September 15th, 2007

As much as I hate to open up this can of worms all over again, I admit I did write a follow-up response to the Resident Evil 5 controversy (read: onslaught of angry comments) over at the Voice’s Runnin’ Scared blog. In addition to quoting some of the more constructive reader responses, the piece points out/reminds:

1) I’m a journalist, but also a gamer, and a major Resident Evil fan at that. Just because I want to analyze RE5 doesn’t mean I don’t (won’t) like it. Heart of Darkness is one of my favorite books in the world. Clearly I don’t think the presence of thought-provoking race issues is grounds for giving the thumbs down to a piece of art. After all, I’m not Chinua Achebe.

2) Yes, the game was developed in Japan. No, I really didn’t take that into account in my initial analysis. Yes, I’m more than happy to hear thoughts from readers about how we can explain such an American-resonant game which comes out of Japan. Seriously, I’m curious.
3) Africa? Haiti? No one knows where the game is really set. Capcom PR has been contacted. Until they spill it, we’re just not sure. That doesn’t mean we can speculate.

4) At the moment, all we’re working off of is a trailer. Is there more we insight we could gain from the complete game? Well duh! Again, until then, we’re working with what we’ve got.

A note to potential commenters: please remember that, while your constructive feedback is encouraged, any “out of line” responses will be deleted from the site. Thanks!

Correction: Okay, sorry about this. I put this post together a bunch of weeks back, after indeed writing a response to my response (yes, yes, hot response-on-response action) to Resident Evil 5. I then published it, thinking that new response was headed soon for Runnin’ Scared. However, due to the fact that things are super busy at Runnin’ Scared–Michael Clancey alone is some sort of super journalist, with the blogging power of nearly four human reporters–the piece has been pushed back a number of times. I, in turn, pushed back my post on the topic, what seemed like indefinitely–which is to say, like 15 days. Then I moved to Philly from New York City. Then I went out to San Francisco. Then I came back to find a post I’d forgotten about (i.e. this one) running on the site. Eek. Anyways, the comments still stand, so I’ll certainly leave up the post. Sorry for the silliness, and thanks for the constructive conversation. Bonnie, signing off–and promising she’ll screw her head back on soon.

Tags: bad Bonnie, controversy, race, survival horror games

8 Responses to “A Response to Race in Resident Evil 5”

  1. darkpen Says:

    ha ha… ha…..

    I remember seeing this subject line in the RSS feed for this blog, and when clicking on it, lead me nowhere.

    I still think that while there are certainly racial issues that can be seen (white officer shooting dark-skinned peasants, etc), its still a game. I think that any analysis that should be applied to the game should occur during and after playing it. Sure, we could make assumptions and set ourselves up for something, but there really isn’t anything more to say right now. From reading here and on message boards, every time a black gamer has commented on RE5, they’ve basically said its just a game, and for the most part, that they’re not offended.

    Aside from everything that’s been said before, I think we can only wait and see.

    This reminds me of when Medal of Honor: Rising Sun was released in Japan, and some western gaming blog/news source reported on some interview (or maybe the bloggers interviewed random gamers themselves) about what Japanese gamers thought about the game. I recall the consensus being “eh, its awkward to be killing my own ancestors who fought for our land, and its a little distasteful, but its just a game.”

    But anyways, I think we really shouldn’t bring up the subject again until there’s more to talk about.

  2. nectarine Says:

    The way I looked at this, we were analysing the trailer, not the game. Why not analyse it? It was definitely interesting. Thanks Bonnie for putting yourself in the line of fire for your readers benefit. :)

    Can you give me a link to your follow up article/post? I’m not sure if I’ve read it.

  3. nectarine Says:

    Your original article was just linked at rock, paper, shotgun.

  4. Kieron Gillen Says:

    Worth noting I was more trying to give context to what lead me to something else than try and reignite that particular firestorm. It’s actually possible pure-PC gamers aren’t even aware of it.

    (Just for the record, I thought the trailer spectacularly ill-advised)


  5. Zombies For Equality Says:

    I just don’t get how you looked beyond and saw skin color, is it that you want to “find” racism in re5? how is it racist for him to kill zombies that are black yet fine for him to do white? how is it ok for a black rapper drug dealer arms dealer murderer to kill white police figures/ civilians? how is it ok for an ex con to kill numerous white/hispanics? i guess san andreas makes up for that what with the whole sleep with the chicks thing. wait their white black and of ever descent you can think of and i see no problem there but if you can see cris killing black zombies as racist then you must certainly see CJ sleeping with the white enemy and then dispatching them as racist too right? this was typed for a point in no way does it signify that it is wrong, as it ISNT. why jump the gun? noone cared when 50cent bulletproof came out, or saints row btw you can be black white asian hispanic and still kill whites or blacks or asians or hispanics in that one, no one minded san andreas that much, i was happy for a bigger area to play in and frankly i liked jumping from an airplane, that was awsome. Would it have been racist if say instead of showing a white chris he was suddenly black cris and he was shooting white africans? tell me please if that would have been unracist? why now when the zombies are of african decent do you become a little enraged? are we not all equal as races? You cant say we never had a black character in a re series, look at outbreak and outbreak file 2. jim and mark were there. I watched the trailer and do you know what i saw? I saw smart zombies who tipped a bus when cris got onto it, i saw a returning ex stars agent who was gonna take umbrella down, he mentions struggles and casualties, but do you understand what he means? struggles, re dir cut and code vironica, the struggle to stay alive, casualties, his comrades and innocents that umbrella murdered. his one true enemy that he is fighting is NOT AIDS OR HIV OR AFRICANS, it is UMBRELLA!!!!! its a new setting in a new part of the world. please tell me that you get my point. Cause i just dont see why it has to be racist. I think its only racist if you want it to be. If you choose for it to be. If anyone had a choice would they in their right minds choose for it to be racist? I for one think not!

    In the end it is we who will sink into the depths of the human virus racism, because those of us who defend and bring about points of true racism are forced to look through the eyes of racism to see it. all to defend something that is truly not racist.

    Just like Zombies. They cant be racist. They can only be dead and trying to eat you. Cause zombies love them some live prey.

  6. Zinjak Says:

    im gonna go with the above poster. although he got it wrong when saying they are “zombies” because they are more like the psychotic spaniards (or whatever they were, they spoke what sounded liek spanish in the game) from four. umbrella no longer uses zombies, but have upgraded to a kindave rabid thing. the infected are still alive but murderous to the extreme. the soldier guy in the trailer has to kill these people or else they will kill him, not because he wants to shoot these black villagers, but because they arent responsible for their actions any more and basically liek rabid dogs because umbrella infected them. there is no racism here, just a sci fi story.

  7. Bishop491 Says:

    Zombie for equality is right! I’m Black and I don’t find it offensive! Probably the only thing that is racist is that there is no surviving characters in the RE series. They always get killed off. As far as Chris in Africa? That aint racist. So what? Leon killed Spanish Whites! I have a friend who plays Gun even though you kill a lot of Apaches. He’s Native American! Ppl need to stop obsessing with race.

    They should at least have one character besides Ada Wong or Carlos Olivera that is a minority. I’m not talking about Outbreak. That game sucks! I’m talking about the main Resident Evil!

  8. Elegancka Kobieta Says:

    Good site:) Orginal article:D

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