If You Are Going to Hate on a Game Company, Do It For the Right Reasons

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If You Are Going to Hate on a Game Company, Do It For the Right Reasons

Tomodachi Life isn't about homophobia, and Assassin's Creed Unity isn't about misogyny.

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Yeah I'd say I agree with this. I do find it odd that FarCry 4's racism affair didn't really catch on, because if we must jump to conclusions based on pretty much nothing then I could easily say that Homophobia and Sexism are somehow worse things than Racism.

Fucking THANK YOU, Yahtzee.

And while one could certainly find individual cases of misogyny in action, I think the broader explanation is that less women are game designers for the same reason that less men are fashion editors: they are less likely to consider it an option because of societal gender roles. Which are ingrained into us from birth because of instincts we have retained from our evolutionary history that we may no longer require.

People say this about a lot of things, from math and engineering to housekeeping, to the finance market, to e-sports. I've never been comfortable with it as an argument. Sure societal pressures, and even evolutionary ones, exist. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be challenged or changed though. The way you change them is to correct individual instances and hope that eventually it builds up to a critical mass. There are times when "everyone does it" and "its always been this way" are valid excuses, but they don't always work.

I think this really underestimates the way societal roles are informed by media. They're really not fixed, the research shows they can change really easily and better representation leads to equality. In societies where maths isn't thought to be a 'male' skill, women are frigging good at maths. In fact just allowing them to write a male name on their maths test will result in a women performing better in that test. That's how much representation affects the people around us.

Look at it this way, black people are under represented in lots of professions and media because the inequality of slavery created a cultural norm that didn't provide cool role models to inspire people and let them know as kids they're capable of anything they put their minds to.

The answer is not 'people who are black aren't equally represented because of ingrained social norms created by evolutionary needs'.

You were trying to be reasonable and appreciate it. But this isn't what the science supports and its this kind of attitude which prevents change, not because we're bad people but because it gives us reasons to not change a status quo that doesn't obviously effect us. As long as we believe it's out of our hands and there's nothing we can do to improve other people's solutions then we can shrug and say, why should we?

Which unfortunately is what this article ultimately says. But believe me, I can link you to the research, we can make a difference.

We'd love to hate you for your murders, Yahtzee, but they were so imaginative and twisted it's hard not to be in awe of you.

Gaijin Goombah made a good point about Tomodachi Life two months back: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50f8mLfTzwQ

WildFire15:
We'd love to hate you for your murders, Yahtzee, but they were so imaginative and twisted it's hard not to be in awe of you.

And those prostitutes had it coming anyway.

I think what would be good for gaming now would be for publishers to work more like major movie studios, having separate divisions for mainstream big budget stuff (Transformers, Call of Duty and so on) and smaller, artier projects made by auteurs trying to push boundaries (and hopefully win awards when we get a game version of the Oscars).

"a game of politically-correcter-than-thou" sums it up really well, though I'd probably call it a pissing contest.

It's so ridiculous I can't even

Yahtzee Croshaw:
So no, you can't play as a woman, but neither can you play as a black guy or Peter Lorre or indeed anyone other than this one specific beardy French ponce.

Would I play a murder mystery point-and-click adventure game starring an impression of Peter Lorre? Yes. Yes I would. Someone get on that.

P.S. Thanks

P.P.S. I'm pretty sure Otto the Boat from Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside is a Peter Lorre impression, but it certainly isn't a good one.

No, I'm going to hate on Ubisoft for sheer laziness. AC: Brotherhood had a diverse range of characters in multiplayer, and I'm not just talking gender, I mean size and shape. You had big people, skinny people, a range in the middle--you know, like how people are in real life. Unity's four MP protagonists are all the exact same guy. Same height, same build, same stance, same gait. Other than some bits of clothing and small variation in the chin and facial hair, they're identical.

So this is what the steeplechase pursuit of higher graphical fidelity has led to: devs are effectively palette-swapping player characters like they're sprites from the 8-bit era.

image

image

That's pretty much the catch-22 of the games industry and female protagonists: If we want to see more female protagonists, then maybe these games should be made more by women. But in order to get women in the games industry, there has to be some kind of interest FROM the women to get into the games industry.

