All-Pro Football 2K8 Features Simpson and a Knife
Take-Two Interactive is continuing its controversial ways with the release of All-Pro Football 2K8, complete with O.J. Simpson and a knife-wielding maniac.
The game features 240 of the best players from throughout professional football's history, including such luminaries as Joe Montana, Walter Payton and of course Simpson, but due to licensing issues does not include actual NFL teams. A promotional trailer available on GameTrailers.com features Simpson, playing for a team called "The Assassins," slashing his way through opposing defenders to score a touchdown. The team's mascot, a cloaked knife-wielding figure that looms over the end zone, reacts to the touchdown by making stabbing motions in the air.
Take-Two would not confirm whether Simpson approved the use of a slasher-mascot in the game, saying only that the mascot is "not specifically associated with O.J. Simpson, and the game does not promote any such connection." Sources estimate that Simpson could have been paid anywhere from $50,000 to $125,000 for use of his likeness in the game.
David Cook, lawyer for Fred Goldman, declined to comment except to say, "This whole thing is just beyond any comment and shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. As to whether Mr. Simpson is entitled to participate in any revenue stream based on the video and other rights, this matter is being studied." Goldman's son, Ron Goldman, was murdered in 1994 along with Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown. Simpson was found not guilty of the murders in a criminal trial, but was held responsible for their deaths in a civil suit that followed and was ordered to pay $33 million in restitution.
Take-Two Games has become known for its willingness to embrace controversial titles, publishing games such as Grand Theft Auto, Bully and Manhunt. Recently, its unreleased Manhunt 2 title has come under fire for excessively violent content, received an AO rating from the ESRB and being banned in the U.K. and Ireland.
I think this is so terrible! Why are we glorifying the murder of Nicole and Ron by cheering on OJ's touchdown with a stabbing knife-robbed figure? How cruel and awful - what were the gaming manufacturers thinking when they illy created this character? Wouldn't it be better to have football remain football and not mimicking this horrible tragedy? We need to speak out against this - it's terrible that we are making a comic strip out of this now! Shame on Take Two for their huge part in this!
As Take Two has already pointed out (claimed), there is no intended connection between the team called the Assassins, and Simpson's role as a player in the game.
If you want to blame anyone, blame the NFL for selling the license to one company, and one company only. This is where we get NFL Blitz with random team names, or movies like Any Given Sunday. I can bet that Take Two would've used real team names, if they'd been allowed.
There's always the possibility that this was all just a publicity stunt, and then sure, its in poor taste. But look at everyone talking about it?