Dante’s Inferno Protest at E3 Was Staged by EA

A protest march outsde the Los Angeles Convention Center on Tuesday was staged by Electronic Arts to publicize its upcoming Dante’s Inferno game, according to the Associated Press.

While there was speculation in the gaming press yesterday that the event, which was reported as actual news by the Los Angeles Times and San Jose Mercury-News was a fake, today’s report is the first actual confirmation.

According to the AP, EA spokeswoman Holly Rockwood said that the publisher hired a viral marketing firm which staged the protest. About 20 actors carried signs and distributed pamphlets protesting Dante’s Inferno on supposed religious grounds.

The marketing campaign also employed a faux website, WeAreSaved.org.

GP: I’m wondering if the viral marketing firm used by EA for the Dante’s Inferno bit was also the group behind the recent brass knuckles campaign supporting The Godfather II

GamePolitics was among those sites reporting on the protest as an actual event. We picked up on the story via the L.A. Times’s coverage.

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  1. ulysses says:

    This wouldn’t have been taken as real if it wasn’t a mirror image of something that actually exists.  Most people thought it was real until EA fessed up.  That’s because people like this exist.  And they have views about the world, based on their religion, that a lot of people find ridiculous.  So since they actually exist, it’s not "spreading false views about religion."  Furthermore, these type of people are extremists, not mainstream christians.  And over 70% of people in the US are Christians so it’s not a minority group that needs protection.  Quite the opposite. 

    "In essence they were spreading a negative view of the church by showing Christians to be intolerant and wacky." – Some are intolerant and wacky.  Again, that’s why this worked.


  2. xMrAx says:

     The problem is they were not making fun or religion. Also the view they created of the church was derogatory to the people who do not understand this was faked. In essence they were spreading a negative view of the church by showing Christians to be intolerant and wacky. They were not making fun of religion they were spreading false views about religion.

  3. ulysses says:

    For God’s sake, lighten up.  We can’t make fun of anybody or anything?  Why not?  We all need to take ourselves a bit less seriously and laugh at ourselves and others.  It feels good.  Laughing and making fun helps us to see ourselves as others do.  You may disagree with their point of view but they should definitely be able to make it.  Even if it is for marketing.  At least this protest was interesting and started some conversations.  Most marketing makes me want to poke myself in the temple with a chopstick. 

  4. Seiena_Cyrus says:

    no matter what religion it is…this kinda insult and defacing is lowest of the low and should not be allowed I’m sorry…I’d be insulted if they mocked Athiests, or any other religion out there that isn’t christian…I really think it’s insulting, rude, and makes the company worthless…


    And as for Christian music and the like…not all Religious people want music about sex and violence or any of the stuff you hear today (unlike me I happen to like Nightwish, Nickelback, Blind Guardian, <insert incredibly long list here that’s too much to type and avoid the christian stuff thank you very much) it’s filling a demand…

    What demand exactly is insulting -any- religion filling? None. All it’s doing is getting a lark and that’s why it offends me because it’s a practice that shouldn’t be allowed. Viral Campaigning is on so many levels wrong.

  5. xMrAx says:

     As a christian gamer I do find this kind of offensive. Using religion as a marketing campaign is somewhat insulting my religious views. I could really care less about the fact the game is about hell or the violence in the game. Most Christians down South are pretty tolerant about this stuff. Heck my youth minister played doom 3 and mass effect.


    Oh and to answer the undeniably upcoming comment about how I am trying to push my views on someone else. I’m not. Anyone who tries that is not really a christian, but a flamer. The whole point of chrisitianity is not to force religion on people but help others by love and example.

    Just ignore those crazy people who call atheists and other religions evil. 

  6. The Great Shao Ting says:

    EA is just spraying it with the sweat off of David Jaffe’s forehead, and intends to sell it as an alternative to God of War III.

    Yeah, but you have to remember that DEVIL MAY CRY came first.

    Now it’s a threesome battle!!!


  7. xMrAx says:

    So they are trying to advertise their religious products using their religion. What? If its Christian Rock of course its advertised as Christian. Books too. If the content is Christian its kind of hard to advertise it as something else. However, for a secular company to insult and deface religion in order to advertise a product that religion does not support is wrong.

