Far Cry 4 Creative Director Responds to Box Art Concerns of Racism

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Far Cry 4 Creative Director Responds to Box Art Concerns of Racism

Far Cry 350

While some people raised concerns over Far Cry 4's box art, the creative director says the character featured in the center of the image is not the player.

When Far Cry 4 was announced along with a promotional image of the box art, some people voiced concerns over the image and whether it was racist. Far Cry 4 creative director Alex Hutchinson revealed two details concerning the art, which depicts a lighter-skinned man sitting on the remains of a statue with his hand on the head of a kneeling darker-skinned man.

"Just so it's clear for those jumping to conclusions: He's not white and that's not the player," Hutchinson wrote on Twitter as a response to a GamesIndustry.biz article about the controversial art and how it appears out of context.

Concerns over the image being racist in part lay in the depiction of the lighter-skinned character. He is framed to be in the middle of the image, smirking, and in power over the darker-skinned character. Previously, Far Cry 3, which features a white protagonist, has been criticized as racist. In response lead writer Jeffrey Yohalem called the game "a subversion of any kinds of racist stereotypes."

A Far Cry 4 preorder screen leaked a brief synopsis of the game's plot. The details indicate the player will assume the role of Ajay Ghale, who has traveled to a country named Kyrat in the Himalayas and is caught up in a civil war to overthrow an oppressive dictator.

Source: Twitter

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To think the main character is the same as the character on that cover art means that you aren't very genre-savvy. I mean, he has all the makings of a complete bad guy: Hes sitting on a throne, he has weapons strewn all around him, he has what appears to be some man-slave or otherwise captive person, and that pose just gives off a sense of evil.

Hell, the only cover I've seen like this where the person in the center was the protagonist is Saints Row 4, and you're an absolute dick in that game.

Evidently this game is supposed to be in a similar style to the third incarnation...so why, in any sense of anything, would the player character be that guy on the throne?

Were people actually thinking that he was the protagonist? Interesting.

Of course it's racist, HE'S THE FUCKING BAD GUY.

Hmmm, the first time seeing this art I sure did not view it as racist. I am glad there are those that do, point it out, and then expect it be the truth and expects others to follow in behind them. Making something out of nothing....media, BAH.

uchytjes:
To think the main character is the same as the character on that cover art means that you aren't very genre-savvy. I mean, he has all the makings of a complete bad guy: Hes sitting on a throne, he has weapons strewn all around him, he has what appears to be some man-slave or otherwise captive person, and that pose just gives off a sense of evil.

Hell, the only cover I've seen like this where the person in the center was the protagonist is Saints Row 4, and you're an absolute dick in that game.

I don't think being genre-savvy has anything to do with it. While he fits the antagonist stereotype of most FarCry games, 'scraggly weapon laden smart-ass' describes almost every other FPS protagonist to date. The only reason someone would guess that he isn't the protagonist is because western marketing teams would never let the main character have a hairstyle and shirt color so "flamboyant". (aside from Deep Silver, but you already pointed out Saints Row has it's own negative quirks)

For fuck's sake. I just don't care any more. Everything is racist or sexist to the kind of social justice shit-stains the gaming industry has for consumers. Can we even explore themes like racism and sexism any more? Is depicting racism racist? I give up. It's this kind of infantile willingness to decry anything potentially offensive that makes me want to leave games behind as a whole.

tangoprime:
Seriously, what is wrong with people? OMG, light skinned south asian man in a position of power over a fairly light skinned, dirty south asian man, RACISM!

Exactly. It's pathetic.

Then again, it isn't just games. This kind of first-world socio-political obsession is everywhere.

Seriously, what is wrong with people? OMG, light skinned south asian man in a position of power over a fairly light skinned, dirty south asian man, RACISM!

Uhh....wasn't it completely fucking obvious that the purple suited dude was the villain?

Like, because he's sitting on destroyed "native" monuments, with an arrogant smirk while forcing a local person to hold a live grenade?

For fuck's sake people.

