Due to outrage over local governments dealing with peaceful protests by transforming communities into a war zone, the developers of Battlefield: Hardline have been accused of glorifying police militarization.
In response to the controversy, Visceral Games and EA have addressed the issue over the weekend.
The root of this comes from the Battlefield series being traditionally a military shooter while Hardline is the first to feature a law enforcement theme. Now the game is facing criticism for attempting to glorify the growth of the militarized police force in America.
Even before the game had been officially announced, concerns that the game may glorify police militarization and brutality had been brought up on a Ron Paul forum. One user mocked that a potential level could involve,
“Jump out of your car and run up to a small woman who’s yelling at you, then drag her to the front of your police car and slam her face into the hood. Proceed to punch her in the face a few times then complain she deserved it for a supposed scratch you got. Tell her to SHUT UP, there’s no God as you take her in to the station.“
Then in August during the Ferguson protests, several game writers accused games like Modern Warfare of influencing the militarized police while Battlefield: Hardline attempts to portray it in a positive manner. Adding fuel to the controversy was a joke article claiming a DLC was in the works that pits a militarized police force against peaceful protestors.
Visceral Games creative director, Ian Milham spoke to Polygon regarding the game and the allegations that it presents police militarization in a positive light. He wants to assure gamers that the game is more about the classic cops vs. robbers story influenced by Hollywood.
Milham stated during the interview that,
“To be a responsible person in the media, you have to know what’s going on in the world and how what you’re producing fits into that larger landscape. At the same time, it was never our intention and it would be sort of clumsy to try to make this a realistic police tactics simulator.”
Many in the game media also believe that the controversy has been overblown. Most notably was Erik Kane’s opinion on Forbes.com responding to several writers accusing the game of glamorizing a militarized police.
Battlefield: Hardline will be the seventh game in the series and is set to be released sometime in 2015. It will follow officer Nick Mendoza as he embarks on a cross country vendetta to bring his former partner to justice.