For PETA — and of course, for me — this is akin to adding slave-owning as a goal in a pre-Civil War game. Can you imagine the uproar if Ubisoft had included slave-owning in Assassin’s Creed 3, which is set in Colonial times? Or, also apropos, slave-owning in this latest iteration, which is set in the early 18th Century in the Caribbean. Can you imagine unlocking an achievement for owning over a hundred slaves?
Most of the press gets it wrong, of course. They paint PETA as those kooky activists who don’t understand gaming. Forbes has an interesting Op-Ed piece that manages in one article to throw snark at PETA and shake its head at Ubisoft for making hunting a part of the gameplay. Don’t misunderstand: hunting is just lame game design in their eyes. And um, yes I agree. Running out of quest ideas? Let’s make the gamer collect dozens of turkey feathers! That’s not boring, right?
As usual, PETA is getting the message out there, and people are paying attention, even if most of the comments (I could only skim them — there was too much vitriol) are about PETA being “anti-human”.
There are just too many games to play, so I have not played Assassin’s Creed beyond #2 (this is the 5th or 6th entry for the franchise, even though it’s #4). But I can certainly attest that the point of the game is killing people, which is something every article points out. For them, killing is killing, so shut up about the whales already! But killing is not killing. Whales are endangered and adding whaling — even historically accurate whaling — to the game normalizes the atrocity that continues today.