Lets use our brains next time and take into account the general themes of a series and the context of them shall we, before screaming "RACISM!!!"?

TiberiusEsuriens:
[quote="uchytjes" post="7.850587.21016448"]The only reason someone would guess that he isn't the protagonist is because western marketing teams would never let the main character have a hairstyle and shirt color so "flamboyant". (aside from Deep Silver, but you already pointed out Saints Row has it's own negative quirks)

Or you know, it kind of has a similar style to Far Cry 3's cover.

People need to understand that not everyone plays video games and not everyone played Far Cry 3.

Also, many people judge a video game by its cover.

People really need to stop leaping onto the racism card bandwagon feet first without knowing anything about the target of their anger.

Racism?! Oh, for fuck's sake, man, this is getting ridiculous.
Leaving aside the fact, that whoever thought this is the main character, is a complete moron and has zero knowledge on the series and gaming in general.
But we can't have any type of enemies/bad guys in games and not having someone bitching about it. We can't have dark skinned people, we can't have Asian people, we can't have gay people, we can't have women...
The main character of a game can fight only robots, aliens (and they should not have any resemblance to humans whatsoever) and Nazis (the Germans are to ashamed to complain).
That being said, the main character can only be a person of color, female, gay and a little chubby, wearing a large tracksuit, garden boots and a hat.

Reporting on this is feeding the Tumblr and Social Justice Trolls, Escapist. There is literally nothing wrong and people only threw a fit because they're moronic and very misinformed. We've reached the point where we're listening to the crazy people like they're making sense ... god.

Goddamnit I was really looking forward to playing as Brayko from Alpha Protocol.

Damn it all to hell, yet another gaming dream ruined.

Absolutionis:
People need to understand that not everyone plays video games and not everyone played Far Cry 3.

Also, many people judge a video game by its cover.

So what if they don't play video games? They should do research on what they're talking about.

So what if they haven't played Far Cry 3, or any of the Far Cry games? They should do research into what those games are like before talking about them.

And yes, people do judge games based on covers, but that gives no excuse to blow an issue out of preparation.

Even if it were the player character (and he was white, cause remember non-whites can't be racist *ahem*) that wouldn't make the game racist, it'd only make the main character racist.

In a Song of Ice and Fire everyone (including the POV characters or "protagonists") is sexist and (probably) racist, does that mean the books are racist and sexist?... no!

Props to the developer for setting the SJW's straight though.

To be fair, Farcry 3 was pretty racist in its depiction of the Polynesians. However this observation is drawn from the content of Farcry 3, I wouldn't wanna judge a whole game by its cover art. I mean "spec-ops the line" is a thing that happened so you'd figure people had wised up to appearances not conveying the full experience.

That said this is probably non-gamers, as it were, commenting on the boxart and I for one do not want to hear another national debate regarding videogames as something to be concerned about so it's best ubisoft nips this one in the bud, and hard.

I'm sorry, but I really don't like the claims of racism here. We don't know why the white (or albino?) guy seems to be controlling the non-white guy, but there's a pretty low chance it's based on race. It could be based on class, or age, or culture, or as some sort of hazing ritual, or any number of factors. Saying "The white guy is being mean to the non-white guy because he's white" seems more racist to me than the picture itself. It even makes it seem like the only way such poses would not be racist would be if the white guy was the enslaved one, which I would think is just as bad (not any worse or better, mind you, just equal). I understand that this sort of thing used to be racist, but I hardly believe that the Far Cry 4 publicity people are hardcore racists.

Frankster:
Goddamnit I was really looking forward to playing as Brayko from Alpha Protocol...

Such a game would've been boring. Give some Himalayan mushrooms to this guy and he'd be unstoppable.

Apparently it is racist to depict people from other races. I'll have to remember that if I'm ever casting people for any media. Like that NPR article on "glass cliffs" about how sad it is that females minorities get hired into high profile jobs with high pay that are likely to fail as if hiring them was a bad thing (what's the intended effect of that study? Should companies not hire minorities because the job is hard? That's crazy).

