Every once in a while, a video game publisher will be outed for producing doctored screenshots of a popular title. There’s usually some sort of outcry, followed by assurances that this happens all the time, and eventually we forget about the whole thing.
So even though I’ve definitely heard of this phenomenon before, I was shocked to read today that Activision is actually looking for someone to create these “Bullshots.” In a job posting for “Art Services Screenshot Associate,” one of the listed duties is to perform “advanced retouching of screenshots and teach skills to others as needed.” You might want to cast a skeptical eye when images surface for the next Wolfenstein, Call of Duty and James Bond titles.
Previous games to flaunt doctored images include Killzone 2 (pictured above, can you guess which is retouched and which is from the actual trailer?), Red Steel and Madden ’06, with Web comic Penny Arcade claiming the term “Bullshot” after seeing the latter example. Coincidentally, GamePro published a nice feature on the subject earlier this month.
If history repeats itself, we should see the latest news brushed away by publishers and apologists. “It isn’t any secret that many publishers touch up screenshots before sending them out to the public,” IGN explains in its coverage of the story. “If a game doesn’t look snazzy enough in its current form, digital artists can make sure you and I don’t get the ‘wrong idea’ about an upcoming game.”
For my part, I’ll make sure to remember these examples when looking at any screenshot I see from here on, because this is ridiculous.