Blizzard Dev Offers Apology for Response to Sexualization Question

lapan

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runic knight said:
But that is the problem, and I think you are aware of it. As a writer and editor, and certainly a gamer, I am sure you have seen the controversy and shit storms raised when a game franchise changes things. DMC, Tomb Raider... they are just the latest of the internet shit storm that rages every time something changes. Game companies look for feedback and anytime there is a change that doesn't appeal to the same demographic, there tends to be a lot of drama. And a lot of potential sales lost for it.
In the case of DmC much of the drama could have been avoided if Ninja Theory didn't decide to pour oil into the fire at every opportunity.
 

SoManyCrimes

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runic knight said:
SoManyCrimes said:
runic knight said:
Why? Well, off the top of my head, simple business understanding.
I think you've misunderstood my position here, and conflated what I said with a lot of other arguments I haven't made. I just didn't understand Deadcyde's argument. I don't have any horse in this particular race, except that I'd like games to be better written, and different approaches to character design would probably help that. But that doesn't apply to all genres.

But I would say that the business understanding argument is flawed, because it only focuses on current customers. I'm a writer and editor, and I occasionally work in games. One reason that games writing was and is so neglected (despite it being so cheap in comparison with other assets) is because when devs looked for feedback, the existing customer base said "we don't care about the writing". So they assumed it wasn't an issue. But that's idiotic. They should have asked people who AREN'T playing the simple question: "Why aren't you playing?"

And it turns out that writing and story DO matter, you just can't easily get data about it. The same might be the issue here. The current player base can't necessarily tell you anything about why the player base isn't bigger. They're already happy. But maybe you could make them just a TINY bit less happy and get a whole lot of new customers?
But that is the problem, and I think you are aware of it. As a writer and editor, and certainly a gamer, I am sure you have seen the controversy and shit storms raised when a game franchise changes things. DMC, Tomb Raider... they are just the latest of the internet shit storm that rages every time something changes. Game companies look for feedback and anytime there is a change that doesn't appeal to the same demographic, there tends to be a lot of drama. And a lot of potential sales lost for it.

Furthermore, you shouldn't present it as though a loss of a small amount to a larger net gain. It doesn't work like that and businesses know better. It is not a matter of simply moving numbers, but paying attention to who would buy the product in the first place. The current target demographic is dependable. An average male will buy games in the usually contested genres, thus it is a matter of convincing them to buy that developer's game. The average female wont buy games in those genre though, thus it is convincing them to not only buy the individual's game, but to join the genre itself. To put it another way, it would be like having a fair. All the rides are spinning. Now, the people who go to the fair want the spinning stuff (for the most part). And each ride only makes the money it earns, hence why they all spin. Now you see this and ask "why not make some that don't spin, you might lose some people but you'd get more". Well, because you have an audience that is going to spend money in the fair somewhere, versus one that may not even go, let alone spend it on you. Most game companies are conservative business wise, they choose the safer bet and stick with the demographic they know will buy if not their product, one very similar to it.

There is solid business logic in why they market largely to the audience they do, and shitstorms enough when they don't. For a company listening to customers, what do you think they would do? Furthermore, most companies try to reach out be it with games or in-game options and use that as a barometer to see if they should change more, to test the waters and see if they can get a bigger and newer audience, and those often fail badly or at the best don't quite balance out the potential lost customers for the shitstorm changes bring.

As for bad writing, I feel you there. Some better story would be nice. Though, I think it is worth mentioning that not all games should have a great story. And MOBA, well, they aren't exactly story driven narratives.
Again, I don't necessarily disagree. My arguments in this field are usually exclusively from the writing side, and I think the relative cheapness compared with other assets is important there. Writers and writing are SO cheap by comparison that the fact they aren't better can only be down to poor business thinking. There is nothing to lose by making the writing better (most gamers who like video game stories like them in spite of the flaws, not because of them, and those that don't care still won't care if it's better), and potentially lots to gain.

I concede that this argument applies less to character design, which is a very expensive business. When you can't afford to fail, you can't afford to experiment. Still, my argument about the writing does show one thing, I think: that arguments predicated on games companies making the right decision because they obviously know what's best for the business are on shaky ground. I've done a lot of surveys and feedback in my time, and they're uniformly terrible. They're doing a lot of marketing, but they aren't asking the right questions.

EDIT: For example, I bet people are being shown various character models and being asked "which do you prefer?" And for the majority the answer is a no brainer: the sexy one!

But the proper question, if you genuinely care about the issue, is "would you not buy this game if the character looked like this?" That gives you information. The first just tells you what you already know. Yes, sex sells. Duh. We need to know if slightly-less-sex sells too.
 

SoManyCrimes

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nenja said:
SoManyCrimes said:
Deadcyde said:
SoManyCrimes said:
Deadcyde said:
Dragonbums said:
While there may be some self entitlement on my part in saying stop fucking with what the majority wants because we like it that way it by no means equals your fucking with peoples fun merely on principle, about something you could ultimately forget but for me is a lifestyle. So forgive me if my desire to protect that comes across as "entitlement" asshole.
But what if someone else wants to have part of that lifestyle? Are you really saying that you're not prepared to sacrifice just a tiny piece of it to include other people? Are you saying that the design of the characters is INTEGRAL to that lifestyle, and that changing them would destroy it? Because then I don't think you'd be in the majority any more.

