Eurogamer have sensationally re-ignited the racism row over Resident Evil 5, claiming the game contains “outrageous” and “outdated” representations of Africans and blurs the lines between the infected monsters and African civilians. In a hands-on preview of Capcom’s upcoming survival horror title, Eurogamer’s Dan Whitehead identifies what he believes to be racially antagonistic content, including suggestions of African brutality, primitivity and savagery.
According to Whitehead, the offensive content begins from the very start of the game. He writes, “One of the first things you see in the game, seconds after taking control of Chris Redfield, is a gang of African men brutally beating something in a sack. Animal or human, it’s never revealed, but these are not infected Majini. There are no red, bloodshot eyes. These are ordinary Africans, who stop and stare at you menacingly as you approach. Since the Majini are not undead corpses, and are capable of driving vehicles, handling weapons and even using guns, the line between the infected monsters and African civilians is uncomfortably vague. Where Africans are concerned, the game seems to be suggesting, bloodthirsty savagery just comes with the territory.”
Whitehead goes on to outline the presence of even more worrying content, claiming the game plays on outdated notions of African sexual primality. “Later on, there’s a cut-scene of a white blonde woman being dragged off, screaming, by black men. When you attempt to rescue her, she’s been turned and must be killed. If this has any relevance to the story it’s not apparent in the first three chapters, and it plays so blatantly into the old clichés of the dangerous “dark continent” and the primitive lust of its inhabitants that you’d swear the game was written in the 1920s.”
According to the Eurogamer hands-on feature, Resident Evil 5 contains even more offensive material, yet Capcom blocked coverage of particular scenes. Whitehead said, “There are even more outrageous and outdated images to be found later in the game, stuff that I was honestly surprised to see in 2009, but Capcom has specifically asked that details of these scenes remain under wraps for now, whether for these reasons we don’t know.”
The article finishes by suggesting that should footage of Redfield stamping on a black woman’s scull be distributed among the mainstream press, a media furore was erupt that would make the mess surrounding Manhunt 2 seem tame by comparison.