Dragon’s Crown Fiasco: Kotaku Really Needs To Stop Letting Teenage Boys Write Their Articles

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you have no doubt noticed the sudden escalation in discussion about sexism in videogames, the industry, and the community. In fact, according to Gamasutra, 2012 was “The year the discussion about equality in games began”.

No doubt you are also aware of Dragon’s Crown, the jawdroppingly gorgeous high definition, hand painted 2D brawler from Vanillaware most infamous for its chesty sorceress. Indeed it was only a matter of time before the two collided.

See, back when Dragon’s Crown was first announced, it was considered okay. We saw the over-the-top character designs and said “Wow those sure are over-the-top!” but continued to drool over the amazing game. It was the kind of thing that we always wanted but never thought could exist. Because, back in the 90s the beat ’em up genre vanished right as it was hitting it’s stride, stunting the growth of the genre. Shortly thereafter, 2D visuals in general were considered “outdated” and their growth too was stunted. So seeing such gorgeous 2D visuals coupled with evolved brawler gameplay is like a dream come true to many gamers. Especially the game’s own creator: George Kamitani. Dragon’s Crown was originally planned for the SEGA Dreamcast but the project was put on hold for more than a decade.

But now, “things have changed”. The pressure is on regarding sexualized female character design. It is apparently no longer “okay” to have such characters in your game, like it was back when it first entered development.

This leads to the embarrassing incident involving Kotaku. With the release of the Sorceress gameplay trailer, Kotaku writer Jason Schreier posted it with a short article titled “Game Developers Really Need To Stop Letting Teenage Boys Design Their Characters” The exact text of the article reads “As you can see, the sorceress was designed by a 14-year-old boy. Perhaps game development studios should stop hiring teenagers? At least they’re cheap, I guess.”

Upon hearing this, George Kamitani responded on Facebook with a post reading “It seems that Mr. Jason Schreier of Kotaku is pleased also with neither sorceress nor amazon. The art of the direction which he likes was prepared.” alongside a picture of three muscular bearded men giving each other noogies.

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Suddenly the thing exploded. People were shocked and aghast that George Kamitani would kinda sorta make a gay joke and thus engage in “Casual Homophobia”.

Meanwhile, Jason Schrier posted another article titled “The Real Problem With That Controversial, Sexy Video Game Sorceress” the article takes back the 14-year-old boy crack but then proceeds to try and take a “serious” stance with phrases like “For now, I’d like to elaborate on my criticism, because this subject deserves more thought and consideration than a few snarky lines below a trailer.” and “I’m not saying this particular piece of art should not exist, but I have no qualms about saying I think it can hurt this game and gaming as a whole.” with Jason trying to take the high ground and leave Kamitani with egg on his face, dragging his name through the mud.

First of all, the opening comments were both equally childish. Yes, Kamitani’s had a slight air of casual homophobia to it but I feel it is no worse than what he got from Kotaku. Jason Schrier made a childish inflammatory comment, like Kotaku writers tend to, and he got a childish inflammatory response. This is pretty common as the tone for this “discussion” was set.

This isn’t the first time Kotaku has pulled bullcrap like this. How about that time they wrote the article “The Guy Who Made Bayonetta Is Clueless about Valve and PC Gaming” which they then retitled and altered when Kamiya told them to shove it. What about that time they whipped gamers into a frenzy over a Dad being unsure about purchasing a Wii for his sons and then acted aghast and morally outraged when they lashed out at him. Again, taking the moral highground.

This is what drives me perhaps the most insane about Kotaku. They’re the tabloid rag of game journalism. They post the most useless crap and the most inflammatory article titles to drive up hits. Then they decide to take the moral highground and wag their fingers at everyone and tell us how ashamed we should all be.

Perhaps most egregious is how Jason brings up completely unrelated and far more serious issues like “One Reason Why”, in turn watering them down and using them as a smoke screen to make himself seem like some righteous crusader.

No, fuck you Kotaku.