Although another issue that Yahtzee talked about awhile back is that a lot of these games are not recognized by an actual creator, an "author" or a "director" that is recognized on the front-cover of the game. We have our Cliffy-B, Peter Molyneux and Keiji Inafune. But we don't recognize a lot of names related to games (or the publishers don't allow this for their 'franchises'), and that means we may not see more games made by women.

Bashing on Tomodachi Life wasn't legitimate to begin with.

Here's an inconvenient truth - gay marriage is not legal in Japan. Do you really think Nintendo was going to depict *illegal* activities in their game that was rated E for Everyone? Your problem isn't with Nintendo - it's with Japanese culture. Get that changed first, then you can rail on Nintendo.

Remember, Nintendo never really intended to even localize the game, but lots of people asked for it so they did so reluctantly. Only to have it thrown back in their face by the over-sensitive.

Nintendo has learned their lesson - don't even localize weird Japanese games ever again. Don't release them outside Japan and no one will care.

So if you're wondering why games like Fatal Frame 4 are never going to be localized ("It's a murder simulator!" - FOX News) you can thank the people who pointlessly raised a stink about Tomodachi Life.

I think in these two cases, the companies' statements are what garnered the controversy. Tomodachi Life had relationships between two men but Nintendo patched them out because they weren't "whimsical" enough. And Ubisoft made that stupid statement about how animating female characters was too much work. The moral of the story is that if you're not going to be inclusive, then you should keep your mouth shut.

Falseprophet:
No, I'm going to hate on Ubisoft for sheer laziness. AC: Brotherhood had a diverse range of characters in multiplayer, and I'm not just talking gender, I mean size and shape. You had big people, skinny people, a range in the middle--you know, like how people are in real life. Unity's four MP protagonists are all the exact same guy. Same height, same build, same stance, same gait. Other than some bits of clothing and small variation in the chin and facial hair, they're identical.

Point of order though, I have to agree with Yahtzee on this because remember one of the major selling points of the AC franchise has been its lifelike animations. This is vital fort the single player part of the game but not the multiplayer. Having experienced both for extended periods of time I can tell you that the multiplayer animations would simply be unacceptable in singleplayer and would have probably generated more controversy for it.

That said, ubisoft is amazing at making turn around in game worlds*, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw the next protagonist of AC were in fact female, or if they at least if they over corrected by adding buttloads of female models for their integrated multiplayer.

*every time we bitch about something, except DRM, ubisoft makes short work of our complaints by addressing them in new games. AC itself saw shitloads of side quests added in AC2 just because we complained that AC1 was a bit repetitive

ASIDE: I just saw now that "DRM" is in my browser dictionary; auto-corrected to all caps, how sad

I called this ages ago. It's just...i didn't really post it on here. Not that i want credit at all. *Ahem*

People aren't understanding; the last 2 AC games have a whole seperate disc for competative multiplayer with a variety of customisable characters to please any self rightious arsehole. Unity won't be any different...it's just they will feature an added co-op option for story mode...which is where they only have the male protagonist. Now please settle down you angsty children!

Oh and it's good to see a two page column again. Even if it was necessary for this topic. ;)

I disagree with Yahtzee on the whole not-having-different-models-for-climbing-etc. They have female models, and more to the point there was a female protagonist for Assassin's Creed: Liberation. I do however feel they left out certain game mechanics that female characters can have, such as choosing between personas like in Liberation. And if I would be a bit more conspiracy oriented, I would suggest this whole thing is a smoke screen for a new type of DRM, and that is cooperative on line only single player.

