.- Video game giant Electronic Arts has admitted it funded a group of fake protesters who pretended to be Christians as a publicity stunt to spur interest in its upcoming action game very loosely based on Danteâs âInferno.â
The game company hired a group of almost 20 people to stand outside the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles on Wednesday, the Associated Press says. The phony protesters passed out amateurish material and held signs bearing slogans such as âTrade in Your PlayStation for a PrayStation,â âHell is not a Gameâ and âEA = Electronic Anti-Christ.â
Holly Rockwood, an EA spokeswoman, said the charade was arranged by a viral marketing agency hired by the company.
A web page in the crude style of 1990s web design was also created in connection with the stunt. It depicted crosses crushing the word âsinâ and placed images of the King James Bible among phony condemnations and thinly-veiled promotions of the game.
âA video game hero does not have the authority to save and damn... ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE. and he will not judge the sinners who play this game kindly,â the site said.
EAâs video game âDanteâs Infernoâ claims to be inspired by the first book of Dante Alighieriâs theological poem âThe Divine Comedy.â Its character uses a cross as a weapon.
While Danteâs epic poem placed his beloved Beatrice in Paradise, the EA game makes its Dante character rescue Beatriceâs soul from Lucifer, USA Today says.
"We've tried to faithfully recreate the geography of hell as he wrote about it," the gameâs executive producer Jonathan Knight told USA Today.
Dante Alighieriâs âInfernoâ depicts various circles of hell in which sinners are punished according to their defining sins.
Dante placed the fraudulent and the sowers of discord in the penultimate Eighth Circle.
In the Divine Comedy the Inferno is followed by the âPurgatorio,â a poetic exploration of purgatory, and then by the âParadiso,â Danteâs depiction of the blessed in heaven.
He closes the âParadisoâ by exalting God as âthe Love which moves the sun and the other stars.â
EA has not announced any sequels to its game.