Luke Plunkett tried to iron over this with the article “Beyond The Bosoms, This Art Is Some Of The Best In The Business” writing “In some ways it’s a little sad that the first time many people are hearing the name ‘George Kamitani’ this week is because of the issues some are having with Dragon’s Crown’s characters, because the man is also responsible for some of the finest artwork the medium of video games has ever seen.” As one commentor wrote “You mean the issue your coworker had with said characters? The same coworker who then proceeded to highlight that solitary aspect of George’s work while at the same time calling him a child? Is that what you’re referring to?”

Indeed, it is going to take more than a post of a bunch of random George Kamitani art to iron this one over.

Penny Arcade’s The PA Report also weighed in with another article. Titled “You don’t like breasts? You must like men: The disappointing conversation and art of Dragon’s Crown” the second half of the article reitterates this statement with the line “You don’t like my art? What are you, gay?” in large bold text as though to claim these were George Kamitani’s exact words and continues to flog the point about the harm of “Casual Homophobia” casting the blame on him for a few misused (and awkwardly written) words. “If he had simply engaged with the discussion and talked about his work, it would have been great. The whole thing would have ended as soon as it began. Instead, he decided to double-down on homophobia, and only apologized when the story blew up.” Because, you see, calm rational discussion is the first thing people do when called a 14-year-old boy who works on the cheap while working on your decades long dream game. Honestly, I’m surprised Kamitani was as civil as he was!

But it is here that we get to the more important crux of the issue. We have all these people taking the moral highground and saying “This is a discussion we need to be having” without really discussing anything. They are essentially sitting around and yelling “Someone should do something!” at each other.

But at least Penny Arcade gets to the point and answers the big question: What is wrong with the hyper sexualized Sorceress character? “What’s worth criticizing is how few people are doing anything else.” Ah yes, the real issue isn’t the Sorceress herself but that  she is just one of many hyper sexualized videogame women that dominate the gaming landscape! It’s a darn shame no one is doing anything else!

…except this line of thinking does not apply to George Kamitani at all.

Why? Well because literally every single game his company has ever made stars a not-particularly-sexualized female character. I would like to emphasize that again: stars. They are the lead. In Princess Crown, Gradriel was the main character and the two guys were merely unlockable extras with short side stories. There was also another girl with a sidestory as well. In Odin’s Sphere, you start as Gwendolyn and there are only two male playable to the three female playables. In Grim Grimoire you could only play as Lillet Blan. Muramasa featured a choice of male or female lead.

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This right here is the problem if you ask me. We sit here demanding less sexualized female leads and that games be more welcoming to female players, and yet every time they are we completely ignore it.

It is particularly egregious in this case as here we are wagging our fingers at a man whose entire gameography up to this point has been exactly what is being demanded! In an industry where “2D doesn’t sell” and “female leads don’t sell”, George Kamitani flew in the face of tradition and delivered on both. Wether you like his games or not, he deserves a damn medal! But no, we instead shout “shame on you” and drag his name through the mud. Now the name George Kamitani is synonymous with vile sexism and homophobia.

I’m sure everyone will act shocked when they release the Elf trailer (i.e. the female character with normal body proportions and sensible clothes) and act like this is some kind of victory even though the character has been in the game for more than 3 years.

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That isn’t to say that these games don’t have sexualized elements. From Gradriel’s transformation to the kitsune ladies of Muramasa, there have always been a decent number of busty ladies in these games. However they have never been playable leads until now.

VanillawareBoobsHappen

See, that’s the other thing. One of the reasons I am so excited about Dragon’s Crown is that the art is so different! People act like these are the norm, that they’re so cliche. Characters like these are a dime a dozen, right? Maybe back in the 80s and 90s but these days you absolutely do not see characters like these and never to such an exaggerated degree!

More than that, it is a huge departure from what George Kamitani normally does. All his other games tend to feature shorter characters with small bodies and large heads. A cuter design style meant to evoke the feel of a fairytale. Fitting as the framing device for two of his games was a little girl and her storybook. Here, however, we see tall characters with large bodies and tiny heads! I’ve never seen Kamitani’s art style applied to proportions like these! Presumably this is to evoke the feeling of old school fantasy art in all its ridiculousness. It’s somewhat subtle because it’s the same artist but when you really look there is a distinct difference in design between Odin Sphere and Dragon’s Crown.

