Creating Controversy: No, An Upcoming EA Game About Militarized Police Doesn't Need To React To Ferguson, MO

from the imitating-life dept

As the Ferguson, MO saga continues to unfold, there are certainly lessons to be learned. An overly-militarized police force coupled with the oppression of free speech and the press aren't good ways for managing an angry population, for instance. Conversely, a police force that actually connects and serves with the community they're tasked with policing produces far better results. And, of course, we're all forced to have yet another discussion about race-relations in this ostensibly free and equal country of ours. These are good conversations to have.

Strange calls to video game companies that will be releasing a long-produced game featuring militarized police, insinuating that they must somehow be cognizant of Ferguson now that it's happened, are not useful in any way. That link serves as the kind of Kotaku article that features the gaming website occasionally going completely off the rails and twisting itself into angsty-wrong for reasons unknown to this writer. The piece starts with some of the frightening images we've all seen from Ferguson and then tailspins into this:

Into a world where Ferguson has now happened, where people around the world are confused and outraged at this type of police appearance and presence, EA is going to release a video game about heavily-armed police blowin' shit up on the streets of the USA. Nathan wrote about people's concerns (and EA's responses) with Battlefield Hardline's subject matter earlier this year, but that was a piece inhabiting a vacant plot of the media and cultural landscape, where the only thing present were those concerns. Now, we have some reality to sit alongside them.
Ah, yes, fantastic point. The company that made a fictional game set in real-world American locales must now be concerned because said game features aggressive and militarized police and Ferguson just happened! Because prior to Ferguson, police were never militarized. Before Ferguson, a militarized police forces had never scared the shit out of everyone. That whole thing after the Boston Marathon bombing where the police shut down a major city and rolled SWAT tanks through the streets? Never happened, yo. Police brutalizing civilians wasn't a thing until Missouri.

Except that none of that is true. The game is a work of fictionalized entertainment and, just because the subject matter might somehow remind some folks of a police issue this country is facing, there isn't a whole lot to do from EA's standpoint. As this article admits, before then wishing upon a rainbow that somehow EA would treat their game product like not-a-game product.
So what are EA to do? Well, there's not much they can do, or to be honest anyone should ask them to with regards to Hardline. The game was announced months ago and is well on its way to being completed...What I'd hope EA do, however, and this goes for all video game publishers, is to take the subject matter a little more seriously next time they want to approach it. There's a deeply unsavory element to casting police as assault rifle-toting warriors, one that in the wake of Ferguson - and its inevitable successors - video game companies would do well to remember and be a little more careful with.
I mean, you can say that if you want, but then you had damned well better be calling for the same thing when it comes to the issue of crime in this country and Grand Theft Auto, the issue of war in this country and something like a third of the games ever produced, the issue of animal cruelty and trades-workers in this country and the Mario Bros. franchise. Or, instead, we could realize that slamming makers of entertainment and art for not flinch-reacting to the news of the day, even really important news, is probably a silly thing to do.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 2:38pm

    "That link serves as the kind of Kotaku article that features the gaming website occasionally going completely off the rails and twisting itself into angsty-wrong for reasons unknown to this writer."

    The reason starts with G and rhymes with Squawker Media.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 2:45pm

    >There's a deeply unsavory element to casting police as >assault rifle-toting warriors,


    No, that's a video game. None of that is real and everyone knows that.

    The actual "unsavory element" here is cops ACTUALLY BEING assault rifle-toting warriors.

    Especially when they have no plan, no understanding of what they are doing and no qualms about assaulting innocent citizens, the press or even elected officials and really believing that their getting teargassed is their own fault.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 2:59pm

    like so many of us, i have no idea what happened in Ferguson in regards to the youth who lost his life. however, observations i made are that given the time difference between when the incident happened and now has given the police plenty of time to fabricate, if they wanted to, whatever account and the details surrounding what happened. the big question to me is why would a youth who had no police record at all, risk losing that claim to fame, a run in with police and the possibility of a serious confrontation all over a box of cigars? that definitely does not ring true to me! on top of that, the eye witness accounts give a completely different picture than the police one. given how the police always rally round their own, i would want definitive proof of the cigar robbery and that this youth was involved in it. even if he was, how the hell can any member of the police force justify gunning down an unarmed youth who had his arms up, walking towards the officer? could be a 'you dont take the piss out of me, nigger. take that!!' situation, that the officer lost control of. if that was the case, forgetting everything else as far as court etc is concerned, would any of us want that short fused person, in uniform and carrying a gun, near where we or our kids were? i sure as hell wouldn't!!

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 3:02pm

    Current title: Soldier Cops Aren't So Fun Now, Video Games

    Original title (still left in the URL slug): Soldier Cops Are Giving Games Like Battlefield An Image Problem

    Kotaku can get bent.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 3:13pm

    Meh

    Cowadoody and Battletits are for plebs anyways. MINECRAFT 4 LYFE

     

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  6.  
    icon
    Phoenix84 (profile), Aug 15th, 2014 @ 3:18pm

    There's a deeply unsavory element to casting police as assault rifle-toting warriors, one that in the wake of Ferguson - and its inevitable successors - video game companies would do well to remember and be a little more careful with.


    Yes, because they are.
    I completely agree. I don't know much about this particular game, however I think we need a game that exemplifies their concerns.

    We should have a FPS game where you play a regular, average citizen. Perhaps ones that is a passerby to a peaceful protest happening at a local university.
    As you pass, you see armored police tanks approaching, with kevlar covered officers exiting armed with M16s and grenades.
    Someone pulls out a cell phone to take a photo, and bullets start flying. You duck as you hear explosions and gunfire rip through the formally peaceful protest. People are running in fear while being gunned down in the back.