Seriously, the presence of minorities is not inherently racist. The mistreatment, different treatment or stereotyping is what's bad.

Found it hilarious how few people on tumblr picked up that the villain on the cover wasn't Caucasian, apparently people define races strictly by hair and skin color

StarStruckStrumpets:
For fuck's sake. I just don't care any more. Everything is racist or sexist to the kind of social justice shit-stains the gaming industry has for consumers. Can we even explore themes like racism and sexism any more? Is depicting racism racist? I give up. It's this kind of infantile willingness to decry anything potentially offensive that makes me want to leave games behind as a whole.

tangoprime:
Seriously, what is wrong with people? OMG, light skinned south asian man in a position of power over a fairly light skinned, dirty south asian man, RACISM!

Exactly. It's pathetic.

Then again, it isn't just games. This kind of first-world socio-political obsession is everywhere.

Actually, people do have some reason to be concerned about racism from the Far Cry series, considering that 3 claimed to subvert the trope of a white person becoming the leader of a tribe of brown people by being the best warrior there and driving out a foreign threat...by depicting a white person becoming the leader of a tribe of brown people by being the best warrior there and driving out a foreign threat. Yeah, the last Far Cry game really did mishandle the depiction of race. Is this reaction to the cover overreacting? Yes. But it's not unfounded.

And everything is racist or sexist? Don't you think you're blowing things out of proportion? Everything would be racist or sexist if every single minority or female character was called racist or sexist, and that just does not happen.

saltyanon:

TiberiusEsuriens:
[quote="uchytjes" post="7.850587.21016448"]The only reason someone would guess that he isn't the protagonist is because western marketing teams would never let the main character have a hairstyle and shirt color so "flamboyant". (aside from Deep Silver, but you already pointed out Saints Row has it's own negative quirks)

Or you know, it kind of has a similar style to Far Cry 3's cover.

I think you missed the part where I said

"While he fits the antagonist stereotype of most FarCry games"

Don't worry too much about this, Hutchinson. People like to invent problems to bitch about. There's no racism on here. At worst, the character himself is racist (I'll wait and see on that one), but seeing as he's obviously not the protagonist, that hardly amounts to racism on the game's part.

I've also seen people shout homophobia because of how the guy's dressed, in spite of the cover not having made any statement as to the guy's sexual orientation. And even if he is gay, so what? I've seen gay people dress a lot more flamboyant than that. Does that mean that actual gay people who dress flamboyantly are homophobic themselves? No. Poor fashion sense, maybe, and trying too hard to make a statement with their clothes, but not homophobic. And this cover isn't either.

P.S. Thanks

Lightknight:

Seriously, the presence of minorities is not inherently racist. The mistreatment, different treatment or stereotyping is what's bad.

You have to wonder if this is a possible reason why we see a lack of minorities in games and other media, the designers are reluctant to involve them if they know their work is going to be over-analysed and nitpicked to such an extent. I mean, given all this scrutiny for a game that hasn't had any of it's content revealed beyond a cover, unless you have a major reason to have a character in there that is of a specific ethnicity/gender/nationality, why would you bother?

(This is excluding games with character creation of course)

Have a perfect solution. Let's only put white people in art, media and anything else so we can avoid racism....oh wait...

Seriously people need to put on some man pants and quit going out of their way to get butt hurt.

It says something about us that someone looked at the guy sitting on a throne of weapons, calmly putting his hand on the head of someone who is being forced to hold a grenade without a pin... and thought, yep that must be me!

I haven't even played Far Cry 3 and I was thinking about the similarities between this guy and 3's villain.

erttheking:

Actually, people do have some reason to be concerned about racism from the Far Cry series, considering that 3 claimed to subvert the trope of a white person becoming the leader of a tribe of brown people by being the best warrior there and driving out a foreign threat...by depicting a white person becoming the leader of a tribe of brown people by being the best warrior there and driving out a foreign threat.

