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Blizzard game director apologizes following hyper-sexualization debacle
Blizzard game director apologizes following hyper-sexualization debacle
November 25, 2013 | By Mike Rose

November 25, 2013 | By Mike Rose
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A game director at Blizzard has been forced to apologize, after stating that it's not his company's place to address the issues of the hyper-sexualization of women in MOBA video games.

When asked about this hyper-sexualization in an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Dustin Browder, game director on upcoming Blizzard MOBA Heroes of the Storm, stated, "We're not sending a message to anybody. We're just making characters who look cool."

When further challenged, he added, "We're not running for President. We're not sending a message. No one should look to our game for that."

On the official blog for Heroes of the Storm, Browden admitted that he had "responded poorly" to the question, and apologized, saying that he doesn't not want to alienate any players.

"This is a serious topic and I donít want anyone to think that I, or anyone else at Blizzard, is insensitive about how we portray our characters," he added.


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Comments


Rob Wright
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Good. GOOD. Good for Nathan Grayson and RPS for calling Blizzard on it (and recognizing it's a newsworthy and important issue), and good for Blizzard and Browden for owning up. Yes, you're not running for president -- but you're one of the giants of the industry, a legendary and incredibly successful game developer with millions of devoted fans. People -- both gamers and game developers -- look up to Blizzard. What you do matters, even if you think it doesn't.

Arthur De Martino
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I'm still confused to why did the RPS "journalist" to push his agenda with such reckless abandon when:
1) The article he claims that inspired him to do so was praising Blizzard for adding sexualization to both their male and female characters.
2) The interviewer admited he didn't see much problem with Nova's outfit, even if he did see a problem with it (Which is really petty, since roller derby clothing is exactly like that. I suggest to anyone who thinks Roller Derby is a "tool of the partiarchy" or whatever to read about it.).

Finally, Blizz anwser was pretty much "We try to make cool characters."...And hey they did just that with Nova. On their trailer, we see she beating up Arthas with ease.


Everthing reeks of click bait and much noise over a issue that was just not present on the context. The interviewer even showed great ignorance to the fields of comic book art and (as always to that short of thing) focus only on the negative examples as if they are the only way comic book art can influence someone.

Said "journalist" then made a piece where he came as this cause was so personal to him he was in tears the meanies at Blizzard didn't share his activist act.

I lost respect for every single person involved on this, including the person who called this "HYPERSEXUALIZATION DEBACLE".

Seriously, look at the freaking Nova outfit on the top of this page, now google "Roller Derby".

Rob Wright
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@Arthur

So as I understand it, you're calling the interview with Browden clickbait....but not the RPS article you say "inspired" the discussion topic, which is simply titled "The Buttocks Of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm" and consists almost entirely of screenshots of characters asses and has no real news value whatsoever?

Isn't an "article" that's literally nothing by ass shots clickbait?

So many folks here are in an uproar about RPS using this issue to "manufacture controversy" and get clicks. I find this ironic since both game developers and game publications -- yes, even RPS --routinely use hyper-sexualized imagery and scantily-clad female characters to get eyeballs. So when there's an article or an interview questioning these practices, it's click bait -- but the practice itself? Totally fine.

david canela
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This. (what Rob says)
Let's not kid ourselves, in the world of free news websites, there is always going to be clickbait. But some of it leads to articles actually bringing up discussion-worthy issues.


edited for clarification.

Kaitlyn Kaid
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@Arthur

I think you may need to re-read "The Buttocks Of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm" if you think that it is about adding sexualization of male characters. The pictures rather bluntly show the difference between how skin tight and skimpy female "butt shots" are vs their male counterparts.

I don't recall seeing a single space marine in a skin tight, chest hugging body suit or bug-thong, but if I missed one, please do point it out :)

Ken Kinnison
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Hum I'd think Moba's would be attractive to women gameplay wise (buying into the stereotypes that female gamers favor some genre's over others).

I'd think it should be possible to make cool (and attractive) armor without going into stripper territory :\

EDIT- post fail, this was intended for kaitlyn's comment below -_-

Jonathan Clauson
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I don't know what the make up of the Blizzard team on this game is, however it sounds like they are falling into the trap of what looks cool for the guys and you can chalk that up to marketing to their core demographic, or being boys.......or a little of both.

Andrew Shaftling
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Hardcore competitive games (albeit this one might be a little friendlier) isn't usually a place full of girls. So that choice sort of makes sense. I definitely respect RPS for going head on against such a giant as Blizzard is but I don't mind sexualized characters either. It's a power fantasy game. I want to look at beautiful things. But then I've never been much of a fan of realism in games. To me the beauty of games is in bringing completely surreal experiences.

Kaitlyn Kaid
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You are right that MOBAs are not exactly female friendly... but it does ask the question: What came first? The lack of women, or game aesthetics that promote the sexualization and objectification of women as acceptable?

When you have character designs, officially supported by the developers, that are little more than wobbly quad-Ds on legs, it doesn't exactly encourage the playerbase to be very egalitarian.

And it's not like Bliz doesn't have big steaks in this too... I really can't tell you how often I've been sitting with credit card in hand looking for something to make one of my heroes "look cool", only to put it away when the best offering is yet another set of Boob-Plate and high heels. I know I'm not alone in this either. Women's money spends just as well as men's at the annual investors conference.

Mark Downey
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The thing is, and it's a hard pill for a lot of women to swallow, but the large boom in their numbers is relatively new compared to the existence of games in general. Were their women playing games when it first started? Absolutely, my parents used to play Tetris together before they even started dating, but the now 40% demographic of female gamers is less than fifteen years old.

It's a sad fact that social understanding tends to move at a glacial pace, but that's the way of it. Yes it's good to push in that direction and it's DEFINITELY something we should strive for as an industry, but it also opens space for extreme opinions which seem just plain unreasonable.

Honestly blizzard is making some of the best strides in this direction most recently, you'll not find a single scantily clad woman in Diablo 3 and World of Warcraft is slowly making bulkier armor for their female characters. That fact that a skin for a character that is in fact accurate to its subject matter is being so heavily criticized for being so is really setting back progress instead of advancing it and causes a lot of people to recoil.

The way forward is not simply excising the scantily clad female characters, they will -always- be in the gaming space so long as their are still male gamers. It's pandering to a demographic which has previously been the vast majority. The best way to move forward in the gaming space for visual equality between the sexes is to give the women more option to bulk up and be a tanky-looking bear-serker, a mage with serious cloth robes that would actually work in cold weather etc etc.

What's most troubling to me is the idea that this is a one sided issue, that it's only women who are represented in a sexual manner. When was the last time you say Kratos with a shirt on? Have you ever seen a person with Master Cheifs build walking down the street? Not many guys can pull off Sephiroths hair, i can tell you that! Indeed to be a male character in a video game is to be a paragon of manliness, something no male could ever achieve regardless of how hard they try. In some cases it can be argued that the normal, real life male is in no way shape or form worthy of being in a video game as anything but cannon fodder when you feel like kicking a car over.

Sexism in video games cuts both ways, not simply towards the female end, though i won't hold my breath for the article on how males are represented in video games any time soon.