  8. Seiena_Cyrus says:

    -technically- Christian rock is made to give people another avenue of music…it’s not really commercialization of the religion because there’s a large group of christians out there that can stand the messages in today’s music…I for some reason get annoyed at Christian Music but it’s not cuz it’s selling my religion…and I have to say…for me it’s offensive that they marketed it in -this- fashion….because you know there’s people out there that will go "You Christians suck! Did you see those nutjobs protesting that Dante’s Inferno! Ugh!" Oh and the thing I love the most…the more bad press my religion gets the worse -I- am treated in -my- community…because their all idiots and if a few christians are nutjob morons…guess what we must all be! which we aren’t -_-; It’s gotten bad enough in my town that sometimes I just say "Yeah I believe all religions are the same…but I kinda lean more christian…but for the most part there’s god and thats it…" Because then I’m not blaspheming all over the place but I’m also not getting my butt kicked by some jerks because of stupid stuff like this….This is offensive and wrong in so many ways…And I’d believe that no matter what religion they kicked through this campaign…

  9. Doomsong says:

    Look at it this way, if news of this event causes anger at the same speed that the Grand Theft Auto series did, it’ll be about eight years before we hear anything about it.

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" – Benjamin Franklin

  10. State says:

    Using religion to sell stuff is wrong? What about Christianity used to sell music, ie Christian Rock? What about Christmas and Easter (big commercialised events)? What about the Catholic church that makes huge profits by selling Christianity?

    Religion has been used plenty of times as a marketing campaign and if you think it weakens your religion then it shows that it must be pretty weak if it can’t stand up to the effects of this EA game.

  11. State says:

    Seems like the people that hate EA for doing this are the ones that fell for it. I personally didn’t give it much thought, because I didn’t surprise me that Christians were once again protesting against another stupid cause, and it doesn’t surprise me now that EA pulled this trick either, because they created all the rumours that Dead Space was banned in many countries (including Japan of all places, home of the Guinea Pig films, and most of the violent games).

    I really don’t know why people are getting angry over this, EA pulled a stunt, got people talking about the game, it’s not like this hasn’t been done before.

  12. GM ace says:

    Dear People Who Used This As An Excuse to Shit on Religious People,

    Fuck you too.

    Seriously, I don’t know who’s worse. The religious zealots, or the atheist ones. You all spout bullshit. "You don’t believe in what I believe, you’re evil!!!!!1one." "You believe in anything at all, you’re pants-on-head retarded!!!!!1one." It’s all the same. You shake your little fists at religion, without even thinking about the fact that you’re acting exactly like the nutjobs you rail against.

    When people thought this was real, did I see any posts about how terrible it was that these protesters were making religion look bad? No, of course not. Anyone note that it was reported as just a sect of Christianity? Nope, not a bit. All of a sudden every religious person and every Christian denomination gets tossed into the shit pile as far as you’re concerned. You paint with a broad brush, just like the zealots who think everyone not in their religion is evil, and every Jack-clone who thinks every video gamer is a murdering rapist. Good job, assholes.

  13. Binarygeek says:

    First, the game doesn’t really appeal to me, second, what does it say about a game when its own publisher protests its release? 😉

    Psychos will always be psychos; they don’t need video games to help them. SCOTT RAMSOOMAIR, GameCore interview, Mar. 7, 2005

  14. Mattie says:

    Not to hijack the thread or anything but I can’t seem to get my signature to appear below what I say. How do I fix it? Also, can anyone else not see the shoutbox or is it just me?


  15. JustChris says:

    Hmm…I’m wondering how many actual religious fundies caught news or sight of the protest and started joining in with the fake protesters. That would have been funny for them, especially when they are told later that the whole thing is a publicity stunt.


  16. Thomas McKenna says:

    Hey guys, I have an awsome idea.  Let’s just bullshit around a company office building.  To pay for shit, we’ll say we’re a viral marketing group.  Then, we’ll get tons of money by companies that don’t know what viral marketing really is, and thus that money will be able to fuel our bullshitting around said office building!

    Dumb PR stunts are dumb. 

  17. Leet Gamer Jargon says:

    Oh, goddamnit. I can’t believe I wasted good anger and rage on this. I’m not even sure I posted, I was so angry.

    I mean, I know Dante’s Inferno looks like a good game, but this is exactly what we don’t need. Hell, if word gets out to real Christian orgs that this was all a marketing ploy, think how pissed they will be.


    Game on, brothers and sisters.

  18. Moriarty70 says:

    They didn’t take his name in vain. I’d say since word got out it was quite effective.

  19. insanejedi says:

    YEAH! And I’m one of those people who love bees! Thats why I am pissed at Bungie for making bee lovers look like fools.

    It’s bad business for the 8 million copy selling game. Shame Bungie and shame Microsoft.

