Call of Juarez and Left 4 Dead 2 in Racism Controversy

A blogger for the Houston Chronicle has criticised Ubisoft’s Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood and Valve’s Left 4 Dead for being racially insensitive. Willie Jefferson, in a blog entry about what he perceives to be a growing trend of racism in games development, believes Left 4 Dead 2 contains racist undertones.“Set in New Orleans, players will have to fight their way through hordes of zombies – with several of them who appear to be African-Americans,” writes Jefferson.“When I saw the first trailer for the game, all I could think about was Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. Setting the game in a city that was scene of dead, bloated bodies floating by so soon afterward was a bad call, IMHO. The city has had enough to deal with — Valve, you should have spared them, even if it’s just a video game.”He goes on to blast Ubi’s Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood for its depiction of Confederate soldiers in the American Civil War.“However, the Confederacy, as far as I am concerned, wanted to keep their cheap slave labor and the like. I can not stand the Confederate flag — I resist the urge to burn every last one that I see,” he writes.“To me, the flag represents hate — and offends me and many others to no end. And to play a game, where I don’t have a choice to be on the losing side — and one I detest — made me wonder how much research Ubisoft did for this game.”“It would have been a good thing to give gamers a choice — sure, be a Confederate soldier — or a Union soldier,” he continues.“Not giving gamers the option really soured the entire game for me. And shooting Union soldiers really just made me pause the game and walk away for a few minutes.”Jefferson’s comments seem somewhat sensationalist to the team here at IncGamers. While you could argue that the setting for L4D2 is contentious, the fact that it contains “several African American” zombies is certainly not and simply reflects the diversity of the New Orleans population.His attack on Call of Juarez is equally short-sighted. It’s not as if the game trumpets the Confederate cause – in fact the McCall brothers leave the army very early in the game and the central villain is… a Confederate soldier. The Civil War is usackdrop to a stnlcipr(a Conf devry about the relationship between two brothers, not the relationship between white and black America.  It is an historical event and a developer should not be accused of racism for attempting to establish some context for a game’s story line.Jefferson also states he is not comfortable with shooting Union soldiers in the game (because their cause was just) and yet freely admits to playing Call of Duty. Presumably he exits the game whenever he is assigned to the Nazi team in multiplayer. Or perhaps he’s comfortable shooting American soldiers sent to liberate Europe but not the Unionists?Let us know what you think about Jefferson’s opinions in the comments section below.


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