Valve refunded BioShock Infinite gamer upset over religious scene

Half-Life studio reportedly gave gamer full refund after he explained situation and demanded his money back.

by

This post contains spoilers about the BioShock Infinite campaign.

Early on in BioShock Infinite, the game forces players to accept the Christian religious sacrament of baptism. This did not sit well with Breen Malmberg, a gamer and a Christian, who explained to Kotaku that he refused to accept the digital baptism and demanded a refund from Valve.

"As baptism of the Holy spirit is at the center of Christianity--of which I am a devout believer--I am basically being forced to make a choice between committing extreme blasphemy by my actions in choosing to accept this 'choice' or forced to quit playing the game before it even really starts," Malmberg said.

"Of course I cannot hold true to my beliefs and also commit this act, so I am therefor[e] forced to not play the game," he added.

Malmberg then penned a letter to Valve, because he purchased the game for PC through Steam, explaining the situation. Valve reportedly gave Malmberg a full refund, though the company has not confirmed this publicly or with GameSpot.

BioShock Infinite is not the first game to conflict with religious teachings, but this instance was different for Malmberg, because there was no other option; no way to continue the game unless his character accepted baptism.

"The difference here is that you are forced to make a decision that violates those beliefs in order to continue with the game--which is not something I have run into very often," he said.

This is not the first time BioShock Infinite has made headlines for its religious themes. During the game's development, an Irrational Games employee was so disgusted at the ideas the game proposed that he wrote a resignation letter. He would end up staying with the company and in fact, his discussions with creative director Ken Levine would end up being instrumental in the game's writing of antagonist Comstock.

Discussion

2609 comments
ci_devant
ci_devant

At which point Malmberg returned to Call of Duty and proceeded to headshot his fellow man in the face.

wheres_my_phone
wheres_my_phone

If he honestly couldn't say yes and continue in the game, then he should have told a lie and said yes. I'm sure if god isn't the devil、he'd be happy to let one of his children play a game. If anything, all that murdering Malmberg did in the first Bioshock is what he really needs to think about. He was no more baptised here than a raging killer before.

ratchet200
ratchet200

If this guy can't tell the difference between a game and real life, he needs some serious help.

CamiKitten
CamiKitten

Wow, it is his prerogative, but that doesn't mean the the entire gaming community needs to bash him.  o_O 

bakagami
bakagami

All I have to say about it is: his prerogative, but he missed out on a great game

Kemonojin
Kemonojin

These kind of people give Christianity a bad name for being religious over minor details. I'm a Christian and I strongly disagree with his views.

TheManofTin
TheManofTin

You guys need to understand that this guy was uncomfortable with the game's depiction. He's no different that anyone who walks out of an R-Rated movie demanding a refund. Do I think it's a bit absurd? Yeah, but there's no need to bash religion or call this guy an idiot. Respect his religious beliefs and decisions and move on. 

Dradeeus
Dradeeus

I wonder if he sent other games like Call of Duty back because because you're forced to kill people. Didn't he know that you have to kill people later in THIS game? Isn't that against fundamentalist teachings? I have no evidence, but I'm going to take a wild guess and say his outrage is selective.

Give him his money back. I don't want him playing games he probably wouldn't have an open mind to understand anyways.

Arda_Daghan212
Arda_Daghan212

He did not deserve a cent of his money back, he's too stupid to play video games. Too big of Valve to return his money. I'm an atheist and I'm not against religious people but if you're wondering, religious folks, this is what gives you a bad name. 

cesarexec22
cesarexec22

some people are dumbasses like wtf smh , get a life loser haha This goes to anyone that takes offense to video games GET A LIFE!!!!!!

draco934
draco934

what a blithering idiot. 

BodyBag22
BodyBag22

Wow someone can't distinguish between reality and a video game, get this guy a psych evaluation pronto.

Arcturuss
Arcturuss

Also i wonder if this means i can get my money back if a game insults my intelligence or offends my political beliefs


I somehow doubt it..

Arcturuss
Arcturuss

YOU ARE NOT BOOKER DEWIT

I know you have an imaginary friend but that doesn't mean you should allow your mind to psychotically assume the roll of all the videogame characters you play too! /o\

griffy2013
griffy2013

This is how I would have replied to the "gamer."  You believe in a lie, shut up.

00J
00J

Hopefully this will be the last of Bioshock. I don't have anything against the game, i'm just tired of more iterations of this.

bouff
bouff

Can I get a refund, as my beliefs are "To never shoot a digital person"

push88
push88

I wonder if Gamestop would have refunded him? ... ... ...

AHHAHAHAHAHA...  What am I thinking?  That's absurd.

MaxBlaze
MaxBlaze

Good job Irrational you made your game so immersive someone thought they were actually inside of it!  Woo!  Celebration.

dj_pulserfan
dj_pulserfan

So. You mean to tell me rampant murder, sexism, racism, slavery & nationalism are fine to be portrayed not only in the Bible & Bioshock is perfectly OK within context but something that criticizes this very book isn't right? Yeah, sounds like your typical Christian alright. 

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

So... "I have no problem killing people in gruesome ways, but I can't handle being dunked in the water."  Christ... Oh shit... uh.. Bob....

hxcaleb
hxcaleb

I don't hate Obama. I voted for the guy. I mean I don't agree with him on a couple of issues, but he's a great president. Nothing in my comment said I don't like Obama. Not sure where you got that from?

frylock616
frylock616

Guess what Valve does when they give somebody a refund everyone?!


They take the fucking game out of his account so he can't play it. He got his money back, Valve took his game away. Nobody was hurt. MOve along people, nothing to see here or get bent out of shape about.