Leonardo Ferreira
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I'm a longtime reader of RPS, but said "controversy" made me want to exclude the website from my daily routine. If you read the interview, you will notice the topic was tacked on at the end, almost in order for the interviewed say something stupid. I understand the website outlook on the matter, and I agree with most of it, but that is some tabloid-level journalism pratices; and that proved especially effective, especially if you factor that their response to the situation has already more than 700 comments (I suspect this thread shall have a lot too).

Thoughful debate has already been swallowed by witch-hunting, finger-pointing and the worst of click-bating pratices, and this year maisntream gaming media, in its rush to meet the new status quo, is becoming something truly awful, generating fake controversy to boost ratings (IGN Divekick review; PA Report King of Fighters review; Kotaku's whole output; and so on).

But I suppose that's has to do with the growing insularity of internet debate than anything particular in the gaming media.

Rob Wright
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@Leonardo

You're very critical of RPS and its journalism practices. Does that mean you have no problem with Browder's responses? By your own admission, you wrote that you agree with most of RPS's perspective on this topic, yet you also bash the "rush to meet the new status quo"(whatever that is). Just curious as to where you stand.

Also, your argument for these kinds of stories as click bait to boost "ratings"....well, they also boost hate mail, trolls, vitriol, negative feedback, etc. So I'm not sure your click bait argument holds water. There are easier ways to generate traffic with much less hate mail.

Leonardo Ferreira
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Browder's responses are typical PR talk (the interview even mention a PR guy on the scene), not wanting to take any political positions, beacuse he is selling a product; that line about not wanting to run for president made me cringe, admitedly, but, as the apology shows, he has a clear position on that matter.Seeing the tone of the interview, I don't think the outcome would be any different, unless he agreed completely with the interviewer; but, you know, it seems he has opinions of his own.

Over the new status quo: a couple of years ago I found myself in a feud here on Gama foruns wiht a Bulletstorm dev, because my opinion was that game was icky, toxic to the industry and being politically-incorrect purely for marketing purposes. Predictably, I was torn apart in the comments, because the mindset of the time was more defensive of games regardless of their messages, most because we're having finally defeated the "games make children murder each other" mentality, so the industry wans't ready yet to face the value of its products messages. Now, such a game would certainly not have the same warm welcome (just compare the tone of the reviews for House of the Dead: Overkill, an openly satiric, intentionally offensive, (and incredibly hilarious), when it was launched in 2009, and in this year new edition).Try reading the reviews I mentioned in the commentary above for a better perspective on that.

Also, on the clickbaiting; of course they boost negative content. But it is naÔve to think they don't give a hefty boost to the website's ratings.How much media exists solely for people to get pissed and complain over it?

Adam Bishop
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I'm very impressed by the number of people who can determine which controversies are "faked" for page views and which ones are genuine expressions of the author's viewpoints. Personally, I'm not very good at reading minds through the Internet but it's certainly a skill that a lot of other people seem to think they have.

Rob Wright
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@Leonardo

Thanks for your response. I find your perspective interesting even though disagree with your comments the quality of journalism practiced by Grayson and RPS.

To counter: You've experienced the kind of online toxicity that comes with challenging the "old" status quo and being flamed for political correctness or progressive attitudes. Surely you can see that kind of response/treatment as discouraging to game writers and publications looking to wade into those waters, no? I guess my point is, sure, you may get some short term gains in traffic and eyeballs with these kinds of stories, but if a large percentage of gamers react negatively to that kind of content, then it's not naive to think there's going to be some reluctance (maybe personal, maybe institutional, maybe both) to take on such issues and ask the kind of questions RPS did.

Dane MacMahon
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Sometimes even if the message is important you can ruin your persuasiveness by being too zealous and too aggressive. RPS pretty much personifies this. Whatever quality messages they are trying to spread about overly objectifying design get lost within their super aggressive, no room for debate, "you're a bad person if you disagree with me" rhetoric.

It's just a bad way to persuade people.

Rob Wright
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@Dane

In terms of the aggressive rhetoric, are you referring to the actual Q&A interview with Browder or what Grayson wrote afterward (or both)?

Dane MacMahon
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@ Rob

Both to some extent, but mostly the interview I guess. It's more just the tone and frequency on RPS in general the last year or so, ever since they got a lot of attention for the Witcher 2 interview.

You can persuade over time with quality arguments made when appropriate or you can beat people over the head with a frying pan at every possible opportunity. I tend to dislike the latter, and I think it turns off possible converts and sympathizers more than it crumbles the opposition.

Amir Barak
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@Dane,
Valid points. The main reason I've pretty much stopped reading anything they write.

Boyer Geoffrey
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Sorry for the guys at RPS, but it was really a fake controversy. What RPS (and this Gamasutra blog post) failed to write about is that Browder actually agreed with him : "Weíre just making characters who look cool. Our sensibilities are more comic book than anything else. Thatís sort of where weíre at. But Iíll take the feedback. I think itís very fair feedback". Full quote.

And after that Nathan Grayson had to write up another post about how the interview made him cry. I mean, really? That's demonizing a guy that had just agreed with him and said he'd pass the feedback to the relevant guys.

Dane MacMahon
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"I went into this room of other dudes and told them how much smarter I was and how wrong and sexist they were and they seemed cross about it. So weird!"

Boyer Geoffrey
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I'll admit I am unable as a non-native English speaker to see if you are sarcastic or not, but, yeah, that's kind of how it can come across. Some people require subtlety to be convinced, and no, that doesn't make them assholes. Simply bashing people about something with a binary us good/them evil view of the world often ends up being counterproductive to everyone.

A better representation of females in gaming is something -worth- fighting for, and that must absolutely be discussed, but with respect for everyone involved. Yesterday's bullied doesn't have to turn into tomorrow's bully.

Mark Velthuis
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He "has been forced to apologize" ? Maybe this is worded poorly, but to me it sounds like he didn't realy apologize but had to make up a nice story in order for Blizzard to not look bad.

I also don't think that they should limit their creativity according to some politically correct agenda just because they are one of the industry's giants. They got a lot of fans, they got those fans from making things people enjoyed. If hypersexualization is part of this, then we have no right to demand them to change, wether it matters or not. It's not a matter of sexism in this case since it's done to both male and female characters alike.

I realy can't help but feel this part of the interview was done just to get another "game scandal". They even went out of their way to mention that specific part in the intro. Not to mention it was Rock Paper Shotgun who made the question gender specific. Why could they not have asked about oversexualized characters, instead of oversexualized FEMALE characters? The "interesting focus choices" that they are refering to in the interview allready shows male characters get the same treatment as females.

Kaitlyn Kaid
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I've never seen anyone make the argument that they should "limit their creativity", quite the opposite, I (and many others) are asking them to *expand it*.

I'm fine with boob plate, I'm not going to buy a skin of it, but I'm not going to run to the hills if I see it in a game. That said, what I AM going to spend money on is actual, cool looking, *protective* armor. If someone wants their hero to look like a street walker in high heels, go for it... I will be sitting back here laughing at the absurdity of wearing that kind of footwear on any surface that isn't as hard as cement and be busy kicking your backside.

