God of War Team "Pulling Back" From Violence Against Women

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God of War Team "Pulling Back" From Violence Against Women

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God of War: Ascension will feature a kinder, gentler, more gender-aware Kratos.

During the course God of War series, perpetually disgruntled anti-hero, Kratos, has butchered men, women, children, gods, myths and monsters, all in spectacularly gory fashion. It's to be expected that the upcoming prequel, God of War: Ascension, continues the series' gore-soaked legacy, but according to design manager, David Hewitt, the development team will be pulling a few punches, particularly if those punches are aimed at women.

"There are some things we've pulled back from," he told IGN. "I think where this has been an issue is with violence against women -- the team's pulled back from some of that and assessed that a little more carefully."

"There are certain things that carry has a different kind of resonance that we don't want to get into," he continued. "This isn't about statement-making in that regard. It's about fleshing out this character."

Kratos is no stranger to violence against the fairer sex. In God of War III he used a defenseless young woman as a door stop and broke an elderly woman's neck with one hand, and let's not even go into all the semi-naked Gorgons he's made shorter by unorthodox means. So why is Sony Santa Monica suddenly concerned about Kratos' attitude towards his female victims? It could be because the game features a younger, "more human" Kratos. One that doesn't have the blanket rationale of revenge to account for his gruesome actions. Or it could be because the recent bouts of controversy surrounding the trailers for Tomb Raider and Hitman: Absolution have turned the issue of violence against women into a maelstrom of bad PR that has developers fleeing for the hills.

The team also seems to be reevaluating the use of violence in God of War as a whole. When asked if there was a line they wouldn't cross in regards to Kratos' violent acts, Hewitt responded with the following:

"In fact the team has a set of rules that define those sorts of things very clearly. Where it shows itself is how the combat designers and animators have designed Kratos' moves. He's always leaning forward, he's always moving forward. He's seeking revenge and he's after his ultimate objective and he will tear through enemies -- rip them in half -- as quickly as he can. But there's not a lot of flourishes, there's not any kind of enjoying the moment. There's nothing about this that he's enjoying."

Source: IGN

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Oh, god damn it. In other words "We've decided to use sexism to fight sexism".

Nooo don't tone down violence against woman I like butchering em almost as much as I like butchering children with plasma miniguns.

OT:Kinda suprised about this coming from GoW's development team.

You mean not ripping the head off of Pandora immediately after rescuing her wasn't enough of a step in Kratos' character development?

I'm disheartened by this news. Not just because it means a very dramatic and pigeon holed adjustment in Kratos character, but because ultra violence is still fine when its a man doing it against other men... and aparently children.

Although I'm sure we might see Kratos become even cuddling to kids at a future date.

And then old people...

And then puppies...

Until we reach the point that instead of liberating your spine and using your skull at a talking puppet, Kratos will sit down with every opponent and talk out his differences with them.

Press A to empathize and B to apologize. QTE now involve descalating the emotionally charged situation with sunshine and rainbows.

I bet he's still plenty violent towards men.

He's freakin Kratos, he butchers everyone, it's part of his character. He is an equal oppurtunity psychopath.

I'm more concerned about the notion that a pre-parricide Kratos wouldn't enjoy fighting. I mean, I could see a younger version of the character as more cautious and pragmatic and a less brutal fighter than the rage fueled version we're acquainted with, but the idea of Kratos having the skill and status he does in the Spartan army, as a member of the Spartan army, and not at least taking pride in battle, just seems strange.

Great, so now gender equality means everyone either has to have a pussy or BE one.

This is the wrong type of change, I think. Kratos has never given off the impression that he hates women in particular. He hates everyone equally.

I think that rather than trying to "protect" female characters in video games, designers should treat them exactly like they would a male character.

I can't blame them though, because lately if you have a situation that could be seen as unfair to women in your game you run a real risk of having a lot of negative public response.

What part of WAR did the dev team suddenly forget?

Especially during the time frame they are basing their game around. I'm sorry as bad as this sounds, if your town is demolished and loses to the enemy your men will be slaughtered and turned into slaves, your children will be murdered, your women shall be raped. Even the show Game of Thrones(I know fiction and different time frame) notes this hard and VERY ugly truth. But that is part of the hard truth with war that was part of the issue with the past.

