(Thanks to Cara for forwarding this my way)
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men was a game that I was sort of interested in. I'm sort of a sucker for games that offer co-op play or that have interesting multiplayer options. That the multiplayer has you teaming up to complete objectives with the possibility that one or more of your team members (including you) might turn on the rest was interesting, and adds what I think sounds like an interesting element of paranoia to teaming up with people. The fact that death in multiplayer switches you to the other side, with the goal of stopping the rest of the team also struck me as a pretty cool aspect.
The story mode (single player and co-op) sounded interesting too- one character is a former mercenary opposed to harming innocent people who is fighting to save his family, while the other is a psychopath who experiences visual halucinations during gameplay. Combine all of these things with a story and gameplay that pays tribute to gangster films like Heat and the Departed, and, yeah, I'm interested.
And then the promotional campaign started.
This is exactly the sort of thing that I'm talking about when I talk about how gaming culture is steeped in sexism. It's not just the characters in games, it's the way that gamers, creators, and marketing teams treat women, too. This contest isn't about including women in the game- it's about using women's bodies to increase interest in their product.
This seems like such an obviously bad idea, that it's hard to know exactly where to begin. I find the use of women's nude bodies to promote the "hotness" of a really violent shooter really disturbing. Why not do a promotion that involves people generally trying to look like they belong in Kane & Lynch? Why try to tie it to looking hot and sexy? It doesn't even make sense. And, seriously, way to alienate a huge section of the population there, folks. Nothing says you respect women gamers like taking a game where the only prominant woman is a hostage, and use Playboy as a major part of your promotion. Nothing screams "We respect women gamers" like trying to use their naked bodies to advertise your product.
I'm glad to see that at least some major gaming media have expressed some reservations about this kind of promotion, too.