The official trailer for Hitman 5, a.k.a. Hitman: Absolution, went live this week and reaction has been largely negative. Most of the criticism seems to be with the way the trailer portrays the game as yet another over-the-top shoot ’em up, ignoring the stealthy and cerebral elements the franchise is known for.
But, for me, what is most upsetting about the trailer is the casual way it mixes up sex and violence into a disturbing slo-mo exercise in misogyny. Rob Fahey over at gamesindustry international does a good job of summing up the issue and what is wrong with trying to defend the trailer against this type of criticism. While I don’t necessarily agree that the violence in videogames debate is a done deal, I do think it is important not to conflate criticism of specific aspects of game related violence to criticism of games in general.
Having violence in a game is fine, but violence against women when it is sexualized to the degree it is in the Hitman: Absolution trailer is just plain offensive. It makes you look like a misogynist when you try to defend it, and it does the game the trailer is trying to sell a major disservice. If the game in question was “B-Movie Nunsploitation Massacre” that would be one thing, but it’s not. And they should know better.