When Will Wright (an atheist himself) created the game Spore, he thought he’d be on the receiving end of wrath from the religious. That makes sense since the game simulates evolution:
Spore could well be the most complicated model ever constructed in the name of interactive entertainment: not for nothing was it originally known as ‘Sim Everything’, depicting the evolution of life from single-celled organism to galaxy-hopping civilisation.
But the largest group of haters turned out to be “militant atheists”:
… I think our bigger fear was that we didn’t want to offend any religious people; but looking at the discussion that unfolded from this thing, what we had was a good sizeable group of players that we might call militant atheists, and the rest of the players seemed very tolerant, including all of the religious players.
And most of the atheists were very tolerant as well. I didn’t expect to hit hot buttons on the atheist side as much; I expected it on the religious side. But so far I’ve had no critical feedback at all from anybody who is religious feeling that we were misrepresenting religion or it was bad to represent religion in the game. It was really the atheists!
We have a number of team members that are pretty religious. And so in design, on the team, in our small, little microcosm of players out there, we tried our best to make sure we weren’t overtly offending any religious people, but yet we wanted to include the idea, the concept of religion in the game.
Why are they mad?
During the civilization stage of the game, players can control groups of creatures, choosing between a militaristic, economic, or (*gasp*) spiritual society.
If anything, I would think it just proves the point that religion can be used to control societies without having any inherent truth to them.
(Thanks to Andrew for the link!)