The critical part is "depicting a white person who thinks he is becoming the leader of a tribe of brown people by being the best warrior there and driving out a foreign threat and is actually just some disposable tool". Revealing the last part right and the end and only if the player makes certain choices was a mistake. Especially as many players saw that ending, didn't like it and dismissed it instead of putting it into the context of everything.

I'm not saying it wasn't incompetent, but it is the big indicator that it wasn't meant to be racist beyond the writer merely saying so. It's also full of big upper class jet set holiday tones and toys and yet those tones and toys are fundamentally entangled with people killing each other at an uncomfortable level of brutality.

But why does saying "He's not white" make this any less racist? Sounds like racism to me.

erttheking:

StarStruckStrumpets:
For fuck's sake. I just don't care any more. Everything is racist or sexist to the kind of social justice shit-stains the gaming industry has for consumers. Can we even explore themes like racism and sexism any more? Is depicting racism racist? I give up. It's this kind of infantile willingness to decry anything potentially offensive that makes me want to leave games behind as a whole.

tangoprime:
Seriously, what is wrong with people? OMG, light skinned south asian man in a position of power over a fairly light skinned, dirty south asian man, RACISM!

Exactly. It's pathetic.

Then again, it isn't just games. This kind of first-world socio-political obsession is everywhere.

Actually, people do have some reason to be concerned about racism from the Far Cry series, considering that 3 claimed to subvert the trope of a white person becoming the leader of a tribe of brown people by being the best warrior there and driving out a foreign threat...by depicting a white person becoming the leader of a tribe of brown people by being the best warrior there and driving out a foreign threat. Yeah, the last Far Cry game really did mishandle the depiction of race. Is this reaction to the cover overreacting? Yes. But it's not unfounded.

I'm still willing to argue that Far Cry 3 did handle the "white savior" thing in a respectable way. On the surface, yeah, you are going around saving natives and becoming their white chosen one. But narratively, Jason's transformation into the "chosen one" is not presented as a good thing. In fact, its heavily implied that by trying to live out a Rambo chosen one fantasy, he is deteriorating mentally to the point where he wants to stay as their leader, when in reality he is only being manipulated. It's not even so much about his race as it is about his desire to be a hero.

zombiejoe:

I'm still willing to argue that Far Cry 3 did handle the "white savior" thing in a respectable way. On the surface, yeah, you are going around saving natives and becoming their white chosen one. But narratively, Jason's transformation into the "chosen one" is not presented as a good thing. In fact, its heavily implied that by trying to live out a Rambo chosen one fantasy, he is deteriorating mentally to the point where he wants to stay as their leader, when in reality he is only being manipulated. It's not even so much about his race as it is about his desire to be a hero.

Those are all good points but...I don't know. It still kind of leaves a semi-bad taste in my mouth that a lazy white boy was able to turn the tide of a war that highly trained warriors had been losing against. True, he was being manipulated, but there was still the uncomfortable feeling that the warriors (I can never remember how to spell their name) still needed him in order to save themselves from being wiped out and somehow one of him could do what a hundred of them couldn't.

I still love the game, it's just that I feel like this was mishandled. It would've been nice if we had seen the warriors doing more to take back the island, or maybe Dennis having more of a proactive role.

erttheking:

zombiejoe:

I'm still willing to argue that Far Cry 3 did handle the "white savior" thing in a respectable way. On the surface, yeah, you are going around saving natives and becoming their white chosen one. But narratively, Jason's transformation into the "chosen one" is not presented as a good thing. In fact, its heavily implied that by trying to live out a Rambo chosen one fantasy, he is deteriorating mentally to the point where he wants to stay as their leader, when in reality he is only being manipulated. It's not even so much about his race as it is about his desire to be a hero.

Those are all good points but...I don't know. It still kind of leaves a semi-bad taste in my mouth that a lazy white boy was able to turn the tide of a war that highly trained warriors had been losing against. True, he was being manipulated, but there was still the uncomfortable feeling that the warriors (I can never remember how to spell their name) still needed him in order to save themselves from being wiped out and somehow one of him could do what a hundred of them couldn't.

