Suburb Joins Toronto in Removing Killzone 2 Ads From Bus Shelters

As GamePolitics reported earlier this week, Sony pulled ads for PlayStation 3 shooter Killzone 2 from bus kiosks in Toronto after an elementary school teacher complained that they might frighten children.

An adjoining regional transit company has now followed suit. As reported by, York Region Transit has taken down the Killzone 2 (left) from its bus shelters.

Although YRT received a complaint from the parent of a three-year-old boy, the agency opted not to act until it learned that Sony was voluntarily removing the ads in nearby Toronto.

The parent, John Rennie, reported that the ad upset his son:

Pulling into the parking lot, his son began cry, saying he saw a monster and didn’t want to go to school…

“He really thought what he saw [on the poster] was going to be inside the [school] complex…”

Mr. Rennie was not only upset the poster evoked such an emotional reaction from his young son, but that the violent advertisement for the mature-rated game was placed at a site frequented by youth.

YRT General Manager Don Gordon said that political ads as well as those for alcohol and tobacco products are banned from its bus shelters. A contractual clause also gives the agency the right to remove any ad judged to be in bad taste:

This has happened on a few other occasions. The one that comes to mind was a lingerie ad that was too revealing.

In pulling the Toronto ads, Sony said that it would look into the creation of an ad-free radius near schools, a spokesman said.

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  1. Lou says:

    Heh my son has seen the pictures of the helghast several times and all he has told me is "Daddy what’s that?" and  after explaining it to him he said "I like it!" and he is four years old.

    So yeah some people are over-protective and at the same time kinda ignorant when it comes to raising children.

  2. Zeke129 says:

    The kid thought there would be Helghast in the school?

    Relax, there’s lots of cover in there.

  3. bracomadar says:

    I wish my parents were dumb enough that I could have used a monster excuse to not go to school.  I had to fake throwing up if I wanted stay home.  I’ve seen lots of scarier ads than Killzone 2. Kid’s aren’t tough enough nowadays.  You should teach your kid to be afraid of stuff they should be afraid of, like drain cleaner, moving vehicles, and their government, not a poster of something with red eyes.  By taking it away, they aren’t helping the kid overcome his irrational fears, they’re just trying to solve the problem quickly without trying to be a parent/teacher.  They could get out and show him that it’s just a piece of paper and it’s lights in a helmet that makes it glow and do research and find out it’s actually a dude that looks like a human under there, but no, they don’t.  Instead they make a big fuss just because they get their kicks off of power trips and making big deals out of nothing.  I hope since their ad was taken down, Guerrilla Games, or whoever paid for them there, get their money back.  To be honest, I would be more concerned that my kid was being bullied, or mistreated by students, or teachers, than being afraid of the sign.  Kids will usually look for excuses to avoid telling their parents something that embarrasses them.  Maybe the kid was afraid, IDK, but I think I’d spend more time looking into that than trying to get the sign taken down.

    PSN: bracomadar

  4. starsrift says:

    I like this. Sony stepped up to voluntarily throttle back their advertising for an 18+ game. They’re responding to their consumers, not being sued by crazy people full of hyperbole.

  5. JustChris says:

    Plus, going by the personal account, I’d guess that the kid made some connection between the ad and what is inside the school, as if it really was an actual "kill zone". He’s three- it’s possible to form such base conclusions at that age. Especially if you’re nervous of going to school for the first time.


  6. MartyB says:

     LOL, good one. 

    when I read this, I couldn’t stop thinking about stewie from family guy, the way he talks fits these lines perfectly

  7. Father Time says:

    The kid was only three years old I doubt he’d put that much planning into getting out of school, plus isn’t school not really that bad at that age?

    It’s a big head with glowing read eyes, how is it hard to see that being scary to a three year old?

    I think some of you guys sometimes see scapegoating or bad intentions where there aren’t any.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  8. TOGamer says:

    Well… I grew up in York Region and I can see this.  Many, many kids walk to school but may very well walk by these ads.  That being said, the transit system isn’t used all that much by kids in comparison to the city.  Nonetheless, I can see them not wanting those ads around.  However, two things bother me:

    1. They accepted the ads in the first place. I mean, c’mon.  Controversy over video game ads is not new but if they had any worries they should have rejected it outright.  Who’s behind the wheel on this one at YRT? (I know, bad pun.)

    2. The spokesperson is a little disingenous with the tobacco example.  Tobacco is NEVER allowed to be advertised.   It’s actually illegal here.  Convenience stores can’t even have the cigarettes visible (they have to be in closed drawers or cupboards).  Stating it like it was their decision to PROTECT CHILDREN FROM TOBACCO is ludicrous and it just sounds like they’re using this as a PR stunt to say "Look how conscientious we are!"