If he still had the game and got his money back, then thats when I would see it as a problem. But he didn't get to keep the game, so stop being fucking babies about it.

boogie25
boogie25

good that im atheist i dont give a damn about religous stuff in games..even if i was (catholic for my part where i come from) i will still play because its a game not real life...but im not gonna force it on other people its their choice...they dont want to play it because of that its their choice..good for him that he got refund if it offended him...valve could just denied the refund but choose not to.. 

jonnybutler11
jonnybutler11

Was this idiot also uniformed about the skyhook decapitations, burning and electrocutions, and bucking bronco skeet shooting? Or is it just that while taking a baptism as a fictional character doesn't fit into his religious agenda but *genocide* does? If anything, him not being able to commit to his beliefs just by going through with the baptism shows that his faith is weak, and nothing else. I hate to generalize, but religious people are ignorant sometimes.

albatraum
albatraum

I'm completely fine with this as a Christian... I'm not going to stop playing a game or reading a book just because the protagonist is of a different faith or anything like that...

usmanghani321
usmanghani321

Guys its virtual reality only i  think so it has nothing to do with real life religion. i' m muslim and strongly suggest to you people, study islam. In reality the only way of eternal salvation is islam  

Shmoe82
Shmoe82

@wheres_my_phone Good point but like many people he probably picks and chooses what he feels violates his beliefs, regardless of what is actually prohibited in his religion.  

super_voltron
super_voltron

@CamiKitten true it's not like he was asking them to ban the game he just wanted his 60 bucks back. imagine if thats all offended people did just return it without going to far. not that bad of a thing to do is it?

WarGrad
WarGrad

@Arda_Daghan212  Granted there are those who takes things way too seriously, but don't ever religious beliefs with religious fanaticism.  I am a Christian, but this is not the real world and the in game choices made, do not affect ones personal beliefs of right and wrong.  If you wish to be an atheist, that is your decision, but don't group us all together and label us as a bunch of "bible thumping fanatics".

Arda_Daghan212
Arda_Daghan212

@Arcturuss Nooo, God will smite you if you press the "L2 (LT-Q)" button and send you to hell for eternity. Didn't you read the bible? It says "Don't do bad things while playing video games." (Sarcasm, should state that, I'm on the internet)

MaskRisen
MaskRisen

@bouff No because that is not relevant in the same sense. You would how ever, have a more sensible argument if you were to say you didn't agree with shooting life-like representations of humanoid beings in a game. But then that would be "shot" down because it was understood that type of game play element was in the game prior to purchase. The religious element how ever was not evident at the time or prior to purchase. Therefore he wins the argument and you don't.

push88
push88

@sgt_F79 This is irresponsible journalism.  The guy only printed HALF the story.  Nowhere in the article does it state that Valve took the game back but apparently they did and most people are raging because they don't realize this.  They think this guy got a free game and special treatment by playing the "this goes against my religion" card.  I didn't understand this either.  I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you at all.  I understand it's pointless to get frustrated and rage on this subject.  But perhaps you are correct in assuming that this WAS the editor's intent all along and the attention should really be focused on that individual?

Total_mischief
Total_mischief

@dj_pulserfan That's because in their infinite wisdom, Blasphemy (which doesn't even have the fucking right to exist as a word) is a much worse offense than anything else. After that you wonder why we think the world would be better off without Christianity.

jecomans
jecomans

@JustPlainLucas That's what I thought. 'Thou shalt not commit murder' is the sixth commandment, and if digital sin is an issue I can't see how a digital baptism fits in; its not worshipping another God or a false-idol, and it's not misusing Gods name (3 other commandments). The dude probably just realised he blew his phone bill and needed the $50 back?  

Total_mischief
Total_mischief

@frylock616 The problem is that he's getting a refund because he doesn't like the game. However, since he's using religion as an excuse, then it wouldn't be politically correct to refuse him the refund. Because we live in a stupid world.

pccraine343
pccraine343

@boogie25 Don't generalize religious people. I am very much aware that a lot of people who play this game are Christians. This is simply one instance of one person who was offended by something that he doesn't even understand.


jecomans
jecomans

@jonnybutler11 Then why did you generalise? I'm assuming you read other comments, so you'd be well aware how many ignorant atheists and agnostics there are out there too.

p.s As a statement, 'Religious people are ignorant sometimes', is entirely correct. The problem is the inference that non-religious people are not sometimes ignorant. You could just say, 'Some people are stupid/ignorant, and the rest of us are stupid/ignorant sometimes'.  

mickredirish
mickredirish

@MaskRisen @bouff hey who's to say that a game character does not have sentient life. By the way this is written with sarcasm because bouff was making a joke. 

Bellum_Sacrum
Bellum_Sacrum

@Total_mischief @dj_pulserfan That's the retarded american version of christianity, which is closer to what christianity was like back in the freaking dark ages. Blame the lack of proper education.

jonnybutler11
jonnybutler11

@jecomans @jonnybutler11 Aha, very well said my friend... We are on the internet after all, and we've all said ignorant things in our lives. However, food for thought, is it worse to be just plain ignorant or to base your ignorance in the absurd power scheme that are the Abrahamic religions?

jecomans
jecomans

@jonnybutler11 @jecomans I'm not sure it matters? All ignorance is by nature based in something a thinking person would fund absurd. As I side note, as much of the thinking against religion and faith goes, as a science-based professional I find people often forget that the inferences we hold as truth are often based in the faith that the observations we have based them on are also truths. For instance, both the Christian and the scientific creation story are based on an article that no-one can possibly explain how came to being in the first place.