PETA has called on Games Workshop – the sellers of the popular Warhammer tabletop game, plastic characters and video games – to remove fur from their fictional characters. That’s right, PETA is now setting its cross-hairs on Warhammer’s fictional characters. It’s also reported that they’ve asked RARE to release the Pinatas from player’s gardens. For Ubisoft to stop enslaving hawks as tools merely for map exploration. And for ARK to stop glorifying the extinction of the dinosaurs through mans’ over-hunting of the species.
A social responsibility towards gamers?
But it does raise an important question – that question being whether or not video game developers have a social responsibility when it comes to taboo subjects. Should Rockstar have allowed interactive torture in GTA V? Or should Ubisoft enable gamers to skin animals in Far Cry? Should 2K have given players the opportunity to kill children (Little Sisters) in BioShock?
All good questions. But I would say that, because I wrote them.
Bigger fish to fry than Warhammer (sorry PETA)
We’ve written about this sort of thing before – but what should be done? What’s reasonable? For me, I think it’s a grey area. PETA, I feel, has lost the plot a little going after Games Workshop over their use of fur on plastic and virtual characters in Warhammer. I mean, DiCaprio was clad in rotting bear fur for the majority of The Revenant. So I kind of feel like there may be grander issues worth tackling when it comes to the depiction of cruelty to animals. But I do also think that some developers should do more to address and combat these types of subjects. Perhaps not as extremely as PETA are suggesting, however. But things like equality for women, or stronger representations of the LGBTQ communities. The depiction of sexual violence, or torture, or violence towards children. And, of course, cruelty to animals – these are subjects that some developers could be more sensitive towards.
I’m not sure what the answer is. But I feel like PETA’s call isn’t it.
But what do you think? Let me know in the comments below!