SMITE Avoids World's Most Popular Religions

July 2, 2012 -

Some comments on Friday from Todd Harris, Hi-Rez Studios' chief operating officer, concerning the exclusion of some deities and the inclusions of others may tick off some religious groups even more than they already were about SMITE, the company's upcoming DOTA-like online RPG action strategy title.

While Harris mostly brushed aside the complaints of Rajan Zed (the president of the U.S.-based Universal Society of Hinduism) about the game's depiction of the Hindu religion and several of its deities (Kali, Vamana and Agni), in a conversation with GameSpot he also said that the studio would avoid Abrahamic (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic) religions and prominent figures from the Tora, Koran and the Bible.

"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.

Of course the Bible mentions plenty of battles including fights against leviathan, God's continued struggle against Baal and other idols, and fights against the likes of Satan and the various princes of hell. Some might even argue that Hi-Rez didn't expect any complaints about the deities they chose for the game (they were wrong), and by avoiding the world's most popular religions the company avoids any sort of global public outcry.

Of course, it could just be that, as Harris says, those religions do not provide enough excitement in the context of the upcoming game...

Source: GameSpot


Comments

Re: SMITE Avoids World's Most Popular Religions

if they are gonna avoid the world's most popular religions then is there really a point to using ANY modern day religions for this kind of game? After all you can still make one hell of godly smack down game just using the mytholigical gods such as the greek, norse, egyptain gods

Re: SMITE Avoids World's Most Popular Religions

Heh, well, I'm pretty sure they would be getting more hate mail than Hitler if you could strike down any of the Christian deities.

Re: SMITE Avoids World's Most Popular Religions

Shin Megami Tensei hasn't gotten Jesus in on things that I know of (but giving the player the option of becoming the literal second coming isn't unheard of), but they've put just about everything else up on the block. God's sometimes the final boss in the hard ending and war on heaven almost always comes in somewhere (sometimes ending with Remiel, Metatron, or another prominent angel and not God himself), angels are frequent enemies. Enslaving angels is as much a staple as enslaving demons. And even when God isn't a literal enemy, he's at best an unfeeling, amoral authority who weilds armageddon as the price of disobedience.

The series and its branches are the Pokemon of blasphemy - you haven't really finished the game until you've insulted every major modern religioin and most of the extinct ones. I even caught some Zoastrian blasphemy in Devil Survivor 2.

Re: SMITE Avoids World's Most Popular Religions

And often times the better games tend to leave someone offended.

Re: SMITE Avoids World's Most Popular Religions

I'm Indian and raised in a Hindu household so I do kind of get where Mr. Zed is coming from. Out of all the cultures referenced in this game - Egyptian, Norse, Chinese, Greek and Indian - the Indian culture was never replaced with the mentioned "Abrahamic" religions.  as such the Indian characters used never faded away as "myths" and are very much still part of culture for modern practitioners of Hinduism.

I always did kind of question, for example, in the Final Fantasy series, whenever I saw Shiva, the Hindu lord of destruction, turned into a female ice esper, or the twins from FFXIII. Ultimately I didn't mind it too much because they seemed to draw from other cultures as well to name summons.  And as they are attempting to elevate these creatures to be more powerful than the human characters, it seemed to make sense that they didn't draw too much from Christianity, Judaism and Islam, as all of the figures from these religions are human, or at least exist in human form, definitely making it tougher to draw that distinction and get the "magic" feel of these characters.

They omitted figures like Jesus and Mohammed for one very obvious reason - nobody wants to see images of something they believe in die, and this is a huge part of their potential customer base.  PC/console games just don't sell in India like they do here.

Many many MANY games that I've played have strong draws from ancient culture.  The Xenosaga series was pretty deeply steeped in Christian metaphor - the tribes of Israel and reincarnations (for lack of a better phrase) of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdelene are things that I could definitely see raising some eyebrows.

Phew that was a lot so the tl;dr version here: But they're games.  So that all aside, I'm personally not offended. And those who are can always not play.

Re: SMITE Avoids World's Most Popular Religions

Theres a few anime out there that use Christianity or Catholicism as a base for their fiction, not much deity abuse unless you count Needless. LOL

 

Untimely its a form of fiction and the more you can play with it the more you can sell it, older cultures/religions are just so much richer than their modern more mundane variants.

Also a few cults like Scientology are ripe to make something out of.

 


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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Re: SMITE Avoids World's Most Popular Religions

Thing is, Kratos already has the 'God-bashing' market cornered, and for everything else, there's Shadows of the Colossus...

Re: SMITE Avoids World's Most Popular Religions

Well the pure pagan religions(of which Christianity is an amalgam more than any other) tend to be the more imaginative ones.


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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