Capcom Addresses Deep Down Sexism Controversy

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Capcom Addresses Deep Down Sexism Controversy

deep down screenshot 3

Deep Down will only feature a single, male, main character.

Earlier this week, Gematsu revealed through some translated footage that Capcom's procedurally generated dungeon-delver Deep Down will feature 12 characters, and none of them would be female, due to "plot reasons." The internet was very quick to angrily react to the news, crying sexism. In an effort to calm the masses, Deep Down producer Kazunori Sugiura has issued an official statement, clarifying a couple of misconceptions. Specifically, Sugiura confirms that there will only be a single playable character, rather than twelve, and while he is indeed male, the game's story will focus around him.

"I was informed by a representative of one of our overseas branches that an article containing misleading information regarding Deep Down has been recently circulating and drawing some attention. This article makes the claim that the game has 12 playable characters, all of whom are male. As producer in charge of this project, I would like to respond and clarify. While the main character of Deep Down is indeed male, he is the only playable character in the game. The story focuses on him and a group of allies known as the Ravens."

Furthermore, Sugiura added that while no official announcement of an international Deep Down release has been made, Capcom is very happy that it is drawing attention in regions other than Japan, and hopes to release more information soon.

Details on Deep Down are pretty scarce at the moment. We know that it will be free-to-play, a PlayStation 4 exclusive, have 4-player co-op and release some time this year, but other than that, nothing much else. It will be set in some kind of sci-fi fantasy setting, not unlike Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed series.

So what do you guys think? Is it "sexist" to not include a female playable character because of the game's plot?

Source: Eurogamer

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Sounds like it was the result of a communication derp, nothing else. Frankly I say we just move on from this one.

Four player co-op with a single playable character? Does each player get one limb to control or something?

Kahani:
Four player co-op with a single playable character? Does each player get one limb to control or something?

You're thinking of Octodad there and how I wish it were the case here, too.

Eh, part of the reason I like playing Warframe (on the PS4) is that there is a pretty even mix between male and female classes. Hearing that this game is a sausage fest, doesn't make my hand leap towards the download button. Personal opinions and all that.

With that said, this coming from Japan where 'plot reasons' can be; "all women wear skirts and cant climb properly in skirts" (paraphrasing the Last Gurdians creator there), I can easily geuss that the reason will be a load of bullshit.

Then again, whateves, if it does super well for them, fair enough. But if it flops/underperforms I could give a point to get me interested.

Disappointing for female gamers maybe, but certainly not sexist. It's frankly really silly to say that something is sexist because of something that's not included

I wouldn't say this is sexism, there are loads of games where you just play as a guy.

I think it is more sexist to have a female side kick that is nothing but a fan service love interest, than to just be a sausage fest.

I think Dragons crown is a much bigger offender of sexism than this and people gloss over Dragons crown sexism like it's nothing. Although I seem to be in the minority when opinions on what is and isn't sexism ... I think Bayonnetta and lollipop chainsaw are offenders but loads of people think they are empowering.

Steven Bogos:
The internet was very quick to angrily react to the news, crying sexism. In an effort to calm the masses, Deep Down producer Kazunori Sugiura has issued an official statement, clarifying a couple of misconceptions. Specifically, Sugiura confirms that there will only be a single playable character, rather than twelve, and while he is indeed male, the game's story will focus around him.

A writer for another website writing things like:

go ahead and bleat about misandry, you worms; I'll enjoy a tasty cup of your male tears

And writing up fanfiction including sentences like:

In an alternate universe, I just cut off your face and fed it to you, little gentleman.

All of which has been criticized at large by actually reasonable people: http://www.vg247.com/forum/topic/dont-antagonize-people-and-disallow-comments/

constitutes "The Internet" now? Calm "the masses"? What "masses"? It seems to just be one writer in urgent need of therapy and possibly anger management counseling.

This is the kind of stuff that utterly destroys the credibility of websites like this.

The game has (or at least seems to) both a sci-fi and a medieval theme to it.

And part of having a medieval theme is often having some sort of feudal society, in which having women warriors is typically a big no. Just like it was in real world Europe when we had feudal governments.

Of course you could ague sci-fi counters any rules of realism.

Once again, the gaming community manages to embarrass itself. Developers should just stop making games, let's see if that makes these twats any more happier.

