“Alfred, I need a few Excedrin for this media headache.” (Screenshot: Batman—The Telltale Series/Telltale Games)

Today in stories about companies who really, really wish they had vetted images from their games a bit closer, we get a particularly unfortunate example of someone using a real-life tragedy as a substitute for an image of comic-book excitement. (Warning: Graphic image below.)

PC Gamer reports that Telltale Games’ Batman: The Enemy Within episodic game includes the image of an actual murdered Russian ambassador in the second installment of the story, which was just recently released. Andrei Karlov, the country’s ambassador to Turkey, was assassinated in December 2016 while giving a talk at an art gallery. Batman: The Tastelessness Within (title patent pending) repurposes one of the many graphic images taken of the event at the time and recycles it, with Karlov’s body becoming a dead security guard following a break-in at Gotham Brokerage. Needless to say, the first gamers to discover this creepy connection and post about it online definitely handled it with the tact and proper tone of respect for human life we all associate with social media:


Following the discovery and attendant outcry, Telltale released a statement to Gamasutra, announcing they intended to do literally the only responsible thing and remove the image from all subsequent iterations of the game. “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.” There was no explanation given for how the image made it into the game in the first place, though something tells us a member of Telltale’s Batman design team is probably trying to ship their recent purchase of Bad Idea Jeans back to Amazon.