The Huffington Post pressured an independent developer into censoring their shooting game, Sniper 3D Assassin: Shoot To Kill, which featured a level where the player was tasked with killing a journalist. The developer acquiesced to the Huffington Post’s pressure and removed the level from the game.
“The mission, titled “Breaking News,” tasked the player with executing a journalist for bribing a police officer. The mission begins with the sound of a gun cocking. Through the scope of the rifle, the player can see a police officer holding a red briefcase and approaching a journalist in a yellow hat. Crosshairs move to the head of the journalist. As the player fires, a slow-motion bullet strikes the journalist in the head, spilling blood.” […]
“Death threats against journalists have grown steadily in recent years, and in June 2018 a gunman opened fire on the Capital Gazette newsroom in Maryland, killing five people and wounding two others. The United States currently ranks 48 out of 180 countries for press freedoms, according to Reporters Without Borders.”
You can see the mission in question with the video below, courtesy of iGamesView.
And yes, Sniper 3D Assassin is five years old. The game came out back in 2014, but since journalists don’t play games they had no idea the game existed until a New York Times’ journalist encountered the game when his nephew you was playing it on a mobile device.
The Huffington Post then put some pressure on the developer, who responded by saying that they were removing the level from the game.
Michael Mac-Vicar, the CTO of Fun Games For Free, told the Huffington Post…
“Our game Sniper 3D Assassin is fictional and is intended for mature audiences. At TFG, we work to create games that bring fun and entertainment to users all around the world. As such, we take feedback from our players very seriously. After listening to our community today, we have decided to remove the mission ‘Breaking News’ from the game.”
This move was not well received by the gaming community who was made aware of it.
While the mission was ultimately negligible in the grand scheme of things, the fact that thin-skinned journalists were able to get an entire mission removed from a shooting game seemed unforgivable. Even YouTuber Tim Pool took Huffington Post to task for the censorship plea.
This kind of censorship has been an ongoing and persistent problem within the realm of gaming.
Many gamers have become perturbed at the idea that so many studios fold under the pressure put upon them by major media outlets, but it all started with the likes of pundits like Anita Sarkeesian, who received a lot of support and buffers from outlets like Kotaku and Polygon, and then the Cultural Communism expanded beyond just critique and criticism and became literal censorship, as evident with Sony’s censorship policies and Valve’s ideologically driven curation.
No matter how many cases of censorship surfaces, however, casuals continue to justify and accommodate the deconstruction of creativity within the realm of interactive entertainment.
(Thanks for the news tip KIA2)