The director of upcoming stealth game Hitman: Absolution says the team didn't mean to cause controversy with their most recent trailer, which features protagonist Agent 47 slaughtering his way through a squad of scantily-dressed nuns.
In fact, he says the ensuing Internet firestorm caught them all off-guard.
"[The controversy] was a big surprise to us," Hitman: Absolution director Tore Blystad told me at E3 last week. "[The trailer] was not meant to be offensive at all."
When publisher Square Enix released the "Attack of the Saints" trailer two weeks ago, people immediately took to blogs and Twitter to condemn it, saying it perpetuates sexist and offensive ideas. Kotaku Australia's Mark Serrels wrote: "If this is what works, if this is what genuinely sells video games, I just don't want any part of it."
Blystad seemed genuinely surprised at the outcry when I asked him his thoughts on the trailer. He said it was meant to be "outlandish," much like Absolution and previous games in the Hitman series.
"It was never supposed to be offensive in that way," he said. "The Hitman games always come from this kind of cartoony, dark universe... This is no different from those."
According to Blystad, the trailer is based on a level in the game. The nuns in the trailer comprise a group of assassins called the Saints who work for Agent 47's former company. Now they're after him.
"It's one of the more extreme scenes in the game," he said. "It's kinda grindhouse-ish, kind of... it's almost like an interlude within the game... Okay, you have the normal story playing out and you have sometimes throughout the game you have these kind of odd moments where we're kind of throwing something really unexpected at the players... This is something really different from everything else we've shown.
"It wasn't supposed to be a sexist trailer."