How is it "merely on principle"? People are saying they would enjoy it too if only it were a little different. Obviously if people want to desexualize the characters because they want to censor you, and they have no intention of playing after the changes, then that's bullshit. Ignore those people. But that's not what everyone is saying. They want in on the fun too, it's just that there's currently a barrier there. Are you really not prepared to compromise, even a little?
Hi SoManyCrimes, when you say if someone else wants to have that part of their lifestyle and asking whether they would be prepared to 'sacrifice' it or what ever about changing the character design. It's not like it is actually up to us it is up the to game designers. As I said before I could care less one way or the other and I know deadcyde really doesn't care how they look either, in fact the whole point of what I said is quite the opposite. The character design doesn't phase me they can keep it as it is or they can change it but that's not going to affect my enjoyment of a game either way so non-issue. But if it is affecting your enjoyment of a game then start a petition to blizzard or something I don't know but it really is within their artistic licence to create the game how ever they want to.
Hi nenja, and thanks for being so polite and reasonable! I agree that neither side really has a direct influence in this. I work a lot with authors, and obviously they have the final say on what should happen in their creations. But there's a business side to this, as runic knight points out. My argument would be that the existing customers probably wouldn't actually object if the character designs were changed (in future games - I don't think anyone should fiddle with existing content), but a lot of people who aren't playing might start. Therefore it would make a lot of sense for Blizzard or other designers to listen to this input for future products. This is nothing to do with principles. It's to do with money.

But it seems from Deadcyde's posts that maybe I'm wrong, and that actually people might care quite a lot. If it's to the point where existing customers wouldn't play any more, then I see how it would undermine my business argument if it were true.
 

runic knight

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SoManyCrimes said:
runic knight said:
SoManyCrimes said:
Deadcyde said:
SoManyCrimes said:
Deadcyde said:
Dragonbums said:
While there may be some self entitlement on my part in saying stop fucking with what the majority wants because we like it that way it by no means equals your fucking with peoples fun merely on principle, about something you could ultimately forget but for me is a lifestyle. So forgive me if my desire to protect that comes across as "entitlement" asshole.
But what if someone else wants to have part of that lifestyle? Are you really saying that you're not prepared to sacrifice just a tiny piece of it to include other people? Are you saying that the design of the characters is INTEGRAL to that lifestyle, and that changing them would destroy it? Because then I don't think you'd be in the majority any more.

How is it "merely on principle"? People are saying they would enjoy it too if only it were a little different. Obviously if people want to desexualize the characters because they want to censor you, and they have no intention of playing after the changes, then that's bullshit. Ignore those people. But that's not what everyone is saying. They want in on the fun too, it's just that there's currently a barrier there. Are you really not prepared to compromise, even a little?

This is dishonest.
Gaming as a whole, and even individual games have plenty of space for people who aren't a fan of sexualized characters. Hell, look back to Dragon's Crown and the shitstorm raised over the Sorceress and Amazon (though there were other characters for the player to choose, including a less over the top female elf). Many games have some degree of option in that regard. MOBA in particular are known for having huge variety in characters and often releasing more in response to demand. This was never about "a tiny piece" here, it was a guy using an interview as a soapbox for a social cause. What do you consider "a tiny piece" here?
It's not dishonest. I accept that I might be wrong, but it's my genuine opinion. I also accept that it's not on topic. I agree that the question at the press conference was inappropriate. I've only been responding to Deadcyde's argument, which confused me. The "tiny piece" is the compromise Dragonbums seemed to be asking of Deadcyde (in response to his question) and which he seems to think is unreasonable.

You seem to be bringing in a large number of other issues which I don't necessarily disagree with you on.
It is dishonest because when you claim you just want a tiny piece, it implies there is not one in the first place. And I made sure to acknowledge either way the complain went, be it the usual "general gaming" complaint and the more individual example here. Either way you slice it, there is a piece here already so it feels quite dishonest to claim that is all that is wanted (when, you know, it already was there).
But the issue raised is the same one raised dozens of times before. It is the same overall idea, and I have explained it in the individual logic and the overall understanding of why things are the way they are. And it is because of understanding why they are that it reveals selfishness in a lot of complaints directed at blizzard or anyone else for that matter (going back to the demographics appealing and why less profitable ones would naturally get less representation).
 

runic knight

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lapan said:
runic knight said:
But that is the problem, and I think you are aware of it. As a writer and editor, and certainly a gamer, I am sure you have seen the controversy and shit storms raised when a game franchise changes things. DMC, Tomb Raider... they are just the latest of the internet shit storm that rages every time something changes. Game companies look for feedback and anytime there is a change that doesn't appeal to the same demographic, there tends to be a lot of drama. And a lot of potential sales lost for it.
In the case of DmC much of the drama could have been avoided if Ninja Theory didn't decide to pour oil into the fire at every opportunity.
That is very true. Though, when one remembers how Anita set off a flame war that still burns to this day by ham-handedly handling feminism in gaming, I can't imagine any change made in response to similar complaints would result in anything besides a shitstorm about them "selling out" and "pandering to liberal pressure" and blahblahblah...
 

nenja

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Another thought occurred to me as I uploaded the avatar I have been using for the last 5 years which a very good female friend drew for me which is a stylised mermaid version of myself :) I really love it not only because it's cute but because it has sentimental value. So yes we are human and do like to have things that are pretty or even sexy and most girls I know do want to feel pretty and sexy and that is not a bad thing. Nor do I see it as bad that people enjoy creating art or games that they find appealing to themselves or what they may even think is appealing to other people. Also while the gaming industry is male dominated there are so many females who create art that is sexy & provocative (and not just in the gaming industry I refer back to my previous post about mass media). At the end of the day I think a lot of artists create for themselves first because you can never please everyone.
 

SoManyCrimes

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runic knight said:
SoManyCrimes said:
runic knight said:
SoManyCrimes said:
Deadcyde said:
SoManyCrimes said:
Deadcyde said:
Dragonbums said:
While there may be some self entitlement on my part in saying stop fucking with what the majority wants because we like it that way it by no means equals your fucking with peoples fun merely on principle, about something you could ultimately forget but for me is a lifestyle. So forgive me if my desire to protect that comes across as "entitlement" asshole.
But what if someone else wants to have part of that lifestyle? Are you really saying that you're not prepared to sacrifice just a tiny piece of it to include other people? Are you saying that the design of the characters is INTEGRAL to that lifestyle, and that changing them would destroy it? Because then I don't think you'd be in the majority any more.

How is it "merely on principle"? People are saying they would enjoy it too if only it were a little different. Obviously if people want to desexualize the characters because they want to censor you, and they have no intention of playing after the changes, then that's bullshit. Ignore those people. But that's not what everyone is saying. They want in on the fun too, it's just that there's currently a barrier there. Are you really not prepared to compromise, even a little?