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Speaking of unusual designs, I think I am most excited about the Amazon. You don’t see muscular women that often and never to that degree. When you do see them that beefy though, they usually aren’t meant to also be pretty. The juxtaposition of her curly blonde hair with her massive body is unique and fascinating to me. Especially that hair! You just don’t see a lot of curly haired women in games these days!

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In being cliche, the game’s design style manages to be unlike anything I have ever seen. While there are certainly offputting elements here and there, I am overall excited beyond words.

In being so unique, it is hard to criticize it as being “indicative of a bigger problem” because that argument only really works if the designs were more cliche. Yes, Ivy Valentine from Soul Calibur exists, but who else? Lulu from Final Fantasy X? Keep going and you see that characters this overtly sexualized aren’t that common. Usually one per franchise if said franchise has enough characters.

More importantly though is that singleing out George Kamitani is ridiculous as he has personally contributed more to great female leads in videogames than nearly anyone else in the industry. If you don’t believe me, go watch some cutscenes on YouTube of Odin Sphere and GrimGrimoire (especially the later).

If you wanna take the moral highground and fight for better representation of women in videogames, I would like to point something out to you: Remember what I said about how Jason Schrier set the tone for their discussion when he called Kamitani a 14-year-old boy? This applies to many situations. If you act aggressively, you’ll get aggression in return. If you act negatively you’ll get negativity in return.

It occurs to me that this is the big problem with this discussion. We spend all of our time emphasizing the bad and wagging our fingers at it. We say we don’t want censorship but then go out of our way specifically to point out sexualization and shame anyone that might like it. In a way, demanding self-censorship. This approach tends to rub people the wrong way.

What we aren’t doing is recognizing the positive. We don’t look at the good. We aren’t saying “less of this, more of this” or even “at least X is better than Y”. Nope, just a lot of finger wagging and shame.

Another example of that would be the female marines in Aliens: Colonial Marines. People continually bring up the fact that female marines were supposedly a last minute feature request, citing that “female characters should not be a ‘feature’, they should be standard”. There are many lengthy articles ranting about this fact and wagging their finger at Gearbox because real Aliens fans would know the importance of female marines. What is ignored, however, is that the game shipped with female marines, there are female marines in co-op, there are female marines in story mode. The online play in and of itself was a late feature addition and perhaps the female marines barely made the cut, but they were there.

There is never any mention of the sheer amount of FPS games that do not feature female characters. Never any discussion of the other Aliens games that lacked female marines. Colonial Marines is awarded no consolation prize. No, it just gets fingers wagged at it. Not because of the lack of female marines, but because someone (who may not even be a Gearbox employee) called them a “feature”.

What we need here is less finger wagging and more promotion. Less “this is bad and you’re bad for liking it” and more “this is good and more people should buy it”. Then perhaps this discussion wouldn’t be so vicious. Then perhaps we could make progress and agree on something and have a meaningful conversation.

I mean, the problem isn’t that games with sexualized women sell better but that games with any women, sexualized or not, “don’t sell” (a complete myth but we’ll discuss that later) right? So why cast so much shame on the people who buy these games just because it happens to be what they like? We should support positive games, not declare certain things “negative” and shame them into oblivion!

But that isn’t what happens is it? Why not? Because negativity generates money. Look at what articles get the most hits, look at what YouTube celebrities are popular, look at what you enjoy reading. There is indeed something cathartic about watching a reviewer really tear into a game. As such we don’t see a lot of positivity. A list of great female leads generates far less hits than “Top 10 Most Offensive Women in Videogames”. As such, we never make any progress and the whole “conversation” that we “need to have” is stalled. Good job, team! If you need me I’ll be over here playing Rumble Roses XX and wallowing in self loathing.