Well, we can't say much at the moment. It could be trying to do something with said "sausage fest", raise points about masculinity and all, it could be set in a pseudo-realistic depiction of medievil times, in which, of course, females weren't often allowed in combat. It could just be some bullshit again, a load of people not wanting to put people off with a female character, not realising that most people wouldn't give a crap.

We just don't know right now. I will say this though, sometimes it's hard to think of what gender you want your main to be, if their gender wouldn't say anything. I'm making a project at uni squarely centred on one lead, there only being one other character they really talk to. The dilemma is so; I make one character male, and the other female, and that feels clich'e. I make both characters one gender, and that feels unfair. It's hard to win sometimes, especially when you're not aiming for the character's genders to say anything at all, rather their actions. There's a tendency when gender is involved for people to read something between the lines that isn't there at all, or wasn't intended to be there.

It is certainly not sexist to not include a female character because of the plot. It is sexist not to include one for no good reason in a team of 12, but plot is a fine reason among many fine reasons.

In a creaky old voice
"So this is what passes for a sexism controversy these days? Why back in my day..."

No seriously, that's it? Some stupid miscommunication if Capcom is tilling the truth?

Complete sexism for skullgirls not to feature any playable male characters, guys.

Heaven forbid a medieval setting has a male protagonist filling the role of a warrior.

There was mention in this very thread that only 3% of games have a female only protagonist... well less than 3% of the armed forces for that time period were women so I'd say current games are giving women more attention than is needed.

Uggh, this is going to be a fun one.

I don't know who is going to annoy me more, the folks throwing the term "sexism" around like misapplied confetti or the folks squealing, "Noooo, stop talking about sexism, it doesn't exist LALALALA...."

Keep in mind this really isn't a "controversy" as much as one writer for VG247 writing a hilariously hostile article about it.

While I do think females are under-represented in games and this type of dialogue is worth having, attacking games for having no female playable characters is really fighting the symptoms and not the disease and tends to defeat any point you're trying to make.

The Lunatic:
Complete sexism for skullgirls not to feature any playable male characters, guys.

I wouldn't entirely disagree, but for different reasons. It's a game that panders to nerdy males by having a lot of girls that tick the boxes on various fetishes. So it's still less than kind for female gamers, but for different reasons than a game with no playable females.

As an aside, they did add male characters in updated versions of the game. Well, one or two.

This isn't exactly sexism, but massive inertial thinking (read: stupidity).

In a post Mass Effect/Saint's Row world there is no excuse to not have customizable characters the players can tailor to their taste, specially in roguelike games like Deep Down is supposed to be.

The "story reasons" excuse sounds particularly hollow, not only because of the aforementioned games managing to convey compelling storylines with customizable characters, but also because I would bet the character's gender will most certainly not inform the story, as is common in most videogame plots (which center more around external actions than internal characterization).

Of course, this does point to a source of actual sexism of the worst kind, the kind we hardly notice: What story reasons require a male character? The way these type of stories tend to pan out, it seems like the reason the characters are often male is because there is the perception that women could not credibly play the main role in the sort of action/fantasy adventure we're most likely bound to get. Why is this? Is there a hint of developers (or worse, society) unconsciously agreeing that there are things women shouldn't do?

I'm not making specific accusations, though, just inviting self reflection. It happens to me too, mind you, thinking of men in certain roles comes naturally to me, and I'm aware there is a massive baggage of social conditioning making me think like that. Learning to understand these subconscious pre-programmed biases is essential if we really want to address problems in our world.

Pedro The Hutt:

The Lunatic:
Complete sexism for skullgirls not to feature any playable male characters, guys.

I wouldn't entirely disagree, but for different reasons. It's a game that panders to nerdy males by having a lot of girls that tick the boxes on various fetishes. So it's still less than kind for female gamers, but for different reasons than a game with no playable females.

As an aside, they did add male characters in updated versions of the game. Well, one or two.

Really? You really went there? The guy picked a game where he could jokingly show this "I cant play my own sex so its sexist against me" thing working the other way around and you manage to go ahead and say that actually the game is indeed sexist but still against the female sex.

Fighting game characters are always sexualised, both male and female characters. If there was a only male fighting game someone would still cry that it was sexist against women since it didnt bother to include them.

