Skullgirls Dev Dismisses Cries of Sexism

Mike Kayatta

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Aug 2, 2011
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Skullgirls Dev Dismisses Cries of Sexism


Reverge Labs claims that scantly clad anime chicks with huge breasts aren't offensive because it was a woman who animated them.

For those of you unfamiliar, Skullgirls is an upcoming 2D fighter in the vein of Marvel Versus Capcom that features an all-girl roster of anime-styled women. Yes, they fight each other, yes, they have breasts, and yes, sometimes when they contort, you can see their panties. Since trailers surfaced earlier this year, some people have started complaining about the game relying on gimmick and sexual exploitation. Peter Bartholow, lead developer, disagrees, citing the complaints as "misplaced and shallow chivalry."

"Our characters are strong, powerful women who happen to be attractive," Bartholow said in an interview with Eurogamer. "We don't have anyone like [Street Fighter's] Cammy, who wraps her legs around your leg then beats you senseless with her Kegel muscles - or whatever is going on in that Cammy Super. There was a very conscious decision not to do things like that. None of the characters use their sexuality in any aggressive way. It's just a thing they happen to be."

Still, that hasn't stopped some people from getting offended. Earlier this year at Gamescon in Germany, one fan stopped Bartholow just to tell him how sexist he thought the game was. According to Bartholow, however, the complaint stopped as soon as he explained that a woman had done the animation.

"I'm like, did you know our lead animator is a woman?" he retold. "Then, he's like, that's amazing. It's like I gave him the excuse to think it was okay all of a sudden, or to admit he liked it, which really amused me and seemed emblematic of the entire situation around that."

Bartholow puts a lot of stock in the fact that a woman, not a man, was the one who handled the animations. "She intentionally lavishes attention on the breasts herself because she thinks it's cool," he explained. "All the people who seem bothered by it are guys. It's a weird chivalry intent thing that's sort of misplaced and maybe shallow, even, because they see breasts and panty flashes and they go, that's sexist, but I've yet to meet a woman who has complained about it. They're over-thinking it."

The game is set to be released on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network in early 2012. Reverge labs has stated that the fighter will launch with eight characters, and will add more in free DLC updates as the community grows. It's also confirmed that male characters will be added eventually.

Personally, I think some of Bartholow's arguments are weak, but the better question is, does he need to be making them in the first place? If you're going to design a game starring nothing but cute girls in revealing outfits, you need to be prepared to own it, not justify it. Skullgirls isn't the first game to feature big-breasted women, and certainly won't be the last. What do you think Escapists? Based on what you see in the trailer, do you agree that the game looks like nothing more than offensive fan service?

Source: Eurogamer [http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-12-07-skullgirls-sexism-complaints-are-misplaced-and-shallow-chivalry]


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FogHornG36

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Jan 29, 2011
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oh, because the Japanese don't have 100 games like this already, and when they do it, its just fine with everyone
 

viranimus

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Nov 20, 2009
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It seems more like parody to me. Which really that was the intention was it not?

Honestly I really get tired of people stabbing each other in the back so they can claim "I am the most tolerant! I am the most politically correct"

Seriously, even if this game is pure fan service for those who enjoy fapping to imaginary animated chars, what exactly is wrong with that? I mean do we not at this time of year also get drowned in a tidal wave of Harp and Harpsichord type chiq flicks that boast some no name lunk of a guy with a body of a statue and the face as goofy blank and vapid as they come?

No? So how is it the new twilight film is pushing a quarter billion in box office? Yeah, let the puerile man boys have their guilty pleasures for crying out loud.
 

rekabdarb

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Jun 25, 2008
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Wait... you mean people are complaining about a video game?

And even when the company attempts to alleviate these fears/concerns they still complain?!
NO WAY.
And upon watching the trailer 3 times, i've come to the conclusion that anyone who sees the panty flashes are really looking for them. Because i was looking at the head that was on the ground attacking people. I don't see sexism, or sex. I see a game. It's like that south park episode where Chef wanted to change the flag because he thought it was racist. When the kids had a debate on it, it didn't even enter their minds that it was racist.
 