No one wants them to limit what they can do, what we are asking for is for them to do MORE.

A perfect example of what I'm talking about is Saint's Row. Now NO ONE is going to try and tell me that SR isn't creative as all heck, but at the same time it also allowed you to wear normal clothing, be overweight, gay, straight, black, white, hell you can be neon blue in that game! It is the perfect example of how adding options to a game, rather than limit creativity of the devs, can let it run wild.

Logan Foster
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Can we simply just focus on whether the game is good or not? Both sexes are "hyper sexualized" in every form of media that is available, but for some reason in Games we as developers are vilified for it when someone takes offence when it happens. This industry is difficult enough as it is to succeed in when we don't have people looking under every carpet and every corner for any spec of dirt to call a company or a developer out on.

Elisabeth Beinke-Schwartz
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Just as an fyi, both genders are not 'sexualized' to the same degree. Most of the time, men are being presented as a 'male power fantasy' not as a sexualized being. There is a difference. For more elaboration, check out this: http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2012/11/28/the-one-sided-p
roblem-of-oversexualization-in-video-games/

Daneel Filimonov
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That's possibly because the majority of the developers creating these characters _are_ males. I'd wager if the ratio was reversed, we'd see a different outcome altogether.

Dane MacMahon
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While the male power fantasy does exist, (Gears of War, God of War, etc.) males being presented as buff topless dudes is not just for guys. See the cover of every romance novel ever, or big screen characters right now like Thor, Iron Man, etc... all designed to appeal to women as well as men.

In the end we sexualize and present all characters as physical ideals, unless they are specifically designed not to be, because it's human nature.

While I do think objectifying design can go way too far, and Blizzard are a frequent culprit with zerg bikinis and whatnot, I think we also go too far the other way in acting like it's a male conspiracy that women are completely innocent on. People design their characters in idealized and often sexualized ways on both sides, from both genders. I watch a lot of female-focused media with my wife and it's all roughly the same thing.

Adam Bishop
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"In the end we sexualize and present all characters as physical ideals, unless they are specifically designed not to be, because it's human nature."

This is a strange thing to say. Very little of the media that I interact with (whether TV, film, books, or games) involves characters presented as exaggerated, stereotypical physical ideals. There's a huge amount of content out there that isn't like that. If most of the content that you come across has that kind of character design it's because of choices you're making about what kind of content to interact with, not because of some deep seeded fact about human nature.

Logan Foster
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@Elisabeth,

So I am curious what part of my post that you missed read or misunderstand (or assume that because I am a male game developer that I have no ability to empathy for the issue at hand)?

The issue I made was not whether games over sexualize characters, but the fact that ALL FORMS OF MEDIA over sexualize characters. Yet here someone like you is, telling me how wrong I am for suggesting such a thing and pointing the finger yet again at the "Games" problem and how all of us developers in it are living out some form of "Male Power Fantasy".

Truthfully I have no issue if you have an opinion about how the games industry treats this subject, but I do have an issue with how you trivialized my response about how this is an issue that goes beyond games, and instead tried to twist it towards YOUR agenda while trying to stick your nose up at me and tell me how wrong I am for even having the spine to say that its a problem that affects men and women in all forms of media.

If you want to fix the problem then find valid solution that fix the problem. Just stop throwing a single industry and an individual developer under the bus in your quest.

Amir Barak
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@Logan
Whoa there mate, you should go see a doctor about that knee of yours, it's jerking all over the place. (that...that sounded better in my head :P ).

She only pointed to an article about the difference between hyper-sexualization and male-power-fantasy. She ain't killed yer dog.

Elisabeth Beinke-Schwartz
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@Logan

Whoa...

I am totally fine with having an honest discussion about this (specifically in regards to the games industry as we play an active part in it's content creation), but I'd prefer to do it in a calm and non-accusatory way without jumping to conclusions.

You mention I am trying to 'push an agenda', but to be honest, I don't even know what agenda you think I am trying to supposedly push on you, haha. I am not saying we should never sexualized characters (of either gender), just that it'd be good to have a healthy variety of sexualized and non :P

Dane MacMahon
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@ Adam

I'd love it if you listed some reasonably popular movies, TV shows and video games without idealized body types and sexual connotations. Obviously I get my entertainment strictly from the gutter and could learn from your more discerned taste.

Adam Bishop
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You didn't say anything about popularity, you said it's something everyone does because it's human nature.

The two video games I've been playing most lately are XCom and Pokemon X, neither of which feature sexualised characters. The characters in XCom wear so much armor you couldn't tell what kind of body type they have and the female characters are treated identically to the male characters.

I recently watched the TV show Black Books, not much sexualisation of characters going on there. That show didn't broadcast in the U.S. but it was very popular in Britain and won multiple BAFTAs.

And so on.

Kaitlyn Kaid
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@Dane

I think the big difference between the males on romance novels and the ones on movie posters is one of how they are meant to be interacted with.

Movies rarely, if EVER present the male hearthrob as someone the average Jane can actually get with. Who hooks up with Tony Stark? Is it Suzie from accounting? not likely. The difference between an objectified male in a romance novel (and I do agree that it IS objectification), and in most other media streams is who the fantasy is meant for.

In power fantasies, it is more "and X want to be them" rather than "Y's want to be with them". Power fantasies revolve around getting the guy/girl at the end, saving the world, being the "big damn hero" to quote Firefly. Romance fantasies are, for the most part, focus on, well the romance. While the hero/ine may save the world, that plot is secondary to the "sweaty parts".

Movies such as Thor can really not be said to focus on the romance, both because it is rarely tied in any way to the actual plot (beyond rescuing a damsel in distress) and because, well, it's about a freaking awesome super hero and it really wouldn't be half as cool any other way :)

Scott Lavigne
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@Adam

What percentage of actors that appear in mainstream television and film could you consider ugly? In how many of these is it relevant that they're ugly (Steve Buscemi in Fargo, for example)? If it's not important for a character to be ugly (or at least unattractive), then they're rarely average looking.

RJ McManus
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Wow, how quickly we rush to defend Blizzard and decry the feminist warmongers here...

At any rate, anyone who tries to use the fact that they are "not running for President" to justify an apathetic stance toward a significant social issue deserves a fair share of scrutiny. Those kinds of comments deny the responsibility and influence that such individuals have been given, and his follow-up comments- while surely apologetic in nature- come off as more concerned about alienating potential customers than confronting the issue at hand. I guess you can't expect anything more.

Arthur De Martino
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Yeah it's so pathetic that their stance is to make character look cool instead of making characters stand out for something else in their party moba.

RJ McManus
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What "looks cool"? Why does that "look cool" anyway? More precisely, why are sexualized females considered to "look cool"?

To say making "cool-looking" characters is as far as their character design process goes is an intentional misrepresentation of the truth. It's like the President of the US citing "what sounds good" as a grounds for policy.

Kaitlyn Kaid
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@Arthur

"Cool" can be so much more than YABP (yet another boob plate) if you are able to think beyond such limited ideas.

Daneel Filimonov
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Blizzard is a business first and foremost, not a movement. If you want a company that wants to change the way characters are portrayed in games, make one yourself?