This is dishonest.
Gaming as a whole, and even individual games have plenty of space for people who aren't a fan of sexualized characters. Hell, look back to Dragon's Crown and the shitstorm raised over the Sorceress and Amazon (though there were other characters for the player to choose, including a less over the top female elf). Many games have some degree of option in that regard. MOBA in particular are known for having huge variety in characters and often releasing more in response to demand. This was never about "a tiny piece" here, it was a guy using an interview as a soapbox for a social cause. What do you consider "a tiny piece" here?
It's not dishonest. I accept that I might be wrong, but it's my genuine opinion. I also accept that it's not on topic. I agree that the question at the press conference was inappropriate. I've only been responding to Deadcyde's argument, which confused me. The "tiny piece" is the compromise Dragonbums seemed to be asking of Deadcyde (in response to his question) and which he seems to think is unreasonable.

You seem to be bringing in a large number of other issues which I don't necessarily disagree with you on.
It is dishonest because when you claim you just want a tiny piece, it implies there is not one in the first place. And I made sure to acknowledge either way the complain went, be it the usual "general gaming" complaint and the more individual example here. Either way you slice it, there is a piece here already so it feels quite dishonest to claim that is all that is wanted (when, you know, it already was there).
But the issue raised is the same one raised dozens of times before. It is the same overall idea, and I have explained it in the individual logic and the overall understanding of why things are the way they are. And it is because of understanding why they are that it reveals selfishness in a lot of complaints directed at blizzard or anyone else for that matter (going back to the demographics appealing and why less profitable ones would naturally get less representation).
Sorry, I'm afraid I don't really understand what you're saying here. But again I think you're under a misapprehension. Perhaps it would be better to say that people want ANOTHER tiny piece. Two tiny pieces still wouldn't be much. And Deadcyde seemed unwilling to countenance even that.

I can see how that might seem like the beginnings of a slippery slope. I was just gobsmacked at Deadcyde's position, which was to ask someone "WHAT DO YOU WANT"? And then be utterly dismissive when the question was politely answered.

"It's just a fantasy" is no sort of response when it isn't YOUR fantasy. And it would be fine (I'm guessing) if it was COMPLETELY not someone's fantasy. Then you just ignore it. The problem is presumably that these are ALMOST the games people want to play, they're just tired of having to make mental compromises to do it. Asking for this burden to be shared really doesn't seem like much to ask. Especially if, as seems to be the case, the people on the defensive "don't much care either way".
 

runic knight

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SoManyCrimes said:
runic knight said:
SoManyCrimes said:
runic knight said:
Why? Well, off the top of my head, simple business understanding.
I think you've misunderstood my position here, and conflated what I said with a lot of other arguments I haven't made. I just didn't understand Deadcyde's argument. I don't have any horse in this particular race, except that I'd like games to be better written, and different approaches to character design would probably help that. But that doesn't apply to all genres.

But I would say that the business understanding argument is flawed, because it only focuses on current customers. I'm a writer and editor, and I occasionally work in games. One reason that games writing was and is so neglected (despite it being so cheap in comparison with other assets) is because when devs looked for feedback, the existing customer base said "we don't care about the writing". So they assumed it wasn't an issue. But that's idiotic. They should have asked people who AREN'T playing the simple question: "Why aren't you playing?"

And it turns out that writing and story DO matter, you just can't easily get data about it. The same might be the issue here. The current player base can't necessarily tell you anything about why the player base isn't bigger. They're already happy. But maybe you could make them just a TINY bit less happy and get a whole lot of new customers?
But that is the problem, and I think you are aware of it. As a writer and editor, and certainly a gamer, I am sure you have seen the controversy and shit storms raised when a game franchise changes things. DMC, Tomb Raider... they are just the latest of the internet shit storm that rages every time something changes. Game companies look for feedback and anytime there is a change that doesn't appeal to the same demographic, there tends to be a lot of drama. And a lot of potential sales lost for it.

Furthermore, you shouldn't present it as though a loss of a small amount to a larger net gain. It doesn't work like that and businesses know better. It is not a matter of simply moving numbers, but paying attention to who would buy the product in the first place. The current target demographic is dependable. An average male will buy games in the usually contested genres, thus it is a matter of convincing them to buy that developer's game. The average female wont buy games in those genre though, thus it is convincing them to not only buy the individual's game, but to join the genre itself. To put it another way, it would be like having a fair. All the rides are spinning. Now, the people who go to the fair want the spinning stuff (for the most part). And each ride only makes the money it earns, hence why they all spin. Now you see this and ask "why not make some that don't spin, you might lose some people but you'd get more". Well, because you have an audience that is going to spend money in the fair somewhere, versus one that may not even go, let alone spend it on you. Most game companies are conservative business wise, they choose the safer bet and stick with the demographic they know will buy if not their product, one very similar to it.

There is solid business logic in why they market largely to the audience they do, and shitstorms enough when they don't. For a company listening to customers, what do you think they would do? Furthermore, most companies try to reach out be it with games or in-game options and use that as a barometer to see if they should change more, to test the waters and see if they can get a bigger and newer audience, and those often fail badly or at the best don't quite balance out the potential lost customers for the shitstorm changes bring.

As for bad writing, I feel you there. Some better story would be nice. Though, I think it is worth mentioning that not all games should have a great story. And MOBA, well, they aren't exactly story driven narratives.
Again, I don't necessarily disagree. My arguments in this field are usually exclusively from the writing side, and I think the relative cheapness compared with other assets is important there. Writers and writing are SO cheap by comparison that the fact they aren't better can only be down to poor business thinking. There is nothing to lose by making the writing better (most gamers who like video game stories like them in spite of the flaws, not because of them, and those that don't care still won't care if it's better), and potentially lots to gain.

