Square Enix Invents Horribly Insulting Facebook Promotion for Hitman: Absolution, Subsequently Apologizes

#201 Posted by Shaanyboi (1281 posts) -

Someone at Square needs to get fired because WTF?

#202 Posted by GnaTSoL (791 posts) -

People are too uptight. IT's why we can't have world peace....

#203 Posted by _Zombie_ (1462 posts) -

LOL MARKETING LOGIKZ

#204 Edited by Mr_Scumbag (43 posts) -

I've gone from relieved I cancelled my preorder from this game to PROUD that I did so.

What disgusting shit. As a rabid Blood Money fan, I was pissed off enough they gutted the game, but the advertising, specifically this has confirmed that no-one attached to the entire project deserves my money. There are too many hard working indie developers who get game design and effective (read: non-offensive) marketing to waste your money on this complete clusterfuck.

Someone should lose their job over this. No hyperbole. It's disgusting.

Edit: Oh, and to answer this: 'Who looks at a Facebook app where you can call people out for their regrettable genitalia (among other insulting things) and threaten them with (fictional) murder, and says, "Yes! This is the direction our marketing campaign needs!"'

I would have to say it's someone who believes that there's no such thing as bad publicity. Because I literally cannot explain how any person who got far enough to be in a position to approve this could be so fucking stupid.

#205 Posted by PillClinton (3291 posts) -

Wow, what's up Square? I started to really appreciate you guys as a publisher again for doing well-made, thoughtful PC ports. Now, I just don't know.

@paulunga said:

The thing about that trailer is that it's totally in-line with the game's content. You very much have to kill a bunch of sexy nuns at some point. It's just as ridiculous in context as it was when the trailer first popped up.

Damnit, really? I bought Absolution, and haven't played it yet, but now I kinda don't even want to anymore. I hope they at least contextualize and justify it in some semi-acceptable way...?

#206 Posted by Milkman (16618 posts) -

@GnaTSoL said:

People are too uptight. IT's why we can't have world peace....

yeah, that's why.

#207 Posted by outerabiz (660 posts) -

oh Japan you rascal you.

#208 Posted by Mr_Scumbag (43 posts) -

@rick_deckard said:

I don't know. Didn't really strike me as that offensive. It's all about how thick your skin is I suppose.

Nope, that's not it at all.

#209 Posted by Godlyawesomeguy (6396 posts) -

It's a bit of a weird idea but nothing mind-blowingly offensive. I like the idea of assassinating my friends and showing them that I did it in a cheeky way that poked fun at their mannerisms or whatever. It's not like I would assassinate people I didn't know as that would be creepy but my close friends would get the joke or at least not jump into insane "He's going to kill me!" conclusions.

#210 Posted by JackG100 (405 posts) -

Sounds like somethign they wouldnt scuff about in Japan.

#211 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -
@PillClinton said:

Wow, what's up Square? I started to really appreciate you guys as a publisher again for doing well-made, thoughtful PC ports. Now, I just don't know.

@paulunga said:

The thing about that trailer is that it's totally in-line with the game's content. You very much have to kill a bunch of sexy nuns at some point. It's just as ridiculous in context as it was when the trailer first popped up.

Damnit, really? I bought Absolution, and haven't played it yet, but now I kinda don't even want to anymore. I hope they at least contextualize and justify it in some semi-acceptable way...?

Let's just say they're working their second job and then get called in to their first job and they're in a hurry and don't have time to change. 
Or it's their hobby and then they got called into work. 
 
It's one of those. 
#212 Posted by thekingoftoilets (190 posts) -

So, you hear someone was killed by a subway train in New York today, and everyone was to busy taking pictures to help the guy get out of the way? http://blog.sfgate.com/hottopics/2012/12/04/subway-horror-why-didnt-photog-lend-a-hand/.

Sorry, where were we? Offended by a marketing app. Oh right, sorry.

Online
#213 Posted by DoubleKR (98 posts) -

Gotta say as far as marketing goes, that is the most awful and poorly thought out plan.

