Anyone who’s seen the new Resident Evil 5 trailer will know what I’m talking about when I say with a form of amazement that can only effectively be expressed through 1337: OMG, WTF? Instead of battling zombies in an abandoned house or even in Spain, players will be now be blowing the heads off of the living dead in an African village. That’s right, we’re talking about black zombies. What’s more, you play a commando character who is white whity-ity white. Jesus, I couldn’t even make this stuff up. Even if we don’t play the racism card, there’s a whole mess of issues here: monsters and otherness, the paranormal as a manifestation of our anxiety about real-life conflicts like race. The few people who have dared to say something about this so far have already been virtually stoned. Still, you can expect to see something on the topic up on the Village Voice site from me very shortly.
Update: Here’s the piece that I wrote for the Voice‘s Runnin’ Scared blog. Hopefully it explores the issue a little more fully than I have here. Probably the biggest thing that came to mind while I was putting it together is the connection between Resident Evil 5 and the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. Bingo. I mean, we’re not just talking about a general fear of racial contamination here, we’re talking serious contemporary issues. Now the question is, how much of this did Capcom actually think about before pitching the game?