I think Ubisoft has a STORY POINT for Ass Creed.
Now I only played 1 and 2, but I seem to remember them saying that only the *men* in that one family line get passed the genetic memories. So... how can you then play as a woman? Maybe women helped out a lot, but the character you play would have been a guy. Cause the really dumb sci-fi nonsense said so. :)

Thank fuck someone with an at least noticeable amount of internet authority (maybe that's not the right word, maybe influence?) said this. I'd also like to point out that with the FC4 racism thing, I am going to say right away that everyone who thought is was racist is a colossal idiot. First of all, the argument that the protagonist had his hand on the Asian guy's head was stupid because he was always clearly the bad guy, and if you didn't see that, then you clearly have the perception of a damp sponge, secondly, everyone who complained about the protagonist being another 'white saviour/straight, white, American kid' before his picture emerged clearly paid not even the slightest bit of attention because they said ages ago that the protagonist was from the country that the game is set in.

Now that I got that off my chest, I agree with everything in this article, and was saying pretty much exaclty the same thing in a conversation earlier with some of my friends.

I really disagree with the "but animations for women are haaaaaarrrrrrdddd" since as pointed out they've had female multiplayer assassins before and we also had some other devs in the industry chime in that it wasn't as hard as they were making it out to be.

I will agree it's more down to laziness then active malice. Most ingrained discrimination is like that, it's unintentional exclusion due to laziness or other subconscious impulses. Claiming the issue is solely Nintendo or Ubisoft being homophobic/sexist is simplifying it too much and missing the point. Cure the disease not the symptoms.

Which are ingrained into us from birth because of instincts we have retained from our evolutionary history that we may no longer require.

Oh god please don't start the biotruth train. Because when it starts it never stops and only gets stupider the longer it goes on.

blalien:
I think in these two cases, the companies' statements are what garnered the controversy. Tomodachi Life had relationships between two men but Nintendo patched them out because they weren't "whimsical" enough. And Ubisoft made that stupid statement about how animating female characters was too much work. The moral of the story is that if you're not going to be inclusive, then you should keep your mouth shut.

Not true at all. Nintendo never "patched" it out - it was a bug in the first place that allowed it. It was never coded in. It was never in a released version of the game.

This misinformation still persists.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/9198-Tomopology-Life

And don't hate me for being a heterosexual white guy disparaging slacktivism, hate me for all those murders I've done.

Can I hate you for both?

Amalgamations of people can only be unilaterally guilty of the common factor that brought the individuals together in the first place to make a group, which is very rarely the pursuit of exclusion and persecution of a different group. Ubisoft and the like certainly don't hate women, they probably don't hate anyone because, as Yahtzee said, hatred has nothing to do with their goals. However, what they are, is short-sighted, creatively bankrupt, and woefully out of touch with anyone who isn't superficially 'like them'. What I saw (and admittedly I can't claim to have seen all of it) of the AC: Unity backlash, was less about crying sexism, and more about grabbing Ubisoft by the lapels and screaming "STOP JUST GIVING US MORE OF THE SAME AND THEN FOBBING US OFF WITH LAME EXCUSES!"

I don't particularly care if the homogenisation of the AAA industry is motivated by prejudice or simply an unwillingness by anyone to leave their comfort zone for 5 seconds. The fact that it is homogenised is the problem, and until it is no longer a problem, I'll keep right on up here on this soapbox calling them out for it.

I disagree with the idea that you should never ask the author to change the story because you dislike it, because if you stop buying you're still sending the message to the people who fund the art that you don't like it and would like to see it change, but now the people who fund the art don't know what your problem is.

While Yahtzee is usually on point with these things, there is a lot of strawmanning going on in this article.

First of all, maybe he didn't write that tagline, but no one thinks that Tomodachi Life is about homophobia, or that AC: Unity is about misogyny. Furthermore, criticising a company for doing something stupid is not the same thing as hating that company, though I can see how it's easy to lose this distinction when you're up to your neck in critical tweets, articles, forum posts, and tumblr reblogs. And he doesn't even address the thing that really set people off in both cases, the way that each company responded to the initial concerns.

Thank you Yahtzee for pretty much putting my arguments on this whole matter into a single article. Maybe now people will actually read them instead of continuing to ignore what should otherwise be obvious facts of the matter. I'm really sick of arguing with people who's entire knowledge of the Tomodachi Life incident was a Kotaku article that got everything wrong about a game-breaking bug, and the continued argument that Nintendo are bigots because they didn't plan for their Japanese shovelware game about miis to be released in North America.

