With The Outer Worlds finally released, it seems the media blitz has been in full swing for Obsidian's latest little RPG adventure. Though curiously, it seems Walmart stores are taking a different take with their marketing for the game.
A reddit post by user GojuPonju on The Outer Worlds forums shows off a screenshot of the games advertisements that appears to be censored. The adverts, based on the games key cover art, showcase a player holding the Shrink Ray gun, their hand atop their head and in full spacesuit, while a character in the background waves at them.
The Walmart advertisement, however, deviates by having the shrinking ray gun covered over with the somewhat ironic Spacers Choice Logo, the winking moon (as shown above). This directly contradicts most of the marketing materials showcased in other key stores, such as GameStop and Target, which feature the full key artwork intact.
It is possible that the ray gun was censored due to the new mandates imposed by Walmart corporate back in late August. In the wake of the Walmart shooting in El Paso earlier this year, which saw the deaths of 22 people by the hands of a white supremacist. A corporate memo, which was leaked in August, noted for Walmart stores to "use their best judgement when determining whether an element is appropriate" for display. Some actions included in the memo for employees to consider would be the cancellation of events pertaining to FPS and third-person shooter titles, turning off hunting season videos, and unplugging violent video game displays.
Walmart has insisted that these actions were only temporary, though the statements of Walmart CEO Doug McMillon contradict this somewhat, who stated that Walmart going forward will make several changes to their marketing of what they consider violent content in their stores. "We will be thoughtful and deliberate in our responses, and we will act in a way that reflects the best values and ideals of our company, with a focus on serving the needs of our customers, associates and communities," McMillon wrote shortly after the El Paso shooting.
To date, the biggest policy changes for Walmart have been the elimination of handgun ammunition sales, as well as barring the open-carry of firearms in their stores worldwide. Walmart still, however, carries rifles and other types of ammunition for sale in certain states. It seems though, with The Outer Worlds marketing, that depictions of firearms is still in a gray area in regards to Walmart's policies.
Currently, there is no confirmation if the photo snapped by GojuPonju is representative of all advertisements by Walmart, or just a local Walmart that has used its 'best judgement' as suggested in the circulated memo. TechRaptor has reached out to GojuPonju, Walmart and Private Division (the publisher) for further information and will update this story as we learn more.
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