Death is a theme often dramatized in entertainment vehicles, but the understanding that it is fake makes it much easier to stomach. In the most recent episode of Telltale Studio’s Batman: The Enemy Within, also known as Batman – The Telltale Series: Season 2, however, the game allegedly shows an image of the real body of an assassinated Russian ambassador.
Warning: The photos below contain graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.
During the second episode, The Pact, an in-game image is meant to show security footage from a recent break-in at the fictional Gotham Brokerage. Within the scene are a couple of bodies, but unlike the background, they appear to be pulled from stock photos.
The episode was only released a few days ago, but eagle-eyed player BroTeamPill (via Eurogamer) recognized the image of the body. The image appears to be a pulled from a photo of Andrei Karlov, a Russian ambassador to Turkey, after he was shot and killed in December 2016. Karlov was hit at point-blank range during the opening of an art exhibit in Ankara.
The killer was a Turkish police officer who deliberately planned the assassination in a camera-filled public setting to ensure it was recorded. Karlov’s death was reported all around the world. The photographer who took the images went on to win the top prize at the 2017 World Press Photo contest.
Although the photo is stretched on Bruce Wayne’s in-game display, the similarities are evident. It appears that an artist at Telltale may have found the image online and Photoshopped it into the game before checking its source.
Without making any accusations about Telltale’s use of the photo, this isn’t the first time in-game imagery has caused an issue. In a much less graphic mistake by Naughty Dog, an early Uncharted 4 trailer featured uncredited concept art from Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. After acknowledging its error, Naughty Dog took the trailer down and re-uploaded it with a new image. Even when one artist makes a mistake, it can easily be overlooked during playtesting.
We have reached out to Telltale Studios for confirmation or a statement about the image, but have yet to hear back. The article will be updated accordingly with the studio’s response.