Telltale Games have hastily updated the latest episode of Batman: The Enemy Within [official site] to remove an in-game photograph of a murder victim which bore a striking resemblance to a real-world photo of murdered Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov following his assassination. Telltale avoid addressing how this happened, but do say they “regret this incident occurred” are “taking appropriate internal action”.
The image appears in Episode Two of The Enemy Within, which launched this week, as Bruce Wayne looks at crime scenes on his mate Batman’s Batcomputer. One is a deadly bank robbery committed by Harley Quinn, where a body lies before an open vault. This figure, YouTuber Bro Team Pill noticed on Thursday, looks an awful lot like Andrei Karlov on the ground in a widely-published photo after he was shot at an art gallery in 2016.
I’ll not embed the pictures here but to be quite clear: you will see a photograph of a dead person and his assassin standing over him if you click on this link for a comparison.
Following a day of speculation in cyberspace, Telltale responded with a statement last night:
“An update to the game has been submitted this morning that will be removing the image across all platforms. We regret this incident occurred, and we are taking appropriate action internally to ensure that we continue to maintain our high standards in Production and Quality Assurance.”
Which skirts around stating directly whether the image was based upon Karlov or not and, if so, how that ever seemed sensible to anyone. But it does look an awful lot like the in-game photo is based on/painted over the real-world photo.
It does seems unlikely that an artist sought to specifically recreate Karlov’s assassination. Far more likely is that someone was searching around for reference pictures of a dead body lying on a floor, found that, then, either thinking it was a staged scene or making a gross and insensitive decision, used that. Either scenario is foolish.