Hitman: Absolution’s sexy nun trailer doesn’t offend me, and here’s why:
So IO Interactive released a trailer for Hitman: Absolution that had absolutely nothing to do with the usual stealthy gameplay that Hitman is known for. It contained sexy nuns shooting rockets at Agent 47 in what can easily be described as Tarantino-esque. I don’t know about you guys, but that isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think ‘stealth’. That’s the part that bugs me the most. An over the top sequence like that belongs in something like Saint’s Row 3, not a Hitman game.
The Internet being what it is, people were quickly offended; with people throwing around terms such as ‘rape culture’ and ‘cismale privilege’ as part of their argument. What always trips me up with these arguments is the assumption that whoever made this trailer was being deliberately symbolic. You can find symbolism in just about anything. Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is about rednecks VS flannel-wearers. See, I can do it too.
I think the more realistic assumption is that some guy working on the trailer was really bored and wanted to make a silly action sequence. Developers and animators these days seem to work on stuff they would want to play or watch. If a straight guy wanted to watch sexy nuns shoot bald assassins, guess what he’s going to do? Sometimes guys are attracted to women. That’s not inherently a bad thing, only when the women are portrayed as weak does that cross over into misogynistic territory. And the nuns in the trailer aren’t really weak. Sure, Agent 47 kills them, but Agent 47 kills everybody. That’s what he does. Protagonists in assassin games kill people. It’s also no small feat that these assassin saints were able to track him in the first place. Plus, once the killing starts, the trailer immediately loses any broad sense of sex appeal unless you’re into that sort of thing.
But that’s not the point. I just don’t see any malicious intent coming from this trailer. It’s dumb and has nothing to do with the Hitman series, yes, but it smacks more of guys just screwing around with animation tools than a piece of animation designed to keep women from voting or some equally insane conspiracy.
It doesn’t really bring the medium down either. Assume for a second that aforementioned trailer was designed to insult women. Does that make videogames in general look bad? Absolutely not. Jack and Jill, Adam Sandler’s latest monstrocity and my vote for the worst film ever made, didn’t erase the existence of Citizen Kane. One person/team doing one bad thing doesn’t erase, say, the cheerful Rayman Origins or the excellent Dead Island trailer.
All this uproar is just silly from where I stand. Even if the trailer was directed by 18th century men, it doesn’t hurt gaming as a whole. And like I said, there’s really nothing to suggest that IO Interactive hates women. If company representatives start making ‘women in the kitchen’ jokes, then everything I’ve said here falls apart. But, looking back on IO’s previous works, I just can’t see anything that would foreshadow this. Sometimes a rocket launcher is just a rocket launcher, not a metaphor for male domination.