I concede that this argument applies less to character design, which is a very expensive business. When you can't afford to fail, you can't afford to experiment. Still, my argument about the writing does show one thing, I think: that arguments predicated on games companies making the right decision because they obviously know what's best for the business are on shaky ground. I've done a lot of surveys and feedback in my time, and they're uniformly terrible. They're doing a lot of marketing, but they aren't asking the right questions.
Never said they were making the right choices, merely rational ones. I've long been of the mindset that the only way to get something fixed is to understand why it is that way in the first place and then figure out what can actually be changed. When it comes to gaming companies, you hit the nail on the head, the games are bloated, often too big to fail and as a result are so conservative in execution that it is little wonder they end up like they do.
But, that was my point entirely, not that the way things are being right, but rather why things are the way they are and why going at them in a moral way was a dead end. No one said businesses were perfect, and I think I have heard the term "it makes business sense" enough to get sick of it, though it explains this situation quite perfectly. It does make business sense to do things the way they have, especially in a business that in conservative, playing the safe bets by going after the people who paid the way beforehand. And it is also because of that, that it is entitled to expect it to change on the aspect of sexualization when even the aspects of the games deemed most important (game-play and ascetics) fall under the same conservative management too. Hell, we have all heard the description of washed out brown cover based shooters. That right there is game companies being super conservative about the very game itself to the point of company suicide. Thinking they would change pandering directly to the lowest common denominator in visuals, or wouldn't try to save what time and money they could with writing does come off as entitled I am afraid.
 

SoManyCrimes

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runic knight said:
Never said they were making the right choices, merely rational ones. I've long been of the mindset that the only way to get something fixed is to understand why it is that way in the first place and then figure out what can actually be changed. When it comes to gaming companies, you hit the nail on the head, the games are bloated, often too big to fail and as a result are so conservative in execution that it is little wonder they end up like they do.
But, that was my point entirely, not that the way things are being right, but rather why things are the way they are and why going at them in a moral way was a dead end. No one said businesses were perfect, and I think I have heard the term "it makes business sense" enough to get sick of it, though it explains this situation quite perfectly. It does make business sense to do things the way they have, especially in a business that in conservative, playing the safe bets by going after the people who paid the way beforehand. And it is also because of that, that it is entitled to expect it to change on the aspect of sexualization when even the aspects of the games deemed most important (game-play and ascetics) fall under the same conservative management too. Hell, we have all heard the description of washed out brown cover based shooters. That right there is game companies being super conservative about the very game itself to the point of company suicide. Thinking they would change pandering directly to the lowest common denominator in visuals, or wouldn't try to save what time and money they could with writing does come off as entitled I am afraid.
I apologize. I missed part of the point of your original response, with its focus on franchises. I completely agree that trying to change existing franchises is asking for trouble. The sort of changes I'm suggesting would be best made in new IP. But the existing model is so risk-averse that there isn't much opportunity for that. I think we're in total agreement there.

I disagree about the writing though. I don't think you quite understand HOW cheap editing is, and how BAD current editing in games is.

Case in point: Phoenix Wright. The latest game is so abysmally edited it's unbelievable, given how much of the focus is on the story and writing. It's well-written, as far as it goes, but the proofreading is awful. Hundreds of missing words, the wrong words, whole sentences that make no sense. Blatant errors in every tenth line, I'd guess. And it's not like the text is procedurally generated. Most players are going to see 90% of it, in order, and someone could have printed it out and proofed it like a novel.

That would cost under $500 at current rates. That would get you a super-star proof reader! You could find someone on Elance who would do it for $100. They aren't saving money here. They just think they are. And yes I'm biased because it's my field, but the costs are really so low that you'd only have to attract a few dozen more players to recoup those losses. And in a few years it would become standard practice to have an editor as well as a writer and everyone would be better off.

EDIT: Actually, I think I've misread your post again. I don't understand what you mean by "entitled" in this context. I don't think they should do it FOR ME. It's no skin off my nose either way. If they want to miss out on business, then let them. I just think it's a bone-headed decision, based on my experience in the field. I'm not sure why that's an entitled view point. Surely it's an experienced one?
 

runic knight

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SoManyCrimes said:
runic knight said:
SoManyCrimes said:
runic knight said:
SoManyCrimes said:
Deadcyde said:
SoManyCrimes said:
Deadcyde said:
Dragonbums said:
While there may be some self entitlement on my part in saying stop fucking with what the majority wants because we like it that way it by no means equals your fucking with peoples fun merely on principle, about something you could ultimately forget but for me is a lifestyle. So forgive me if my desire to protect that comes across as "entitlement" asshole.
But what if someone else wants to have part of that lifestyle? Are you really saying that you're not prepared to sacrifice just a tiny piece of it to include other people? Are you saying that the design of the characters is INTEGRAL to that lifestyle, and that changing them would destroy it? Because then I don't think you'd be in the majority any more.

How is it "merely on principle"? People are saying they would enjoy it too if only it were a little different. Obviously if people want to desexualize the characters because they want to censor you, and they have no intention of playing after the changes, then that's bullshit. Ignore those people. But that's not what everyone is saying. They want in on the fun too, it's just that there's currently a barrier there. Are you really not prepared to compromise, even a little?

This is dishonest.
Gaming as a whole, and even individual games have plenty of space for people who aren't a fan of sexualized characters. Hell, look back to Dragon's Crown and the shitstorm raised over the Sorceress and Amazon (though there were other characters for the player to choose, including a less over the top female elf). Many games have some degree of option in that regard. MOBA in particular are known for having huge variety in characters and often releasing more in response to demand. This was never about "a tiny piece" here, it was a guy using an interview as a soapbox for a social cause. What do you consider "a tiny piece" here?
It's not dishonest. I accept that I might be wrong, but it's my genuine opinion. I also accept that it's not on topic. I agree that the question at the press conference was inappropriate. I've only been responding to Deadcyde's argument, which confused me. The "tiny piece" is the compromise Dragonbums seemed to be asking of Deadcyde (in response to his question) and which he seems to think is unreasonable.

