Resident Evil 5 is a survival-horror video game for the Xbox 360 made by Capcom, released May, 13, '09. Before it's release, the game had generated controversy from claims of racism in the game.

Racism accusations[]

Resident Evil 5's 2007 E3 trailer was questioned for its depiction of a white protagonist killing black enemies in a small African village. Newsweek editor N'Gai Croal began the criticism, stating, "There was a lot of imagery in that trailer that dovetailed with classic racist imagery." He acknowledged that only the preview had been released.[1][2]

The second trailer for the game, released on May 31, 2008, revealed a more racially diverse group of enemies, as well as Sheva, a BSAA agent[3] who assists the protagonist.[4] However, designer Jun Takeuchi denied that complaints about racism had any effect in altering the design of Resident Evil 5.[5] Takeuchi commented that the game's producers were surprised by the controversy.[6] In an interview with MTV, he explained that Capcom's staff is racially diverse, and acknowledged that various cultures may have had different opinions on the trailer.[6][7] In an interview with Computer and Video Games, producer Masachika Kawata also commented on the issue, stating, "We can't please everyone. We're in the entertainment business - we're not here to state our political opinion or anything like that. It's unfortunate that some people felt that way."[8][9]

In Eurogamer's February 2009 preview of Resident Evil 5, Dan Whitehead expressed concerns about the controversy the game may generate, stating that "it plays so blatantly into the old clichés of the dangerous 'dark continent' and the primitive lust of its inhabitants that you'd swear the game was written in the 1920s" and "there are even more outrageous and outdated images to be found later in the game, stuff that I was honestly surprised to see in 2009." The article also states that the addition of the light-skinned Sheva "compounds the problem rather than easing it."[10]

Glenn Bowman, Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Kent, Canterbury,[11] has stated that he does not believe Resident Evil 5 is racist. Bowman added that the game presents an anti-colonial theme.[12]

One particular scene in the game, said to show black men dragging off a screaming white woman,[10] was submitted for evaluation to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), which deemed it not to be racist. Sue Clark, Head of Communications at the BBFC, stated, "We do take racism very seriously, but in this case there is no issue around racism."[13][14]


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  5. McWhertor, Michael, Resident Evil 5 Not Redesigned After Race Criticism, Says Producer (June 3, 2008), Kotaku, Retrieved on June 8, 2008.
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