I… I don’t even… What the…
Okay, gimme a minute…
The latest of a long string of questionable promotions for Square Enix’s Hitman: Absolution (remember the scantily-clad nuns?) has ruffled many feathers and has me putting stitches on this gash on my head caused by repeatedly slamming it against any and all walls or hard surfaces.
Yea, it’s THAT baffling.
For this promo, an email went out telling people that they can put a hit on their Facebook friends. By following a link to the “Hire Hitman” site, you pick your victim, choose a feature that will help Agent 47 identify them (such as “her hairy legs”, “his tiny penis”, and other “lovely” descriptions), and give the reason why they were targeted (cheating on their significant other, for example). Once that info is filled out, the victim gets a message telling them that they’ve been targeted by Agent 47, and they can watch a video of their own assassination.
Apparently, the ones who thought up this promotion campaign is a creative agency called Ralph, who, according to their site, have done campaigns for Borderlands 2, Paranormal Activity 4, and Breaking Bad, among things. They’ve also won a 2009 BAFTA Craft Award, were nominated for an Emmy and other awards, and, according to this article, are part of Facebook’s Preferred Developer Consultant Program, a list of agencies who’ve proven their prowess in developing innovated and successful Facebook campaigns and are paired up with some of the biggest companies out there to help create their Facebook .
With all those accolades, you’d think that someone — ANYONE — would’ve stop and say, “ya know, with cyberbullying on the rise, and the tragedies that come along with the shocking rise, maybe we should try something else.”
It seems someone came to this realization AFTER people took to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media started to complain, and the site was taken down.
A Square Enix representative sent out the following response to Eurogamer:
“Earlier today we launched an app based around Hitman: Absolution that allowed you to place virtual hits on your Facebook friends. Those hits would only be viewable by the recipient, and could only be sent to people who were confirmed friends.
“We were wide of the mark with the app, and following feedback from the community we decided the best thing to do was remove it completely and quickly. This we’ve now done.
“We’re sorry for any offence caused by this.”
“Wide of the mark”? That’s a bit of an understatement, dont’cha think, fellas?
Did they really think that this was cool and hip? That they would make a slaying (so to speak) with this edgy campaign?
I don’t know what else to say, so I’ll just end the post like this: this was shocking on so many levels, it’s not even funny. I’m baffled that someone from Square Enix or IO Interactive actually reviewed this promo thoroughly and gave it the Stamp of Approval, thinking it was really okay.
This is why we can’t have nice things. What do you think about this latest snafu? Let me know in the Comments Section!