You seem to be bringing in a large number of other issues which I don't necessarily disagree with you on.
It is dishonest because when you claim you just want a tiny piece, it implies there is not one in the first place. And I made sure to acknowledge either way the complain went, be it the usual "general gaming" complaint and the more individual example here. Either way you slice it, there is a piece here already so it feels quite dishonest to claim that is all that is wanted (when, you know, it already was there).
But the issue raised is the same one raised dozens of times before. It is the same overall idea, and I have explained it in the individual logic and the overall understanding of why things are the way they are. And it is because of understanding why they are that it reveals selfishness in a lot of complaints directed at blizzard or anyone else for that matter (going back to the demographics appealing and why less profitable ones would naturally get less representation).
Sorry, I'm afraid I don't really understand what you're saying here. But again I think you're under a misapprehension. Perhaps it would be better to say that people want ANOTHER tiny piece. Two tiny pieces still wouldn't be much. And Deadcyde seemed unwilling to countenance even that.

I can see how that might seem like the beginnings of a slippery slope. I was just gobsmacked at Deadcyde's position, which was to ask someone "WHAT DO YOU WANT"? And then be utterly dismissive when the question was politely answered.

"It's just a fantasy" is no sort of response when it isn't YOUR fantasy. And it would be fine (I'm guessing) if it was COMPLETELY not someone's fantasy. Then you just ignore it. The problem is presumably that these are ALMOST the games people want to play, they're just tired of having to make mental compromises to do it. Asking for this burden to be shared really doesn't seem like much to ask. Especially if, as seems to be the case, the people on the defensive "don't much care either way".
Two pieces when appreciation for the first is not shown enough to justify even that (judging from MOBA and other genre demographic data). And that is the root of most of this, the idea of "why should you get more of the pie when you don't pay for the slice you got". A narrow minded idea, but hardly entitled that the ones paying lion share should get the product designed closer to their tastes. That is not to say that all the demographic are the same and don't have to compromise when they play, they do, because by the very nature of the demographic is that it is an overall pattern, not a singular voice from millions of individuals. Even those that love the fan service may not be happy with other aspects of the game. And those that are part of the demographic, such as myself, may have no interest in the sexualization and have to ignore it same as you.

It is a fantasy, but not an individual's, more of a collective idea of a general paying audience mixed with the developer's minds. You are not unique in having to compromise on parts of the game. It is just because of how it was designed to appeal to one demographic inherently means a member of another will have a greater chance of having more to ignore or compromise on. No one gets the product they want exactly, only those part of a group paying constantly can hope for is an increased chance of having less to compromise on.
 

runic knight

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SoManyCrimes said:
runic knight said:
Never said they were making the right choices, merely rational ones. I've long been of the mindset that the only way to get something fixed is to understand why it is that way in the first place and then figure out what can actually be changed. When it comes to gaming companies, you hit the nail on the head, the games are bloated, often too big to fail and as a result are so conservative in execution that it is little wonder they end up like they do.
But, that was my point entirely, not that the way things are being right, but rather why things are the way they are and why going at them in a moral way was a dead end. No one said businesses were perfect, and I think I have heard the term "it makes business sense" enough to get sick of it, though it explains this situation quite perfectly. It does make business sense to do things the way they have, especially in a business that in conservative, playing the safe bets by going after the people who paid the way beforehand. And it is also because of that, that it is entitled to expect it to change on the aspect of sexualization when even the aspects of the games deemed most important (game-play and ascetics) fall under the same conservative management too. Hell, we have all heard the description of washed out brown cover based shooters. That right there is game companies being super conservative about the very game itself to the point of company suicide. Thinking they would change pandering directly to the lowest common denominator in visuals, or wouldn't try to save what time and money they could with writing does come off as entitled I am afraid.
I apologize. I missed part of the point of your original response, with its focus on franchises. I completely agree that trying to change existing franchises is asking for trouble. The sort of changes I'm suggesting would be best made in new IP. But the existing model is so risk-averse that there isn't much opportunity for that. I think we're in total agreement there.

I disagree about the writing though. I don't think you quite understand HOW cheap editing is, and how BAD current editing in games is.

Case in point: Phoenix Wright. The latest game is so abysmally edited it's unbelievable, given how much of the focus is on the story written. It's well-written, as far as it goes but the proofreading is awful. Hundreds of missing words, the wrong words, whole sentence that make no sense. Blatant errors in every tenth line, I'd guess. And it's not like the text is procedurally generated. Most players are going to see 90% of it, in order, and someone could have printed it out and proofed it like a novel.

That would cost under $500 at current rates. That would get you a super-star proof reader! You could find someone on Elance who would do it for $100. They aren't saving money here. They just think they are. And yes I'm biased because it's my field, but the costs are really so low that you'd only have to attract a few dozen more players to recoup those losses. And in a few years it would become standard practice to have an editor as well as a writer and everyone would be better off.
Don't need to convince me on this, I already agree that writing needs improvement. You really would need to convince developers and more likely publishers that the time, money and effort would be well worth it. Though, as mentioned before, writing is not important to many games. Games are an interactive visual medium, and many creators take that as a challenge to avoid writing or an excuse to ignore it. Not sure who you'd have to talk to in order to fix that, but if it is such an easy answer, I can't imagine it would be too difficult.
 

Robert Marrs

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Nothing new from RPS. I stopped visiting that site a while back. Its a shame because they have a solid writer or two but they can't seem to make it more a day without some hyper-sensitive, mega white knight article in hopes of a good pat on the back from the very people they are trying to please. Its one big circle jerk over there. Why blizzard would even agree to an interview with them is beyond me.
 

nenja

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SoManyCrimes said:
runic knight said:
SoManyCrimes said:
runic knight said:
SoManyCrimes said:
Deadcyde said:
SoManyCrimes said:
Deadcyde said:
Dragonbums said:
While there may be some self entitlement on my part in saying stop fucking with what the majority wants because we like it that way it by no means equals your fucking with peoples fun merely on principle, about something you could ultimately forget but for me is a lifestyle. So forgive me if my desire to protect that comes across as "entitlement" asshole.
But what if someone else wants to have part of that lifestyle? Are you really saying that you're not prepared to sacrifice just a tiny piece of it to include other people? Are you saying that the design of the characters is INTEGRAL to that lifestyle, and that changing them would destroy it? Because then I don't think you'd be in the majority any more.

