When told that "Fallout 3" could not be released in Australia unless the game's real-life drug references were removed, Bethesda Softworks changed the references to fake drugs in every version of the game, but SouthPeak said that will not happen with "Velvet Assassin"'s references to morphine use.
What's considered "appropriate" is different all over the world. In some places, violence is more offensive. Others, it's sex or drugs.
"Fallout 3" was designed to include references to real-life drugs and pharmaceuticals, but when Australia threatened to ban the game due to the references, Bethesda Softworks took them out of every version of the game.
When I viewed a demo for SouthPeak and Replay Studios' stealth action game "Velvet Assassin" last week, my eyes sharpened when I noticed the main character uses morphine as an in-game power-up to slow down gameplay and perform deadly attacks.
The reference may very well cause a problem for the game's worldwide distribution, but SouthPeak product marketing manager Aubrey Norris defended the decision in a lengthy e-mail statement sent to MTV Multiplayer.
"One of 'Velvet Assassin''s strongest features is the emphasis on retaining as much historical accuracy as possible," explained Norris. "It's a well known fact that morphine was widely used as a pain killer for wounded operatives and soldiers on all sides of the war. Not only does it fit the realism of the game, but it also plays an integral role in the actual gameplay experience. Use of morphine in the game is not meant to condone drug abuse, but to reflect the realistic nature of the game and true to life historical factors."
"It is incredibly important to us that the artistic integrity of the developer (Replay Studios) is upheld in every aspect," she continued. "Additionally, the spirit of the game centers on players experiencing the life of a British operative behind enemy lines through Violette's memories. In order to provide players with the most realistic and visceral experiences, Replay Studios has gone to great lengths to adhere to the facts history has provided. These reasons are why we decided to include and keep morphine in 'Velvet Assassin.'"
Has drug use in a game ever offended you?
Quick Take: ‘Velvet Assassin’ Preview