....But, I find it funny and wish I would have sent numerous amounts of terrible things to all of my friends.

#214 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -
@thekingoftoilets said:

So, you hear someone was killed by a subway train in New York today, and everyone was to busy taking pictures to help the guy get out of the way? http://blog.sfgate.com/hottopics/2012/12/04/subway-horror-why-didnt-photog-lend-a-hand/.

Sorry, where were we? Offended by a marketing app. Oh right, sorry.

Hey hey hey!  
In defense of the photographer, he was trying to warn the traindriver(or whatever) by using the flash on his camera!  
(That's what he said, at least.. that idiot) 
#215 Posted by mazik765 (2315 posts) -

I REALLY wish I was in the meeting where this was pitched and then approved.

#216 Posted by clush (413 posts) -

Gotta respect them for straight up apologizing and appreciating their own stupidity. Not some half assed apology like 'we see how you can interpret this the way we did not intend and are sorry if you feel offended' but just 'hey, we fucked up. sorry.'

that's cool.

#217 Posted by sissylion (679 posts) -

@thekingoftoilets said:

So, you hear someone was killed by a subway train in New York today, and everyone was to busy taking pictures to help the guy get out of the way? http://blog.sfgate.com/hottopics/2012/12/04/subway-horror-why-didnt-photog-lend-a-hand/.

Sorry, where were we? Offended by a marketing app. Oh right, sorry.

The bystander effect isn't news, it's human nature. There's not much to report on.

Also, here's a shocker for you: It is possible to feel strongly about multiple things, even at the same time. Alex can feel super bad about the dude who got killed by a train and also feel bad about this gross thing. He just happened to report on this because Giant Bomb is a website about video games. It's a video game website.

#218 Posted by Kraznor (1578 posts) -

I mean, the product being marketed IS an unabashed murder simulator. Like, literally speaking, that's what this franchise is all about. Hard to not see how this idea came about. If you remove a lot of premises from the context of them being a game, they are often pretty questionable. Maybe the game's philosophy is at fault here in some way too, is all I'm suggesting. Should a murder sim like this exist in the first place?

#219 Posted by clush (413 posts) -

@cabbagered said:

"Hitman Absolution-related snafu fails to make us love Hitman Absolution than we already love Hitman Absolution."

Perhaps I'm paraphrasing... a teensy bit,

not so much paraphrasing as talking gibberish...

#220 Posted by rick_deckard (19 posts) -

@Mr_Scumbag: For me it is. I think people just get offended to easily. Just take a look at the whole trailer debacle a while back.

#221 Edited by vinsanityv22 (1064 posts) -

rofl. This is awesome! I miss the days of horrible, terrible marketing for video games!

Remember when Acclaim used to rule at this? Like when they offered a cash prize for couples who would name their baby, "Turok"? Or when they decided to advertise Shadow Man by taking out ad space on people's graves? How about Sony, and their obviously horrible, racist, Squirrel ads for the original PSP? And their terrifying baby robot ad for the PS3? It's like Sony was bored of destroying Microsoft the entire previous generation, and decided to give them an advantage just to give themselves a challenge!

Do I even have to mention the old Sega Saturn ads? About the freaks inside of people's bodies? About how they imply that their games MAKE YOUR BUTTHOLE TIGHTEN UP? Seriously, watch that commercial. lol.

Thank you Square. It's like no one is even trying to be horrible at marketing these days!

#222 Posted by chrispti (214 posts) -

I thought the trailer "scandal" was completely over exaggerated but this is just plain idiotic and gross.

#223 Posted by Belialjtg87 (40 posts) -

It is crass and rude, however everyone has such big goddamn toes you have to watch where you walk constantly now days. They could have insinuated those characteristics and probably was meant as an immaturely adult(because I KNOW I like to be immature occasionally-it's fun) way to troll people on facebook considering the audience for this and the people who are actually going to follow it are more than likely older. However, I do regrettably agree with the majority and Square Enix was correct in taking it down and apologizing immediately. I just wish they could take sound concepts/ideas like this and implement them less poorly.