You aren't being sexist when you are on a mission from the ancient gods and you are an invading force meant to slaughter and complete your mission. If a couple women get slaughtered it's all just part of the package deal. Christ now I'm really starting to think there really is something going on with the feminist movement and just being a destructive force forcing industries to change.

EDIT: The only reason I don't accept this on face value and find it okay for the devs to do this is because of all the destructive actions that I have seen in the feminist movement as of late. Yes I know I'm generalizing here but whoever specifically and their supporters are doing these actions need to be rebuked or encouraged to stop. I literally can't go to any of the local hangouts online I go to now without seeing some celebrity, or game, or even theists and atheists get attacked, petition to get them fired from their job, and outright bullied being called a sexist. It is really out of control right now and there is on one keeping them in check as they just force everyone to live by their standards. This has been going on for the past 2 months now and I'd honestly like it to stop.

Score one for gender equality huh. Just another case of the backwards sexism in gaming saying women need to be protected or treated more gently.

Like someone above me said, Kratos kills everyone and thing he comes across. It's not about men or women, he doesn't care. If he was blatantly misogynistic it would be another issue (I still wouldn't agree with it.. equality works both ways), but at least then there would be a reason other than "Oh there's a lot of sexism talk around lately, we better cut out the women violence."

Someone needs to make a game where it's nothing but a nun shooting super hot male rapists in the nuts with violent, brutal detail. Maybe then we'll have enough male exploitation and violence that people will say it's balanced out and we can drop all this "women are fragile flowers" bullshit.

In a few years the only enemies we'll be able to fight in games are white males in their mid 20s to late 30s.

The way they talk, you'd think it's a bloody miracle GOW players don't have the urge to spontaneously rip all women apart at the gut or something.

On the other hand, I can't decide if it makes me a bad person to find their "solution" totally stupid on the grounds that I never found God of War's violence toward women to be that disturbing in the first place.

DevilWithaHalo:
*minisnip*

...until we reach the point that instead of liberating your spine and using your skull at a talking puppet, Kratos will sit down with every opponent and talk out his differences with them.

Press A to empathize and B to apologize. QTE now involve descalating the emotionally charged situation with sunshine and rainbows.

That sounds like my light-side Consular Jedi in KOTOR, actually. Funny that.

No, that's Kratos. He kills everyone just because they're in his way. Literally.

Even if this is a prequel where he still isn't as pissed as in GoW3, he has always been good ol' angry Kratos. Hell, that's the reason why he murders his family: He was blinded by rage and his thirst for gore and stuff. And that's why he gains his powers are Ares' servant. And that's why he kills Ares too.

I can't really picture him destroying an entire village, killing tons of men and then when he reaches a woman and a children, he goes "Oh, my apologies. Be on your way now while I murder the male members of your family".

Besides, we're used to him killing pretty much everyone by now. If this was a completely new game with new characters and all, then sure, don't start off with the wrong foot. But by now, it's a bit late for that.

Buretsu:
Oh, god damn it. In other words "We've decided to use sexism to fight sexism".

Bingo.
"OH you're a woman. I'm sorry my lady let me hold the door so you can escape, I was going to use your corpse to solve a puzzle but don't worry about that gentle woman I shall find a man to unfairly murder instead." -Kratos <3

You know what really bugs me is that this seems insulting to gamers like they're saying we can't define sexism as anything but bad things that happen to women. I mean I understand their hesitance, the Lara Croft controversy was just people that were legitimately concerned about sexism not thinking about the context of what was happening in the trailer. SO I understood where they came from but I couldn't agree with them.

Eh people will always find something to bitch about.

With all the whining about sexism going on I dont blame em. Better to be whined and whimpered at about being too soft than having people slobbering on themselves yelling about how they are glorifying violence against women like in hitman.

If the devs were so concearned about equality, they'd focus on giving the female NPCs an equal fighting chance against Kratos as the men.

This is the exact opposite. They're moving closer to the traditional role model. Makes sense too as the intended audience are men.

So, no killing women, is this going to change the part of God of War, where he finds random whores and just shags the hell out of them? All while during the game he's on his rampage for the death of his beloved wife and child. You know, honoring their memory by brutally killing everyone around and shagging random women... wholesom family goodness God of War is.

