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Hitman Absolution launches, then pulls, offensive Facebook promotion

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Yesterday I was convinced that Hitman Absolution's Deus Ex DLC items would be among the stupidest promotional stuff we'd see for the game. Unfortunately, they weren't. A Facebook campaign that launched today - before being quickly removed after RPS spotted it - encouraged people to send a hit on their friends.

According the campaign's press release, “'Hire Hitman' was created to celebrate the best selling game Hitman: Absolution. The experience is another opportunity for fans of the series to immerse themselves in the Hitman universe.”

Here's the form that celebration took. After selecting the friend they wanted to target, users were asked to pick from a list of insulting “identifying” characteristics.

Female friends got to be called out on “awful make-up,” “annoying laugh,” “strange odour,” “muffin top,” or “small tits,” among others. Male targets, meanwhile, could be chided on their “bad hair,” “big ears,” “hairy back,” “big gut,” or “small penis.”

So that's intimidation, bullying and sexism. Another proud day in games promoting, folks!

Users would then choose a reason for elimination, at which point a message would be sent to their friend's wall, with a video that incorporated photos from their profile.

While Square-Enix are in “shut down everything” mode, removing both the site and the video that was promoting it, one YouTuber was quick enough to capture it before it disappeared.

The press release states that the campaign was created by the ad agency Ralph, who were nominated for an EMMY. It doesn't mention if that nomination was for Stupidest Bloody Idea This Week.

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.