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Battlefield Hardline Dev Responds to Criticisms About Police Militarization

"It's not cops-and-protesters, it's cops-and-robbers."

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Battlefield Hardline developer Visceral Games has responded to criticisms about the game's depiction of a militarized police force in the wake of real-world issues on the topic making headlines in the United States recently. Creative director Ian Milham told Polygon that Hardline is not meant to be social commentary, but rather a cop drama "romp."

"The issue has come to the forefront in a way we didn't anticipate," Milham said about police militarization in the US and Hardline's representation of it. "But from the beginning, it was something that we had to think about. I think we've tried to choose the scenarios and content we're showing to be responsible, and to be honest about what we're trying and not trying to accomplish with the game."

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Milham went on to say that part of his job as a game creator is to look at what is happening in the world around him and consider how what he's making--in this case, Hardline--fits into that larger landscape. He added that it was never Visceral's intention to make a "realistic police tactics simulator," but rather a TV-like crime drama. "It's not cops and protesters. It's cops and robbers," he said.

When Hardline was first announced, this point might not have been as clearly communicated to gamers as it could have been, Milham admitted. "They're understandably passionate about some of the issues, so I thought for what people knew about what we were doing, the reaction to it, I could understand how people got there," he said. "It was a little frustrating to have the conversation be about so many things we didn't intend or try to make any comment on..."

Milham added that there are no depictions of riots or ways you can harm innocent bystanders in Hardline. Overall, he said he understands the criticisms the game has faced, but explained that things like the debate about whether or not police should have tanks is outside of his purview.

"In our game, you need the tank because you're trying to recover the thing the bad guys have and it makes sense," he said. "When you're making a game about an isolated man on a spaceship, you don't get these questions. It's easier. But that doesn't mean that people are wrong to question this... it's something we have to think about."

Hardline launches in February 2015 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. A beta for the game will be held on all platforms sometime before the end of the year. For more on Battlefield Hardline, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch

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