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23 Comments on “Dragon’s Crown Fiasco: Kotaku Really Needs To Stop Letting Teenage Boys Write Their Articles”

  1. Sleepy Says:

    Honestly, when these discussions began popping up last year, I was in agreement with certain aspects. I do believe that there should be more non-sexualized female characters in, not just games, but in everything else.

    What I hate is how most bloggers and journalists act like Samus, Jade, and Alyx Vance are the only good examples of female characters, completely ignoring older RPGs (Phantasy Stars 1 & 4) and point and click adventures (The Longest Journey) that have consistently showcased great female characters.

    Now it’s gotten to the point where I’m basically being called a sexist pig for enjoying games like DOA and Bayonetta. The irony is that most of the people crying sexism are men in a position of privilege. Most feminists would consider that patriarchal interference.

    I’m just so completely burned out on all of the “finger-wagging” and accusations of sexism. I don’t even want to hear about it anymore.

    Good article BTW.

    • GEL Says:

      *NODS* SAME.

      Yeah I’m in a very similar boat. I prefer to play as female characters, sexualized or not. They are a selling point to me. If a game has female characters there’s a MUCH higher chance I’ll buy it than if it doesn’t because I prefer to play as them. Case in point: I bought Blades of Time (and enjoyed it) but when I found out God Mode lacked a female character option, I passed (don’t brag about your customization if you don’t at least have a gender choice!).

      But I do so enjoy the hyper sexualized scantily clad women. I wasn’t kidding about Rumble Roses XX. LOVE that game! Put more than 100 hours into it even despite it being VERY flawed. I really want a sequel though as I enjoy it so much more than other wrestling games. Oh I’ve been renting the yearly WWE wrestlers but the little things like the way counters are handled, the faster game speed, and the smoother animation causes me to prefer Rumble Roses.

      So when this blew up last year I was in a very awkward position. I mean I’m a collector of sorts so my first reaction to “there are no good female characters” is “define a good female character, I’ll betcha I can find one!” but there was just SO MUCH HATE!

      I WANT more women in gaming. I want women to feel comfortable. I want them to be able to find relateable characters. But…well I don’t wanna give up my softcore porn! XD I mean it’s not hurting anybody, is it? Heck I fully support sexualizing the MEN more to appeal to women! Why not? How about a US release for Angelique? I’m TOTALLY OKAY WITH THAT!

      So you wind up with me feeling just as much outrage at them changing the gender of the lead character of Sleeping Dogs as I did about them nearly giving all the DOA girls breast reductions (well they still KINDA did, but there was enough fan complaint that they re-enlarged the breasts from what they were resulting in what I consider to be a happy medium that works well with the new visual style).

      So yeah I’ve been researching this issue since last year. Got a BIG article on the way (damn near a book, really) because there are PROBLEMS and the nature of the argument is one of them. It needs to be revised again before I post it, but in case I get lazy at least most of what I wanted to say can be found in this post.

    • Thomas Adamson Says:

      I don’t have a problem with the designs until I get to what’s above the neck. The combination of absurdly massive thighs and 14 year old faces — like someone has ripped the head off a Xena – Warrior Princess action figure and replaced it with the head off a Barbie or even a BratZ doll — just makes the entire thing grotesque.

      Paradoxically the Sorceress is probably the least disturbing of the three bits of art that seem to be being discuss, The giant lolling udders are ridiculous but at least her head face look *almost* appropriate for the body below the neck.

      The Valkyrie and Elf archer just look wrong in a way that I feel looks more than a little creepy, like attaching a dolls head to an animatronic spider would be.

      • GEL Says:

        Yeah I hear that a lot from some people and it always makes me raise an eyebrow because it looks completely normal to me! Then again I grew up on anime and that generally IS the anime style.


  2. […] GEL's Videogame Review Site of Madness « Dragon’s Crown Fiasco: Kotaku Really Needs To Stop Letting Teenage Boys Write Their Artic… […]

  3. Paul Shuster Says:

    I like this: “No, fuck you Kotaku.”

    and this,

    “Remember what I said about how Jason Schrier set the tone for their discussion when he called Kamitani a 14-year-old boy? This applies to many situations. If you act aggressively, you’ll get aggression in return. If you act negatively you’ll get negativity in return.”

