1C-Softklab, one of the major game distributors of video games in Russia, halted the flow of Company of Heroes 2 into the Mother Land. The company cites multiple consumer complaints about how the game portrays Russia as the reason for its actions. The complaints didn’t come in few and far between, either: Over 17,000 people signed a petition to get Company of Heroes 2 removed from the Steam store in Russia.
The game’s developer and publisher, Relic and Sega respectively, responded to the quasi-protest with a statement to videogamer.com: “SEGA and Relic are aware of the press stories circulating concerning Company of Heroes 2 and the historical context of the game from a Russian perspective… At this time we cannot offer any further comment, however we are taking this issue very seriously and are investigating these concerns thoroughly with all relevant partners.” This kind of evasive answer could mean many things, ranging from not concerned to freaking out.
Many of the negative reviews Company of Heroes 2 has on Metatcritic contain references to how untruthfully and unflatteringly the game portrays the Russian military. In a world as connected as the one we live in, it appears that game developers will have to be more adept at seeing the world through multiple cultures and people: especially if the developers are making a game about those cultures or people.
Consumers have massive influence over the gaming industry. It’s interesting to see them wield it.