Controversy erupts in wake of latest Battlefield Hardline trailer and boxart.
This game was always going to be a tough sell for EA in the wake of the Ferguson shooting, and the national outcry that they resulted in.
EA, DICE, and Visceral’s Battlefield Hardline is a cops and robbers based shooter- essentially, that is what it breaks down to. Like all video games in the genre, it ends up depicting acts of violence between the two sides. And this- the police shooting at people- is something that is now causing controversy in the US, following the Ferguson shooting, which involved a policeman shooting at an unarmed civilian (the civilian later ended up dying). The Ferguson issue is also racially charged- the unarmed civilian was African American, the policeman was white, and it appears that racial prejudice might have played some role in the shooting.
Which is why you can see how the boxart for Hardline, which sees an African American man holding a gun aimed at the police (which you can see in the reflection in his sunglasses), may spark outrage and further controversy. Clearly, the boxart, which on its own might have been innocuous at some other time (although just why the man facing off against the police has to be African American, even on the cover of a game, is something that has to be questioned), was ill conceived, thought out, and timed, particularly in the present context.
The trailer for the game, which depicts some rather trigger happy policemen, is similarly causing issues too.
Look, we get it- the game started out development long before the Ferguson episode, which was only this last August, and it’s not meant to be related to, or a commentary on, any of that. Unfortunately, in context of current market conditions, it may come off as tasteless.
It’s a rough situation for EA to be in.