  9. Sammich Man says:

    This seems somewhat understandable.  The ads probably won’t get much attention for people wanting to buy it if it’s +18 and near a school anyways.  Though the kids reaction seems a bit… Exagerated.  Though things that scare kids is a bit hard to understand at times.  I used to be terrifyed of the RoUS (Rats of Unusual Size) scene in the movie "The Princess Bride"… Don’t really know why now, but I was.

    Perhaps the thought process of it being named Killzone gave some paranoid thought of a school shooting?

  10. hellfire7885 says:

    Not to sound heartless, but I doubt it was really the poster.

    He could have been being bullied and was crying over that, and the parent assumed it was over the poster.

    ANd is Sony relaly so tactless as to advertise that close to a school? I though game companies didn’t do that.

  11. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    Kid:Oh no! That monster with the red eyes is scary! I can’t go into school…for about three or four weeks?

    Mom: Well, I could just file a complaint…

    Kid: Uh…no…I don’t wanna rock the boat or anything…maybe just…y’know, take a couple of weeks off…y’know…

    Mom: No, I think it would be best if I just filed a complaint.

    Kid: God damnit.

    *He could have really been scared, but I can’t help but think he just wanted some time off.


  12. Chaplain99 says:

    Let’s blame it on the child’s mental condition.  That seems to be the current media trend.

    "HEY! LISTEN!"

  13. Orelup says:

    My cousin had poster of freddy kreuger in her bedroom when i was like 5 or 6…I would walk the long way around the house to avoid walking past that room.  Like, i knew it was a poster, but i’d be damned if i was gonna let my guard down.

  14. DraginHikari says:

    A child’s mind is a difficult thing to predict upon.   Even the weakest of imagines can be something disturbing to a child and they’re usually very active imagination.

    Some handle it better then others…

  15. E. Zachary Knight says:

    My kid was four when we were watching Sara Conners Chronicles. He saw the end of the episode where the terminator gets his skin back and had the glowing red eyes. My sone had nightmares for a couple of days after that.

    It is not uncommon to have kids who are more easily scared than others and it almost never has anything to do with the way they are raised.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  16. KayleL says:

    I think the kids wasn’t really scared, he just want to skip school. Really, how many kids are actually going scared of a poster. Most are going to think that it’s cool. It’s only a picture, it’s not like a movie.

  17. MonkeyPeaches says:

    I used to watch saturday morning cartoons, but I don’t have cable so I only watched the cartoons on the CW, but they got rid of all the cartoons that appealed to anyone older than five.

  18. DarkSaber says:

    Not to forget, we are talking about a god-damn CHILD, not some densenstizied after years of gaming adult.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  19. KayleL says:

    I know the scene you are talking about, and I could understand that. I have mentioned movies are different. Mostly because you see it living and breathing. However, we are talking about a relatively simplistic poster.

  20. Firebird says:

    Oh God……  get Knights of the Zodiac out of my head!

    (Bad Dubs and Flock of Seagulls? Shoot me!)

    I remember watching that show unedited (and in Spanish), and loving it. Until it came to America.

    The U.S. certainly has a knack for ruining my favorite shows.

    Thought, I suppose it’s off-topic……

  21. ZippyDSMlee says:

    The quality ones died off years ago now theres bad dubs and US made shows thats worse than bad dubs. 0-o
    TV in general is so bad if I can;t get it off the net I don’t watch it anymore.


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  22. Kincyr says:

    I agree. Also, with the mention of a lingerie ad being removed, at least they didn’t single out games

    岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

  23. Vake Xeacons says:

     Tough one, but, yeah. I’d have to say I’m with you on this one, Knight. KZ2’s probably an awesome game, but ya gotta be careful where you advertise it. It’ll get plenty of publicity in store’s, magazines, websites, evening TV, etc. 

  24. Larington says:

    Don’t have any issues with the ad pulling, maybe the kid wanted an excuse not to go to school, but I’m gonna take benefit of doubt here and suggest maybe, we shouldn’t be cynical about peoples possible reasons for reacting to something every fricken time.

  25. Browncoat says:

    well, you know…never mind that underneath those glowing eyes is the word "KILLZONE".

    yeah, not frightening at all to a 5 year old

  26. Mechadon says:

    All this over a menacing head with glowing eyes?

    Makes me think twice about putting out a Jack-O-Lantern next Halloween. Might scare the children.

  27. Chaplain99 says:

    I’m sorry the kid got frightened.  Really, I am…kinda…

     But if there’s a certain day-care center in the middle of the city of Charlotte, NC, and one of the parents of one of the children that attends the day-care center happens to complain about a Killzone 2 add that they saw, is Sony still advertising to minors?  In the MIDDLE of the city?!

    "HEY! LISTEN!"

  28. HarmlessBunny says:

    Yeah I can see the big red eyes frightening a little 5 year old…but if I saw that as a kid, I would have gone "WHOA! COOL!"

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