#224 Edited by Kosayn (452 posts) -

You'll look pretty hard to find someone who gives a damn about the marketing for a game having to be too politically correct - most people just don't like being advertised to period, especially on facebook.

It's the creative content of the game itself that matters. I don't even like the past Hitman games, but I'm glad they can be made. If we're going to say that Video Games can't have anything that conflicts too much with conventional morality, then they definitely shouldn't be considered an art form.

And it is specific culture-based morality that makes 'small tits' or nuns, in particular, a thing that is over the line, a thing that is in poor taste. I wouldn't want to hang out with people who represent themselves like the Square Eidos folks have (over both this game and Tomb Raider) but I think we've all played games that the general public would consider morally offensive at one point or another. Try to get someone really offended by Doom or Bully these days if you think moral attitudes aren't constantly changing. A lot of the time, today's offensive art is tomorrow's masterpiece.

Funny that JoeGuy seems to have come up with better, comparable content for that ad with only a moment's thought.

#225 Posted by Sevenout (71 posts) -

I have no idea how the review system works for games marketing, but I am guessing it doesn't have to go through legal. I feel like any lawyer would have nixed this idea at the "death threat simulator" part, let alone all the rest of it.

The whole idea of this is extremely juvenile. Dick jokes can be funny but "I'mma kill U bcuz U have a tiny penus" isn't even half way close to amusing. Mostly I find it insulting to my intelligence. It's as if Square had a bring your son to work day and they let all the thirteen year olds run the marketing department for a year and a half.

#226 Posted by MetalGearSunny (6988 posts) -

What? What? What? Why does that exist? What!?

Online
#227 Posted by JillSammich (105 posts) -

On a totally unrelated note, Hitman: Absolution is on sale at Gamestop for $40. :P

#228 Posted by ShinjiEx (624 posts) -

Still see no issues with Dominatrix Nuns ^__^

#229 Posted by Mr_Scumbag (43 posts) -

@rick_deckard said:

@Mr_Scumbag: For me it is. I think people just get offended to easily. Just take a look at the whole trailer debacle a while back.

That's fine. I can't tell you're wrong to not be offended. It the rest of the statement that I, and many others take issue with. It's the part where you and others infer that because they aren't offended, those who are must be either easily offended or looking to be offended. (Allow me to stress the rest from here on in is not directed to you specifically) Of course there are always people who are either easily offended or itching to to take offense to something, but the statement is both arrogant and dismissive or can at least be interpreted that way.

I think the fundamental difference between those who are and are not offended is the way they look at the issues. Those who aren't offended may be looking at it in a personal sense. Those who are, I think, are typically looking at the issue in a much broader sense. The effects it has on society, how gaming is perceived at large, and to how people may be affected on a personal level.

It's when those differences are ignored that the discussion takes a turn for the worse. I can't speak for everyone, but this is why I am offended:

Because for a company to come out with things like this, it normalizes the sentiments and behaviors portrayed in the marketing material. Maybe people already think it's acceptable, but to those who are neutral, it gives a sense of acceptability if it is condoned and even spread by a big, well-known company. To anyone who uses the defense "Well, it's about a game where you have to murder people, and you're getting offended NOW?" There is a large difference. That being that the game world and its objectives exist in its own form, in its own little bubble of the game world itself. Bringing it out into the public and allowing them to (on a purely social level) call each other out for having "small tits" or "red hair" takes it from being a game into something far different, and thus open to different criticisms. As an aside, I also take extreme issue to people saying along the lines of: "There are so many other things to be offended about but you choose this?" As if people are only allowed to focus on one thing at a time. This is either grossly disingenuous at the least or unbelievably small-minded and jouvenile at worst. It's dismissal, and it helps no-one.

Secondly, I have a sister who has been the target of internet bullying and I am personally aware of multiple teenagers who have actually killed themselves over harassment. No, the app didn't explicitly PROMOTE internet bullying but it enables it and provides a pretty good way of going about it. It's irresponsible. At some point you just have to ask yourself, "Was there a better way to promote the game than this?" If your answer is no, then you need to do some self-reflection.

