Hi-Rez Studios' upcoming game SMITE has made waves for its depiction of combat between the deities of various religions, but the studio is steering clear of some of the world's largest faiths.
Todd Harris, Hi-Rez Studios' chief operating officer, responded to GameSpot about controversy resulting from the inclusion of Hindu figures in its upcoming multiplayer online battle arena. The figures' appearances in the game prompted Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, to request their removal from the game, as he said putting the deities under player control trivialized them.
Harris initially responded by stating that Hi-Rez decided to use figures from the Hindu faith because it is one of the world's oldest and most diverse religions, providing a good base of inspiration for several characters. SMITE also pulls from Greek, Chinese, Egyptian, and Norse mythologies, Harris stated. The game, which is now in closed beta, will include more deities as development continues, not fewer.
GameSpot requested comment on whether the company plans to implement figures from Abrahamic (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic) religions into its game in keeping with its diverse roster of characters. Harris answered, saying Hi-Rez includes a diverse staff and that Abrahamic figures were not included mostly for gameplay reasons: its tradition does not have stories about deities fighting one another with "awesome abilities," he said.
"From [the] perspective of a video game, the key Abrahamic figures--Adam, Noah, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, are not that interesting in character design or gameplay. They are all human. They never overlapped or interacted with one another. They certainly never fought each other in dramatic fashion with unique abilities. They are all peaceful--at best they would be support characters," Harris said.