Yes, we must all remember the First Rule of Posting: Do NOT Feed The Trolls.
That said, here's my brief two cents on the matter -- games have villians. They are conflict-based entertainment with both a protagonist and an antagonist. Them's the breaks. Now, I am speaking from the point of someone else who hasn't played Hitman 2 (it's in the apartment, but I've been busy playing other games), but I find it highly unlikely that the team designed the game with racial insensativity in mind. On top of that, the game is about bad people doing bad things.
Let's look at the villians of the last twenty years of entertainment, shall we? You've got: Germans, Nazis (not always the same thing, mind you), Russians, Columbians, the British, Eastern Europeaners (as a whole), Middle/South Americans (as a whole), Africans (as a whole), Asians (as a whole), the Chinese, the Japanese ... this list goes on and on and on and on.
Is a game where you go and kill a Columbian drug lord an anti-Columbian game? No. You're a person with a mission. If there is a small group of radical terrorists, does it matter what nationality they are? Not particularly.
On top of all of this, let's stress that Hitman 2 is an assassination game. This means you're a professional killer for hire. So, in all actuality, you go where the money is. You're paid to do a job and you do it. You don't have to condone or even agree with what you're doing -- you're doing it for the money. It's aimed at Mature audiences, who are (supposedly) much more trained to discern between fact and fiction.
I read the petition. Its main objection is that a "holy place" is being used in a game of violence, and that they are inferring that there is an anti-Sikh sentiment going with it. By their line of arguing, there should be no churches of any kind in any game ever again, from the Vatican (which has been depicted in at least a couple of games) down to the local clergyhouse. Their requests are nothing short of ludicrous. Pull the game from all store shelves and then put a new version of the game out? Not going to happen. The website is something that could be changed, but quite frankly, this is overreaction at its finest.
I'm partially of Germanic heritage, and were I so inclined, I could probably go and raise a big fuss about how I was tired of the German people being represented in games by things like Saving Private Ryan, Medal of Honor, Castle Wolfenstein and the like. But I don't.
Games don't generally incite people to violence, racial or otherwise. In fact, since the release of Grand Theft Auto 3, I believe the national crime rate is actually on the decline (although I haven't looked lately).
I understand these people are worried about their portrayal, but I would counter that they should be looking for a positive image to counter the negative, rather than looking to erase the negative. Villians in games/movies/TV/entertainment are individuals. If they all start appearing as the same person or same kind of person, then you have a trend and you can start pointing fingers. But to say an isolated game may "endanger innocent Sikhs all over the world" is not only a stretch of the imagination, it's a denial of plausability.
Personally, I'd like to see people start supporting the freedom of speech we've worked so hard to keep, rather than requesting we pitch it away on a dime's notice because they don't agree with something they've heard. Just because you don't agree with something doesn't mean that it's dangerous.
Remember that, boys and girls.
Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks
Host of the Starlight Society Podcasthttp://tinyurl.com/starlightsociety/