Amir Barak
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"make one yourself?"
Worst. Argument. Ever.

Rob Wright
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@Daneel

Would you be saying the same thing if, for example, African-American gamers were upset about being negatively portrayed in video games? Would you also tell that group that it's not the responsbility of a majority white game development industry to worry about their feelings? Would you also tell African American people that the onus is on them to change how games portray them?

scott anderson
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I've seen the "make one yourself" applied to discussions on Gamasutra about the portrayal\inclusion of African American characters in games (http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/SidneyFussell/20130421/190921/Can_
Videogames_Teach_Us_About_Race.php#comment198012). So yes, he probably would :).

Carl Chavez
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I guess one's opinion is largely dependent on how one views game journalism.

If someone likes the typical game developer interview that just talks about a game's particular features, then RPS' interview looks like an ambush. Game interviews are supposed to be lighthearted puff pieces that don't challenge the developer in any way! We don't want to pressure them into changing anything, since game development is hard enough as it is!

However, if someone wishes game journalism to evolve into something that asks more challenging questions about games, then RPS' "tacked-on" question is manna from heaven. Game developers don't come prepared for hard questions because game developers expect game journalists to be wimps. Game developers expect to be asked about a game's features, and that's it. Similarly, many readers expect articles to be as weak and non-threatening as most mainstream journalism is these days.

Did RPS violate the ethics code of journalists (http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp) in any way by asking a question to a game developer whether their game might contain hyper-sexualized content? No. It's a valid question about a game where Kerrigan's, Nova's, and Valla's breasts are larger than their skulls (http://heroesofthestorm.gamepedia.com/File:Kerrigan.png). Asking the question did not cause harm to the developer, but the developer's answer caused damage to itself. The developer's ignorance of the issue is demonstrative of the greater problem in the gaming industry.

I am glad that RPS sometimes asks their interviewees tough questions. It separates them from all of the other sites that have "articles" that sometimes seem like carbon copies. It stimulates dialogue about issues, which is what journalism is supposed to do. Journalism is meant to expose information so people can talk about them, whether they are comfortable... or not.

Mark Velthuis
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I strongly disagree. The question was asked, Dustin Browder responded in what I would say was a quite professional way. Even claiming it was fair feedback and he would take it into consideration. If it had ended there, fine.

The interviewer went out of line with the follow up questions, which were really more statements instead of questions. Clearly not happy with the response given to the first question, the interviewer pressed on.

The interviewer should have known this is a dangerous topic (Minimize Harm, failed), clearly didn't agree with the reply he got, and argued about it (Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived, failed).
Some other things that the interviewer failed :
Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.

Also the interviewer didn't ask this question until time was running low, and didn't stop asking about it until the interview ended. To me this looks like the most "convenient" time to get another "game devs are sexist" scandal going.

Amir Barak
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"Also the interviewer didn't ask this question until time was running low"
Seems to me time didn't run low until the interviewer asked the question, but whatever.

"Minimize Harm" - I think you need to re-read the link. This isn't about minimizing the discomfort of their interviewee. It's about reporting sensitive information in a sensitive way, not cuddling assholes (not saying the guy from Blizzard is an asshole mind you so don't go jumping on this).

"Avoid conflicts of interest" - This is under "Being Accountable". The interviewer isn't on the payroll of a competing company, isn't developing a competing game and isn't employed by a magazine specifically associated with hating Blizzard. So, yeah, doesn't really apply here either.

"Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others."
"Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant."
He has supported it by asking, otherwise he'd have added those view LATER and edited the article in a way to make Blizzard look bad. In fact I'd say the opposite of Browder who shut him down on that topic (and later apologized).

I don't think you understood the concept of that link... It's about being an ethical reporter by asking hard and fair questions which detail real news about real issues.

***
http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2006/01/20
As relevant then as it is now it seems :D

Mark Velthuis
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The interview mentions "[PR motions that time is running low]" before the question is asked.

I'd also like to emphasize the point that the FIRST part of the interviewers question was indeed a valid question. The interviewer also got a valid response, however he clearly didn't like the response, and started arguing about it, putting Browder on the defense.

"Minimize Harm" This part contains the following
"Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage" I'm pretty sure this includes the one being interviewed. These kind of things came up in interviews before, and risked image and career of developers just because they said something they didn't really put much though it, at the wrong time. From my point of view, Browder didn't shut anything down, he just didn't have anything left to say that wouldn't hurt the conversation more than it already did.

"Avoid conflicts of interest" Unlike you say, this is actually under "Act Independently". The interviewer clearly did not when he openly objected to the responses he got on the questions. Not to mention the follow up post where he went all personal on it. I' also like to point out that "interests" are not limited to work/company related issues but also things like religion and other cultural views.

"Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others." Again, emphasis on the point that his FIRST question was valid. The interviewer clearly started to push his own beliefs about sexualization onto Browder when he didn't get the response he hoped for.

I'd also like to point out that sexualization itself, isn't bad. A lot of people, both male and female, like sexualization. A lot of people (also both male and female) hate it. It's something that's not for everyone, just like violence, blood, and strong language.

Amir Barak
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""Avoid conflicts of interest" Unlike you say, this is actually under "Act Independently""
My bad, misread the headline. I don't think it invalidates my point concerning it though.

"Minimize Harm" - so the guy interviewing Assad should really be careful not to ask him any questions about chemical weapons and his involvement with the massacre of the Syrian people? because it might make Assad uncomfortable??

Browder could have said no comment. Could have cut the interview (which he did) or could have said any number of things to express his ideas that would not paint him and the company in what could be perceived as a bad light. This is the reason why he later issued an apology; not to actually do anything other than repair damage done through a thoughtless answer to a legitimate question.

***
"I'd also like to point out that sexualization itself, isn't bad. A lot of people, both male and female, like sexualization. A lot of people (also both male and female) hate it. It's something that's not for everyone, just like violence, blood, and strong language."
I'm not sure I understand the meaning of 'sexualization' within the context of your sentence. Can you elaborate on this idea?

Mark Velthuis
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"My bad, misread the headline. I don't think it invalidates my point concerning it though."
I'll try to explain it again. The interviewer clearly had different ideas and opinions on sexualization. While with his first question about it, he took a neutral stance, he made it very clear that he did not like the asnwer he was getting and tried (what it looked like to me) to convince Browder to take a different stance. He didn't act independantly, he clearly took the side of "sexualization is bad".

"so the guy interviewing Assad should really be careful not to ask him any questions about chemical weapons and his involvement with the massacre of the Syrian people? because it might make Assad uncomfortable??" Try not to blow things out of proportion here. We're talking about sexualization, not massacre. And it's not about making him uncomfortable either, it's about risking the guys job and image as game developer, not to mention the prevention of another "sexism scandal". I think we've had enough of those scandals and they realy don't do anything constructive to the actual issues.

"could have said any number of things to express his ideas"
Browder expressed his ideas. He admitted that the characters were sexualized, he said it was fair feedback and he said that those are the characters he and his team thinks are cool. The interviewer challanged those ideas, that's where it went downhill.

the meaning of 'sexualization' in my context is this : Adding more sexappeal to a character. Larger breasts for the women, a 6-pack for the guys, sexy clothing etc. And as long as that's not the only reason for the character's existence, I think that's fine. This is not the same as sexual objectification, where a sexualized character is used for the sole purpose of sexappeal (boothbabes for example). Sidenote : not even feminists seem to agree on wether sexual objectification is good or bad.

