Newsweek's Croal on RE5: 'Wow, clearly no one black worked on this game'

re5
Usually, an early glimpse of gameplay from a high-profile title stirs gentle butterflies of excitement. But after perusing Capcom's newly translated Resident Evil 5 video interview this morning, more than a few of us were feeling uneasy; not fluttering, but squirming, like worms in our guts. It's the same feeling some of us had when we watched RE5's first trailer (and again when it was extended). It's the same feeling that burst into a heated discussion about racism, about how RE5's imagery relates to historical and contemporary issues of race -- even if these African villagers are more "zombie" than human, like the Spaniards in RE4. Newsweek's N'Gai Croal argues, "It's not as simple as saying, 'Oh, they shot Spanish zombies in Resident Evil 4, and now black zombies and that's why people are getting upset.' The imagery is not the same. It doesn't carry the same history, it doesn't carry the same weight. I don't know how to explain it more clearly than that."

MTV Multiplayer has published some important commentary on the first RE5 trailer by Croal, whose first reaction was simply: "Wow, clearly no one black worked on this game." Croal is not proposing censorship, but a need for context and an understanding that the imagery in RE5 is not just a palette swap. "This is why it is important to whoever works in the American office of a company like Capcom to be able to show this is the history, this is where this comes from, this is where we need to be more sensitive. I'm not sure they've done that yet."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.