How is it "merely on principle"? People are saying they would enjoy it too if only it were a little different. Obviously if people want to desexualize the characters because they want to censor you, and they have no intention of playing after the changes, then that's bullshit. Ignore those people. But that's not what everyone is saying. They want in on the fun too, it's just that there's currently a barrier there. Are you really not prepared to compromise, even a little?

This is dishonest.
Gaming as a whole, and even individual games have plenty of space for people who aren't a fan of sexualized characters. Hell, look back to Dragon's Crown and the shitstorm raised over the Sorceress and Amazon (though there were other characters for the player to choose, including a less over the top female elf). Many games have some degree of option in that regard. MOBA in particular are known for having huge variety in characters and often releasing more in response to demand. This was never about "a tiny piece" here, it was a guy using an interview as a soapbox for a social cause. What do you consider "a tiny piece" here?
It's not dishonest. I accept that I might be wrong, but it's my genuine opinion. I also accept that it's not on topic. I agree that the question at the press conference was inappropriate. I've only been responding to Deadcyde's argument, which confused me. The "tiny piece" is the compromise Dragonbums seemed to be asking of Deadcyde (in response to his question) and which he seems to think is unreasonable.

You seem to be bringing in a large number of other issues which I don't necessarily disagree with you on.
It is dishonest because when you claim you just want a tiny piece, it implies there is not one in the first place. And I made sure to acknowledge either way the complain went, be it the usual "general gaming" complaint and the more individual example here. Either way you slice it, there is a piece here already so it feels quite dishonest to claim that is all that is wanted (when, you know, it already was there).
But the issue raised is the same one raised dozens of times before. It is the same overall idea, and I have explained it in the individual logic and the overall understanding of why things are the way they are. And it is because of understanding why they are that it reveals selfishness in a lot of complaints directed at blizzard or anyone else for that matter (going back to the demographics appealing and why less profitable ones would naturally get less representation).
Sorry, I'm afraid I don't really understand what you're saying here. But again I think you're under a misapprehension. Perhaps it would be better to say that people want ANOTHER tiny piece. Two tiny pieces still wouldn't be much. And Deadcyde seemed unwilling to countenance even that.

I can see how that might seem like the beginnings of a slippery slope. I was just gobsmacked at Deadcyde's position, which was to ask someone "WHAT DO YOU WANT"? And then be utterly dismissive when the question was politely answered.

"It's just a fantasy" is no sort of response when it isn't YOUR fantasy. And it would be fine (I'm guessing) if it was COMPLETELY not someone's fantasy. Then you just ignore it. The problem is presumably that these are ALMOST the games people want to play, they're just tired of having to make mental compromises to do it. Asking for this burden to be shared really doesn't seem like much to ask. Especially if, as seems to be the case, the people on the defensive "don't much care either way".
Guys, I think you're all misunderstanding each other. Deadcyde and I feel that there are games out there that do cater to people who don't want these sexed up characters and there isn't much you can do to change the ones that do have it? If they did change these designs they may get some more people to come play but I really doubt it because people who enjoy a game will enjoy it regardless of a few small design details. I don't think SoManyCrimes is being dishonest he is just expressing an opinion and trying to understand what others are saying. But I do think RunicKnight has got a point when he says blizzard might lose some profit if they did change their aesthetics based on a minority whether its because people suddenly find the aesthetic appeal is lost to them and that is what they enjoy in a game or some other similar reason. And yes you're probably right SoManyCrimes not every game will be everybodys fantasy but then that's true of all games, I don't particularly like some games because they don't appeal to me, not necessarily appeal in an aesthetically pleasing way but more in the way that it isn't my fantasy so I ignore those games and go play the ones I do enjoy. So I think that's what deadcyde was trying to say in that those games are just one version of a fantasy. It may not be hers and that's okay but you can't deny that it is some peoples fantasy whether that is for the graphics or for the gameplay style with the characters being a non-issue. Does that make sense? People seem to be getting up in arms about this which can sometimes twist how things come out and interpreted by other people. There are many opinions about the matter and it really comes down to personal preference but I don't think blizzard should be penalised for how they do business or create art which ever it is because I see no malicious or ill intentions behind the design of a game character.
 

SoManyCrimes

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runic knight said:
Don't need to convince me on this, I already agree that writing needs improvement. You really would need to convince developers and more likely publishers that the time, money and effort would be well worth it. Though, as mentioned before, writing is not important to many games. Games are an interactive visual medium, and many creators take that as a challenge to avoid writing or an excuse to ignore it. Not sure who you'd have to talk to in order to fix that, but if it is such an easy answer, I can't imagine it would be too difficult.
Completely off-topic at this point, but I will just say this: it's surprisingly hard. Having tried to approach developers, the responses are usually unenthusiastic. Because they think it's a service they don't need. Although editing is a constructive and helpful process, for people who think they don't need it it's hard not to come across as "you're shit. Pay me to fix it."

Developers approached at the beginning of development don't want to know. I've had a lot of positive discussions with developers at the END of development, when you can point out mistakes and suggest concrete improvements. But at that point it's too late to make useful changes beyond fixing errors, and they often genuinely CAN'T afford it! I can mostly only get the ear of indie devs, and they're usually so frazzled and broke by crunch time that shoddy text is the least of their worriers, and even $1 would be too much.

I'm working on it though...
 

Dragonbums

Indulge in it's whiffy sensation
May 9, 2013
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nenja said:
Hello, it's Deadcyde's gf here. As it does seem people are interested in hearing the female perspective on this debate I thought I would add my opinion because I said a lot more than that I "like to pretend to be someone unrealistically sexy and kick ass for ahwile".
Hello, nenja, and welcome to the Escapist.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to play as sexy characters. I mean, hell, I enjoy the hell out of Bayonetta, and that game has the largest amount of sex appeal.

For me, I don't want all sexy women to go away. I just want an equal balance. There are times where I just want to be a badass. Badass for women doesn't have to be synonymous with sex appeal.

