Game firm's Facebook app for virtual assassinations gets offed

Somehow the folks who made Hire Hitman decided that a Facebook app that pegs friends as targets of a hit might not be the best idea.

This image from gaming blog Rock Paper Shotgun shows how one would create a "target information" dossier that presumably would appear in the video received by the victim of the virtual hit. Square Enix/Rock Paper Shotgun

We all live with the consequences of our finest ideas.

Or the ones that seemed the finest at the time.

I am confident that when the fine minds at Square Enix created Hire Hitman they had a sense that it would prove popular with men who are boys and boys who think they are men.

After all, this little Facebook app -- launched to promote the no doubt very fine and possibly religious computer game Hitman: Absolution -- allowed you to peg a friend as the target of a virtual hit by the computer game's protagonist, Agent 47, and share a video of the friend's termination, which incorporated a photo of the friend from his or her profile.

A scene from Hitman: Absolution. TheRadBrad/YouTube; screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

How many of us don't have friends who would appreciate a, um, death threat once in a while?

And yet, as gaming blog Rock Paper Shotgun reports, not a few hours after this app's launch, second thoughts reverberated.

Square Enix, the makers of this opus, wondered whether it really was funny or right or dangerous or merely stunningly tasteless to share with friends videos featuring "target information" dossiers that could include, via drop-down menu, mention of the "annoying laugh" of the victim or "her muffin top" or, quite mundanely, "her small tits."

Its official apology was quite a hit. It explained that the video would be seen only by the recipient, who would have to be a confirmed Facebook friend.

And yet the company hangdoggedly admitted in a statement: "We were wide of the mark with the app, and following feedback from the community we decided the best thing to do was remove it completely and quickly. This we've now done. We're sorry for any offense caused by this."

Sometimes, you see, you need feedback from the community before you realize that threatening to kill someone because of her tummy fat might not be the best idea you've had today.

Or even all week.

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