to join the CVG community. Not a member yet? Join now!
CVG
Blog

What's wrong with the Hitman: Absolution trailer?

Please explain.

Some people are angry about the new Hitman: Absolution trailer.

Zoom

Why? Because it depicts a group of nuns, later revealed to be vixen murderesses, being slaughtered in slo-mo by Agent 47. It might seem weird that people get up in arms about stuff like this, because people get slaughtered in games all the time. In fact, people get slaughtered in games most of the time.

Fair enough, but it's the fact that the violence here is sexualised - not just the women themselves, but the carnage wreaked upon them - that offends people.

This stuff happens in films all the time: when Quentin Tarantino depicts similarly mindless violence in his work he's applauded by responsible critics as a post-modern deity. His ability to channel the lurid, exploitative energy of a long dead era of cinema has resulted in him being taken very seriously, even while his source material was always sneered at.

A cursory glance at Suda 51's forthcoming Lollipop Chainsaw suggests a link to that tradition, and it's possible that the voices deriding the Hitman trailer will also have an axe to grind with Suda. Lollipop Chainsaw isn't about brutalising women, but the main character is a ditzy cheerleader who loves being told she's not fat (seriously). From certain angles, women are rarely depicted in a video game unless they're half-naked or in need of being rescued. Lollipop Chainsaw is interesting because the character is a stereotypically "dumb blonde", yet she knows how to rip zombie ass with a chainsaw.

Back to Hitman though, there's a dissonance between the type of game it promises to be and the type of material that is marketing it: Hitman is about quiet cunning. It's about stealth and precision, not gratuitous brutality. Hitman is meant to be smart.

For some, it's a complex task to figure out "where to stand" on an issue like this. I personally am not offended by the trailer, but I don't particularly like it - I think it's cheap bid for controversy. It's a talking point, sure, but it doesn't do the game much justice. People know about it now, though, so mission accomplished, right?

Do trailers need to be like this in order to appeal to our sensibilities?

Close Close

What do you think?

Comments