EDIT:
I must add:

but throughout the most recent show I felt like the gaming press and social media were playing a game of politically-correcter-than-thou

I think this has been going on for the better part of five years now. It's understandable that not many people would notice it if they didn't have their faces buried in video game news. Sometimes I think I would be happier if I just cut myself off from games journalism and played the games I thought looked fun.

Political Correctness Gone Mad, Mr. Croshaw?

I'm pretty sure it's not about hatred. It never really is.

I'm sure that during the most of the twentieth century, it wasn't that white Americans hated non-white Americans at all, it is just that seeing people of color on their streets distended their comfort zone too much. It made them uncomfortable. Too uncomfortable. That's not hatred, that's just wanting things to be back to normal again, right?

And gay marriage, for those of us who grew up seeing marriage as a union between two people of opposite sexes (just like in the storybooks), this notion that people of the same sex could marry just looks wrong. I mean wrong. Lopsided. It doesn't mean we hate gays. I mean we're not really wanting to deny to gays all the legal rights tied to marriage. It means we're just not comfortable with the notion that society would actually legitimize something as icky as two guys hooking up. For the love of Jesus, we're still getting used to the idea that a white woman might actually fall in love with a non-white man. That's still too weird.

But that's not homophobia. That's discomfort. See?

My instincts tell me that I should stay away from gays, avoid engaging gays, not live in a neighborhood in which gays live, and certainly not let my children near gays, that's not homophobia, is it? I mean it's not like I'm throwing rocks at them (even though my instincts tell me to do that too). If I said I didn't hate gay people, that they just make me uncomfortable, that's not homophobia is it?[1]

So it is with the game industry and their obsession with white male heroes. I mean if we made a game with a woman protagonist (that wasn't Lara because she's been around and boobs) it would be uncomfortable to our shareholders, our administrators, our developers and our players (especially the 60% of them who are, in fact, not women). And we don't want all those people to be uncomfortable. If we made them uncomfortable, they might not buy our game.

And in this economy, why would we expect a major entertainment player to take risks? That is why we only develop brown military shooters that are about male-empowerment wish-fulfillment. Maybe we'll try something new next year in 2025. Gamers like games that are comfortable, that don't do new things or expose them to strange places or ideas or situations. Gamers want stories that follow a specific story format in which the white dude kicks a lot of zombie / alien / Nazi / terrorist / savage butt. ...And then gets sexual favors from the girl as a prize for all the killing he did. That's the game story.

And so it is with Nintendo and Japan. I mean, we can't expect them to develop a social conscience, can we? It's Japan. It's Nintendo. They can't help themselves. That would be like expecting black guys to not rape white women. Or, for that matter, like expecting gays not to rape little boys. Good luck with that.

238U

[1] My instinct also tell me the same things about black people, that I should stay away from them, not let my children near them, chase them out of my neighborhood and throw rocks at them, but that's not racism, that's just because I'm really like the people near me to look like me and talk like me and behave as I do and worship the same gods as I do. I don't hate the other people. I just don't want them to exist.

It's not so much that Ubi is not making a game with female characters to play as avatars in the side show that MP usually ends up being. It's that Ubi is discontinuing its tradition of doing so and reasoning it with bunk excuses. I also note that they make the exact same excuse of Far Cry 4, which is a FPS, and which therefore is not constrained to the supposed budgetary constraints of animating a woman. And I also note that playable female avatars were present in all MP iterations of Assassin's Creed since Brotherhood. Hence you already have some stock animation of women parkouring around.

Like Yahtzee points out, we're under no illusion that these games are "autheur" games. There's no Molineux, no Kojima, no Tim Schaffer behind them. Which means that if the decision to include co-op is based on design by comitee, they could easily concoct some excuse as to why the co-op is played with a female avatar, especially with the deux ex machina that the Animus Schtick provides.

