Battlefield 4's a "New Form of Cultural Aggression", Says Chinese State Media

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Battlefield 4's a "New Form of Cultural Aggression", Says Chinese State Media

Battlefield 4 screenshot

Turns out, China doesn't like looking like the bad guys.

Battlefield 4's been in the news a lot recently, and not in a good way. First, the rough launch didn't just irritate players, it also affected EA's stock price. However, the stockholders didn't just sit back and take it, they filed a class action lawsuit about it. Now, the Chinese state media accuses the shooter of "demonizing the image of China in a new form of cultural aggression". It's all fun and games until someone declares cultural war.

"The use of video games...to discredit one country's image in the eyes of other countries is a new form of cultural penetration and aggression," an editorial in the Chinese military newspaper Zhongguo Guofangbao said. "When western countries would make war games in the past, they would settle on Russia if they needed an imaginary enemy, but in recent years, with the boosting of China's national strength, China threat theories run rampant, and foreign companies are increasingly keen to put the Sino-US conflict in their games as a gimmick to attract attention."

Ma Zhengang, the vice director for the China Public Diplomacy Association, is quoted, saying that "in order to deal with western preconceptions of China...[Chinese people] need to rise up, share China's voice...[and] resist video game media that puts China in a bad light".

Now, the astute reader would notice that the actual villain is a rogue Chinese general, and the player actually works with the Chinese to stop him, but perhaps the China Rising DLC pack tipped the scales there. Personally, I can't wait until space aliens start to invade modern war shooters. Now that's an enemy we can all rally against.

Source: South China Morning Post News

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I really wish that modern shooters would stop demonizing countries, and im not even that big a fan of Russia and china.

All hail The Glorious People's Republic Of China! Rise up against your Western Oppressors! Tell General Tso to rally his men!

OT: Let's just have Nazis be the bad guy from now on, an enemy everyone can agree on. Space Nazis, Shark Nazis, Tall Nazis, Robot Nazis, Nazi Nazis, Core-of-the-earth Nazis, exploding Nazis, Jetski Nazis, Nazis that are the rich well trained team in a 90's kid's sports movie that still somehow lose to the barely functioning American team, chocolate Nazis... I could do this forever. But instead, I say this to you China, make a decent game we wanna play, and you can be as good guy ad you want. You could even save Earth from Moon-Hitler.

This is inevitable when you're making games framed in a modern conflict. Unless you either invent a new faction, or you're making the player characters out to be the bad guys, you're going to be pissing a lot of people off.

Rainboq:
This is inevitable when you're making games framed in a modern conflict.

It is not inevitable. You can make a game where you face a real-world country and still not come across as jingoistic.

The problem with these sorts of media (not just games) is not that they pit one nation against other nation, but rather that they demonize one of the contenders.

Want a US vs China game? Sure thing, have a US campaign where China are the bad guys, and a China campaign where the US are the bad guys.

But no, apparently our culture is so in need of validation that "our" side needs to be portrayed as the unjustly attacked underdog that fights the Global Threat of Doom.

And note that I'm not criticising the US specifically. Everyone is somewhat guilty of this, even when the enemies are aliens, the undead, Orcs, or killer turkeys, it is always about agrandazing ourselves via demonization of the "others".

Why is it that Homefront is the only modern war game that has used North Korea as the bad guys? We're all in agreement they aren't good and don't really care if they get upset right?

Me thinks its time for the "Spunkgargleweewee" era to come to a close. This genre has been played out and, judging from this years released, they have painted themselves in a corner with coming up with villains. Either its truly implausible villains like Call of Duty's South American villains hijacking orbital missiles or just flat-out demonizing certain countries like Battlefield. Unless we get more games like Spec-Ops: The Line from the modern military shooters, then there is no need for more of the same. I'm hoping Titan Fall will be the step into the right direction rather than wallowing in its own mediocrity like CoD and Battlefield have been doing for some time.

DrRockor:
Why is it that Homefront is the only modern war game that has used North Korea as the bad guys? We're all in agreement they aren't good and don't really care if they get upset right?

I'm pretty sure the baddies in Homefront were initially Chinese but they switched to NK because as you said, no one would care about that.
Inre the article, this throws a wrench in my plans for making China the bad guys in my game about the invasion of Tibet.

Sorry what was that Mr Zhengang? I couldn't hear you over your nation-wide internet filter, overall censorship, iron-fisted communist rule, crazy student/worker suicide rates and (ironically) the constant ban on hundreds of videogames.

Ma Zhengang, the vice director for the China Public Diplomacy Association, is quoted, saying that "in order to deal with western preconceptions of China...[Chinese people] need to rise up, share China's voice...[and] resist video game media that puts China in a bad light".