Violence against men = A-okay

Violence against women = omg sexist

frizzlebyte:
The way they talk, you'd think it's a bloody miracle GOW players don't have the urge to spontaneously rip all women apart at the gut or something.

On the other hand, I can't decide if it makes me a bad person to find their "solution" totally stupid on the grounds that I never found God of War's violence toward women to be that disturbing in the first place.

Probably because there was never any really big focuses on female violence in the games. I mean sure, he ripped the heads off Gorgons, splattered harpies, stabbed a multi-breasted monstrosity with big guillotine blades. But the focus of taking down innocent women as a way to move forwards? Only one time if my count is correct. He's rather indiscriminate that way.

And hell, it's not like he actually enjoys killing women. The last chunk of God Of War 3 was pretty much him trying to save one and refusing to use her for his own gains. And for the most part as long as you don't try to stab him in the back or attack him, or have your muscle-bound son try to punch his face in, you're perfectly safe around him!

That goes for men too.

Sexism bro, not cool.

If you wanna get equal treatment you gonna accept the good with the bad.

When the ship is sinking you let the kids in the lifeboats first, maybe the pregnant chicks, but everyone else gets equal 'omg we're gonna die'.

Seriously? Your games have treated women like sex puppets sitting on beds waiting for men to bonk em.

Please don't tell me that suddenly you're all up for feminism. Because that's the wrong way to go. Long as you don't sexualize the violence against women, which until now you haven't done (you have used women for nothing but sex), it's all right.

In the words of Gordon Ramsay, "For fuck's sake..."

Look, I'm all about equal rights. Keyword being EQUAL. If it's all right to rip a man's head off and use it as a soccer ball, it shouldn't be any more offensive to do the same to a women.

I can appreciate the outcry at the mysoginystic nature of this blatantly pandering yet apparently misguided change in direction for Kratos; however, in the dev's defense, violence against woman in real life is a real problem. For a man to brutalize a woman is still a poignant issue in the public sphere of consciousness. It's also biologically factual that woman are, on average, weaker than men. Men would generally be able to do more damage when they get physical and woman generally aren't as physically able to defend themselves, so I think a lot of people take that into account when they see violence against woman.

Now, we all know that in GOW land it makes no difference if you have a dick or not, Kratos is gonna fuck you up either way. We also know that female on male violence and male abuse is actually a very prominent and underplayed issue in the REAL world. We also know that some woman are stronger than many men and many men are weaker than a lot of woman, so slapping on "no violence against woman" sticker really makes less sense than slapping on a "not attacking the relatively weak and helpless" sticker. However, I can understand where the creators are coming from, as they're not trying to pacify just the people who are looking at this from our perspective. They're trying to pacify the people who look at violence against woman and say "THAT'S WRONG!", as I imagine those are the people with the biggest megaphones and may have some brutal real world experience with the issue. I'm not saying they're doing the right thing here, but I don't think what they're doing is really deserving of all that much criticism. They just don't want to be perceived as beating on woman, because even if they say "no, woman can take care of themselves just as well as men", they'll still, ironically, get called misogynistic and such. I think them ANNOUNCING it, however, was really stupid. I also think them actively singling out woman (and not just the defenseless) was also stupid.

I also like the softer version of Kratos idea. I think it opens up the story to more dynamic writing. I just wish it wasn't executed this way.

Wait when has Kratos murdered children? I must've missed it.

Anyway this sucks. It's basically the old "women are naturally weaker so you shouldn't hit them" BS. Maybe feminists will protest this since they are so committed to fighting these things even when it doesn't benefit them.

...Hey I can dream.

And stop messing with Kratos's brutality. It's the one thing that's remained constant throughout every single game.

I honestly thought this was a joke at first, digging at how Kratos is going to be less brutal in that playstation all stars game or w/e...

Needless to say I find this idea retarded, for reasons others will explain far better no doubt.

Kratos has also done all of those things with screaming, helpless, non-combatant men. All they're doing is reinforcing traditionalist ideas about gender and calling it progressive.

If they want to improve the way they deal with women, maybe they should start by taking out the pointless sex minigames involving nameless NPCs who serve no other purpose?

axlryder:
I can appreciate the outcry at the mysoginystic nature of this blatantly pandering yet apparently misguided change in direction for Kratos; however, in the dev's defense, violence against woman in real life is a real problem.