Now I agree on the fact that some developers and/or publishers are guilty sexual objectification. I also agree that sexualization is sometimes done too much. The request for less sexualization is a fair request and I would applaud any developer for honoring that request. HOWEVER ! It's not WE who get to decide what developer has to do that. They deliver games to us, they cater to our needs, we can voice our needs, but we have no right to get angry if the developer choses to ignore them.

Somewhere in a pote you said
"make one yourself?"
Worst. Argument. Ever.

And I agree, kinda. Not everyone has the means necesary to create a game. Not to mention that it can kinda come across as "You are powerless, stop whining."
But it's still a better argument than pointing fingers at a random large company and going "YOU have to fix this for us". We need to stop pretending that it's these big companies who are at fault for this. Not to mention picking just one person who just happens to have a high position in said company and pretty much hold him accountable for it.

Amir Barak
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"not even feminists seem to agree on wether sexual objectification is good or bad." Huh? I'd like to see this claim backed with some Feminist sources that claim 'sexual objectification is good'.

As far as the Assad example goes; First, it's only an example of a given situation, I'm not equating both situations in terms of severity. Secondly and more worrying. With Assad it's easy to see the line, easy to say here are the hard questions that need answers. Unlike massacres and WMDs which are obviously bad, sexualization, objectification (etc) exert subtle cultural influence. It's much easier for people to ignore them because of that and it's important that we don't.

Adding more "Sex Appeal" to characters because it's the popular thing to do demeans not only our characters but ourselves in the process. Do you really think that cool characters need giants tits? a flamboyant vagina or a huge penis (or the other way as well) just to make them better? really? really??

It panders to the lowest common denominator and this is the reason most games produce toxic environments. It IS totally our responsibility as developers to makes sure our products are not designed to be toxic or demeaning to any particular group. And when we, as developers, don't give a damn about these issues it IS totally other people's role to pick us up on it.

***
I would also like to add to this; I'm not defending RPS here, I don't like most of their writers and the way they write. I barely read their articles. I also think that the reporter in question violated a few of the points in the related link for journalists. I just don't think they were the points you referred to.

Mark Velthuis
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex-positive_feminism

And if you search the internet, you'll find tons of other sites in case you're one of those people that thinks everything on wiki is false.

"sexualization, objectification (etc) exert subtle cultural influence. It's much easier for people to ignore them because of that and it's important that we don't."
There are much worse problems when it comes to cultural influences in gaming. Like how female gamers are treated in general. How female characters are excluded from marketing (like how the publishers didn't allow for Elizabeth to be on the boxart of Bioshock infinite). The lack of overall good female characters. I'm willing to bet that most people would rather see a well written strong female character that's sexualized, than a bad written weak non-sexualized character.

"Adding more "Sex Appeal" to characters because it's the popular thing to do"
You can add more Sex Appeal because it makes the character look better. And no a character doesn't NEED giant breasts to make it better, but sometimes it DOES make it better. Thinking giant breasts always makes a character better is just as shallow as thinking it always makes a character worse. (also try to keep it civil, you're kinda starting to sound hostile and blowing things out of proportion, nobody ever claimed video game characters need to show off their genitalia).

And it is NOT the responsibility of developers to make sure products are not designed to be toxic to a particular group. Everybody can be offended by anything, if you don't like a particular product, don't use it. This goes for everything. Music, movies, books, even food. We don't take pork meat out of our supermarkets just because it offends some religions, or any kind of meat to make sure not to offend the vegans and vegetarians. And if you're realy thinking sexualization is what makes games produce toxic environments, you may want to do some research on how LoL started dealing with toxicity. Spoiler : It's not by removing sexualization.

Amir Barak
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex-positive_feminism
Talks about viewing sex as a social construct and argue for validation and acceptable of sexuality. It doesn't actually support sexualization itself;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexualization

"also try to keep it civil, you're kinda starting to sound hostile and blowing things out of proportion, nobody ever claimed video game characters need to show off their genitalia"
Do the words penis and vagina offend you somehow? how is that hostile? What makes you think showing breasts and asses is better (or less objectionable) than genitalia? (do you find something visually unpleasant about genitalia, I don't get it?)...?

"We don't take pork meat out of our supermarkets just because it offends some religions,"
Pork meat doesn't offend certain religions (Islam, Judaism), it's against the religion. It isn't the same so don't try to pass it off like it is. And the same thing about about meat and vegetarians. By the way and on that note. I'm a meat eater and seeing what passes off as meat in supermarkets today offends the hell out of me. Maybe if we started thinking about some of the things we take for granted the world would be less crap. But I guess that's too hard so let's just ignore all those little pesky products that are the problem, right? I'm sure that'll simply make them go away.

"rather see a well written strong female character that's sexualized, than a bad written weak non-sexualized character"
I'm not sure we're using the same nomenclature here to be honest. There's nothing wrong with a well written sexual character. But having a well written character that is [hyper] sexualized is an oxymoron, with a strong emphasis on the moron (who wrote it).
A well written character is believable; they have needs, wants, morals, ideas and they act upon those with consistency and awareness. Sexualizing a character means bringing her tits, ass, penis/vagina to the forefront and making those the objects of the character - this is, by definition, a badly written character.

"And it is NOT the responsibility of developers to make sure products are not designed to be toxic to a particular group."
Of course it is silly, why wouldn't it be? We have a responsibility for the products we make. I don't see why you'd think differently?

"And if you're realy thinking sexualization is what makes games produce toxic environments,"
Never said it was the sole reason for creating a toxic environment; but it certainly doesn't help.

"Thinking giant breasts always makes a character better is just as shallow as thinking it always makes a character worse"
I don't think that at all, nor have I expressed that opinion. I am saying, however, that concentrating on the character's breasts, ass, penis/vagina makes the character worse because it becomes nothing more than those things. You can't have it both ways, if you're making a female soldier then giving her GIANT TITS with minimal clothing, it means the armor makes no sense and her movements are limited and the fighting becomes a constricted ridiculous affair and in general it just doesn't make much sense. Go do some research on armor and fighting, you'll find that high heels and knickers don't make quite as much sense as you think they do.

Kyle Redd
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@Amir

For a concrete example of a feminist who appreciates sexualization of female characters in gaming, take a look at Amanda Lange's review of Dragon's Crown: http://tinyurl.com/kkyt8bf

"I consider it a problem that so many on the internet feel a need to ďrepairĒ the clothing of fictional women who are wearing too little for their taste. It often feels like slut-shaming, and alienates and demeans women who actually like these fantasy portrayals."

