Battlefield Hardline Trailer/Box Art Causes Controversy in Wake of Ferguson Shooting

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Considering the current tumultuous relationship the US populace is sharing with the police in the wake of the Mike Brown shooting in Ferguson and Eric Garner’s death (and the subsequent ludicrous ruling that the officer who murdered him wasn’t found guilty of any wrongdoing), the latest Battlefield game, which sees police go head-to-head with civilians in the middle of a drug war, was always going to have a hard time selling itself without causing controversy. The latest trailer and box art unveiled by publisher EA and devs Dice/Visceral certainly hasn’t done a great job of distancing the game’s concept from the current political climate and the racial tensions currently rising in North America.

The box art shows a gun-toting black man, with police headlights visible in the reflection of his aviators, looking down the sights of his pistol. The trailer also depicts a militarized police force going toe-to-toe with drug gangs in what appears to be a neighborhood predominantly occupied by black people.

Regardless of whether or not this trailer accurately reflects Battlefield Hardline‘s plot, many are finding it uncomfortable to watch Battlefield Hardline‘s gun-toting, hefty police force causing chaos as part of a “war on drugs” considering many are fearing that more communities are finding themselves becoming a police state.

The release of the trailer and the game’s box art sparked controversy on Twitter, with @untimelygamer writing: “Battlefield Hardline, an example of how game devs think games exist outside of any political context.”

Video creator and industry commentator Jim Sterling suggested that no matter how EA would have presented Battlefield Hardline, given its subject matter it would have inevitably raised the ire of many, with him tweeting: “Battlefield Hardline‘s only option for cover art that wouldn’t make people iffy was to use a picture of a kitten. It’s not too late, EA.”

Considering development on Battlefield Hardline began before the death of Michael Brown, which took place in August, it’s not as if the story of the game is linked with the events in Ferguson. In actuality, it seems to be unfortunately prescient. However. it’s a little shocking to consider how this box art and trailer managed to pass through EA without anyone pointing out that it would inevitably draw comparisons to current-day events.

EA has yet to comment on the controversy, but we’ll update this post if they choose to do so.