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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2007-08-06 03:43:07
Capcom Calls Down the Shitstorm
Ok, first off, Resident Evil 5 looks amazing:
At the very least, it appears that the greatness that was RE4 gameplay has safely made the transition to immersive, cinematic next-gen presentation, along with the addition of some badly needed melee moves.
Unfortunately, the racial overtones have caused quite the murmur among race relations pundits. Kids and morons, either insensitive or uncultured, have responded on message boards throughout videogamedom, that people should STFU and grow a thicker skin.
I agree that Capcom is not guilty of prejudice. The African hamlet depicted in their trailers is simply the next locale that they thought would make for an interesting setting. We never heard from outraged Spaniards when RE4 had the player storming through a rural Spanish village and castle.
However, Capcom is utterly guilty of socio-political ignorance.
Africa's history could be encapsulated by the destructive annals of European colonialism, and the seemingly futile efforts to recover from this ravaging. Here, we have Chris Redfield: a technologically advanced Caucasian saving the world by killing all of the backward African villagers. Or if you have pinko Marxist leanings, you have a rich man killing off the poor. Sure they're zombies, but even the non-infected Africans in the beginning of the trailer were distinctly menacing. I completely understand this decision: Capcom is establishing the creepy tone that is absolutely necessary for a survival horror game, but the context is simply disturbing.
Worst of all, the zombie T-Virus can be viewed as directly analogous to the real life HIV/AIDS epidemic annihilating the African populace. Yes, we struggle against this killer in industrialized nations, but throughout poverty-stricken African countries, AIDS is wiping out an entire generation of men and women.
Based on my assessment that Capcom harbors no ill intent, and my confidence that Resident Evil 5 will be a great game, I will be most likely purchasing it upon release. However, ignorance is not an acceptable defense, and I hope Capcom at least acknowledges this issue in some positive fashion.
I won't be here Friday (out of town working on the site relaunch!), so Vargas will do the posting. In case he gets tongue-tied, I'll give him my GRAW review to slap up, but I fully expect him to be loquaciously eloquent and witty.
Now Playing - Saint's Row (Xbox 360)
Xbox Live Gamertag - Vawce
[Edit: The setting is apparently Haiti (the "home" of voodoo), not Africa. Reverse reverse racist game bloggers have been quick to yell, "Ha, see? Not racist!" This changes nothing; the issues of colonial devastation and HIV epidemic still hold.]