Jumwa

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Jun 21, 2010
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I do notice more and more games tend to be getting backlash for female sexuality from male gamers. Or just sexuality in general. Somehow the Witcher 2 gets called "notoriously sexual" by some, despite having (per hours of content) less sex than your typical movie, for instance.

My best guess is that a lot of it has to do with males feeling insecure that game makers are trying to take advantage of them through this. Maybe mixed with North America's tendency to be very skittish with sex in general.

And on a personal, anecdotal note, my partner enjoys games with sexy women. She's not bothered by sexuality in games, and neither am I.
 

Thaluikhain

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Jan 16, 2010
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They got a woman to do it. Are people still using that defense?

How is that different from "my best mate's sister's hairdresser's cousin is an X, and once told me that Y isn't offensive to X"?
 

Treblaine

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Jul 25, 2008
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This reminds me of this thread:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.323485-The-cover-art-for-Elder-Scrolls-Arena-is-embarassing?page=1

I don't think it went anywhere, but I vociferously argued that there is nothing wrong with a woman character showing her body nor even being explicitly as sexual being as long as it doesn't sacrifice her agency in the game.
 

lord.jeff

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Oct 27, 2010
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My solution after this game release a fighting game with noting but a bunch of sexy men.
 

Kahunaburger

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May 6, 2011
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Hey guise a woman was involved in this! That means it can't possibly be sexist! [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/InsaneTrollLogic]

EDIT: Ninja'd :)
 

Treblaine

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Jul 25, 2008
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thaluikhain said:
They got a woman to do it. Are people still using that defense?

How is that different from "my best mate's sister's hairdresser's cousin is an X, and once told me that Y isn't offensive to X"?
Same reason black people can use the N-word.

Not that if one's "best mate's sister's hairdresser's cousin" is black you can't use it. Or can you. I don't know, ask Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino to explain that one to you.
 

Lono Shrugged

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May 7, 2009
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Heimir said:
And the same dried up feminazis who cried sexism to this. Won't lift a finger or even think about crying sexism at games like Gears of War for depicting men to be steroidal monster muscletanks. Hypocrisy tastes so good.

How do you know it was a woman who complained? I got the impression it was a man or men who complained.

I must remember to keep a good selection of genders onhand when I produce my schlocky B list stuff. Because as Assassin's Creed likes to remind us: it's ok to do it if you have a member of the potentially offended party on the team. As offensive as this could be. it's really nothing in the scheme of things.
 

4RM3D

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May 10, 2011
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Haters are gonna hate

They will always find something to ***** about. And if there is nothing wrong with the game, they just make something up.
 

Tireseas_v1legacy

Plop plop plop
Sep 28, 2009
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What he should have done is post a 10 minute clip from the DOA series (all of them) and then claim that whatever they're doing here is technically an improvement.
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
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Hey, a woman did it so it's totally not sexism!

...lol...

FogHornG36 said:
oh, because the Japanese don't have 100 games like this already, and when they do it, its just fine with everyone
It is? When did that happen?
 

Gothproxy

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Mar 20, 2009
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Meh... These days it seems as if anything that comes out as a form of entertainment (more so for video game entertainment) you can bet that someone, somewhere is going to be offended by it, and since we all have access to the wonderful public forum called the Internet, they are going to whoop and holler as loud as their bandwidth will let them (note, however, that they usually do it (semi)anonymously which tends to take the bite out of any rebuttal to their argument...)

Maybe a general rule when it comes to public entertainment (or entertainment that will be available to the public in one form or another) should be "If you aren't offending at least one person, you're doing it wrong." Or something.
 

Versuvius

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Apr 30, 2008
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It's sexist when i stop being fed grizzled, bland, emotionally retarded fridges with legs and communicate through grunts thankyouverymuch. That petty minority crying sexist need being told to fuck off, right in the face. Loudly.