While many gamers are excited to see the Assassin’s Creed franchise once again take to the high seas with Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, one animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), is none too pleased with this new direction. Specifically, PETA is not happy with developer Ubisoft‘s depiction of whaling in the game.

Whaling is only one part (and likely a small one at that) of the Assassin’s Creed 4 experience, but still PETA calls the game’s inclusion of it “disgraceful.” PETA claims that the game “glorifies” a bloody industry that is still a problem today.

Although details are fairly slim regarding the whaling in Assassin’s Creed 4, early previews of the game from a recent press event did reveal the transition from sea to shore is nearly seamless. Furthermore, there will be more for players to do while on the high seas, including the aforementioned whaling.

Historical accuracies aside, this is clearly a hot button issue for PETA who issued a full statement to Venture Beat yesterday. It reads:

“Whaling–that is, shooting whales with harpoons and leaving them to struggle for an hour or more before they die or are hacked apart while they are still alive–may seem like something out of the history books, but this bloody industry still goes on today in the face of international condemnation, and it’s disgraceful for any game to glorify it. PETA encourages video game companies to create games that celebrate animals–not games that promote hurting and killing them.”

Ironically, PETA did not comment on Assassin’s Creed 3‘s hunting mechanic, which lets players track down and skin various animals. The mechanic fed back into the frontier lifestyle depicted in the game, and was in no way meant to glorify the act of poaching, or encourage players to do so. We’d surmise the whaling is cut from a similar cloth, only for pirate lifestyle.

At some point, though, there has to be a common understanding of what can and cannot work in a video game. Sure, the whaling mechanic could be misconstrued as in poor taste, but we really haven’t seen it in action. For all we know, it’s part of a crafting system.

Either way, Ubisoft has some displeased animal rights activists on their hands, but it may be too late to alter or eliminate the mechanic with the game slated for a release in October. Perhaps, at the very least, we will receive a more detailed explanation of the mechanic, one that will explain its true intent.

Do you think that PETA is blowing this issue out of proportion? Should Ubisoft have been a little more careful when choosing open world mechanics and features?

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag releases October 29, 2013 for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. The title is also slated for a next-gen release, but no dates have been revealed.

Source: Venture Beat