2K Sports, owned by Take Two Interactive, has just shipped All-Pro Football 2K8, and already there’s a controversy.
The Street.com reports that the game, which lacks an NFL license but makes up for it by using the likenesses of retired pro players, also features O.J. Simpson, who many believe committed the grisly slashing murder of his wife and a man named Ronald Goldman in 1994.
The Street.com’s Priya Ganapati, who has covered Take Two frequently, writes:
A game trailer on the Game Trailers Web site shows Simpson game highlights as his team, “The Assassins,” moves down the field. Toward the end of the clip, Simpson scores a touchdown, prompting a large hooded mascot (above) above the scoreboard to make stabbing motions with a large knife…
2K Sports’ decision clearly reflects a lack of sensitivity and leaves the company open to accusations of bad taste, but, at its worst, it suggests an attempt to deliberately offend and use Simpson’s past to profit and promote a video game that many parents would likely buy as a normal sports-game purchase.
Ganapti writes that a Take Two spokesman forwared a statement saying the mascot’s stabbing motion is “not specifically associated with O.J. Simpson, and the game does not promote any such connection.
GP: Although we hadn’t taken notice of O.J.’s inclusion on the roster, at least one website did, about 10 weeks back. PastaPadre now seems prescient:
OJ Simpson being in APF 2K8 is unlikely to keep anyone from specifically purchasing it… I would not be surprised however if the topic is brought up sometime heading up to release. The question is whether 2K is actually seeking out the negative press this could present as a way to get the game some attention.
PP also seems to want to blame GameTrailers for a Michael Vick-like APF2K8 trailer.