EA, the distributor behind ultra-violent new game Bulletstorm, has hit back at a Fox News report that labelled the title "the worst game in the world", and blamed video games for an alleged rise in sexual violence.
In a story published on Tuesday, the 'news' outlet drew parallels between the graphic violence and sex-related imagery of games such as Bulletstorm, and an alleged increase in rape offences.
The article quoted psychologist Carol Lieberman as saying, "The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games."
What it didn't do, however, was offer anything to substantiate those claims. Not altogether surprising, we'd say, given that official FBI figures indicate that reported rapes are actually declining in the US.
Fox News also went on to condemn the body that issues age-related classifications for games, the Entertainment Software ratings Board, claiming that children as young as nine could be exposed to Bulletstorm's gory glory.
Tammy Schachter, vice president of public relations for EA, issued an official statement in response to the Fox article:
"As you know, Bulletstorm is a work of entertainment fiction that takes place in the 26th century on the abandoned fictitious paradise planet Stygia, where our heroes fight mutants, monsters, flesh-eating plants and gigantic dinosaurs.
Epic, People Can Fly and EA are avid supporters of the ESA and believe in the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) rating system. We believe in and abide by the policies put in place by the ESRB.
Bulletstorm is rated M for Mature for blood and gore, intense violence, partial nudity, sexual themes, strong language and use of alcohol. The game and its marketing adhere to all guidelines set forth by the ESRB; both are designed for people 17+. Never is the game marketed to children.
Epic, People Can Fly and EA support the right of artists to create works of entertainment fiction for consumers of all ages, including adults who enjoy action adventures like Bulletstorm. Much like Tarantino's Kill Bill or Rodriguez's Sin City, this game is an expression of creative entertainment for adults."
It isn't the first time EA and Fox News have engaged in a public ding-dong over a video game. Back in 2008, a hysterical report on the news channel regarding full-frontal nudity in the game Mass Effect - reported under the banner headline "Sexbox" - sparked another very public spat, as gaming website The Escapist reported.