    One of the big differences between what George Kamitani makes, at Vanillaware and what most video game companies make is that Kamitani makes art, a large amount of other video games are “product.” A lot of times, these are games that are series that have been around for a while and in many cases they started out as art. However, without a strong artistic voice guiding them, they got turned into “product.”

    Sim City is one of the best examples I can think of off the top of my head. The most recent release was not considered to go well. However, even if it were considered profitable, I’d say it still suffers from a complete lack of artistic integrity. Decisions about art style, how the game plays, the craft of game development were done entirely without an artistic eye, with the only eye being on the almighty dollar. However, I would say that older games in the series, before it became about wringing every last spare dime out of it, were art. I can tell you the artist responsible for the original, Will Wright, but he’s no longer at Maxis and the new version is managed by “businessmen” with an eye for profit only and not artists.

    I watched an interview with Ken Levine where he pointed out that if he tried to pitch Bioshock Infinite as a brand new property and set it in a weird alternate reality early 19th century steampunk American, he would have been shut down immediately. Bioshock Infinite is particularly relevant here, because I’ve read some thoughtful criticisms of the game (and some kneejerk criticisms) that don’t like it’s politics (they think it was racist to make the Vox Populi another villain group). Fortunately, Ken Levine is a powerful American developer so he not only doesn’t have to give in to intimidation, he can basically tell anyone who wants to force their own ideas into his art to take a walk, if he chooses.

    Ok, let me bring this back around to the topic at hand. Jason Scheier thinks that all video games should be “product,” with the rough edges sanded off to meet a mass audience of straight-laced, neurotic prudes. It’s a common problem throughout American mass culture. Terry Gilliam’s fight to keep his studio to give him the contractual final cut on Brazil (that they had agreed to in order to sign him as a director), versus studio head Sid Sheinberg who didn’t care about the story that Gilliam was trying to tell and wanted to turn it into a conventional science fiction “feel good” action film and not a depressing morality tale about a horrible dystopia. (Another case, where the director’s cut finally came out only last year, is the Frank Oz film Little Shop of Horrors. Which had its brilliant original ending, based on the Broadway version, removed because focus groups thought it was too scary for the children. Including one of my favorite songs from the film!)

    What’s even more infuriating in these cases is that Vanillaware is an art house studio, a niche studio for people who appreciate video games as art and don’t don’t want everything turned into focus group tested homogenized gray slime. Whenever anyone tells an artist to change his art because it might offend, they are trying to destroy art and turn it into product. A world of gray slime. Who wants that?

    This is a battle for artistic integrity and George Kamitani is on the side of the angels. Where does that put Jason Scheir?

    • GEL Says:

      Himself. Lets not go TOO far with “angels” and “devils”, just a touch much on the hyperbole, though I COMPLETELY agree with what you said. Artists should be able to make what they want and if it’s profitable, that’s awesome. If it’s not, they find a way to make money so they can make art. As a friend of mine points out repeatedly: Even BAD art has a right to exist. Why? Because how do you DEFINE “bad”? Any attempt to set up rules and guidelines invariably hurts everyone. He points to the Comics Code Authority. I point to “Quality Control” in videogames.

      (Favorite Quality Control backfire: Chaos Wars. Sony will not allow a boxed release of a game without a dub track. Chaos Wars is a low budget cross-over strategy game starring characters from games only released in Japan. Anyone that would WANT to play the game would be playing in Japanese anyway, so they just called in friends and relatives to do a token dub track on the cheap. Result? One of the most hilariously bad dubs ever featuring what I can only assume was the head translator’s 8 year old son as gun wielding badass Zeros.)

      But shoot, George isn’t even FIGHTING on the side of “angels”. He just made a joke and it got blown WILDLY out of proportion. Then he apologized because he felt bad about offending people.