So is violence against men. That's why you had people complaining about GTA,

axlryder:

as they're not trying to pacify just the people who are looking at this from our perspective. They're trying to pacify the people who look at violence against woman and say "THAT'S WRONG!", as I imagine those are the people with the biggest megaphones and may have some brutal real world experience with the issue.

Then they would be cowards. Also we don't know what their reasons are.

axlryder:

I'm not saying they're doing the right thing here, but I don't think what they're doing is really deserving of all that much criticism.

I do. Out of all the people who would bitch about violence against women, most of them are probably upset about GOW's level of brutality with or without women. And the remaining? They don't need to care about them. All the naysayer can do is make noise.

As Frank Zappa once said "Ladies, please be advised: The $8.98 purchase price [of a cassette] does not entitle you to a kiss on the foot from the composer or performer in exchange for a spin on the family Victrola."

axlryder:

They just don't want to be perceived as beating on woman, because even if they say "no, woman can take care of themselves just as well as men", they'll still, ironically, get called misogynistic and such.

These are the people who either don't know what the word means, have perceived fairness to mean anything that benefits women, or they're the type of people who could find misogyny in an empty room.

I know they didn't say they were catering to them, but if they are then they're cowards or they never really had that much artistic stake in Kratos.

Even if they'd planned this for Kratos' characterization from the beginning, the timing of this news among the recent controversies makes their claim hard to believe.

Younger Kratos, huh? It'd make sense if he had a problem with violence against innocents / civilians, regardless of sex. This is just throwing more sexism on the fire.. purportedly to quench it? Of course it's reactionary bullshit (Tomb Raider trailer, etc.)

Never should have had the bone-the-ladies-for-health minigame. This guy is consumed by rage, blindly slaughtering everything in his path. He's an engine of destruction, nothing more. I have no problem with him slaughtering women, but taking time off to have sex just doesn't fit. *That* was the sexist "male gaze" part. They already done fucked up.

Unless this is a genuine character thing - as in Kratos isn't as hateful as he was later - which I doubt, political correctness wins again. Woooo!

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I don't get this- violence is never a positive thing. A violent, murderous character can never be a good person (morality wise), and it really doesn't matter who they slaughter- I don't see how you can have problems with harming one demographic, but be totally OK with harming another.

Distinguishing like this is probably more harmful, if you ask me- making note of a particular sort of violence and singling only it out as "Too far" just legitimises everything else.

Hey, don't look at me, it was yall's directionless fury which basically shifted gears from "nothing is sacred" to "nothing is sacred, but we're going to sidestep the women issues because it would be the easiest thing for us to do, instead of risking our jobs to attempt to do this right because chances are anything we do will get us all fired, and then killed, and then sued".

which is ironic because this trend which wanted to push the dialogue more out into the open is just going to end up putting all the developers into an old fashioned bomb shelter miles below the surface until it goes away

and i wouldn't use the historical argument, because i've had that thrown back in my face with "well, it would be nice if they decided to take it in a different direction for once" to which you can't really say anything because that is the desire to make things better by trying to bury history with new attitudes, and there's really no way to outright disagree or agree with that situation without being wrong somehow

at the most fundamental levels, it's not that the game needs a "few changes", it's that people want an entirely different type of game (you can already tell that this shoehorning of antiviolence attitudes into what is already a deep bloodbath that it's not going to work out), and it seems rather much to expect a developer to do that after everything has already been set into motion

It starts... This crap is going too far, i mean, why is this changed, because Feminism is so big now?

veloper:
If the devs were so concearned about equality, they'd focus on giving the female NPCs an equal fighting chance against Kratos as the men.

This is the exact opposite. They're moving closer to the traditional role model. Makes sense too as the intended audience are men.

Hey, don't pin this on all us men.

Just because someone's male doesn't mean they automatically prefer the traditional role model.

There's plenty of men, including myself, who freaking hate the traditional role model. And not even just because it's unfair to women, it's equally unfair to many men who don't identify with the traditional macho alpha role where you have to be a manly man and do manly man things lest you be ridiculed and found undesirable.

veloper:
If the devs were so concearned about equality, they'd focus on giving the female NPCs an equal fighting chance against Kratos as the men.

This is the exact opposite. They're moving closer to the traditional role model. Makes sense too as the intended audience are men.

this is what being afraid of pointless controversy does to a studio.

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