Should We Really Be Assassinating Gary Busey in Hitman?

by Mark Bohdanyk

The seventh elusive target in Hitman was announced yesterday, after the results of an online poll regarding the celebrity guest target. The choices were between Gary Cole and Gary Busey, (they really dislike Guys named Gary, I guess) with the eclectic actor winning by a hefty margin (the heft most likely provided by his teeth).

If you aren’t familiar with the concept, in PlayStation game Hitman, a community event called an “Elusive Target” will be made available for a limited amount of time on a specific map, with only one opportunity to kill the target. If you fail, you never get another chance. If you succeed with the assassination attempt, you gain bragging rights amongst the community.

So obviously he knows about it, as seen in the video above or is off his meds to the point that he may not know what is real and what is a dream.

And while it would – and will – provide a great deal of entertainment:
Every shot will be a ‘teeth shot.’
His dying words were “Hello, Pants!”
When you fail to kill him, he speeds by in a limo, executing you via drive by while shouting “Suck my Amazon Fire!”
The character model and facial expression for confused Busey and angry Busey will be the same killing of his decoy, Nick Nolte, fails the mission.
They went through seven hiring/firings of facial capture techs before realizing that was actually what his face looks like in real life, too.
They had to put peanut butter on the roof of Gary’s mouth to get him to say his lines.
The PA who did so was never seen again.

Yes, yes, it amuses me just as much as most of my friends and many readers out there who have a slightly warped sense of humor.

But the question no one seems to be asking is SHOULD we be killing a digital likeness of a known person?

When you stop and start to analyze it, you will quickly find yourself in moral ambiguity.

It’s not a real person. But does that make it any less creepy to kill a digital representation of a real person? What is the takeaway message there? That its ok to fantasize about killing a celebrity? Because whether that is the intent or not, that is the message being broadcast. This isn’t a ‘based on,’ caricature or anything of the sort. The goal is clear: #KillBusey


“He gave his permission!” The naysayers will shout across message boards. Sure, and that’s great, but if I am spending an hour or two in preparation at one chance to kill Gary Busey, isn’t this inviting a mindset that it is completely acceptable to do so moving forward?

For the record, I am no social justice warrior. I’m libertarian. So from that standpoint, if GB wants to cash out on his likeness and have a digital version of himself die a myriad of ways, great. I am not proposing stopping him. In fact, as I said above, I even think it’s hilarious.

But as we enter the path not taken through games and VR, it’s these types of questions that have to be answered by us, the gaming community.

Virtual Reality development has sidestepped the discussion because no developer has gone first in wanting to create a hyper realistic looking game where you murder people. It’s always monsters, aliens or cartoons. And there is good reason for that: Virtual Reality and video games have the power to make us feel things, true horror and discomfort being among them.

One of the most successful VR movies at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was a movie in which you participated in a shooting. It made people VERY uncomfortable.

There’s nowhere to look away; you’re immersed in it.

GaryBusey (1)If it was you, instead of ole cockeye McHorseface in there, how would you feel about millions of people killing a digital version of you?

On one hand, developer Hitman dev of Hitman probably thought it would be amusing (which it is, to me), different (how many times can you say you’ve hunted and killed a household name who has beast mastery?) and I think possibly even anticipated and are banking on some potential backlash for publicity. Nothing like a scandal to help break through all the Pokemon Go stories, right?

I personally cannot think of a better way garner national news attention than to announce to the world that millions of people are competing to kill Gary Busey. But no one is talking about it. And it’s a conversation we should be having.

The goal of this article is to bring to light that it is better for us as a gaming community to have it be a discussion we have up-front, rather than had for us by legislators.
What is your opinion? Is it acceptable to premeditate a murder of an actual person’s digital representation?