Mark Velthuis
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"Do the words penis and vagina offend you somehow? how is that hostile?"
The hostility comes from the tone you set while brining them up. Taking my opinion/point of view, twisting it into ridicules proportions to try and make my whole opinion look ridiculous. Just kind of how you're trying to make me look ridiculous by implying I get offended by the words penis and vagina. You're comparing breast implants to running around naked.
"Pork meat doesn't offend certain religions (Islam, Judaism), it's against the religion." " I'm a meat eater and seeing what passes off as meat in supermarkets today offends the hell out of me."
Ok I stand corrected on the fact that pork meat offends these religions. But thanks for proving my point that there are people who are offended by things that go on in a super market.

"let's just ignore all those little pesky products that are the problem, right? I'm sure that'll simply make them go away."
I'll tell you what those "pesky little problems" you are talking about realy are. The people who DON'T get offended. And there are a lot of them. As long as people keep buying these products, they will keep on making them. So yes, if all of us ignore them, they will go away because they will stop making money.

"I don't think that at all, nor have I expressed that opinion."
"But having a well written character that is [hyper] sexualized is an oxymoron"
"I am saying, however, that concentrating on the character's breasts, ass, penis/vagina makes the character worse because it becomes nothing more than those things."
This seems contradicting to me.
Also, what if I told you that you don't have to focus on the large breasts just because they are there ?

I would also argue that the limited female clothing offers a lot more freedom of movement than the super bulky armor males have. I have in fact quite a bit of knowledge about weapon design, I practiced mideval combat arts for 2 years, and also got a bit of education about metallurgy. I can tell you that most of the weapons and armor used in fantasy games are impractical (if not suicidaly stupid). But isn't that why it's called fantasy ? These are games, they don't need to be realistic or even make sense.

"Never said it was the sole reason for creating a toxic environment; but it certainly doesn't help."
I'm willing to claim that it doesn't make it worse either. Maybe this is the time you came with some proof ? Perhaps show some research ?

"Of course it is silly, why wouldn't it be? We have a responsibility for the products we make. I don't see why you'd think differently?"
Don't try to turn things around here. We have the responsibility for what we create. But we are also the ones who get to choose what goal we're trying to reach by creating. If someone's goal is to create a game that covers up females, makes them less sexually attractive, that's fine. But this isn't the goal of Blizzard, it's your goal, and you're pointing at Blizzard to make your goal a reality. That's like telling Eminem to create Metal songs, or Micheal Bay to create a romantic comedy. Again, sexualization is not inherently a bad thing nor is it inherently sexist, it's an art style, a preference, nothing more.

Example 1 : When Metroid : Other M was released, fans were upset. Were they upset about breast reductions? That she gained weight? No, fans were upset because her character was reduced from a strong individual bountyhunting female, to a teenage girl with daddy issues. Samus is however a sexualized character, she's designed to look attractive. Yet people still were upset about her change in character. Proving that sexualizing a character doesn't make people ignore her other aspects.

Example 2 : Bayonetta is a higly sexualized character. Allmost every single thing she does and wears is sexualized. Yet she's considered by many females to be a great female character because of the sexualization. There are also many people, male and female, who don't like her because she's sexualized. This proves my point that sexualization by itself, is a matter of taste, nothing more.

One could argue that the games INDUSTRY (ab)uses sexualization too much. I would personaly agree, and I think the request for characters that are not sexualized is a fair request. But we should not blame for the current situation on a single developer, nor should we get to chose which developer has the responsibility to make this change. And I'm not even mentioning the fact that there are much larger problems in the games industry at the moment.

http://www.dualshockers.com/2012/12/01/bioshock-infinite-official
-box-art-has-no-elizabeth/

http://www.joystiq.com/2013/03/20/publishers-rejected-remember-me
-because-of-female-lead/

http://www.penny-arcade.com/report/article/sexual-harassment-as-e
thical-imperative-the-ugly-side-of-fighting-games

How about we stop worrying about virtual breast implants and give these problems some attention ?

Amir Barak
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"But isn't that why it's called fantasy"
Hardly the point though; if the word fantasy solves it why do women get skimpy clothing but not men?

"That's like telling Eminem to create Metal songs"
You mean like this one?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkLclgtGDB4

"if someone's goal is to create a game that covers up females, makes them less sexually attractive, that's fine. But this isn't the goal of Blizzard, it's your goal, and you're pointing at Blizzard to make your goal a reality"
Whoa, what?
First, don't tell me what my goal is especially since you've clearly not understood it.
Secondly, for the people arguing this case the goal isn't to make a game about strong female characters, it's about making Blizzard modify the representation of females in THEIR games. So, again, what are you talking about?

"How about we stop worrying about virtual breast implants and give these problems some attention ?"
Way to reduce the issue of sexualization and objectification of characters as "virtual breast implants". You're arguments seem really all over the place to me, we're not actually disagreeing on the subject, it's just you seem to think that the way characters are visually designed is somehow separated from the attitudes of their creators. I don't understand this approach.

"Perhaps show some research ? "
Maybe read down your own post. Sexualization and objectification are among the factors which lead to issues such as you linked. That is a toxic environment...

"But thanks for proving my point that there are people who are offended by things that go on in a super market."
Are you saying it's wrong to get offended by offensive things displayed publicly? We (my family) try to buy organic food where possible and maximize our usage of food. We don't buy junk, we don't buy things that cannot be recycled somehow and yeah, I get offended and annoyed seeing how supermarkets are stocked because it's perpetuating a cycle of self-destruction. Feel free to ignore that, but don't think that you aren't affected by people eating shit.

"Just kind of how you're trying to make me look ridiculous"
I apologize if it appeared this way as it was not my intent. I'm actually enjoying this discussion (I like a good natter if you've not noticed) :D

Mark Velthuis
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"Hardly the point though; if the word fantasy solves it why do women get skimpy clothing but not men?" Some men actually do (Conan the Barbarian for example). But you are right that women more often get skimpy clothing than men. And it's a very good question, one that I unfortunately can't answer even tho I do have some theories about it. There are a few things that I'm wondering about.

While it's undenyable that males in games are stereotyped aswell, people argue that these however, are male power fantasies, and because of that don't cater to females. So I'm wondering
* Does a male power fantasy realy exclude the possibility of it being attractive to females ?
* What exactly DOES make a male video character attractive to females.

"You mean like this one?"
Nice find, but missing the point. This song wasn't created because a group of people went "We need more metal" or "We need less rap".

"it's about making Blizzard modify the representation of females in THEIR games" This is my point : WE don't get to choose what Blizzard does in THIER games.

"it's just you seem to think that the way characters are visually designed is somehow separated from the attitudes of their creators. I don't understand this approach." That's because I think it is. Samus, Kerrigan and Bayonetta, all sexualized characters are clearly created with different attitudes than Ivy and Kasumi. Some developers sexualize their characters because they think it makes their character look better, some developers sexualize their characters because "sex sells".

"Sexualization and objectification are among the factors which lead to issues such as you linked. That is a toxic environment..." No, it actually does not. The first 2 links were about publishers making wrong decisions/assumptions. Every reaction to these actions I saw was in favor of the females. Nobody agreed with what the publishers did. The third link I would say is caused by a case of "boys will be boys" combined with a male dominated environment.

