Resident Evil 5 sparked a great deal of debate online upon it release in 2009, for it’s choice of enemies. Like the first Uncharted, press and gamers were uncomfortable with the amount of non-white people being killed by the Caucasian player character(s).
Well, there’s just as deep an inequality at heart of Resident Evil 7, and it’s one that is so deeply entrenched in our culture, it seems to have gone largely overlooked.
In it’s portrayal of the mutant and murderous family The Bakers, Resi 7 pays homage to classic b-movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, but even those films share the same issue. They build part of their horror upon some widely-held and cultivated views about people from the Southern US. Either as murderous savages, or deviants that violently pursue any proclivities they may have.
Do we see many depictions of folks from our western cities behaving in the same way? If you can’t think of a number of films or entertainments that show city families as animalistic murderers or cannibals with a penchant for torture, you can start to see the depth of the problem.
So, why is this so important a question? Well folks, in the real world we have just witnessed a bit of political turmoil. Many Americans have admitted to voting in one particular way due to their feeling fed up, with being thought of as dumb and backwards, that their economically abandoned close-knit small communities are looked down on by the larger media.
So, by playing into a well-worn trope, Resi 7 may perhaps unwittingly have reinforced a representation towards many millions of people who didn’t deserve it – and those same people wanted someone to represent THEM, or just plain wanted payback for their difficult prospects.
This is the year that somehow, video games may have to take more responsibility over the themes they choose to explore.