The recent article published here on Blend Games touched on a very sensitive subject that I believe has been pushed in the wrong direction, especially concerning the integrity of RE5. We live in a day and age where people can disagree and feel free to make claim of an opinion that may or may not sit well with the general public. However, there is one thing that I need to make perfectly clear: Resident Evil 5, despite the controversy, will be a good game if Capcom ensures that it’s a good game.
Yet this continued stigma for RE5's success stems from the fact – as stated in my prior article regarding this matter – that misinformed news outlets have set negative propaganda against the series. As I mentioned in the previous article, the game itself is more than likely to be as good, if not better than any Resident Evil game before it: co-op play for the first time in the series, dozens of enemies on the screen at once, and near pitch-perfect graphics are enough to make any gamer’s mouth water with anticipation.
The problem, however, is that the gaming community seems to believe that the outcry of those who were offended by the extended E3 trailer will somehow diminutively affect the outcome or production for RE5. I think the vast majority of gamers who have become offended by those who were offended by the trailer need to realize that anyone making civil disputes [publicly] about the portrayal of a group of people is doing so only to the effect of recognition, not decommission.
When Asians, Latinos and blacks complained about their roles in movies, it wasn’t done so in the effort to have all movies banned from being made. It also wasn’t done to prevent any of the aforementioned races from appearing in major motion pictures as villains or antagonists to the hero(es). The complaints were put forth to help the studios recognize the inequality of the portrayal of specific races in the movies. I think, in some way, this is a similar case (i.e., regarding RE5) with the rebuttal coming from some minority groups. As mentioned, this won’t stop the game from being made or being good, but I think it is bringing awareness to an issue (viz., for gaming in general) that we need to pay more attention to, no matter what race you are.
Nevertheless, I also believe that the debate over Resident Evil 5 being racist has plagued the outlook on the issue so much so, that no one seems to notice that the issue itself has been ignored. Strong, biased views from minority groups regarding race and guns and shooting zombies in Resident Evil seems to have prevented everyone else from asking why certain gamers of the minority society have found the trailer racist. Everyone who claims not to be offended by the trailer has stated that the other side finds it offensive because the zombies are African/black/dark-skinned. But is that really why other gamers (not journalists) claimed to be offended by the trailer in the first place? Has anyone asked?
What’s more, though, is that I’m curious to know what gamers’ would say if Hispanics made as much a fuss about Resident Evil 4 as blacks have made with Resident Evil 5's trailer? And if Asian Americans complained about Siren for the PlayStation 3, would gamers still be as defensive about these titles, or would further discussions open up regarding the possibility of material being present in the game to which a social group would find it offensive?
Nevertheless, I think it hurts the gaming community when sensitive matters are handled with desensitized, defense mechanisms. I know us gamers have endured a lot of bashing from politicians, but it doesn’t mean we have to be equally brash with all groups of gamers who happen to find aspects of a game’s content offensive.
When female gamers complain about gender inequality (which is more frequent than any form of racism in any game) it doesn’t help gamers as a cultural community when everyone puts up their guard as if someone is about to take away their favorite pastime. I mean, have you tried arguing with your girlfriend or wife about why a female lead needs D-cups to fight crime? The argument will end with you and the coach being new roommates. Still, I think in the same way that female gamers should voice their opinions about what they find to be sexist...any social group of any kind should be able to voice their opinion about what they find to be racist, without being attacked for it.
I think, though, the least we can do, as gamers, is be supportive enough to understand the woes of gamers who find some material inappropriate with the games we all play, rather than put them down in fear of losing one of our favorite hobbies. Unless, of course, Jack Thompson is doing the complaining.
On a side note, though, I do want to applaud some gamers for respectfully approaching the matter with finesse and intelligence (even if it’s not with proper grammar). Anyway, here’s a brief summary of what some gamers thought about the topic from around the web: