Making video games seems like the most awesome job in the world, provided you know absolutely nothing about it. We like to think of the developers as cool, laidback people who never wear pants, like Internet comedy writers. It's easy to forget that they are in fact at the center of a billion-dollar industry, with everything that entails: financiers breathing down their necks, lots of stress, and shady schemes that would make Wario say, "Dude. Come on. Have some decency."
Sometimes, in the process of creating fun diversions for the world to enjoy, video game developers end up crossing some moral, legal, and ethical lines. Like when ...
7 Bioshock Turned Disfigured Soldiers Into Mutated Enemies
Designing grotesque, deformed monsters for video games can be a great opportunity for artists to stretch their creative muscles. Should you add an extra arm coming out of their forehead? An extra forehead coming out of their arm? The sky, and your imagination, is the limit!
Or, alternatively, they can look at a photographic database of disfigured war veterans and copy from there, assuming they're not concerned with matters like "ethics" or "basic human decency."
Or "not going to hell for this."
That is a photo of Henry Lumley, a World War I pilot who suffered excruciating burns, followed by a BioShock monster enemy called, um, "Toasty." And that's not the only example of this. In an interview about the making of the game, one staffer admitted that some Splicers (the aforementioned monsters) were inspired by the work of Harold Gillies, a plastic surgeon who specialized in reconstructing the faces of soldiers who suffered horrific injuries during WWI. So it's not like they Googled "creepy faces" and had no idea that these were real people they were using.
For example, this is Walter Yeo, a sailor who was injured during battle, followed by the design of another bad guy, known as a "Wader":
The ultimate insult was giving him James Franco's hair.
Don't get us wrong; we understand using history as inspiration for fiction. It's just that when you use the likenesses of real-life veterans (with living relatives, natch) as bullet sponges for your pseudo-philosophical hero fantasy, that's when you come out of this looking like an asshole. At least BioShock's staff promised they wouldn't do this again, though if you're ever in charge of a burn ward and you see one of them hanging around with a sketchpad, we'd still call the cops.
6 EA Conspired To Screw Student Athletes Out Of Money
For many athletes, appearing in a video game must be a dream come true. But you know what's even better? Appearing in a video game with your full knowledge and consent, and not having some greedy bastards pocket the money.
"EA Sports: It's in the game (without its permission)."
The NCAA Football series by EA Games, for instance, routinely stole the likenesses of real-life college athletes and refused to pay them for the privilege. And when we say "steal," we mean it -- the rosters of these games were packed with players with identical abilities, positions, and player numbers to their real-life counterparts, the only difference being that they don't share names and that Donald Sutherland can't set fire to any of them.
And the lack of dreadlocks, but that's because the technology to render them convincingly doesn't exist yet.
EA used the fact that they didn't use the players' real names as proof that, nuh-uh, they weren't a bunch of plagiarizing shitmongers ... until their own internal emails proved that during the making of each game, they did use everyone's names, and only pseudonym-ized them up at the last minute. Oh, and before a couple of pissed-off players launched a lawsuit, the NCAA and EA were planning to drop the pretense and use the players' real names anyway.
But what happens when an athlete doesn't want to be in a game? If they're a UFC fighter, tough shit. In 2008, both UFC fans in the world were stunned by the news that Jon Fitch had been sacked from the tender sport of getting the ever-loving shit kicked out of him (his loved ones were presumably much happier about this news). Why? Because the UFC were trying to force him to sign away his likeness to the UFC Undisputed for life with fuck-all compensation to show for it.
Just being part of this should be compensation enough.
Fitch eventually rejoined, because regardless of how shitty the pay is, it's better than unemployment or getting an office job, apparently.