for objectivism in Bioshock.

    #16 1 year ago