China doesn't need any assistance from videogames to put it in a bad light hahaha.

I would love to see a game that makes America the unequivocal bad guy for once.

That said, I love how Ma Zhengang states the way to defend the fear theory that China will rise up and become a threat is for the collective people to rise up, band together and fight foreign influence.

Yuuki:

Ma Zhengang, the vice director for the China Public Diplomacy Association, is quoted, saying that "in order to deal with western preconceptions of China...[Chinese people] need to rise up, share China's voice...[and] resist video game media that puts China in a bad light".

Sorry what was that Mr Zhengang? I couldn't hear you over your nation-wide internet filter, overall censorship, iron-fisted communist rule, crazy student/worker suicide rates and (ironically) the constant ban on hundreds of videogames.

China doesn't need any assistance from videogames to put it in a bad light hahaha.

Iron fisted communist rule? You really have no idea what you're talking about. I lived in China for a few years and it's really no worse than anywhere else. You can raise 'student suicides' and I could mention 'US school shootings'. It's hardly better. Are you also suggesting that other countries don't have worker suicides? Sure...Japanese workers never commit suicide...oh wait...yes they do.

The internet filter is actually slowly lessening. The UK is considering passing an internet censor similar to China's. I would expect other countries to follow suite if the UK's filter gets put into action. I must say that I don't quite remember what happened to Australia's. I would assume that it was wisely scrapped.

Basically, you're talking nonsense. It's probably best that you stay out of discussions about which you have no clue.

Back to the topic at hand; It is a good point. Why do games like COD and BF always show the US as the heroic nation against the rest of the world. Every other nation is evil, except the glorious US. If that isn't propaganda, I don't know what is. Wait...it is propaganda. It's not really any different to what has been used in the past. Demonize your potential enemies through subtle means. It's subtle enough that people will completely dismiss such a notion as paranoid madness. But this method has been in use for hundreds of years.
The Battlefield games are nowhere near the level of things such as 'The Eternal Jew', but I wonder if it's any less effective in it's conveyance of an 'enemy' of good.

You are depicted as a hero for killing enemies of the United States. Over and over we are told that Russia is bad, China is bad, the Middle East is bad. Why? Because bad people come from these countries and threaten the United States. Do bad people come from France, or Spain or Australia or the United Kingdom or Even the US? No, of course not. They are considered good people, good people who are friends of the United States.

I'm not trying to demonize the US. I am simply against developers demonizing certain nations which are traditionally considered to be enemies of the US.

I'd actually say that China has a fair point. Why can't I play as a New Zealander defending NZ against the evil militaristic US invasion force?

DrRockor:
Why is it that Homefront is the only modern war game that has used North Korea as the bad guys? We're all in agreement they aren't good and don't really care if they get upset right?

Because North Korea as a global force is ludicrous. That the game tried to play such a ridiculous scenario completely straight, and ended up looking even more ludicrous for doing so.

If you haven't noticed, First Person Shooters are not bastions for subtlety or nuance.

So did China just claim Russia to be an "imaginary" country?...And say they were ok with those past games because it WAS an imaginary country but now that it's a "real" country like China then it's cultural agression?

If that's not what they're saying then I misunderstood the meaning behind their statements.

I do agree with them though that it doesn't really help anyone to constantly portray real countries as enemies, especially when it's the same countries over and over. It really does seem to be evidence of propagandizing. I would find it refreshing to finally see a Western-made game showing a Western country be the bad guy for once...maybe Alaska trying to invade Siberia, with Sarah Palin as Supreme-Dictator-for-Life, and all the bears/moose of Siberia have to join forces, rise up and defend their homeland.

I've actually played through the campaign. The Chinese aren't just bad guys for the hell of it.

One of the first levels has you saving a bunch of sympathetically-portrayed Chinese civilians (at great personal risk) who are being caught in the middle of Admiral Chang's attempted takeover.

Honestly, the Russians (who I think are still at war with the US) are portrayed less sympathetically, as they are the ones who want China to attack the US. But if I remember Battlefield 3 correctly, they are drawn into the conflict due to a CIA informant/traitor and a very stupid American soldier in charge of your squad who attacks the Russians unprovoked. Plus, your character in that game works alongside some nice Russian soldiers who actually know what is going on.

It's not as simple as "America is sooper kool guize."

Dear China,

I played a mission in Black Ops II where I literally assassinated your top military general. We shot his transport down, stormed the crash site, killed a lot of Chinese soldiers, and when he walked out of the wreck, I pulled my pistol out and killed him. I do not recall hearing you complain about that, and it was rather dark. There's also the first Mercenaries game where I killed a lot of Chinese there too.
Just thought you might want to know that you've been 'the villain' before in other games long before this one.

