In early September, footage of upcoming surreal mystery game Militsioner went viral on Twitter. It’s easy to see why: The trailer features an enormous policeman who can, at any time, interfere with what the player is doing around the map. The imagery is as arresting as it is evocative — which might explain why it’s also caught the attention of state-owned Russian media, Russia-24.
Developer Tall Boys uploaded translated footage of a recent news segment, where an anchor argues that the game is somehow anti-Russian, especially since the policeman could be considered the villain. The news segment then goes on to interview multiple people about the apparent shady aims of the video game, which supposedly uses realism to make you, and I quote, “involuntary hostages of this story.” One expert criticizes that the game will use emotions, sensations, and music to envelop you in its agenda. Player beware!
Why is a cool-looking game inspiring such paranoia and backlash? Well, the eponymous Militsioner is a storied Russian figure that can be traced back to a poem where a policeman is framed as a brave and noble hero known for their good deeds. (And their height.) But as website Super Jump notes, the figure has also been posed by artists in the 80s as a more big-brother type figure. The game seems to continue that trend.
Speaking to Polygon over email, art lead and game designer on Militsioner Vladimir Semenets says he was “surprised” to see the