Thirdly, I've been a gamer most of my life and like most gamers I've suffered negative stigma (many have looked at me as immature simply because I play video games) and the general attitude that games aren't to be taken seriously as a form of entertainment or story telling. It's frustrating because I know this is not the case. It doesn't help at all when there seems to be a disproportionately high amount of generally bad practices and behaviour on all levels of gaming. It's things like this app and nuns in latet which do nothing but affirm people's beliefs that gaming is a juvenile pastime for the emotionally immature. It hurts gaming and prevents it from growing up. It holds it back, and it's up to people to voice concern when we see these things rearing their ugly heads time and time again. It's how progression is made and it's seen throughout every medium throughout history.

In conclusion, it's fine to not be personally offended by anything but handwaving the whole issue by saying that those who are are oversensitive is to ignore the entire issue (in an unbelievably arrogant and condescending way) as if it doesn't really exist when there is clearly a problem. There are surely examples of these problems all over society and in the past a lot of this stuff has been normal, but times change and so do attitudes - usually for the better. If you love games, gaming culture and want to see it thrive and evolve you owe it to yourself and other gamers and to civilised society to say enough is enough when these things crop up.

#230 Edited by Branthog (7469 posts) -

While it is unbelievable that someone let something like this slip out, this is the internet -- issuing death threats for difference in tastes and preferences is sort of what we do.

Also, I don't see the big deal about "sexy nuns" any more than sexy "anything else". That said, where's the "kill 47 sexy popes" DLC? I want to see Pope Sith Lord in fetish latexware.

#231 Posted by Grillbar (1809 posts) -

@ZeForgotten said:

@JazGalaxy said:

@Grillbar said:

look the hole trailer killing nuns debacle was stupid, they were not nuns they were dressed sorta like nuns. like a halloween s/m nun dress more or less and people overreacted in the most stupid way over something so far from what they were claiming. at least that how i see it.

but this...

this is just some marketing thinking they were edgy. but its tasteless in so many ways imo

You're missing the whole point.

Nobody over-reacted. If you don't see the problem with it, then you need to do some serious self examination because most people in society do not agree with you.

The fact that they were nuns had little to nothing to do wtih why people were upset. People were upset because hypersexualized women were being dismembered in slow motion and that was supposed to make you WANT TO PLAY the game. The fact that were dressed as super sexualized nuns, of all things, just underscored how there was absolutely no legitimate context to what was going on.

If batshit insane women were hired to kill me and they were into SM and were dressed as nuns because that's their whole act for when they take a client and I were 47. I wouldn't stand around going "Oh, they're women. Well I can't hit women, that's just wrong" Kinda like when RE5 came out and everyone were claiming racism. I don't fucking care what skincolor they have, if they're charging at me with a sword I'm gonna defend myself. Crazy, parasite infected humans.

no no ZE im all wrong, aparently im the one with the problem and i really need some soul searching and everything i said is wrong thats just what i was told. So that has to be the answer even though i said it was my own opinion that not right either, my opinion is also wrong.

but really the debacle i heard was not they they were hypersexualized. it was the fact that it was killer nuns and some religious people went crazy over it even though they diddent know anything about the game or why they were dressed that way. but it was apparently a bashing towards Chistians. atleast thats what one of the producers from IO was talking about in a morning interview a few days before release of the game.

but then again what does he know he must be wrong as well and also need to do some serious self examination.

sorry went on bit of a rant there.

#232 Edited by Grillbar (1809 posts) -

@vinsanityv22 said:

rofl. This is awesome! I miss the days of horrible, terrible marketing for video games!

Remember when Acclaim used to rule at this? Like when they offered a cash prize for couples who would name their baby, "Turok"? Or when they decided to advertise Shadow Man by taking out ad space on people's graves? How about Sony, and their obviously horrible, racist, Squirrel ads for the original PSP? And their terrifying baby robot ad for the PS3? It's like Sony was bored of destroying Microsoft the entire previous generation, and decided to give them an advantage just to give themselves a challenge!