If this game is sexist, so is TF2, and I hate America, because I am a Socialist.

A lack of a thing does not make you "that-thing-ist." It means you a thing. Not wanting to publish a game because the protagonist is a woman or putting her the the front cover of the game box, while justifying it saying women don't play games so why bother?

Maybe not sexist, but certainly disappointing and short sighted.

josemlopes:

Pedro The Hutt:

The Lunatic:
Complete sexism for skullgirls not to feature any playable male characters, guys.

I wouldn't entirely disagree, but for different reasons. It's a game that panders to nerdy males by having a lot of girls that tick the boxes on various fetishes. So it's still less than kind for female gamers, but for different reasons than a game with no playable females.

As an aside, they did add male characters in updated versions of the game. Well, one or two.

Really? You really went there? The guy picked a game where he could jokingly show this "I cant play my own sex so its sexist against me" thing working the other way around and you manage to go ahead and say that actually the game is indeed sexist but still against the female sex.

Fighting game characters are always sexualised, both male and female characters. If there was a only male fighting game someone would still cry that it was sexist against women since it didnt bother to include them.

Final Fight?
Although story behind Poison and Roxy is a bit more complicated
But still, can it be considered "sexism" against women?
If you make them women, male characters end up beating up women and as we all know such media is the main reason behind "epidemic of domestic violence" /sarcasm
If you make them transsexual, then you're omitting women from game at all and example above shows how well such thing is met
Either way developer loses
At this point I'm convinced that women (and feminists especially) just like to complain.

Evil Smurf:
If this game is sexist, so is TF2, and I hate America, because I am a Socialist.

Nonsense. As a girl, I get to play as this beautiful beast:
image

havoc33:
Once again, the gaming community manages to embarrass itself. Developers should just stop making games, let's see if that makes these twats any more happier.

You know, I normally get on games for being sexist and even I find this criticism lacking. But saying that people should just stop making games to prove a point doesn't exactly make you the better man.

blackrave:

At this point I'm convinced that women (and feminists especially) just like to complain.

Kind of a weird thing to say considering that it's well established that gamers like to complain about nearly everything a game has to offer and that people are never fully pleased with a game and will always find something to nitpick. For some reason gender seems to be the one taboo thing.

Interesting that we have a sexism article on the Escapist that isn't about physical appearance for a change. Not sure what to think about the lack of female characters in a story though; I wouldn't say it's necessarily sexist if the context demands it (a'la historical works for example). But if the plot reasons for not including female characters are along the lines of "In this universe, women suck at everything!" then that's not so ok.

josemlopes:

Fighting game characters are always sexualised, both male and female characters. If there was a only male fighting game someone would still cry that it was sexist against women since it didnt bother to include them.

I wouldn't say "Always", but regardless, I wouldn't say that male characters are "always" sexualised in fighting games, not by a long shot. Most still are male power fantasies, designed to appeal to males.

Regardless, it just goes to show how limited the abilities of fighting game character designers are if they can't make a compelling female character without sexualising her. Besides, just because it's the norm doesn't mean it's alright. There was a time where segregation was the norm, aren't we glad that's in the past now?

Considering the only story reason for the protegonist/s to be male is likely so they can seduce and/or shag "princess maguffin", I'd say that constitutes sexism. If there's another legit story-based reason, I've yet to hear it.

erttheking:

blackrave:

At this point I'm convinced that women (and feminists especially) just like to complain.

Kind of a weird thing to say considering that it's well established that gamers like to complain about nearly everything a game has to offer and that people are never fully pleased with a game and will always find something to nitpick. For some reason gender seems to be the one taboo thing.

:D
True.
After reading my post once again I realized that I'm often COMPLAINING MYSELF :)
Let me correct myself
Akhem.
At this point I'm convinced that everyone (and members of religions/ideologies/subcultures especially) just like to complain about anything or even nothing (more often about nothing).

Meh.
If its just one playable character it really isn't all that sexist. Not anymore so than the general tendency to focus mostly on male characters that is.

Sounds like this is more of a miscommunication clusterfuck than anything.

Pedro The Hutt:

josemlopes:

Fighting game characters are always sexualised, both male and female characters. If there was a only male fighting game someone would still cry that it was sexist against women since it didnt bother to include them.

