Detroit: Become Human's Paris Games Week trailer may have been a full month ago but it finds itself back in the news this week after Conservative MP and chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee Damian Collins spoke out against its depiction of domestic violence.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Collins said that 'It is completely wrong for domestic violence to be part of a video game regardless of what the motivation is. Domestic violence is not a game and this simply trivialises it.' He also said that he worries that 'people who play this who themselves have suffered abuse will use this game to shape the way in which they deal with abusers.'
Several representatives for children's charities were in agreement, with Andy Burrows of the NSPCC saying 'Any video game that trivialises or normalises child abuse, neglect or domestic violence for entertainment is unacceptable.' Meanwhile Dame Esther Rantzem, founder of the Childline charity, said 'We never want anyone to believe that beating a child to death with a belt is the stuff of entertainment. It should never be trivialised or turned into a game', and has called on Sony to even consider withdrawing the game.
We can't know what context the Mail presented the video in, but it was heavily criticised from within the video game community almost immediately upon its airing at PGW, and the scenes themselves don't really have any context in the trailer either. Auteur creator of Detroit, David Cage, didn't help matters by defending the game with typically Cagian flair. The general mood seems to be that while games can and should aspire to tackle all manner of subjects, domestic abuse is probably not a topic David Cage will tackle well.
It's also disappointing that this may now cause a new swathe of people to dismiss games as a medium able to tackle difficult subjects at all.
Sony are yet to comment on the matter, but for now Detroit is still set for a release on the PlayStation 4 next year.