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EA Responds To FoxNews' Bulletstorm Slam

by Tim Turi on Feb 08, 2011 at 08:35 AM

Another violent game has found itself in the cross-hairs of news media’s scrutiny. This time FoxNews is criticizing Epic Games/People Can Fly’s blood symphony Bulletstorm. The game sports some of the foulest language in video games, rewards players for shooting enemies in the gonads, and contains blood-infused sexual innuendos. All this has FoxNews hot, bothered, and talking with the experts about Bulletstorm’s supposed dangers. Publisher Electronic Arts has officially responded to the article, insisting this is fictitious sci-fi entertainment aimed towards adults, not children.

Tammy Schachter, vice president of public relations for EA, issued the following response to us:

"As you know, Bulletstorm is a work of entertainment fiction that takes place in the 26th century on the abandoned fictitious paradise planet Stygia, where our heroes fight mutants, monsters, flesh-eating plants and gigantic dinosaurs.
Epic, People Can Fly and EA are avid supporters of the ESA and believe in the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) rating system. We believe in and abide by the policies put in place by the ESRB.

Bulletstorm is rated M for Mature for blood and gore, intense violence, partial nudity, sexual themes, strong language and use of alcohol. The game and its marketing adhere to all guidelines set forth by the ESRB; both are designed for people 17+. Never is the game marketed to children.

Epic, People Can Fly and EA support the right of artists to create works of entertainment fiction for consumers of all ages, including adults who enjoy action adventures like Bulletstorm. Much like Tarantino's Kill Bill or Rodriguez's Sin City, this game is an expression of creative entertainment for adults."

FoxNews' Perspective

Despite Bulletstorms bold “M for mature” (17+) rating, FoxNews insists kids as young nine years old could be exposed to it. One doctor says that the gore and cussing could “significantly damage” a young mind and encourage violence during conflict.

Psychologist Carol Lieberman takes it a step further, insisting that ““The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games.” No research or statistics are provided in support of this alleged correlation.

Another accusation tosses Bulletstorm in with other game’s marketing campaigns which use controversial imagery like sexuality or hyperviolence to hide the fact that their game really sucks. “Games without sufficient quality of gameplay -- games that include highly objectionable violent or sexual content -- often pump up the level of this kind of content to gain media attention,” says Billy Pidgeon, games analyst. Generally, it’s poor practice to imply that a game lacks fun or innovative gameplay without having played it. However, Pidgeon is an analyst and it’s his job to study trends, even if many gamers who’ve played the demo are very happy with the game.

Melanie Killen, A professor from the University of Maryland, even insists that Bulletstorm’s marketing campaign is geared toward “children and young adolescents.” Check out this age-gated, ESRB-stamped promotional video and judge for yourself whether it’s aimed at kids or not.

Finally, Hal Levy of National Youth Rights Association says the game has been “praised for encouraging innovative thinking. Bulletstorm involves developing new moves and dispatching of enemies creatively. Plenty of emotionally unstable adults will play the game and they’ll be fine.”

For more on this sensationally violent game, check out Game Informer's Bulletstorm hub, our interview with producer Tanya Jessen, and this new batch of screens.