Introversion Software didn’t know they were breaking the Geneva Convention while creating their most recent release, Prison Architect. They were probably expecting controversy from a game centred around running a privatised prison for money, but they probably weren’t expecting that the biggest of their problems would come from a tiny symbol, five pixels wide.
Their slip-up was a simple one. The inclusion of a small red cross on a white background daubed on the bonnet of Prison Architect’s occasionally appearing ambulances and the backpacks of those ambulances paramedics is the culprit, as Introversion have revealed in a chat to PCGamer.
That little red cross on a white background has had its fair share of controversy. The 1864 Geneva Convention first adopted the symbol as the official symbol for medical personnel, with the cross on its background attributed in the 1949 Geneva Convention as a compliment to Switzerland, which was formed by reversing the Swiss federal colours of a white cross on a red background. Using the symbol for any other purpose is in breach of the Geneva Convention, which Introversion Software discovered for themselves when they recieved an email from the Red Cross themselves shortly before Christmas.
You can read the full story and an interview with Introversion on the PC Gamer article linked above, but it’s worth noting that they’re far from the first to use the symbol mistakenly. The original Doom used the red cross, and so did Halo, although that series has subbed out a cross on its health kits for the letter H. It’s likely this will end here, now that Introversion has changed the design of the red cross in game, but it’s an interesting tale of how game developers can sometimes end up in hot water despite the best intentions.