Abandon all hope, all ye who thought a PR firestorm would not erupt. Catholics across the blogosphere are angry with Electronic Arts, who hired several actors to stage a mock protest of its Dante's Inferno game outside the Electronic Entertainment Expo.
The staged protest included signs such as "Hell is not a game," "My high score is in Heaven," and "Trade in your PlayStation for a PrayStation." The actors were convincing enough to fool the bloggers at the Los Angeles Times, who also wrote that protesters promoted a multimedia antigame Web site. EA reps later confirmed to the Associated Press that the whole affair was staged by a marketing agency.
Now, GamePolitics is pointing out that the stunt has angered many real Catholic bloggers. Margaret Cabaniss of InsideCatholic wrote, "It's been clear for a while now that the entertainment industry views Christians on the whole as priggish, thin-skinned fun-killers... Has anybody at EA actually read the Inferno?"
Another blogger, at Catholic Video Gamers, wrote, "Gamers of all varieties will buy this product if its, well, actually a good game. So instead of engaging in a shamelessly anti-Christian stunt to promote your poor excuse of a product, maybe you ought to work on making this game, you know, something better than a blatant God of War rip-off and make it, ya know, something worthwhile?"
EA could not be reached for immediate comment on the backlash.
Based on 14th-century author Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, Dante's Inferno is a fantasy action game from Visceral Studios (Dead Space). As outlined in GameSpot's recent preview, it will follow the eponymous protagonist as he descends through the Nine Circles of Hell to save his love, Beatrice. It is currently scheduled to come out in the first quarter of 2010.