A lot of people thought the default FemShep was pretty hot and she was shown in full armor. They didn't need to do unnecessary titillation to make a female character conventionally attractive.


it's actually kind of a non-issue for me if they make game characters super sexy... It's not like they are actually in any way realistic. There's no way I am or ever could be a night elf or some scantily clad alien chick from SCII. Dragonbums I do totally get where you are coming from with it being lazy art but at the end of the day they are a business and it's a fact that sex sells.
But like I said earlier, variety would not kill the gaming industry. "Sex sells" is the mantra, but you aren't selling a porn magazine. You don't NEED to make them get in my bed sexy. It would not affect the sales of the game at all.
People are playing videogames to play videogames. Not to be aroused. "Sex sells" mantra did not stop a game from having successful sales, nor abysmal sales, and it certainly didn't save it from either being a good game or a bad game.



They are definitely not the only gaming company to take advantage of this, nor the only industry. Look at magazines, movies, advertising for all manner of products and services which all use sex to sell (much more frequently than games). So yes while I have felt pressure to 'look' or 'act' a certain way from the media I have realised what the media's view on what's 'sexy' isn't necessarily what an actual guy or girls view on sexy is. Luckily for me my boyfriend think's I'm sexy and his is the only opinion that matters to me, not some gaming company or the mass media.
Just because other mediums do it doesn't mean videogames have to follow the herd. Nor does it make it the right thing to do.

Getting back to the point though I don't really feel the pressure from the female game characters that I would from stick thin models in magazines or the beautiful actresses. The reason I don't feel that pressure from games? Because they are unrealistic, they are pixels on a screen and while what a character looks like is not a drawing point for me towards a game nor is it something that would discourage me from playing a game.

Whether the main character was a scantily clad nymph, a kevlar wearing counter-strike goon or a whimpy kid in his pajamas. I think part of what game creators are trying to do is to create an atmosphere that fits within the realm of their games.
Except for the part where the female designs DO NOT fit with the atmosphere of the games. I explained this with what Bioware did with Ashely in Mass Effect 3 and not only did it not make sense in the perspective of her personality and background, but it didn't even make sense in the realm of her occupation, and current situation. Especially considering where her opposite Kaidan, was much more realistic to the atmosphere of the game.



To address what deadcyde said again yes I do enjoy playing multiple different characters in various games and it is fun to play a sexy bad-ass chick, but there are so many other things that are more important to me in a game e.g. the thrill of an exciting storyline or the enjoyment that comes from being good at something competitive like SCII or Counter-Strike.
While I'm glad you can brush off the issue, that does not make it true for everyone else. I can as well can ignore that aspect and play the game and enjoy it. But at the end of the day I still wish there was more variety for me to choose from outside of customizable character games.

Oh one other thing I thought of... You could quite easily turn around to the guys and say "hey guys, does it bother you when game designers make the male game characters all buff and muscled who are able to wield a giant sword of doom while that may not be how you are in person?
But the thing is there are much more mainstream and popular games that do indeed show those kinds of guys in videogames. A lot more than women. Not every guy looks like Kratos from God of War.
So if a guy doesn't like to play as meat fridges, he has a nice big library to choose from that doesn't feature male protagonists like that. The same cannot exactly be said for women.




but no I don't really fee like it is an issue compared to the other mass media
Just because it's less of an issue compared to other things, doesn't mean it should be disregarded. It certainly doesn't mean that it's a non issue. A problem is still a problem no matter how small.

and it's not like every game you play has hyper-sexualised females, sure a large proportion are heading that way but there are female characters that are normal, cute, ugly, old crones, children... the list goes on.
How many of them are really in the spotlight or aren't indie games though. That's the problem. It's often an overwhelming majority that's like that.
There would be zero harm to the game's industry if the playing field was evened out.

The game industry needs diversification and different perspectives on a widespread level. Unless of course they want to end up like the comic books industry.
 

SoManyCrimes

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nenja said:
Guys, I think you're all misunderstanding each other. Deadcyde and I feel that there are games out there that do cater to people who don't want these sexed up characters and there isn't much you can do to change the ones that do have it? If they did change these designs they may get some more people to come play but I really doubt it because people who enjoy a game will enjoy it regardless of a few small design details. I don't think SoManyCrimes is being dishonest he is just expressing an opinion and trying to understand what others are saying. But I do think RunicKnight has got a point when he says blizzard might lose some profit if they did change their aesthetics based on a minority whether its because people suddenly find the aesthetic appeal is lost to them and that is what they enjoy in a game or some other similar reason. And yes you're probably right SoManyCrimes not every game will be everybodys fantasy but then that's true of all games, I don't particularly like some games because they don't appeal to me, not necessarily appeal in an aesthetically pleasing way but more in the way that it isn't my fantasy so I ignore those games and go play the ones I do enjoy. So I think that's what deadcyde was trying to say in that those games are just one version of a fantasy. It may not be hers and that's okay but you can't deny that it is some peoples fantasy whether that is for the graphics or for the gameplay style with the characters being a non-issue. Does that make sense? People seem to be getting up in arms about this which can sometimes twist how things come out and interpreted by other people. There are many opinions about the matter and it really comes down to personal preference but I don't think blizzard should be penalised for how they do business or create art which ever it is because I see no malicious or ill intentions behind the design of a game character.
Yes, sorry. I've been trying to do several things at once and there's been some mis-communication. I think we're all broadly in agreement. I certainly wouldn't want to change or revise EXISTING games or franchises. I just think that these legitimate concerns should be taken on board for future games, so there can be more variety. But I agree with runic knight that the current top-heavy business model makes that something of a pipe dream. The only hope is that enough people phrase this as a plea for variety rather than fun-sapping prudishness that devs will start to listen and gamers on the fence will agree that it's a compromise worth making in future games.

