Pursuant to the negative attention drawn by their web-based Faith Fighter, Italian designers at Molleindustria have opted to pull it from their site entirely. Though it hit the net over a year ago, the satirical fighting game was catapulted onto the mainstream radar screen after UK news outlet Metro ran a story on it this past Sunday, citing calls from various religious organizations for its removal.
A representative of the Organization of Islamic Conference’s ‘Islamophobia Observatory’, upon learning of Faith Fighter and its premise, remarked that ‘the computer game [is] incendiary in its content and offensive to Muslims and Christians.’
In defense of their creation, a spokesman for Molleindustria rebutted that the game’s purpose as they had conceived of it was ‘to push gamers to reflect on how sacred representations are often used to fuel or justify conflicts between people’.
But in the wake of continued and unabated protest, the company ultimately decided to take Faith Fighter down altogether.
‘We knew that this was a risky operation and we acknowledge our failure as communicators.
‘Hopefully this will help people to make their [own] judgments by examining the actual work and not the sensationalist accounts spread by mass media.’
Because if 1930′s Europe has taught us anything, it’s that simply knuckling under is always a sure-fire way to discourage bullies. However sincere (or not) the development team’s wish to make a genuine point with their game, that they’ve bowed to public pressure and voluntarily censored themselves would seem, at best, imprudent (I would say alarming). Whether Faith Fighter is ‘offensive’ or not is flatly immaterial – their right to self-expression is, by my lights, of far greater consequence than the imagined ‘indignation’ claimed by a narrow and egregiously hypersensitive segment of the populace.
And most unsettling of all is the tacit encouragement that their concession provides for such groups as the OIC, reinforcing their misbegotten notion that they need only whine loudly and importunately enough to get their way. Suitably unapologetic though their statement was, I would argue that the Molleindustria team has failed not to communicate, but to stand up for their rights.