Video games are usually the center of controversy. Especially when it comes to highly debated topics like gun control and the promotion of violence in children (Cue head shaking.) EA’s latest in the Battlefield series, Battlefield: Hardline invites controversy with its militarized police versus criminals focus. Even more so after last summer’s real life showdown between law enforcement and protesters following the shooting and killing of Mike Brown at the hands of a police officer. Because of the events in Ferguson, EA has made some changes to its game.  

Despite its timing with real-life events, Hardline—announced in June, right before the events in Ferguson—is based in fiction says executive producer, Steve Papoutsis:

“I would definitely say we’re more aligned with the works of fiction, the TV stuff. It’s not a commentary on anything that’s going on in the real world. Think of it as, hopefully, a season of your favorite show.”

Papoutsis said Ferguson helped game producers reconsider  to make sure there was no room for misunderstanding. He said there was an emphasis placed on “non-lethal takedowns,” like arresting people (as police or SWAT) without needing to kill them. 

“When it [Ferguson] started occurring, it really made us scrutinize what we were doing to make sure we were balanced in the way we let players approach the game,” said Papoutsis. “One of the things we did in the game from the get-go is allow for a variety of different play styles, so we have a non-lethal approach, as well as being able to support your traditional first-person shooter player that wants to run and gun their way through the experience.”

Battlefield: Hardline will be released March 17.

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[via Re/code]