Smite, the upcoming MOBA from the makers of Tribes: Ascend that lets you, well, smite your enemies as playable gods from numerous pantheons has struck an unpleasant chord with some real-world worshipers of the gods depicted in the game. Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Hi-Rez to remove the Hindu gods Agni, Kali, and Vamana, because he felt that their depiction in the game was disrespectful to their followers.
According to Eurasia Review , Zed found the idea of reducing these gods to characters who can be controlled by a human player to be denigrating. While the article states that he welcomed the idea of Hinduism becoming more prominent in games and media, he wants to see producers "taking it seriously and respectfully and not for refashioning Hinduism concepts and symbols for mercantile greed. Hindus would gladly provide genuine entertainment industry seekers the resources they needed for their study and research regarding Hinduism."
In reply, Hi-Rez issued a statement explaining why they will not be removing the characters from the game. "SMITE includes deities inspired from a diverse and ever expanding set of pantheons including Greek, Chinese, Egyptian, and Norse," Todd Harris, Hi-Rez's COO said. "Hinduism, being one of the world's oldest, largest and most diverse traditions, also provides inspiration toward deities in our game. In fact, given Hinduism's concept of a single truth with multiple physical manifestations one could validly interpret ALL the gods within SMITE to be Hindu. And all gods outside of SMITE as well. Ponder that for a minute. Anyway, going forward SMITE will include even more deities, not fewer."
Zed has not yet issued a public reaction to this news.