"Are you saying it's wrong to get offended by offensive things displayed publicly?" Oh no, by all means be offended. Voice your opinion. It's your right to do so. In fact it's a great way for suppliers to realize there's a different market that may still be relatively untouched. However it's also the right of other people to completely ignore your opinions and requests. They are suppliers, they supply what people want, if they didn't, they would not make money. A lack of alternative options would usually suggest that (unfortunate as it may be) there simply are not enough people requesting it to make it worth it.

"I apologize if it appeared this way as it was not my intent."
Apology accepted.

Amir Barak
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:D

Anton Temba
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Big ups to Nathan Grayson for doing the right thing, even if it was so bold and provoking.

Dane MacMahon
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I had my wife read the original interview and the follow-up editorial. While her response was too unprofessional to post here, let me sum it up as " this journalist needs to get over himself."

RPS needs to learn that how you come across is just as important as your message.

James Yee
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Hmm... I need to do the same with my wife Dane. I have a feeling she'd say similar things to your wife. :)

Adam Bishop
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And then I can have my girlfriend read it and she can say something completely different and we can all draw whatever broad conclusion we like from personal anecdotes.

Dane MacMahon
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@ Adam

It's funny, you're mocking me but all you do is reaffirm a core point of my argument.

Women are not some hive mind a man can stand up for with absolute conviction and arrogance. They, like all humans, have varied perspectives on what is objectifying and when objectifying is bad. That's why when someone is the loudest voice in the room about these issues it can sometimes come across poorly if not done correctly and with genuine interest in dialog.

This is where RPS is failing for a lot of us that share its general view, and why a lot of their users are screaming "enough already." They start from an opinion on where the line is and push their views as if they were emergency facts across the board, to be acted upon immediately at penalty of complete disassociation and scorn. It just comes across as pompous jumping jacks in a crowded room of people trying to have real discussions.

Which is a shame because Zerg bikinis are a thing we should point out as stupid.

evan c
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@Dane

I wish I can click like on your comment more than once.

Adam Bishop
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"Women are not some hive mind a man can stand up for with absolute conviction and arrogance. They, like all humans, have varied perspectives on what is objectifying and when objectifying is bad."

Total strawman. No one believes otherwise.

Dane MacMahon
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Then don't dismiss my wife's comments as anecdotal?

The point is RPS and many other internet warriors tend to think they're fighting a mighty crusade and are obviously correct in all things, which leads to very confrontational articles, interviews and follow-ups. This tactic completely ignores actual, reasonable dialog about the issues though: it's just dogmatic preaching with a hammer.

No one is persuaded by that. Not when Pat Robertson does it on abortion and not when Republicans do it on budgeting. Certainly not when John Walker does it about video game sexism.

I want a real dialog on these issues, not "look at how right I am and look at what a bad person you are oh have a problem well stop being sexist," which is what RPS is doing.

Amir Barak
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I think in this case it was Nathan Grayson but yeah, I agree. RPS goes in so heavy handed in some cases it does hurt their message more than help...

Michal Butterweck
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The Romans had a sentence: de gustibus non disputandum est... And I think they were wise in that. I really do not understand the whole dispute. That about sexism. If you want to change it, then do it. Make a game (movie, book, whatever) in other setting. Is Elizabeth from Bioshock over-sexualized, or new Tomb Rider? But, do not force others to follow your vision.

Hmm.. The same was with Mass Effect ending. For me, it was simply, or even horrible, cheap ending. But, that was the view of the authors - which may not make well on the market, that is another issue. I think some people like to sell freedom for improperly understood equality.

Amir Barak
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Making a game doesn't solve it though, much like not-owning-slaves didn't solve the slavery issue (which was only solved after people actively fought over it).

Do not force others?
If I see someone hitting their kid I'll f***ing step in and intervene.
Saying, "eh, there's no accounting for taste. If you don't like hitting kids go make your own" is beyond ridiculous.

Randall Stevens
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@Amir

So you support the idea of using force to impose personal moral standards on others? An easy stance to have if you pick something as indefensible as beating a child as your target. Other issues or circumstances would probably find your view conflicting itself.

Amir Barak
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Step in and intervene is not the "force" I was speaking of. In that case we physically stop the behavior we find reprehensible (and I'm pretty sure you'll find that beating a kid is not quite as indefensible in some people's opinion). The forcing we've done there isn't of the physical aspect, it is that of "forcing" our opinion that beating a child is "wrong" on the person beating the kid. In fact I would go on to say that after we stop the beating we'd involve the police and social services and let them "force" the moral of the law upon the perpetrator.

Anything we do in media, being that creating games, making movies, writing books, posting up comments in Gamasutra can be seen as forcing our opinion on people. We argue for what we feel is right, some people argue that god exists and other people with a working brain kindly disagree. It's the nature of the beast and its the only way we, as a society, change. Not always for the better mind you but at least we should try.

Creating a product to "counter" the other product perceived morally bankrupt does not change the other product. Fighting to eliminate the other product is the only way to achieve change. Don't misunderstand my stance on this; we should most definitely also create better products to show that it can be done but it isn't orthogonal to also trying to stop the bad products from happening.

Michal Butterweck
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Yes, I agree. Your argument about violence is beyond ridiculous. But, they do not have slaves. One may buy this game or may not. There is no hurt. They do not enforce you, or me, or anybody to play the game. So, why do we try to enforce them? Yes, the content may be a problem if someone who do not like to see some sort of things meet them in the public. That is ok, hide it, make ratings, etc. This is a fair solution. But, enforcing (auto)censorship is not a way I will vote for. Voting with a wallet may seem to look like enforcing them too, but they still may make their product like they want.

Personally, I do not prefer violent games, modern war games. But, I simply do not play them. That's it. The way this discussion goes, on both sides, seems to be overreacted. Too much emotions, too less arguments. The whole topic now for me just turned to be a bubble. It is not a real discussion. And I believe that moral standards go from down to up (your family, your social group), not from up to down (government regulations, business taboo).

Amir Barak
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"But, they do not have slaves"
I'm not sure where this fits to be honest; are you claiming that it's alright to beat a kid if you don't have slaves, or that it's alright to objectify male/females as long as no slaves are owned?

"One may buy this game or may not. There is no hurt. "
Also not true. I don't know where you're from or what the government is like over there but I'm pretty sure you think freedom of speech means it's alright to say what you want and if people don't want to hear they can just not listen. It's not how freedom of speech works.

Again, hypersexualization and objectification in media product will most definitely relate back to you and your family and friends even if you pretend these product don't exist because of a little thing called society. We are not islands, we live a large group with a lot of social forces (for better or worse) and allowing 'toxic' (I kind of like that term now) products affects everyone. It's like the kiddie pool when someone does a poo in it; sure, you can ignore it and just work around it but you'll be playing alone in there 'cause everyone's gone.

"And I believe that moral standards go from down to up (your family, your social group), not from up to down (government regulations, business taboo)."
I don't know what this means, I honestly don't. I tried really hard to understand this concept but I can't. Can you elaborate?

Randall Stevens
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Freedom of speech doesn't just protect the things that you agree with. The most important part is that it protects all the things you don't agree with, or that the government doesn't agree with.

