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Whatever Happened to Defending Artists?
Posted on February 23, 2014 by Oscar Gonzalez

News came out earlier this week that upcoming game Deep Down would not have any female playable characters due to the game’s storyline. As you may have guessed, many people lost their proverbial shit over this reveal and demanded a change to the story. See, for some people, artistic freedom ends where they say it ends.

This all started when video was released from Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia’s PS4 Lab web series.  The video had some of the developers of the game discussing the game and showing off the gameplay. Gematsu was the first to report that there was a mention in the video that there were no playable female characters due to the storyline. Capcom Japan producer, Kazunori Sagiura, clarified the translation saying that there is one male playable character in the game.  

Unfortunately, that was still not enough for some people.

The situation really blew up when Brenna Miller at VG247 wrote a piece on the matter, giving some scathing shots to Capcom. Her article basically came down to same theme that others within the games media have done as of late: 

 

“DO IT OUR WAY OR ELSE!”

 

Now mind you, the explanation given on the reason for a male character was because of the game’s story. Deep Down is a free-to-play dungeon crawler that Capcom has used to show off the power of the PS4, but there is very little known about it. The video that started this drama is arguably the most we’ve been from the game, and there are still a lot of unknowns regarding the game.

Why are people getting mad? Why are people reacting to a unknown story in a game they barely know anything about?  Once again:

 

“DO IT OUR WAY OR ELSE!”


And this is where the comedy and hypocrisy comes in.

Last year, almost around this time, Remember Me was slowly gaining buzz around the industry.  Then came the story about how developer Dontnod Entertainment was told multiple times to change the lead character, Nilin, from a woman to a man. They decided to keep the character a woman because, as creative director Jean-Maxime Moris said, “that was just what felt right.”

Once word spread, people everywhere sang the praises of Moris and Dontnod Entertainment for sticking to their guns and creating a female video game character. Of course all that support went straight out the window when the game came out because the game was average at best, but still, we had a developer that wanted to follow their vision of a game character, no matter what any publisher may say.

On a funny note: Do you know the publisher that went again the norm and published Remember Me? Do you know the publisher that was so progressive that they took a change on the game? Who was that company that stood up for all the girl gamers in the world to give them an iconic heroine to look up to?

Oh look, it was Capcom. That’s right, the same one being compared to Hitler right now.

So where did all this support for a developer’s vision for a game go? Why is it that one developer gets paraded about as the Rosa Parks of video games while the other developer is being seen as a video game Rush Limbaugh even though the two were both creating the game that they envisioned?  Why the outcry of:

 

“DO IT OUR WAY OR ELSE!”

 

Now some may bring up the disparity between male and female characters in video games, and yes, I agree that it’s not 50-50, or 51-49 in favor of women. Guess what? So are a lot of things in life.

If you’re so concerned about this 50-50 split in life, do you go to the hospitals and demand more male nurses on staff right before you head to the police station and demand more female officers? I’m guessing no. Not every aspect in life has an even split between men and women. In some areas it’s getting there while in other areas, it probably won’t get there, not because of prejudice, but because the sexes are biologically different.  60 Minutes recently pointed this out in a story about how drugs affect the sexes differently.  

 

We're different and it's ok.

Does this mean that I, and many other sane logical people want only male characters in video games? Of course not. What I want are developers who come up with concepts for games that will entertain me. Whether the character on the screen is a sexy witch who uses her hair to kill enemies like Bayonetta or a young girl trying to survive the apocalypse like Ellie in The Last of Us or a gun-toting linebacker like Marcus Fenix in Gears of War, I just want to have fun.  

I want developers to be free of making the games they want to make and don’t have to worry about someone saying:


“DO IT OUR WAY OR ELSE!”

Oscar Gonzalez - Editor-in-Chief og (@) original-gamer.com | all author's articles

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