This post has been updated, please scroll to the bottom for the latest changes:
In the year 2012, most of the world has moved on from the 2010 game Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days. The game — a forgettable, poorly reviewed sequel to the equally forgettable Kane & Lynch: Dead Men — takes place in Shanghai, and despite the fact that it was released nearly two years ago, someone is still mad about it. Specifically, a Mr. Liu Lin is mad about it. So mad, in fact, that he’s suing IO Interactive and Square Enix, which developed and released the game.
According to the Global Times, Liu is upset because the game defames Chinese people.
Liu says the two companies have violated the Chinese people’s rights [...] He says the game that has offended him so much presents a China in ruins and negatively portrays its people.
“I can’t bear it, especially the vicious vilifying of our people. They must be taught a lesson,” he told the Global Times Tuesday.
And clearly Liu intends to teach them a serious lesson indeed, as his lawsuit is asking for 10,000 RMB ($1,585.36) in compensation. While we’re sure the developers in question would be devastated by the financial loss, they don’t have to start worrying quite yet, as the court hasn’t actually agreed to hear Liu’s case.
The defamation of a nationality is serious business, of course, and I don’t mean to be justifying it, but I think we can all agree this lawsuit is ridiculous. It’s probably not legally viable (even in China, you can’t really sue on behalf of a nationality), it’s for a tiny sum of money from the perspective of a gigantic game company like Square Enix, and all it’s doing is calling more attention to a game that everyone disliked and had long since forgotten about.
Look, Mr. Liu, you’re not special. We all thought Kane & Lynch sucked. It wasn’t only offensive to Shanghai and to Chinese people, it was offensive to everyone: gamers, storytellers, people who like things that aren’t terrible, etc. I don’t think suing IO and Square Enix is going to help anything, especially since they seem to have abandoned the franchise anyway. If you want to get angry about China being portrayed as the enemy (sort of) in Western video games, I suggest you try something a bit more timely.
UPDATE (5/9, 17:27): Although it is not a direct response to the lawsuit, Kane & Lynch developer IO Interactive has issued an apology to anyone who was offended by the game. “We greatly respect China, its culture, and its people,” the apology reads. “It was not our intention to offend anyone, and we regret that the game has been interpreted in this way.” (Note: the official statement is in Chinese, so this is my own translation).
[via Global Times]