  20. DavCube says:

    …all right. That’s it. Screw it, EA. My patience with you has finally died out. I was going to get Tiger Woods 10 just to have some fun when i had family over (they liked playing the other version i have, so why not) but not anymore. I can’t support a company that does something like this.

  21. TeamDiscoveryChannel says:

    C’mon EA, really?  This is the kind of crap we used to expect from Acclaim, we thought you were above that.

  22. Icehawk says:

    Since many here had already guessed this was faux viral protesting it changes little  Well other than to lower yet more (if possible) any possible respect for EA. 

    If only Jehovah of the Old Testament was still running around.  Methinks EA is in need of being smited. 

  23. DraginHikari says:

    This seems like nothing but bad news, I thought something sounded strange about this particular protest in comparison to your usual religion oriented protest.  But really we gamers shouldn’t really be agreeing with something that is intentionally mocking a group for the sake of profit when we spend alot of time dealing with groups who do the same thing to us.

    It just leaves a bad vibe that no one really needs.

  24. Zerodash says:

    Fuck EA.  Talk about being in poor taste.  If I were a Christian, I’d be pissed as hell at them for making Christians look like fools (they do that fine on their own). 

    It’s bad business to bring religion in as a marketing ploy.  Shame on EA.

  25. DarkSaber says:

    *Yawn* Told you so.


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

  26. thefremen says:

    I’d rather see EA trolling people with fake protests then trolling consumers with draconian DRM.

  27. thefremen says:

     True. Still, this is nowhere NEAR as bad as Activision taking a huge steaming dump on Tim Shaefer. (with regards to sueing over the release of Brutal Legend after they dumped it)

  28. biggie says:

    Pretty much indeed,

    like you all talk about music and potest, of course it was staged.

    Like I read at the Hip-Hop Music article about the staged "accident" between Eminem and Bruno. Don’t be funny you know what I mean? 

  29. Vake Xeacons says:

    Why am I not surprised? Now I feel like an idiot for taking them seriously; especially with my rambling comment post on the original article. Sorry guys. (smacks forehead) Xo

  30. Flamespeak says:

    To be mad at EA for using Dante’s Inferno (merely one part of the Comedy) is fine, but I would ask that you treat everyone who embellishes or alters a classical work of poetry of literature with the same level of contempt. 

    I for one am completely fine with the idea of showing the inferno in this new medium. To have the written word of Dante shown in such a brutal interuptation is intriqueing to me. Is it an action game akin to God of War? Yes it is, because it is a video game at its core. I would hope that this game makes people that play it curious about the Divine Comedy and have them read it.  Although it is a heavy text in terms of political agenda and dated terms, it does serve as an intresting read none-the-less.

  31. Adrian Lopez says:

    "It is nothing like the book of the same title, which is sad really. They just "stole" the title to get some free marketing."

    I too am bothered by EA’s appropriation of the name "Dante’s Inferno". I feel such a well-known name should not be granted trademark status, but EA claims a trademark on "Dante’s Inferno".

    Fucking bastards.

  32. Azhrarn says:

    I never claimed that it was purely religious (because it’s not as you say). that was the poster above me. It is however still a shame that they’re using the title of a well known work of fiction to further their own marketing ends.

    It was a good bit of viral marketing though, I’ll give them that, got lots of publicity.


  33. Yellowchposticks says:

    But you have to remember that the divine comedy wasn’t all religious, it was also a political commentary with Dante attacking his enemies and corrupt religious and political figures by "hiding" it in fiction.  Not to mention that Hell’s layout was made up by him, and not actually religious canon. 


    I for one, laughed when I read that it was a publicity prank.

  34. Conster says:

    Eh. At least Dante’s still the protagonist, unlike that movie where they made Achilles the good guy or something (I still refuse to watch it). The only reason I don’t hate the Greek with the same passion as the Romans is they actually made a play which said "we were total assholes in Troy", unlike the Romans, who were all "High five, we torched Carthage to the ground!".


  35. insanejedi says:

    Yeah, they were dumb for creating a story that generated over 100 comments on the GP article. How sad and pathetic.

    I also hope you protest on Halo for not depicting Noah’s Ark accurately enough.

  36. Azhrarn says:

    That’s the one thing I don’t like about the game, all it shares with the Divine Comedy is the location (Hell) and the name of the main character (Dante obviously) but that’s where the similarities end, really a shame that a developer can abuse the title of a classic work of fiction like this.

    It is nothing like the book of the same title, which is sad really. They just "stole" the title to get some free marketing.