I also love how he throws Russia under the bus. "We don't like being treated this way, but hey, those Russians? Feel free to do it to them."

On an unrelated note, I've also played a game where I'm a British soldier and I'm killing Americans, just to be fair. :-)

martyrdrebel27:
Nazi Nazis

How does that work? Is it like Nazi's that are Nazi's to Nazi's or is it more of a super ubermensch Nazi?

Not sure how I feel about this, on one hand "it's just a fucking game, chill the fuck out" but on the other to paint a country as "the bad guy" is a bit of a statement.

I know you have to have a bad guy but it is always an American vs Russia, Nazi, Chinese etc.

Compatriot Block:
I've actually played through the campaign. The Chinese aren't just bad guys for the hell of it.

It's not as simple as "America is sooper kool guize."

It is funny that up until this I was also thinking 'oh god, must the Chinese/Russians/Middle Easterners be the bad guys' but honestly, you do make me think back on a LOT of the CoD and Battlefield games and the conflicts are a bit more complicated than US Good, other guys bad. It's kinda funny that the factions aren't portrayed as black and white, in Black Ops II the 'Chinese enemy' was a rogue power who was ignoring his government, and with him out of the way things were okay between the US and China. Black ops I, the Russian enemy was a rogue trying to start a war. The Modern Warfare series is mainly about the US and Britian trying to work with Russians to stop a Civil War that only gets started by a Rogue US officer and you play as Brits working with Russians against him.

Hmm...I guess the CoD haters miss that the second act's main enemy turns out to be an American...and you do a run through a US base killing American Soldiers...with a Brit...

Modern themed shooters (at least the ones we vilify) seem to do a better job of making the situation complicated than WWII shooters ever had. I don't think I've ever played a sympathetic Nazi or Imperial Japanese or Italian soldier, let alone SEEN any in a WWII shooter...

Sniper Team 4:
Dear China,

I played a mission in Black Ops II where I literally assassinated your top military general. We shot his transport down, stormed the crash site, killed a lot of Chinese soldiers, and when he walked out of the wreck, I pulled my pistol out and killed him. I do not recall hearing you complain about that, and it was rather dark. There's also the first Mercenaries game where I killed a lot of Chinese there too.
Just thought you might want to know that you've been 'the villain' before in other games long before this one.

I also love how he throws Russia under the bus. "We don't like being treated this way, but hey, those Russians? Feel free to do it to them."

On an unrelated note, I've also played a game where I'm a British soldier and I'm killing Americans, just to be fair. :-)

Just picking up on it now doesn't invalidate the point, and he doesn't just say it's okay to do it to Russia, he stated that Russia is another country that experienced this kind of thing, no apologies for it at all.

OT: Yeah, I think he's got a point. When I look at it, almost every single game has the mighty stars and stripes ultimately toppling over evil foreign powers, and when you really analyze that, it's kind of fucked up. I don't mean to say that every MMS glorifies jingoism and warfare, and you can argue the specific plot details all day long, but treating modern conflict like a 'bad-ass simulator' is just kind of ridiculous to me. That's why I think the title 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare' is a fucking joke. There's far too little political grey area for any of the conflict portrayed in that game to be modern.

Is anyone shocked.

Just imagine what would happen if one of these big games had the stones to make the USA the antagonist.
Imagine the US media reaction.

Next this game will be getting blamed for world famine. It's getting pretty comical at this point all the negative PR this game is getting.

Oskuro:

Rainboq:
This is inevitable when you're making games framed in a modern conflict.

It is not inevitable. You can make a game where you face a real-world country and still not come across as jingoistic.

The problem with these sorts of media (not just games) is not that they pit one nation against other nation, but rather that they demonize one of the contenders.

Want a US vs China game? Sure thing, have a US campaign where China are the bad guys, and a China campaign where the US are the bad guys.

But no, apparently our culture is so in need of validation that "our" side needs to be portrayed as the unjustly attacked underdog that fights the Global Threat of Doom.

And note that I'm not criticising the US specifically. Everyone is somewhat guilty of this, even when the enemies are aliens, the undead, Orcs, or killer turkeys, it is always about agrandazing ourselves via demonization of the "others".

This. Why can't we have a game where we play as the other side and the US are the aggressors? It's not like we haven't completely gone out of our way to go stomp on a country (i.e. Vietnam, Iraq.) I want another game like Spec Ops, one that just makes you feel uncomfortable but you can't seem to take yourself away from it.

Li Mu:
You can raise 'student suicides' and I could mention 'US school shootings'.