Do I even have to mention the old Sega Saturn ads? About the freaks inside of people's bodies? About how they imply that their games MAKE YOUR BUTTHOLE TIGHTEN UP? Seriously, watch that commercial. lol.

Thank you Square. It's like no one is even trying to be horrible at marketing these days!

good find there. diddent they do the same with skyrim as they did for turok. might just be my brain playing tricks on my but i think there was something like free oblivion games for life or something like that

Edit: i actually think the psp once were great even though they were extremely stupid. diddent know there was any racist in it though

#233 Edited by rick_deckard (19 posts) -

@Mr_Scumbag: I don't know. I just can't seem to get all riled up about something like this. I think we'd be a lot better off if people didn't read so much into everything, and just let stupid marketing tricks be just that. Sqaure where pretty smart in my opinion, and I think they knew that either they would raise awareness of their game on Facebook, or they would raise awareness by being controversial. And who cares what people think of this and that. If this is what comes to mind when people think about gaming, it's just makes them look silly and unknowing.

#234 Posted by Sidoran (70 posts) -

Judging by the dialogue I saw in the Quick Look, this thing fit the context of the game pretty well, which is more than I can say for most marketing schemes. I don't see how anyone could be offended by one but not the other.

#235 Posted by dudeglove (7720 posts) -

@msavo said:

Who's bright idea was to make that? At least Square responded quickly and took it down.

Allegedly a PR company called Ralph. Sorry, "creative agency"

http://ralphandco.com/

#236 Posted by Jolt92 (1546 posts) -

Whoever came up with this shit should be brutally murdered.

#237 Posted by probablytuna (3600 posts) -

This is why people still view the medium as immature.

#238 Posted by InfamousBIG (3200 posts) -

@Branthog said:

I want to see Pope Sith Lord in fetish latexware.

And here I thought I was the only one. Welcome, brother.

#239 Posted by dyong (331 posts) -

I'm so glad that Square Enix took down the app so that we don't have to actively protect our sensibilities from ourselves.

#240 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -
@Grillbar said:

@ZeForgotten said:

@JazGalaxy said:

@Grillbar said:

look the hole trailer killing nuns debacle was stupid, they were not nuns they were dressed sorta like nuns. like a halloween s/m nun dress more or less and people overreacted in the most stupid way over something so far from what they were claiming. at least that how i see it.

but this...

this is just some marketing thinking they were edgy. but its tasteless in so many ways imo

You're missing the whole point.

Nobody over-reacted. If you don't see the problem with it, then you need to do some serious self examination because most people in society do not agree with you.

The fact that they were nuns had little to nothing to do wtih why people were upset. People were upset because hypersexualized women were being dismembered in slow motion and that was supposed to make you WANT TO PLAY the game. The fact that were dressed as super sexualized nuns, of all things, just underscored how there was absolutely no legitimate context to what was going on.

If batshit insane women were hired to kill me and they were into SM and were dressed as nuns because that's their whole act for when they take a client and I were 47. I wouldn't stand around going "Oh, they're women. Well I can't hit women, that's just wrong" Kinda like when RE5 came out and everyone were claiming racism. I don't fucking care what skincolor they have, if they're charging at me with a sword I'm gonna defend myself. Crazy, parasite infected humans.

no no ZE im all wrong, aparently im the one with the problem and i really need some soul searching and everything i said is wrong thats just what i was told. So that has to be the answer even though i said it was my own opinion that not right either, my opinion is also wrong.

but really the debacle i heard was not they they were hypersexualized. it was the fact that it was killer nuns and some religious people went crazy over it even though they diddent know anything about the game or why they were dressed that way. but it was apparently a bashing towards Chistians. atleast thats what one of the producers from IO was talking about in a morning interview a few days before release of the game.

but then again what does he know he must be wrong as well and also need to do some serious self examination.

sorry went on bit of a rant there.

