Religious group calls for removal of Hindu deities from Hi-Rez's SMITE

SMITE's depiction of Kali, Hindu goddess of destruction

In Hi-Rez Studios' upcoming action-oriented MOBA, SMITE, players are able to play as a variety of gods, goddesses, and miscellaneous deities from multiple world mythologies and religions. If you recall my impressions of the title from PAX East earlier this year, you'll remember that I got to play as Kali, the four-armed, scimitar-wielding Hindu goddess of change and destruction.

Well, it turns out that the Universal Society for Hinduism has caught wind of the fact that SMITE players can control Hindu deities such as Kali and Agni, and the organization's president, Rajan Zed, is not pleased. Zed claims that "controlling and manipulating goddess Kali and other HIndu deities... is denigration as these deities are meant to be worshiped," not "reduced to just a character in a video game." As such, Zed called for the immediate removal of all Hindu deities from the title.

Hi-Rez, however, has no plans to do so. The studio's COO, Todd Harris, gave the following response: "SMITE includes deities inspired from a diverse and ever expanding set of pantheons including Greek, Chinese, Egyptian, and Norse. Hinduism, being one of the world's oldest, largest and most diverse traditions, also provides inspiration toward deities in our game. In fact, given Hinduism's concept of a single truth with multiple physical manifestations one could validly interpret ALL the gods within SMITE to be Hindu. And all gods outside of SMITE as well. Ponder that for a minute. Anyway, going forward SMITE will include even more deities, not fewer."