    Afterwards the police, having done their civic duty for the day, hop back in their tanks and roll away from the newly formed red pond.
    Off to the next disturbance...

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 3:22pm

    Fiction and games are often made more exciting and violent than real life, see Tom Clancy's work for example. What is a real problem is police and security forces acting like their fictional counterparts, possible because they have read too many works of fiction where that is normal behavior.
    I do not blame the fiction, but rather the management of such organizations, and the politicians who are letting this happen. In particular, politicians have become too removed from real life, living in their political bubbles, and this results in them making decisions on the fictions that they are fed by the lobbyists, many of whom who are work for the peddlers of fiction of the entertainment industries.

     

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  8.  
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    9Blu (profile), Aug 15th, 2014 @ 3:23pm

    I know it's a poor excuse...

    But I've played the beta. It was... just bad. Can we let this one slide and get it canned anyway?

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    alternatives(), Aug 15th, 2014 @ 3:25pm

    the Mario Bros. franchise

    Eating mushrooms doesn't make you grow big and smashing ones head into a brick ceiling doesn't produce Gold?

    What is next, telling me when I see Apples with legs and a mouth I shouldn't hit those apples with a shovel?

     

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  10.  
    icon
    PopeRatzo (profile), Aug 15th, 2014 @ 3:46pm

    They can make you small, too.

    Eating mushrooms doesn't make you grow big


    You're eating the wrong mushrooms.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 4:04pm

    Into a world where Ferguson has now happened, [...]
    An astonishing statement considering that police militarization has been a trend ongoing for years and that a black person is killed by police in the U.S. every 28 hours. Perhaps the Kotaku author just returned from a sabbatical living in their mountain hermit cave just before Michael Brown was murdered.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 4:04pm

    Re:

    No. You should dig a whole and let them fall in. Then quickly fill the whole behind them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 4:05pm

    Are you kidding?

    "Ferguson" is the name of their first DLC for this game!

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 4:14pm

    In the case of battlefield: hard line, I think it might be the first case of necessary police militarisation.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 4:14pm

    In the case of battlefield: hard line, I think it might be the first case of necessary police militarisation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 4:15pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 15th, 2014 @ 4:14pm

    Sorry everyone, phone went stupid with doubleposts

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 4:24pm

    So we have Ferguson and Iraq ,Palestine ,Ukraine ,China And so many real world things going on and this guy chooses a video game .
    Drop the joysticks and move away from the console.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 4:26pm

    Re:

    My hatred towards Gizmodo rivals no other.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 7:26pm

    I think EA should come out with their new game. The game can be used as a educational tool to teach young people about what kind of country they live in, and what the future holds for them.

    The point everyone should be concentrating on with Ferguson, is the Missouri police department jumped the gun, literally. They displayed to the American public what their government has been stock piling and has in store for anyone who challenges status quo .

    All that military hardware American taxpayers have paid for, to fight foreign wars such as in Iraq, is now being shipped back home and used against the very people who funded it.

    In other words. The US government tipped their hand of cards too early, due to Missouri's militarized police department bringing out their military equipment prematurely. The display of military police force against the general public wasn't supposed to happen this early in the game.

    It wasn't supposed to happen for another 5 or 10 years from now when widespread social unrest happens due to food shortages, global heating, or the next stock market crash.

    Bringing America's militarized police force into front and center view, wasn't supposed to happen over an 18 year old's murder. It was supposed to be a surprise, shock and awe if you will, and wasn't supposed to happen until the next big social uprising happens across the country.

    In other words. The militarized police is basically the US government's last line of defense against the American public. Their trump card if you will. All that military equipment is already deployed and ready for action in every town, city and state across America. Along with the taxpayer funded soldiers ready to point that equipment at the American public.

    When the time comes, and it will otherwise the US Gov wouldn't be stockpiling military equipment, that equipment will be used to round people up like cattle.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2014 @ 8:33pm

    Kumail Nanjiani has a bit about making the best of a similar situation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Aug 15th, 2014 @ 10:05pm

    Re:

    The Battlefield franchise already has an image problem after the fiasco that is and STILL is Battlefield 4.

    Hardline on the other hand is basically a copy of PayDay and Battlefield 3 fused together to make something different to what Activision has (*eyeroll*) and is NOT about militarisation of police but instead about the old game that kids USED to play before certain sensitive snowflakes were allowed to control what kids should and shouldn't do..

    COPS & ROBBERS!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Aug 15th, 2014 @ 10:07pm

    Re: They can make you small, too.

    mmmmmm shrooms!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2014 @ 3:11am

    I stopped going to and reading Kotaku, when they stopped putting their full articles in their RSS feeds. They've been worthless to me, for quite a while.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    Padpaw (profile), Aug 16th, 2014 @ 7:01am

    Re:

    EA will glorify living in a police state no doubt. Something about having to be compliant with heavy handed authority to stop the terrorists from winning.

    They had the chance to do something different with their other games and did fuck all with them. All hail the glorious American empire

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 7:28am

    you don't know what you're talking about, again

    the game isn't about militarized police patrols. it is bank robbers vs swat teams. we aren't talking about cops walking the beat in full tactical dress shooting civilians for no reason. that is what grand theft auto is for.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    sam Harris, Feb 25th, 2015 @ 12:04am

    Free Online Games

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    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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