Update: Looks like this is actually a PR stunt by Electronic Art’s PR company. Never let it be said that I’m not willing to own up when I’ve been had. It looked real enough to me considering some of the stupid game protests in the past.
It was a small group of about 13 people marching about outside the LA Convention Center where E3 is taking place this week. What were they protesting? A new video game based on Dante’s Inferno:
The protesters, who came from a church in Ventura County, held signs with slogans such as “trade in your playstation for a praystation” and “EA = anti-Christ” as they marched and handed out a homemade brochure that warns, “a video game hero does not have the authority to save and damn… ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE. and he will not judge the sinners who play this game kindly.”
Yeah, because God gives more of a shit about what video games you play over, say, trivial issues like the systematic abuse of real children for decades by religious authorities trusted with their care and well being.
Matthew Francis, one of the protesters, said he and his fellow church members were particularly upset that Dante’s Inferno features a character who fights his way out of Hell and uses a cross as a weapon against demons.
“We think this game should never come out,” he said, before asking a reporter to convey his message to executives at Electronic Arts inside the show, where non-industry professionals are not allowed.
Wait a minute. Wouldn’t using a cross as a weapon against evil be an image these guys would want to project? Seriously, check out the official trailer for yourself and the game’s official website. Yes, it’s a traditional beat ‘em up/platformer in the tradition of God of War, but with a seriously pro-Christian tone to it. Admittedly the game’s designers have taken some liberties with the original poem’s story, but it’s still very pro-Christian in its concepts. Here’s the official synopsis from the game’s website:
Inspired by the real Dante Alighieri, but adapted for a new generation and a new medium, the hero of the game is a soldier who defies death and fights for love against impossible odds. The Italian mercenary Dante returns home from the wars to find that his beloved Beatrice has been murdered, and her soul pulled down into Hell by a dark force. He gives chase, and vows to get her back. For weapons, he wields Death’s soul-reaping scythe, and commands holy powers of the cross, given to him by Beatrice.
“At the midpoint on the journey of life, I found myself in a dark forest, for the clear path was lost” (opening line of The Divine Comedy). In the game, Dante goes on a spectacular journey through the afterlife to save his beloved Beatrice from the clutches of evil. But what starts out as a rescue mission quickly changes into a redemption story, where Dante must confront his own dark past and the sins he carries with him into Hell. He faces the epic inhospitable terrain of the underworld, huge monsters and guardians, sinister demons, the people and sins of his past, and the ultimate traitor: Lucifer himself.
This is a game that looks to actually contain some of the imagery and concepts a lot of Christians promote themselves. Clearly these people haven’t actually bothered to learn much about it. They hear about a game set in Hell and involving redemption and they jump all over it. Where were they when the various DOOM games had people traveling to Hell and fighting demons with nary a Christian reference to be found? Or any of the other games that involve Hell in them? No, they pick the one game that they recognize the name of and which might actually have at least a somewhat positive message about their philosophical viewpoint (the power in that cross isn’t coming from Dante after all) and they freak out.
Personally it looks like it could be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to seeing the final game. If nothing else the fact that it’s pissing some Christians off makes me even more interested.