It may have taken place way back in the 19th century, but Jack The Ripper’s crimes against women are real. This isn’t some fictional creation, made up purely for video game entertainment, but a sadistic individual who stalked and brutally murdered prostitutes on the streets of London in the most gruesome of ways, slashing open their abdomens and mutilating them.
Despite his appearance in many video game titles over the years, the recently announced Jack the Ripper DLC for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate has sent chills up my spine. The announcement video below makes me feel uncomfortable and sad for the women he killed, and sorry for the families of victims that in more recent memory have become prey to Jack the Ripper copycat killers. It’s made me question whether content that ties in so vividly with such real tragic events should be viewed as entertainment at all.
With the realistic graphics and animations that PCs and consoles are capable of, the Jack the Ripper DLC looks set to bring the grisly legend back to life like no other game before.
As recently as 2008, self-confessed Ripper copycat Derek Brown was jailed for two murders, one where he butchered prostitute Bonnie Barret. I remember watching the conclusion of that case on the news, and the Assassin’s Creed Syndicate DLC video brought it all back. I pause to wonder how the family feels about this latest attempt to resurrect the enigma? Is this not glamorizing the Ripper even more?
Hedonistic pleasures await
Yet, despite initial feelings of sadness and empathy towards Jack’s victims, as I watch this realistic portrayal of Jack the Ripper skulking in the shadows, the blood-splattered bedrooms and the moment he plunges a knife into an innocent woman, I feel twinges of excitement. With his chilling message “I love my work I want to start again. Try to stop me” it’s clear that the aim of the DLC will be to stop Jack the Ripper from continuing his murder spree. And, I can’t wait to do just that.
Video game developers and filmmakers continue to the push the boundaries to satisfy the hedonistic pleasures of their audience, and there’s a satisfying, thought-provoking thrill to be gained from participating in what is sure to be the most realistic video game portrayal of Jack the Ripper. But that doesn’t stop me feeling guilty for wanting to involve myself in a story that ties in with such a shocking and upsetting set of events, and wondering whether boundaries could be crossed. This isn’t a movie that you just sit back and watch, we’re about to enter into the world of Jack the Ripper and have control over the outcome.
There’s many video games about wars that have taken place in real-life with hundreds of people falling to their death, but the Jack the Ripper story somehow feels more raw and personal. Of course what we don’t know is how Ubisoft will handle the story, how will they portray Jack the Ripper, and what graphic content will be shown. Whatever it decides to do, it’s a subject matter that certainly needs be handled with sensitivity and care.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate will be released on PS4 on October 23. a release date for the Jack The Ripper content has yet to be confirmed.