  37. untravaersil says:

    I was against the game myself, but now Im just furious.

    The original Dante’s Inferno was about a poor, depressed man going through a midlife crisis as he continues to mourn the death of his beloved Beatrice. As he wanders through a dark forest and contemplates his suicide, he sees a mountain of righteousness and attempts to climb it, only to be stopped by three great beasts of evil. Dante than meets Virgil, a Poet who had died more than a thousand years ago, who guides dante on a journey through hell, purgatory and heaven, and to show Dante the people of have been led astray without the light of christ guiding them

    The game involves Dante beating the crap out of demons with a large cross, as he’s trying to escape hell and look for his beloved Beatrice as well (as to why hes looking in Hell is anyone’s guess). In all, EA is taking the wrong direction with this game, and Im protesting it as well. Dante’s Inferno was a literary classic, an epic to the same degree as Homer’s Odyssey or Virgil’s Iliad. EA is just spraying it with the sweat off of David Jaffe’s forehead, and intends to sell it as an alternative to God of War III.

    EAs marketing team is dumb as hell (no pun intended). I hope EA stocks plummet because of this.

  38. insanejedi says:

    You have to remember that a vast majority of gamers can give a damn about this degree of marketing ploy. I don’t think anyone walks into a store and goes like.

    Dude: 1 Dante’s Inferno

    Other Dudel: Dude don’t buy that game, they just hired people to protest like religous nuts on the street to promote their game.

    Dude: on second thought… never mind…

    All casual gamers care about is if the game looks "sick" or not, regular gamers just care if the game is good or not, and only a segment of politcally charged gamers care who made the game and what went down in development, and EVEN FEWER care about what kind of marketing tactics they used.

  39. J.Alpha.Gamma says:

    On the one hand, the marketing stunt worked. It stirred up controversy, which then publicized the game to people who may not have know about it otherwise. That means that more people will be inclined to buy the game.

    On the other hand, though, the marketing stunt sends a few bad vibrations this way; the magnitude of the stunt itself and the resulting controversy suggest that EA might be compensating for something. Knowing EA, that "something" might be the realization that Dante’s Inferno is too weak to hold its own weight as a blockbuster title. Kind of like how SPORE and Mirror’s Edge turned out.

  40. mr_mlk says:

    You are missing Person4 who will post "face palm" in response to ever post by Person1, 2 and 3.

    A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body. Benjamin Franklin

  41. Red_Flag says:

    I liked Mirror’s Edge too. Except the being forced to fight towards the end instead of being able to run away from the guys with the guns. Still, I’m hoping for the "promised" trilogy. Not holding my breath though…

  42. Red_Flag says:

    Greater sheep problem —

    Person1: "I read on the internet there was a group protesting this game on religious grounds."

    Person2: "How dare these communist republicrat think-of-the-children fascists dare engage in their own 1st Amendment freedoms to criticize a game that would suck anyways! But now I must swear to purchase this EA drivel so I can continue to wallow in my persecution complex and self-pity! Big brother! Hitler! OMFGWTFBBQ!!!11!!oneone1!."

    Person3: "Turns out the protest was just a PR stunt. Maybe you could just judge a game on its merits instead of what publicists pretend to think about it?"

    Person2: *head explodes*

    Person1: "Now who’s gonna clean this up?"

  43. Kevin says:

    Here’s a problem with this: people are sheep.

    Person1: "I heard there was a group protesting this game on religious grounds."

    Person2: "Yea, it must be bad if someone was protesting it, and it’s still being released!"

    Person3: "We need to get the word out to get this horrible game stopped!"

  44. Ashkihyena says:

    Pft, personally, I think it was genius, I mean apparently they see what its done for the likes of Rockstar with people whining about the GTA games and such, so yeah.

  45. Craig R. says:

    Pathetic on EA’s part. There are enough ridiculous protests being held already that we don’t need fake ones generated by marketing asshats.

  46. LegendaryGamer00 says:

    It appears that the marketing firm that EA hired is Genre Savvy.



    Making the world a better place… one Headshot at a time…

  47. MechaTama31 says:

    One more bit of dreck on the pile of boneheaded PR stunts.  Seriously, who greenlights this crap?  And why do they continue to try to fake out a group of people who A: are pretty good at seeing through such shenanigans, and B: hate being treated like gullible fools.  alliwantforxmasisapsp, anyone?

  48. Silphion says:

    …Wow… just Wow.  EA is again showing the signs of being too big a company–when it can’t even keep track of itself.


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