I could also bring up the mass execution and imprisonment of political opponents/dissidents, the occupation of Tibet, treatment of workers etc

omega 616:

martyrdrebel27:
Nazi Nazis

How does that work? Is it like Nazi's that are Nazi's to Nazi's or is it more of a super ubermensch Nazi?

Nazi Nazis are two separate types, one is what we would call Orthodox Nazi, that are ubernazis, but they are constantly battling the Nazi Nazis who Nazi(v.) the Nazis. Ubernazis think they are the most Nazi Nazis, so they don't like to be pushed around, but its in the Nature of Nazi Nazis to Nazi the Nazis. Its a complex political landscape in Nazylvania.

Li Mu:

Yuuki:

Ma Zhengang, the vice director for the China Public Diplomacy Association, is quoted, saying that "in order to deal with western preconceptions of China...[Chinese people] need to rise up, share China's voice...[and] resist video game media that puts China in a bad light".

Sorry what was that Mr Zhengang? I couldn't hear you over your nation-wide internet filter, overall censorship, iron-fisted communist rule, crazy student/worker suicide rates and (ironically) the constant ban on hundreds of videogames.

China doesn't need any assistance from videogames to put it in a bad light hahaha.

Iron fisted communist rule? You really have no idea what you're talking about. I lived in China for a few years and it's really no worse than anywhere else. You can raise 'student suicides' and I could mention 'US school shootings'. It's hardly better. Are you also suggesting that other countries don't have worker suicides? Sure...Japanese workers never commit suicide...oh wait...yes they do.

The internet filter is actually slowly lessening. The UK is considering passing an internet censor similar to China's. I would expect other countries to follow suite if the UK's filter gets put into action. I must say that I don't quite remember what happened to Australia's. I would assume that it was wisely scrapped.

Basically, you're talking nonsense. It's probably best that you stay out of discussions about which you have no clue.

Back to the topic at hand; It is a good point. Why do games like COD and BF always show the US as the heroic nation against the rest of the world. Every other nation is evil, except the glorious US. If that isn't propaganda, I don't know what is. Wait...it is propaganda. It's not really any different to what has been used in the past. Demonize your potential enemies through subtle means. It's subtle enough that people will completely dismiss such a notion as paranoid madness. But this method has been in use for hundreds of years.
The Battlefield games are nowhere near the level of things such as 'The Eternal Jew', but I wonder if it's any less effective in it's conveyance of an 'enemy' of good.

You are depicted as a hero for killing enemies of the United States. Over and over we are told that Russia is bad, China is bad, the Middle East is bad. Why? Because bad people come from these countries and threaten the United States. Do bad people come from France, or Spain or Australia or the United Kingdom or Even the US? No, of course not. They are considered good people, good people who are friends of the United States.

I'm not trying to demonize the US. I am simply against developers demonizing certain nations which are traditionally considered to be enemies of the US.

I'd actually say that China has a fair point. Why can't I play as a New Zealander defending NZ against the evil militaristic US invasion force?

Wow, I wasn't expecting anybody to actually heed his battle cry :P

In all fairness though, demonizing opposition aside (which is kind of an awful trend that is unfortunately reflectant of the current state of american politics in general), one shouldn't take who the enemy is in games like these too seriously. I mean, this is battlefield we're talking about here, a series which had two games (bad company) that made a direct point of completely and utterly ignoring any of the plot buildup of the war and treating it as just a thing that's happening that people have to deal with

StormTheGate:

Oskuro:

Rainboq:
This is inevitable when you're making games framed in a modern conflict.

It is not inevitable. You can make a game where you face a real-world country and still not come across as jingoistic.

The problem with these sorts of media (not just games) is not that they pit one nation against other nation, but rather that they demonize one of the contenders.

Want a US vs China game? Sure thing, have a US campaign where China are the bad guys, and a China campaign where the US are the bad guys.

But no, apparently our culture is so in need of validation that "our" side needs to be portrayed as the unjustly attacked underdog that fights the Global Threat of Doom.

And note that I'm not criticising the US specifically. Everyone is somewhat guilty of this, even when the enemies are aliens, the undead, Orcs, or killer turkeys, it is always about agrandazing ourselves via demonization of the "others".

This. Why can't we have a game where we play as the other side and the US are the aggressors? It's not like we haven't completely gone out of our way to go stomp on a country (i.e. Vietnam, Iraq.) I want another game like Spec Ops, one that just makes you feel uncomfortable but you can't seem to take yourself away from it.

