Tore Blystad, IO Interactive game director for Hitman: Absolution admits the team didn't consider all the angles when releasing its controversial trailer, which depicts sexy dominatrix nuns getting violently killed by the game's protagonist, Agent 47.
"It was kind of a shock to us back in Copenhagen when we got the response to that trailer," Blystad told Gamasutra. "We honestly didn't mean to offend anyone, this is a game that has its roots in a kind of cartoony extreme universe.
"If you look at the old Hitman games, they have similar scenes to this throughout all the series. So for us we didn't feel like we were doing something new, it was kind of just a part of the whole DNA of the title, but playing on more of a Grindhouse style."
While Blystad was primarily surprised people were upset with the violence, he also addressed the fact that the female characters are all dressed in sexy outfits under their nun habits. Agent 47 uses disguises all the time, Blystad notes, asserting that "It's the same here with these nuns dressing as something less conspicuous, getting up to their mark, and revealing their true colors."
He was also sure to mention that the game could play out in a different way, when you actually get to the scene represented. "It's an actual level within the game," said Blystad, "and the way it's portrayed in the trailer is one of the ways of going about it. But the game is about choice, so that's only one of the solutions."
What did the company learn from this experience? "Sometimes your own judgment means nothing," he says. "When you release something out there it can go in any direction, and I think... We were pretty shocked and kind of like 'oh no, it's like that?'"
While the team didn't appear to take any specific learnings about portrayal of women in games, which was the primary concern, Blystad did specifically apologize, saying, " All I can say is we didn't mean to offend anyone, and we're sorry!"
A full interview with Blystad is forthcoming. For more reports from E3 2012, be sure to check out Gamasutra's live coverage.