But then again, I don't find Ubi mysognistic. Quite the contrary, I actually think their roster can be satisfyingly diverse, and were it not that the company is so bloated up its ass that it probably doesn't even know it, they do have a pretty good example of diversity on, say, Valiant Hearts, which could and should have been pointed out.

To be honest all this controversy can be ended with little words.

"let the market decide" This argument is perfectly fair imho.

personally I find the lack of variety of characters boring and I won't be buying this Assassins Creed for that minor thing and many other more important major reasons related to Ubisoft. If companies want to be lazy that's their problem, they will lose consumers.

I'm not affected in the slightest by Ubisoft's lack of interest and I find absurd that some people are going political because of it. This is not a political issue, its a market issue, a market we don't own.

So don't go political because it isn't worth it. Its a product, its just a video game made by a half-assed company with deadlines.

dcro123:
I disagree with Yahtzee on the whole not-having-different-models-for-climbing-etc. They have female models, and more to the point there was a female protagonist for Assassin's Creed: Liberation. I do however feel they left out certain game mechanics that female characters can have, such as choosing between personas like in Liberation. And if I would be a bit more conspiracy oriented, I would suggest this whole thing is a smoke screen for a new type of DRM, and that is cooperative on line only single player.

your missing the point of the animations, just cause a company has the models for females doesn't mean they can just magically place them in the game as protagonists. theirs remolding for the outfit, reanimation cause a trained assassin would walk differently to a female civilian in the 18 century, and having to make from scratch climbing animations. true its probably not as time consuming as ubisoft might make it out to be, but the fact remains that time and money are going to have to be wasted. and even if they say brought over the female animations from ac brotherhood or something theirs still remodeling and the such that needs to be done. now i would like it if they had a playable female protagonist but considering how far in development they already are, and more importantly how fun it seems the game play would be then i can forgive them with a fond slap on the wrist, and a telling off that they include a female protagonist in the next game and that they not give weak excuses to there potential customers and just be fucking honest.

BrotherRool:
I think this really underestimates the way societal roles are informed by media. They're really not fixed, the research shows they can change really easily and better representation leads to equality. In societies where maths isn't thought to be a 'male' skill, women are frigging good at maths. In fact just allowing them to write a male name on their maths test will result in a women performing better in that test. That's how much representation affects the people around us.

Look at it this way, black people are under represented in lots of professions and media because the inequality of slavery created a cultural norm that didn't provide cool role models to inspire people and let them know as kids they're capable of anything they put their minds to.

The answer is not 'people who are black aren't equally represented because of ingrained social norms created by evolutionary needs'.

You were trying to be reasonable and appreciate it. But this isn't what the science supports and its this kind of attitude which prevents change, not because we're bad people but because it gives us reasons to not change a status quo that doesn't obviously effect us. As long as we believe it's out of our hands and there's nothing we can do to improve other people's solutions then we can shrug and say, why should we?

Which unfortunately is what this article ultimately says. But believe me, I can link you to the research, we can make a difference.

i think you have a solid argument here but again the article wasn't really about this it was about how people should not make such a fucking crying hissy fit over something that they potentially don't really understand, and instead point out and try to rectify the bullshit of lies that company's have placed over themselves as a protective layer to make sure they can sell there games. or more to the point it was ultimately a games journalism article, not a social journalism article that just so happened to be backed by very legitimate social background points. again your argument is very valid but i just think that this isn't really the article to be discussing it in, though i would argue your point on the fact that though media does in fact inform about social identity a) people should not rely on majority say and instead should find out about social issues and how to correct them by actually talking to the people that are affected by them and b) the media itself has in fact been very often wrong and generally unhelpful when getting the general populace to understand gender identity. however since most of the general populace unaffected by these issues myself included are workshite cheaters who cruise by in life with almost everything handed to them by simple virtue of being in the right place at the right time, social change wont happen cause why should we lower ourselves from our nice comfy palace just to accept the *lower caste* and potentially get dirt stains on our nice clean carpet. sadly true social equality will only happen once the playing field is leveled and sadly enough it still isn't. women still are minority when it comes to powerful high paying jobs, black people have this strange caste on them that people assume that they will automatically have to go to, even people of such diverse culture like India and china have been sledgehammered into the assumed roles of the overachievers and the gas station jockies. now did the media help in casting these roles, yes. did peoples already inherit programming take over and lock people into the one mindset of how things work, yes. can we as people change this by first changing ourselves, yes. can the media help, in its current model and with the current people in charge, no. it will only change if we as people become more accepting and treat anyone we come across as people not a dude or a chick.