Nice talking to you all, but I should really get back to work. This sci-fi novel won't make itself cooler and better punctuated by itself!
 

nenja

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Nov 26, 2013
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Dragonbums said:
nenja said:
Hello, it's Deadcyde's gf here. As it does seem people are interested in hearing the female perspective on this debate I thought I would add my opinion because I said a lot more than that I "like to pretend to be someone unrealistically sexy and kick ass for ahwile".
Hello, nenja, and welcome to the Escapist.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to play as sexy characters. I mean, hell, I enjoy the hell out of Bayonetta, and that game has the largest amount of sex appeal.

For me, I don't want all sexy women to go away. I just want an equal balance. There are times where I just want to be a badass. Badass for women doesn't have to be synonymous with sex appeal.

A lot of people thought the default FemShep was pretty hot and she was shown in full armor. They didn't need to do unnecessary titillation to make a female character conventionally attractive.


it's actually kind of a non-issue for me if they make game characters super sexy... It's not like they are actually in any way realistic. There's no way I am or ever could be a night elf or some scantily clad alien chick from SCII. Dragonbums I do totally get where you are coming from with it being lazy art but at the end of the day they are a business and it's a fact that sex sells.
But like I said earlier, variety would not kill the gaming industry. "Sex sells" is the mantra, but you aren't selling a porn magazine. You don't NEED to make them get in my bed sexy. It would not affect the sales of the game at all.
People are playing videogames to play videogames. Not to be aroused. "Sex sells" mantra did not stop a game from having successful sales, nor abysmal sales, and it certainly didn't save it from either being a good game or a bad game.



They are definitely not the only gaming company to take advantage of this, nor the only industry. Look at magazines, movies, advertising for all manner of products and services which all use sex to sell (much more frequently than games). So yes while I have felt pressure to 'look' or 'act' a certain way from the media I have realised what the media's view on what's 'sexy' isn't necessarily what an actual guy or girls view on sexy is. Luckily for me my boyfriend think's I'm sexy and his is the only opinion that matters to me, not some gaming company or the mass media.
Just because other mediums do it doesn't mean videogames have to follow the herd. Nor does it make it the right thing to do.

Getting back to the point though I don't really feel the pressure from the female game characters that I would from stick thin models in magazines or the beautiful actresses. The reason I don't feel that pressure from games? Because they are unrealistic, they are pixels on a screen and while what a character looks like is not a drawing point for me towards a game nor is it something that would discourage me from playing a game.

Whether the main character was a scantily clad nymph, a kevlar wearing counter-strike goon or a whimpy kid in his pajamas. I think part of what game creators are trying to do is to create an atmosphere that fits within the realm of their games.
Except for the part where the female designs DO NOT fit with the atmosphere of the games. I explained this with what Bioware did with Ashely in Mass Effect 3 and not only did it not make sense in the perspective of her personality and background, but it didn't even make sense in the realm of her occupation, and current situation. Especially considering where her opposite Kaidan, was much more realistic to the atmosphere of the game.



To address what deadcyde said again yes I do enjoy playing multiple different characters in various games and it is fun to play a sexy bad-ass chick, but there are so many other things that are more important to me in a game e.g. the thrill of an exciting storyline or the enjoyment that comes from being good at something competitive like SCII or Counter-Strike.
While I'm glad you can brush off the issue, that does not make it true for everyone else. I can as well can ignore that aspect and play the game and enjoy it. But at the end of the day I still wish there was more variety for me to choose from outside of customizable character games.

Oh one other thing I thought of... You could quite easily turn around to the guys and say "hey guys, does it bother you when game designers make the male game characters all buff and muscled who are able to wield a giant sword of doom while that may not be how you are in person?
But the thing is there are much more mainstream and popular games that do indeed show those kinds of guys in videogames. A lot more than women. Not every guy looks like Kratos from God of War.
So if a guy doesn't like to play as meat fridges, he has a nice big library to choose from that doesn't feature male protagonists like that. The same cannot exactly be said for women.




but no I don't really fee like it is an issue compared to the other mass media
Just because it's less of an issue compared to other things, doesn't mean it should be disregarded. It certainly doesn't mean that it's a non issue. A problem is still a problem no matter how small.

and it's not like every game you play has hyper-sexualised females, sure a large proportion are heading that way but there are female characters that are normal, cute, ugly, old crones, children... the list goes on.
How many of them are really in the spotlight or aren't indie games though. That's the problem. It's often an overwhelming majority that's like that.
There would be zero harm to the game's industry if the playing field was evened out.

The game industry needs diversification and different perspectives on a widespread level. Unless of course they want to end up like the comic books industry.
I actually agree with a lot of what you're saying but everybody is entitled to their opinions including the people making the games. And sure it is mostly the indie games that do have the other types of females but if people buy those indie games maybe they will be mainstream gaming companies one day, I mean blizzard didn't start out as the blizzard we know today. I agree that sex sells definitely isn't the main draw to a game for you or me and yeah it's awesome just to be a badass without it being synonymous with sexy. However if character appeal isn't the main draw for a game I feel that it really shouldn't be an issue for anybody how the designers create the game so whether they are doing it because they believe in the 'sex sells' theme or they're creating it like that because they enjoy it regardless of that. So while you have a point that it would be fun to have some more just badass chicks to kick ass with but I do think game designers have a right to design however they like and like all art some people will love it while others hate it and others are indifferent to it and all that is in between.
 

Uhura

This ain't no hula!
Aug 30, 2012
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SoManyCrimes said:
My argument would be that the existing customers probably wouldn't actually object if the character designs were changed (in future games - I don't think anyone should fiddle with existing content), but a lot of people who aren't playing might start. Therefore it would make a lot of sense for Blizzard or other designers to listen to this input for future products. This is nothing to do with principles. It's to do with money.
Yeah, I think you might be interested to read this poll on female sexualization in video games

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.824474-Poll-Lets-Get-Some-Honesty-Shall-We-Regarding-Big-Breasts-Sexy-Female-Game-Characters?view_results=1

According to the poll, only roughly 20 % of the responders prefer the sexy female designs. About 18 % hated the sexy female characters and whopping 61 % did not care. So based on those results, I'd say it's likely that toning the sexiness down a bit wouldn't bother the majority of gamers.