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Sony’s Ordeal Could Affect the Depiction of North Korea in Future Games

By Stan Rezaee

Movie goers who were seeking a good laugh on Christmas are disappointed all thanks to North Korea’s inability to have a sense of humor. After their hackers threatened cinemas that screened The Interview with acts of terrorism, Sony was forced to pull the film.

This has not been the first time the isolated nation has been featured nefariously in pop culture (who could forget Team America) but their response has always been expressing a sense of outrage.

Despite the lack of credibility, major theaters have given in to North Korea’s cultural aggression and pulled the film. This has also forced Sony to do the same and hopefully release it sometime in the future when tensions cool.

This ordeal has not only affected the release of a highly anticipated movie but it could also impact how the nation is portrayed in Western pop-culture. Another highly anticipated title that features North Korea in a villainous light is Homefront: The Revolution.

The series was created by John Milus (director of Red Dawn) and it’s set in a future were a unified Korea led by Kim Jong-un has occupied America. The followup set to be released in 2015 has players establishing a resistance network and taking part in an uprising against the North Korean occupation of Philadelphia.

Not as popular like Nazis or Russian Ultranationalists, North Korea has been one of those villains that has appeared in video games from time to time. Besides Homefront, gamers got to wreck havoc north of the Demilitarized Zone in Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction or put down a rogue general in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2.

While accepted in the West, the depiction of a nefarious North Korea has been a sensitive issue in Japan and South Korea. To avoid cultural problems, developers will remove references to North Korea while most nations in the region will ban its sale.

The actions taken by North Korea against Sony may change how Western artists try to portray the nation in future works. This could usher in an era of forced self-censorship as media outlets don’t want to be harassed over depicting Kim Jong-un in a negative manner.

Given that Sony is also a major player in the gaming industry thanks to the success of the PlayStation consoles, it could be speculated that they might be cautious of future titles. Homefront: The Revolution and its release on the PlayStation 4 will be something the gaming media will need to watch for in the coming months.

The development of Homefront: The Revolution has had its own problems with THQ having filed for bankruptcy in 2012. This was followed by Crytek having to give the project to Deep Silver because of financial problems.

With threats by hackers and a pissed-off dictatorship, this could be the excuse needed to finally end the series for good. Hopefully gamers could continue the battle in 2015 or at least hear some good news at E3 2015.

Do you think Sony was right to pull the film? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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About Stan Rezaee (417 Articles)
Stan Rezaee is the founder and Editor of 8Bit/Digi. He is a journalist and gamer from the Bay Area who has been writing about the medium for over five years.

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