Don't worry! 
I'm a mysogonist according to some other idiot in the comments here for not taking a trailer seriously. 
We're both bad people! 
#241 Posted by Incapability (204 posts) -

Square Enix needs a new marketing department if they want IO's brand value to last. What a load of shit to offer customers.

#242 Posted by Zaxex (582 posts) -

I couldn't have cared less about the trailer. At least this one was actually a bad idea that could directly offend people. I think personalized (albeit fictional) death threats are a bigger deal than sexed-up CG nuns in a video game trailer.

#243 Posted by Eyz (451 posts) -

bwahahahahahahahaha!!!!

#244 Posted by abdo (1037 posts) -

They should use a little more imagination, like those almost real Serif videos and brochures they did for Deus Ex: HR.

#245 Posted by hollitz (1496 posts) -

Immature and lazy. Seriously who in the fuck gave the OK to this?

#246 Posted by hidys (1029 posts) -

Square Enix really needs to fire all there PR people and get new ones.

#247 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3788 posts) -

@big_jon said:

@ArtisanBreads said:

@Forum_User said:

@ArtisanBreads said:

@Forum_User said:

@big_jon said:

And how does this premote their game?

Just another act of desperation from a faltering company. If it wasn't for nostalgia, they'd probably have been bankrupt years ago.

Well this is sure completely false. They have made some great games lately on the Western side. Eidos has been quite good this generation.

I mean Square Enix.

Eidos is owned by Square Enix. It's a subsidiary Hence why Hitman was released by Square Enix. Also Deus Ex, Just Cause 2, the upcoming Tomb Raider, etc.

You guys are missing the point here. How would someone expect this to increase a games sales? I just don't see how a large company full of business people and marketers comes to the conclusion that this will some how promote their game.

I didn't miss the point at all as I said that in a bunch of my posts.

#248 Posted by Gamer_152 (14065 posts) -

You know the basic concept here might not be so bad, but the serious angle with which the executions were played just makes it creepy, and you'd have to be extremely comfortable with the person you were targeting for these insults to not come off as either awkward or downright bullying. It's hard to tell if the marketing people here were just clueless or trying to do something edgy and it just came off in poor taste. I see some people here saying that the app is cool, and that people criticising it are "too sensitive", but really, is it unreasonable of some people to think that maybe being insulted for their looks or cheating on their partner, and then seeing a video of their murder being planned and executed, isn't the height of comedy funtimes?

Moderator
#249 Posted by bigdc666 (52 posts) -

Oh my god! A fake Facebook death threat. Yea that is really offensive, my feelings would have been seriously hurt.

#250 Posted by Laiv162560asse (487 posts) -

I find most marketing offensive, in the sense that it represents an assumption on the marketers' part that I will part with my money for them as long as they flip enough of my psychological switches, completely regardless of the merit of the product in question. That is all that marketing is designed to do. The critical first step in doing so is to maximise publicity. This campaign does that. Here I am, as a person who recognises how damaging cyber-bullying can be, contributing (however insignificantly) to the publicity of a game I didn't enjoy, by way of making this comment. Irrespective of however we might condemn the campaign, potential new customers will learn about the product this way. They'll look for the only substantive comments about the game's quality that the staff have made, and they'll see Alex's 4-star review and the words 'Oh Hitman: Absolution, you are too good of a game.' The marketing is working as intended.

Although there might be such a thing as bad publicity (I'm not convinced), this isn't it. Anecdotal accounts of people saying they've been put off buying by this are irrelevant; to believe that this will negatively impact sales, you have to believe that principled buyers outnumber consumers who operate like juvenile, thrill-seeking magpies. I'm someone who often makes purchasing decisions based on principle and I know how massively outnumbered I am by the kind of consumer who doesn't.

However, I do believe that negative word of mouth can be just as powerful as trash marketing, when you're talking specifically about a game's quality, so with that in mind here's my honest opinion:

"Hitman: Absolution is a shitty game. Don't trust Alex. Don't buy it."

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