      After writing this article I saw Jason’s posts on NeoGAF though and it becomes blatantly obvious he really is just on his own side. He wants to cover his ass and come out on top and thus uses Social Justice issues as a smokescreen. Luckily he’s really bad at it so most people agree that he’s full of crap.

      Still it’s the kind of thing that really gets under my skin. I LOATHE when people use issues like these as an excuse to be a massive asshole. But here it’s especially egregious as, whether intentional or not, George Kamitani appears to be on the EXACT SAME SIDE Jason claims to be on! ALL of Vanillaware’s games have female leads that are not particularly sexualized (it’s an arguable point, but there’s a HUGE difference between Gwendolyn and the Sorceress). As for the picture he posted? Of the dwarves? He made it because he was annoyed no retailers wanted promotional swimsuit pics of the dwarves! As one person said: “It’s a strange world we live in where someone can spend so much time and effort on such a picture and be called a homophobe”.

      • Paul Shuster Says:

        Yeah, don’t even get me started on Sony. I was so furious at them for their stance on bringing most of the games I wanted over I gave my Playstation One and my gigantic game collection to my girlfriend’s daughter. Of course that worked out well for me because my we’ve been a family for 15 years now, Oh, and left her daughter with a lifelong love of the Castlevania series.

        Look, if there wasn’t history here, Jason Scheier could say whatever he wanted and it wouldn’t bother me.

        But i remember Poison being removed from Final Fight, I remember Streets of Rage III being censored.

        I remember the Streets of Rage games not being released on Sonic Gems collection in the US,

        Basically, I remember decades of random, stupid video game bowdlerization.

        Did you ever see what they did to one of the Ranma 1/2 games when the brought it to the US?

        http://www.unseen64.net/unseen-changes/unseen-changes-ranma-vs-street-combat/

        I mean, when Roger Ebert went on a tirade against David Lynch’s Blue Velvet because the sexuality of the film made him uncomfortable, I knew he wasn’t going to impact future movies by David Lynch. I may have thought his review was wrong and stupid, but I could just say, “he has a right to his opinion” and walk away. It’s only because video games are taken less seriously than books, movies and comic books as art that this even worries me. “Won’t somebody please think of the children?” still carries a lot of weight in gaming. (Or women rather than children, that Scheier seems to think need to be protected like children. My wife would violently disagree with him. She doesn’t play video games, but she loves sexy TV shows like Boardwalk Empire and Quentin Tarantino movies and has about this much time for prudish would be media censors. She’s also quite “top heavy” so the constant attacks on women with big boobs is not something that impresses her in the least! She get’s enough grief when she’s trying to find bras that fit to have to deal with people saying women who look like her shouldn’t exist!)

      • GEL Says:

        Oh yeah, I know about Street Combat. Doubt that was truly “censor” based (more just “No one knows this series! Lets change it!”) but yeah. Oh yeah. I remember ALL the ridiculous censoring and you’re right. We DO have too much of a history with this, come to think of it and I have been shuddering at the thought of the game getting potentially censored, as unlikely as it is.

        I think my favorite response though was on NeoGAF where someone pointed out that the problem is men talking with other men about what is best for women! Really got me thinking about how weird that all is. It’s a deep seated societal problem well worth meditating on.

        I think it goes something like this: Some men consider “women” to be an alien hive mind, whose thought process if far beyond our own comprehension and all tend to think alike. This comes from both men AND women being stupid: Some will act like the opinion of one woman represents ALL women either because of the LACK of female opinions, or because they outright SAY it (think about the number of times a woman speaks on behalf of “women” in general). So we give the opinions of women more weight than they deserve. Thus we become AFRAID of the opinions because if the ONE woman we ask disagrees with us, it makes us look bad and feel bad (because we just offended half the world’s population!). So we try to figure out what a woman’s opinion MIGHT be so we don’t have to man up and ask them. This, however, often becomes embarrassing because we again assume that their thought process is THAT MUCH different from our own.

