Many games are using heat maps are guides to show players where the most activity occurs on a specific map. The red sections of the overhead map indicate where the most kills occur on a Halo 3 level, while lighter shades indicate fewer death for instance.
UbiSoft has found an additional use for these maps: advertising. During play testing, the company has allowed potential advertisers to see heat maps so they can purchase ads in places gamers are most likely to go. This includes sequences of torture.
The absurdity of a villain sitting in a chair being whipped, electrocuted or worse while an ad is displayed in the background, is mind-boggling. Is the guy taking the punishment because he said he would do it for a Klondike bar? What advertiser in their right mind would want their product associated with that in the first place?
This is evidence of corporate interference at its worst, destroying the art for additional revenue. The emotion and drama of the torture scene is depleted, if not eliminated, with brands flashing in the background.
One clarification. If the scene in question took place where ads were logical (even if the torture wouldn’t be), say a subway train, that is almost acceptable. However, are there any situations where people are tortured enough in public to warrant advertisers placing their products? Doubtful.
If advertising is up to this level in-game, developers using the excuse of development costs for $60 games when massive corporations continue to push for ads like this are slowly diminishing.