The only reason Spec Ops didn't have an outcry of demand for a banning is that it wasn't very popular. Remember how Homefront had people crying out for cencorship because it showed america being attacked and not immediately winning? Just imagine what would happen to our collective, frail phyche if anybody were to mention the possibility that a country that continues to commit genocide in the modern era might not be the good guys

Oskuro:

Rainboq:
This is inevitable when you're making games framed in a modern conflict.

It is not inevitable. You can make a game where you face a real-world country and still not come across as jingoistic.

The politicians who don't play the games that they're accusing of this or that wouldn't see it.

They'd look at the cover and the back of the box and say "Oh, America vs China?" and that would be the end of their thought process.

amazing.
the government trying to keep tide control over their people. seriously, i went to chine and they treat you like a criminal when crossing the border. checking your passport carefully and still a damn camera in your face and checking every single feature to make sure its really you. still calling over a guy for extra check and asking questions about me what i do here and other personal stuff.
and on the way back they did the same damn thing. im leaving your country and you are still treating me like this like im chinas most wanted.

how come germany doesnt complain about them being the bad guys in games? so many people think nazis is germany.

Metalrocks:
amazing.
how come germany doesnt complain about them being the bad guys in games? so many people think nazis is germany.

A. Because they have publicly accepted their history.
B. Any game with Nazi references is banned there.

Can't we just have more games where aliens are invading? Seriously, fuck those guys. And as an American, I'd wish we'd stop blowing our load everywhere. Yes, thank you COD and Battlefield, we're awesome I know it. Can you please make a game where the main character ISN'T a part of the USA military? Just for a little fucking variety? Can we go back to the days were we actually played as the British and Russians?

DrRockor:
Why is it that Homefront is the only modern war game that has used North Korea as the bad guys? We're all in agreement they aren't good and don't really care if they get upset right?

Because this is their navy:
http://www.militarylulz.com/image/militaryfunny/small/1304/win-north-korea-military-funny-1366203181.jpg

And this is their air force:
http://www.memeboat.com/post_image/503103.jpg

It's basically impossible to have a modern war game about the U.S. getting invaded without it being stupid or offensive. It would take several of the most powerful nations in the world working together to even pose a small threat. Even the Soviet Union would have suffered a crushing defeat without the help of nuclear weapons. Personally I'd like the next COD game to be about space Nazis. At least then I don't have to pretend to take their nonsense seriously.

Well maybe China should stop pushing around nearby pacific island nations.

StormTheGate:

This. Why can't we have a game where we play as the other side and the US are the aggressors? It's not like we haven't completely gone out of our way to go stomp on a country (i.e. Vietnam, Iraq.) I want another game like Spec Ops, one that just makes you feel uncomfortable but you can't seem to take yourself away from it.

There was an article on here (Critical Intel I think?), that covered the insane restrictions the US Military/government puts on movies/tv/videogames if they want to have any kind of access to equipment, advisers, or use their various distinct logos/uniforms/etc in it. With most MMS's shooting for realism, to the point of licensing guns and helicopters, they're probably dipping into that pool, which means you won't see the US Military lose definitively, or various negative portrayals.

The Chinese are kind of right on this one...

DrRockor:
Why is it that Homefront is the only modern war game that has used North Korea as the bad guys? We're all in agreement they aren't good and don't really care if they get upset right?

Well, the first Mercenaries game used North Korea. And it was at least a little bit more plausible, because between the South Koreans, the Allied peacekeepers, the Chinese and the Russian Mafia faction(I did say a little bit more plausible), North Korea was really just the trigger for the conflict, and bounty target/punching bag for the other factions for most of the game.

Mind you that was a PS2 game though, I suppose the point does still stand.

Ma Zhengang said, stomping on a Tibetan's face.

Not having played BF4 yet, I can only offer two opinions: A) I extremely doubt the entire Chinese nation is demonized as a global threat and B) we really need to get back to WW2 games, ideally from the Axis perspective.

Wait...

There's a STORY to Battlefield? And... A SINGLE PLAYER mode?!

HOLY FUCK, HOW DID I NEVER NOTICE TH- Okay, I can't keep this up.

I'm not surprised the reaction is as such and being aware of the story now thanks to the earlier post, it really does show how that guy is more concerned with 'image' than 'truth'.

Can't really say I care. Fiction is fiction. 2142 had USA and EU against the China/Russian alliance, middle easterns were painted as the bad dudes for a while in BF2 and various Russians and PMC's are often targets for these villain roles too.

Get over it dude, it's not like the game is painting the entirety of china as some fucking evil soulless slave state or some bullshit. And if it IS, it's not like anyone actually CARES about the story in BF campaigns. They complete it to unlock the stupid crap in it and then never look back after getting into multiplayer.

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