        “This offends them but it doesn’t offend me. It must be a woman thing. I will acknowledge their disdain by condemning ALL that is even remotely like this without actually knowing WHY it bothers them!”

        …weird thing to think about, huh? I mean shit, I plead somewhat guilty to that. I’m REALLY trying not to put words in women’s mouths but the heck if I’m not nervous when I ask them about things! We really HAVE been conditioned to look at eachother like aliens! (I need to finish watching Vandread! XD)

        *ahem* But speaking of reflecting on one’s own actions, I just posted a video making fun of The Evil Within trailer so I asked myself: Why is it okay for ME to make fun of this, and not for Jason Schrier to make fun of Dragon’s Crown? The answer, I realized, was that I never had any issue with him poking fun at it. If he had JUST called George Kamitani a 14 year old boy? I would have just rolled my eyes, sighed, and walked away! THAT is fine! George’s response was fine. Two childish jabs, nothing more. If Shinji Mikami were to pop up and make fun of MY videos to get back at me for mocking his trailer? I’d TOTALLY be cool with it!

        It’s the part where Jason tries to act all high and mighty and the thing turns into a damn circus of morality that it becomes an issue. Self reflection is important.

      • Paul Shuster Says:

        Yeah, it’s not so much I thought it was censor based, as it showed a complete lack of respect. I mean, it was more effort to de-Ranma the game then a strict translation would have been, so one has to wonder, “What were they thinking?”

        To give you another example take the covers on El Viento and this one is as minor as it gets, because they only changed the covers::

        Now, I believe this was done because the original cover was “too Japanese.” (To Marketers: Racist much?) Thank God that it was just too much work to change all the in game imagery to match the cover. If it wasn’t you can bet they would have done it! However, a lot of times when we got games intact, it was just because it was easier not to change them. (In my business we call it benign neglect, and it’s often the best you can hope for.)

        In Japan, they’ll give you a ridiculously sexy anime character, and make you care about her as a person. (High School of the Dead’s Saeko Busujima springs to mind. A complex, interesting character with a lot of sex appeal.)

        In America, if a real live woman has a body that is “too good,” she’ll be treated badly throughout the establishment. A recent attack on the President for being friends with Beyonce (who has a fantastic body and like to show it off) is a good example. (The attacker was basically mad that Beyonce shows too much skin during her act. Because the female body is dirty, obviously.) This is basically “slut shaming” and it’s never been liberating to women.

        We are this close to going back to fining women on the beach for “showing too much ankle,” or bringing in the Saudi Arabian Burka. Won’t women be liberated then? I mean they just recently decided that Saudi Arabian women can ride bicycle in closed off spaces, wearing the full burka, if they’ve been given permission by their male relatives and they are doing it for entertainment only and not transportation. Feminist paradise, right there!.

      • Dark-Tzitzimine Says:

        Highschool of the Dead is shit

  4. Billy Says:

    On Aliens: Colonial Marines, the complaint was that according to Gearbox there were no playable female marines at all. For most games, that is an annoyance. But the main character of the Alien franchise is a strong female, Ripley. The one character that survived living in an alien infested area was a girl, Newt. And Vasquez, also female, was fairly capable.

    However, Gearbox acted as if they never expected anyone to want a playable female marine. (Considering how Gearbox treated Colonial Marines, maybe they really did never consider it.)

    So, everything blows up into a storm of negative publicity. Gearbox tries to explain why they don’t have playable females. Some time later, I want to say around a month, Gearbox suddenly says “Hey, look! We have playable female marines! And it totally isn’t in response to the public blow up on the matter. We’d really been secretly working on playable female marines the whole time. We just didn’t want to tell anyone because we knew we might not get them finished in time, and we didn’t want people getting upset if we’d announced them and then had to cut them from the game.”

    • GEL Says:

      I’m well aware but I think Colonial Marines blew up stupidly and was taken out of context with too many anonymous sources. I mean again, we have female marines in Story/Co-Op Mode as central characters. Those ABSOLUTELY COULD NOT have been added at the last minute. I do believe they nearly didn’t make the cut for multiplayer though.

