Square Enix has responded to allegations that a black character in Deus Ex: Human Revolution
is a racist caricature, saying "it has never been our intention to represent any particular ethnic group in a negative light."
The issue centers around the Human Revolution
character of Letitia, an informant that protagonist Adam Jensen finds picking through trash on the streets of Detroit. The character's vocal performance
has drawn criticism from some as a caricature of negative stereotypes surrounding African Americans.
The concerns surrounding Letitia gained prominence thanks in part to a recent blog post by Time's Evan Narcisse
, who said the character "look[s] and sound[s] like an homage to Amos 'n' Andy" and "embodies a strain of racist stereotype that renders black people as less than human, as the worst that society has to offer."
Now, Human Revolution
publisher Square Enix has issued a statement in response to these concerns, saying "Deus Ex: Human Revolution
is a fictional story which reflects the diversity of the world's future population by featuring characters of various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds."
"While these characters are meant to portray people living in the year 2027, it has never been our intention to represent any particular ethnic group in a negative light," the statement concludes.
In 2009, Japanese publisher Capcom stepped into a racially-charged controversy amidst concerns over its portrayal of native African zombies
in Resident Evil 5
Speaking to Gamasutra last year
, Capcom PR manager Melody Pfeiffer said the controversy stemmed from international cultural differences, and made the company "much more aware of how important it is that [the American branch is] part of the asset creation process early on so that we are able to have a say in the end product."