Thanatos2k:

blalien:
I think in these two cases, the companies' statements are what garnered the controversy. Tomodachi Life had relationships between two men but Nintendo patched them out because they weren't "whimsical" enough. And Ubisoft made that stupid statement about how animating female characters was too much work. The moral of the story is that if you're not going to be inclusive, then you should keep your mouth shut.

Not true at all. Nintendo never "patched" it out - it was a bug in the first place that allowed it. It was never coded in. It was never in a released version of the game.

This misinformation still persists.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/9198-Tomopology-Life

I don't see how this contradicts anything I said. There was male-male marriage, then Nintendo got rid of it. I am aware it was a bug, but that doesn't make their first statement about gay marriage any better.

Uriel-238:
Political Correctness Gone Mad, Mr. Croshaw?

I'm pretty sure it's not about hatred. It never really is.

I'm sure that during the most of the twentieth century, it wasn't that white Americans hated non-white Americans at all, it is just that seeing people of color on their streets distended their comfort zone too much. It made them uncomfortable. Too uncomfortable. That's not hatred, that's just wanting things to be back to normal again, right?

And gay marriage, for those of us who grew up seeing marriage as a union between two people of opposite sexes (just like in the storybooks), this notion that people of the same sex could marry just looks wrong. I mean wrong. Lopsided. It doesn't mean we hate gays. I mean we're not really wanting to deny to gays all the legal rights tied to marriage. It means we're just not comfortable with the notion that society would actually legitimize something as icky as two guys hooking up. For the love of Jesus, we're still getting used to the idea that a white woman might actually fall in love with a non-white man. That's still too weird.

But that's not homophobia. That's discomfort. See?

My instincts tell me that I should stay away from gays, avoid engaging gays, not live in a neighborhood in which gays live, and certainly not let my children near gays, that's not homophobia, is it? I mean it's not like I'm throwing rocks at them (even though my instincts tell me to do that too). If I said I didn't hate gay people, that they just make me uncomfortable, that's not homophobia is it?[1]

So it is with the game industry and their obsession with white male heroes. I mean if we made a game with a woman protagonist (that wasn't Lara because she's been around and boobs) it would be uncomfortable to our shareholders, our administrators, our developers and our players (especially the 60% of them who are, in fact, not women). And we don't want all those people to be uncomfortable. If we made them uncomfortable, they might not buy our game.

And in this economy, why would we expect a major entertainment player to take risks? That is why we only develop brown military shooters that are about male-empowerment wish-fulfillment. Maybe we'll try something new next year in 2025. Gamers like games that are comfortable, that don't do new things or expose them to strange places or ideas or situations. Gamers want stories that follow a specific story format in which the white dude kicks a lot of zombie / alien / Nazi / terrorist / savage butt. ...And then gets sexual favors from the girl as a prize for all the killing he did. That's the game story.

And so it is with Nintendo and Japan. I mean, we can't expect them to develop a social conscience, can we? It's Japan. It's Nintendo. They can't help themselves. That would be like expecting black guys to not rape white women. Or, for that matter, like expecting gays not to rape little boys. Good luck with that.

238U

Such a pity to see such a hefty argument get utterly destroyed by it's final paragraph.

[1] My instinct also tell me the same things about black people, that I should stay away from them, not let my children near them, chase them out of my neighborhood and throw rocks at them, but that's not racism, that's just because I'm really like the people near me to look like me and talk like me and behave as I do and worship the same gods as I do. I don't hate the other people. I just don't want them to exist.

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