      In short I choose to believe Gearbox on this one and think someone just said something stupid was all.

      Also the fact that there are SO MANY articles COMPLAINING about the near lack of female marines but do not acknowledge this problem outside of Colonial Marines.

  5. Billy Says:

    On Dragon’s Crown itself, if you haven’t looked at HokutoAndy’s responses, you probably should.

    http://hokutoandy.kinja.com/another-week-another-new-dragons-crown-trailer-featu-483754737

    The comments section to one of the Kotaku articles has HokutoAndy’s response about the Sorceress specifically, and what he describes as Vanillaware’s portrayal of necromancy.
    http://kotaku.com/the-real-problem-with-that-controversial-sexy-video-ga-478120280

    Art-eater.com also has some coverage of Dragon’s Crown art analysis.

    • GEL Says:

      Oh I did. Wanted to link it but couldn’t find a good way to tie it in. I like his analysis of the Sorceress but I also agree with the guy who says “Umm…FERTILITY GODDESS! Is a tired excuse used too often”. It could go either way on that one but it was a neat read.


  6. […] as you’ve already noticed by now, there is a huge debate going on about women in videogames as I already discussed in a previous article. The thing is, half the time I read these articles I feel like they come from a completely […]


  7. Fantastic article, man. Jason’s shenanigans have really soured me to Kotaku as of late.


  8. […] From what I can tell, the artwork already existed for the purpose of promoting Dragon’s Crown; however, in most everywhere where the game found released, nobody wanted pictures of the Dwarf without clothes (can’t imagine why). Of course, then Kamitani’s rhetorical jab turned into a discussion of “casual homophobia“. Again, we’ve misdirected the issue through the culture of offense. I’m tired of these discussions as much as you are, but the Internet literally creates these. We do not discuss; we pander to our audience, see something we don’t like, then attach a moral prescription to it. Tiresome, to say the least. […]

  9. NorthernThoughts Says:

    Reblogged this on Northern Thoughts and commented:
    An older, yet solid article on the Dragon’s Crown debacle. Couldn’t write a better one myself so I’m reblogging this one. Enjoy!

  10. easter Says:

    Here here. I agreed with pretty much everything in this article. Excellent writeup and I’m still enjoying my Vita copy of the game (~70 hours). Can’t wait to get to Muramasa Rebirth when I get the time.

    Now, if we can get Kamitani to get an art book out. He’s long overdue for one…

  11. RegalSin Says:

    Honest to gosh, many of the players who played “princess crown” and are followers of the series, have wives who probably looks like that. Maybe the art direction of the games are getting kinda stale. The “Odin Sphere” characters was just super tripped out, older and sharper versions of “Princess Crown”. PC stand alone is as good as any of their games will ever get. Because it was years before they RELEASED THE CANCELED DREAMCAST GAME. So between those years a lot of trends changed.

    I wish I go back in time, and be around those nicely body women, even the ones who were not as healthy or thin. But lets face it, It is not the age of “Kite” anymore Gel.

    Another factor, is the waining age, and factors. So maybe that is why we are seeing over-sized prego-bodies. If I was a kid, I wouldn’t really care, they would just look old to me.

    Also lets not forget that mostly Western audience deems a games international favors.

    Basically the way I see it, our generaiton is being too accurate on how things should look.

  12. Abby Says:

    sexuality isn’t really the problem, seeing characters whose breasts are each two times bigger then her head and glued to the inside of her ill fitting dress is just uncomfortable.
    George has always been a fan of a little bit of cheesecake in his games and there’s an audience for that from both men and women.
    But JESUS CHRIST ARE YOUR NIPPLES HOT GLUED TO THE INSIDE OF YOUR DRESS??? Breasts like that would just slip out if they were being flailed about that way, that’s not how boobs or gravity work.

  13. Ofisil Says:

    Instead of giving my personal opinion on the matter i’ll just say that this is by far the best article I’ve read about the DC “controversy”. Excellent, excellent, excellent.


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