PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, have released a statement about the newly announced Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag.
They say games are "disgraceful" for "glorifying" the practice of harpooning whales...
Although we know very little of how the mechanics will actually work in the game, just the fact that it exists, it has proved to be a sensitive issue. They point out that not only is harpooning a cruel way to hunt whales, but that the practice still occurs today, with the Japanese still fighting the ban on commercial whaling. Japan actually has an exemption to the ban to whale for research purposes.
Their full statement: "Whaling—that is, shooting whales with harpoons and leaving them to struggle for an hour or more before they die or are hacked apart while they are still alive—may seem like something out of the history books, but this bloody industry still goes on today in the face of international condemnation, and it’s disgraceful for any game to glorify it. PETA encourages video game companies to create games that celebrate animals—not games that promote hurting and killing them."
Of course, whaling was far more common during the setting of Assassins Creed 4, so it's unsurprising that it is portrayed. Do you think Ubisoft are "glorifying" whaling? Should games shy away from historical accuracy in order to avoid painful topics? Tell us what you think.