I still love the game, it's just that I feel like this was mishandled. It would've been nice if we had seen the warriors doing more to take back the island, or maybe Dennis having more of a proactive role.

I can see where you're coming from, and I think that issue arises mainly due to the gameplay. I think they wanted Jason to start out as an untrained, scared person who develops into a warrior over time. But a lot of the game has you fighting off entire armies alone, even before you've gotten your tattoos and training from the natives. Maybe if they had more opportunity for the player to have companions, sort of like Far Cry 2, it would have made the idea of Jason being made into a warrior who then believes himself to be the chosen one, instead of him already naturally talented at slaughter and sort of fitting easily in the chosen one mold.

zombiejoe:

erttheking:

zombiejoe:

I'm still willing to argue that Far Cry 3 did handle the "white savior" thing in a respectable way. On the surface, yeah, you are going around saving natives and becoming their white chosen one. But narratively, Jason's transformation into the "chosen one" is not presented as a good thing. In fact, its heavily implied that by trying to live out a Rambo chosen one fantasy, he is deteriorating mentally to the point where he wants to stay as their leader, when in reality he is only being manipulated. It's not even so much about his race as it is about his desire to be a hero.

Those are all good points but...I don't know. It still kind of leaves a semi-bad taste in my mouth that a lazy white boy was able to turn the tide of a war that highly trained warriors had been losing against. True, he was being manipulated, but there was still the uncomfortable feeling that the warriors (I can never remember how to spell their name) still needed him in order to save themselves from being wiped out and somehow one of him could do what a hundred of them couldn't.

I still love the game, it's just that I feel like this was mishandled. It would've been nice if we had seen the warriors doing more to take back the island, or maybe Dennis having more of a proactive role.

I can see where you're coming from, and I think that issue arises mainly due to the gameplay. I think they wanted Jason to start out as an untrained, scared person who develops into a warrior over time. But a lot of the game has you fighting off entire armies alone, even before you've gotten your tattoos and training from the natives. Maybe if they had more opportunity for the player to have companions, sort of like Far Cry 2, it would have made the idea of Jason being made into a warrior who then believes himself to be the chosen one, instead of him already naturally talented at slaughter and sort of fitting easily in the chosen one mold.

Actually yeah, that would've been REALLY interesting. Jason bloats up his own ego to think that he's some kind of chosen one when in reality that isn't the case. Actually I can think of a way that they could've done that, AND still had the fun rambo style gameplay. Jason is supposed to be sticking insane amounts of drugs into his system right? How about he only thought he was clearing out entire bases single handily. Every time he had help and he wasn't as much of a badass as he thought. It would be an interest plot development and it would help make it ambiguous what was reality on the island, a theme that they already had going on.

Ninjamedic:

Lightknight:

Seriously, the presence of minorities is not inherently racist. The mistreatment, different treatment or stereotyping is what's bad.

You have to wonder if this is a possible reason why we see a lack of minorities in games and other media, the designers are reluctant to involve them if they know their work is going to be over-analysed and nitpicked to such an extent. I mean, given all this scrutiny for a game that hasn't had any of it's content revealed beyond a cover, unless you have a major reason to have a character in there that is of a specific ethnicity/gender/nationality, why would you bother?

(This is excluding games with character creation of course)

It's an interesting premise. I mean, Resident Evil 5's creators didn't see anything wrong with placing their game in an African village until people started saying it was racist for doing so since it effectively made the zombie population black. This indicates that there is a public sentiment that just the portrayal of minorities at all can be deemed as racist and that's just nuts. It's such a fine line that developers have to walk that they just play it safe every chance they get. I'd rather have an environment where developers don't have to worry about what skin color their characters are. Where diversity isn't a liability and also isn't inserted to meet a token quota. But as things are right now, that doesn't appear to be safe for anyone to do. We've really got to save our complaints for situations that are actually racist.

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