In just a single day, the P.R. department representing Hitman Absolution went from celebrating the creation of a brand-new Facebook App to promote the release of said game to initiating damage control because of it.
The idea of the app in question was it gave people a chance to send a virtual death threat (yes, that’s the intent of it, I kid you not) by providing a description set from a list of cruel attributes (i.e., muffin top, annoying laugh, small “breasts”, etc.) and a reason why Agent 47 should step forward and kill the person in question, along with a picture of the target.
What followed upon completion is a post would be made on Facebook towards the friend which led to a link of a video clip to the official site of Hitman Absolution where all the information is compiled into a small clip where our bald-headed assassin glares at your friend’s Facebook picture and proceeds to take a shot from a sniper rifle, all the while providing the friend’s name and the fact that the friend in question has been confirmed dead. Rock Paper Shotgun broke this story, initially shedding light on the app in question. as well as providing the images on how easy it is to send someone on your friend’s list a lovely assassination from everyone’s favorite suit-wearing killer.
In an age where cyber-bullying is not a laughing matter, people have been pushed to serious brinks and have done irrational if not radical decisions because of it, so to create an app which only serves to not only offend, but even wish death upon is terrible. Square-Enix stepped in immediately following RPS’ take on the matter, only to remove the app in question and providing a standard apologetic statement:
“Earlier today we launched an app based around Hitman: Absolution that allowed you to place virtual hits on your Facebook friends. Those hits would only be viewable by the recipient and could only be sent to people who were confirmed friends. We were wide of the mark with the app and following feedback from the community we decided the best thing to do was remove it completely and quickly. This we’ve now done.
We’re sorry for any offence caused by this.”
There are a number of ways that companies have gone in promoting their video games on social media sites like little flash games, or making custom images, but again, to submit a fictional assassination attempt is just poor taste, which would force that company to initiate absolution because of it.