If you find it morally justifiable to eliminate products that you don't agree with, then you also have to find other instances of this behavior to be morally justified, in the actions taken, even if you don't agree with the reasoning. By this I mean that you would have to agree that protest groups were right to try and ban rock music and video games and movies that they deemed offensive. You may disagree with what they wanted banned, and the reasons why, but you would have to agree with groups actions trying to ban those things. This would also lead me to presume that since you believe these things should be "eliminated" you think that a form of force should be used to prevent their existence.

I do not mean force in the physical sense, as our government has made itself the chief arbiter of physical violence in this country. There are many forms of force that can be applied, and we have seen economic and social forces have been used to exact change without any physical force.

So what we end up with is you holding to a belief that it is morally right to use a form of force to remove media that you deem to be unfit for the society in which we live. A large number of groups that you probably don't like very much have used this same rhetoric. There is no moral distinction in the act of you arguing for banning games with sexualized females and the act of a religious group arguing for banning movies with homosexual characters. There are differences in the reasons, and the side you have chosen protects you here with the safe blanket of social progress, but you argue for the same methods as them.

I support your right to this argument (as part of that free speech thing you don't seem to understand, though my support is moot since I in no way represent the government and no longer have any formal ties to it), but I very much disagree with the argument itself.

Amir Barak
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"or that the government doesn't agree with"
That's, again, wrong. Try walking around preaching for violent action against the government. Try writing a book calling for action against a specific racial (I don't like that word particularly to describe this idea but it's all we have at the moment) group.

To paraphrase Orwell, "All opinions are equal, it's just that some opinions are more equal than others".

There are ways of measuring the effects of opinions on a group of people.

"there is no moral distinction in the act of you arguing for banning games with sexualized females and the act of a religious group arguing for banning movies with homosexual characters."
Hahaha, oh my god, bwahahaha... that's hilarious... seriously...

Read, interesting stuff :D
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech

Randall Stevens
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First off, this government doesn't adhere to black and white ideals. So they aren't a paragon for anything, let alone freedom of speech.

So you pick one of the rare instances where something is going to not be allowed. We aren't talking about hate speech here. We aren't dealing with something that is proven to incite violence.

Now let's consider all of the examples of things that the government may not agree with, but are still protected. Every time there is a change in the ruling party, many of the previous stances are things that they no longer agree with. Both parties have groups they would like to silence. Every protest march pisses off some member of government, but they can't just stop them from happening.

Which one of these two things did you think I was talking about when I spoke about free speech? Hate speech and speech presenting an immediate risk to public safety..... or every other form of speech that is protected? I know you know which one we are talking about.

Also, why did you take that sentence you quoted out of context. I know the distinction you are drawing, which I address in the next sentence by saying: "There are differences in the reasons" The similarities I am presenting are of you wanting to ban something because it doesn't agree with you morally, and a religious group wanting to ban something because they find it morally offensive. You even used the same rhetoric as them. Referring to something as "toxic" to society is the same way I have heard religious nuts talk about homosexuals. Even our own industry was, in recent history, railed against as being toxic to society.

I don't disagree with your reasons. I think many of these same things are unhelpful to people, but I will not support the use of force to prevent people from creating things (obviously things that are not of immediate threat to the lives of other, since that's not what we are talking about at all).

AJ S
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I really don't see the problem... Most gamers are men and the studios are just delivering what their audience wants. That simple.

Andrew Wallace
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This assumption is part of the problem, and is 100% incorrect.

david canela
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...well, what is the problem with someone else pointing out and debating what these studios are delivering? I don't see a problem there, either. ;)

I'm a big fan of creative freedom. I'm also a big fan of content producers reflecting a bit about what they're actually outputting. What I don't get is why sometimes people get so defensive when valid issues are discussed. It's not like gender-equality-fixated journalists are asking for legislation to forbid sexist games (as far as I'm aware).

Hakim Boukellif
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You say you don't understand why some people get so defensive over this, yet in the very next sentence you use the term "sexist games". Being excessively accusatory will get people defensive no matter how valid the issue being discussed is.

Matt Boudreaux
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I agree with Hakim. I'm all for discussion of the representation of females in games, but when one side starts throwing out loaded terms like "sexist", "misogynistic", "male power fantasy", and "privilege" - then it's hard not to be defensive, especially in a public discussion where those words could be seen as a form of public shaming.

Rob Wright
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@Matt

For those "loaded terms," are you referring to people here using them or are you referring to RPS and Nathan Grayson?

Reason I ask is, I don't think Grayson was trying to personally indict Browder with his interview/column. In fact, it felt like he went out of his way to give the guy a fair shake in his columne (read the second graph).

Kaitlyn Kaid
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I mentioned this above but it needs to be said again: No one is asking to remove YABP (Yet Another Boob Plate), what we are talking about is MORE choice.

If you want to put YABP in your F2P game, great, go for it, but do know that I'm not going to spend money on the skin. If all you have is YABP then, well, you're not going to get much change from me. However, when you add other types of "cool" such as real, honest to gods protective looking armor you might just get me to buy in.

When you limit your creativity to YABP you limit your income to those who like that and ONLY that. When you start looking outside the box, pushing the creative envelope, you end up with better games and better income.

Matt Boudreaux
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@Rob

I was speaking about the tone in general when this discussion comes up. Not specifically about RPS (which you're correct didn't use those terms).

RJ McManus
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@Matt

When such lines of argument are likewise applied to terms like "racist" and "homophobic", the result tends to be rather cringe-worthy. Personally I can agree when it comes to "privilege", but if "one side" puts themselves in a position where they are susceptible to terms like "sexist" or "misogynistic" being thrown their way, they should probably worry more about what they did to get where they are rather than question the appropriateness of using such terms in a discussion.

I wouldn't resort to "privilege" and "misogyny" also seems a bit strong for this particular case, but for all the "we should be really careful about using such loaded terms" talk that I hear, I don't often see them being used to disproportionately exaggerate situations.

Hakim Boukellif
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@RJ
You're missing the point. The issue here is that the assertion of these being cases of "sexism" or "misogyny" is by no means an undeniable fact, not whether or not sexists and misogynists should be called out for what they are.

Yama Habib
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Dustin Browder* not "Browden"

Terry Matthes
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I just started playing the Hearthstone beta was actually struck by how all the female characters look like white women with huge boobs. Terribly uncreative :|

Chris James
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That's the key thing to me. Tremendous physical variety among humans, even among the subset of beautiful people, we keep seeing the same handful of types. As artists, these people are shamefully limited, immature, or both.

Brian Buchner
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More feminist agenda. What else is new?

Amir Barak
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Judging by that contribution let me list a few new things that happened recently you may have missed;
* Slavery was abolished.
* World War 1&2.
* Women can vote now (crazy I know)
* People of skins other than white can now sit anywhere they want (on buses AND in parks).
* There were people on the moon (this might be more American agenda I guess).
* Israel became a recognized country.
* Someone invented a light bulb that works.
* AC/DC (not just the band :P).
* Computers became kind of a big thing.
* Judging people's intelligence by bumps on their heads is not real science.

*sigh* ...

Jason Long
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I'm glad this topic continues to be one of discussion. It's crucially important to the entire industry, and it absolutely should be explored at every opportunity.


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