I wouldn't say "Always", but regardless, I wouldn't say that male characters are "always" sexualised in fighting games, not by a long shot.

You're telling me you don't think Rufus or Gen are total dreamboats? Actually, while we're on the subject, Makoto is a good example of a non-sexualized female fighting game character.

Oskuro:

Of course, this does point to a source of actual sexism of the worst kind, the kind we hardly notice: What story reasons require a male character?

Probably the kinds of story that have that thing called inspiration.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I highly doubt storytelling, or any art is concieved in a conceptual vacuum; all experience, and thus art are born from observation previously present. Even if the circumstances surrounding said observation are not currently socially acceptable.

Making a medieval themed game has basis in western medieval times, times that history would tell us had pretty much just men who went to battle. For this game to include women as combatants, you up-end the inspiration; not a problem, but it can be (sadly) a distraction. But that's the restriction of such an inspiration, and not so much a fault on part of the artist. The lack of vacuum applies to us, the audience as well; very rarely do we see a product as a true blank slate, and we do project expectations for inspired content like games, and while detraction is acceptable with consideration, it still sacrifices the core inspiration. Or would you rather we just not ever deal with medieval content again, or rewrite its history?

Overall, I just don't think this is a big issue at all, unless you actually want to make medieval history a problem of today.

While I have at least sympathy for equal gender representation, I find complaints like this, and some of its resulting echoed discussion kind of tired. Instead of using the attention gained from this fire-starting topic to bring up some useful ideas, like 'what are some gender-equal interactions or inspirations for story/setting that provide the maximum amount of design capability?' (and I don't think the answers are that hard), we'd rather just nitpick and bicker, as if the company involved (and perhaps even the audience too) were as evil and ignorant as EA.

If it doesn't have one of each minority, then it's racist.

If it DOES have one of each minority then they're just tokens and it's racist.

If it doesn't have women, then it's sexist.

If it DOES then they're either acting too much like men, too much like female stereotypes, they don't have enough screen time, they have character flaws or their gender is brought up somewhere along the way. And apparently that's sexist too.

If it doesn't have a Gender fluid otherkin in a wheel chair then it's transphobic, singlist and ableist.

Apparently, the simple lack of a representation of any type of race, gender, political alignment, degree of impairment or category of being makes you immediately a hateful bigot.

Have you guys ever heard of the satanic panic? It was when a relatively widespread and accepted doctrine (Christianity) was, for a time, at least in the media, dominated by a frenzy of outspoken advocates from the lunatic fringe who made outrageous claims about a grand conspiracy of satanic worship and child sacrifice. They found evidence of this conspiracy everywhere the looked and their claims grew more and more grandiose until the entire thing collapsed under the weight of it's own delusions as ordinary people began to realize that their supposed nemesis existed only in their heads.

Now, have you guys ever heard of the Patriarchy panic? It was when a relatively wide spread and accepted doctrine (the ideal that women and indeed anyone of any race, gender or affiliation should be treated equally) was, for a time, at least in the media, dominated by a frenzy of outspoken advocates from the lunatic fringe who made up outrageous claims about a grand conspiracy of controlled, planned, systematic sexism being perpetrated by anyone and everyone who clashed with their personal (and often internally contradictory) idea of what an "Equal" society should be. They found evidence of this conspiracy everywhere they looked (Such as the above) and their claims grew more and more grandiose until the entire thing collapsed under the weight of its own delusions as ordinary people began to realize that their supposed nemesis existed only in their heads.

Which isn't to say that things are perfect and equal now; but we really need to stop this bizarre, kneejerk, reactionary sort of thing that screams "MISOGYNY!" at anything that doesn't have a woman (or the "right" kind of woman) in it. Because it's not helping the cause, it's just lowering the level of the dialog and in fact harming the chances of seeing more female and other less represented groups in media because of the sheer level of anger that any tiny misstep or perceived misstep can cause.

Keep in mind, this is Capcom, who turned out to be the ONLY company willing to publish a game with a female lead that the developer fought to keep, "Remember Me". Short sighted this one, but sexist it is not. At least on the publishers part. Which I also ask, is Capcom developing this or just publishing? Because if they're also developing it and their answer is "story reasons" then my response is "Pah-hahahahahahahahaaaaa 'story' reasons".

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