Right now, here on GI and elsewhere, there is a debate about Deep Silver’s Dead Island Riptide collector's edition controversy. Bradamantium wrote an excellent piece about this, which I highly encourage you to check out. I also felt that I needed to chime in and give my two cents as well.



 “Warning: Includes content that may cause offence!” No kidding, but hey, at least the breasts are intact!


Apparently, this statue was supposed to be a “grotesque take on an iconic Roman marble torso sculpture.” Instead, all I see is a mauled bikini torso. I don’t really have too many words for it. It’s creepy, it sexualizes violence, and it’s misogynistic. It basically is reducing a woman to her breasts. I can’t even fathom who came up with this idea, and even more so, who actually approved of it.


 "Dead Island Riptide is one of the most anticipated releases of the year and is set to build on the original's reputation for OTT action, dark humour and brutal zombie bashing," says Deep Silver sales and marketing director Paul Nicholls. "We wanted to provide a unique collector's edition that was utterly 'Dead Island' and would make a striking conversation piece on any discerning zombie gamer's mantel."

 Well, you definitely achieved the conversation part of your goal, Nicholls.

 People are pretty heated about this issue. There are others like myself who are disappointed. And then there are other people who like the statue, and defend it in saying things like “this drama is because of our Quaker/American puritan values,” “if you don’t like it, stop whining and don’t buy it,” or my personal favorite: “if it was a man, no one would say anything!”

 Let’s hold it right there and take a step back.

 Everybody has their own comfort levels and sexual preferences about what they like to partake in, which I respect, so I’m not here to discuss that. However,  we’re talking about objectification. And whether it is in a tv show, movie, song, or game, the majority of that sexualization is of females.

 So in this particular case, to argue that there would not be any issue if it was a statue of a man’s junk covered in a tiny speedo, well, that is an irrelevant argument. How does an imaginary, baseless scenario help the actual situation?

GI recently featured some promotional fashion art for Devil May Cry. On page one are the male characters, and on the next page are the women. Notice any differences between the two depictions?

 Both of the men are in positions of power, looking strong and ready to fight. And the women are… posing for us?





*She’s doing an infamous "butt/boobs pose" as mentioned on The Escher girls tumblr site.


It's fine if a developer wants to add in sexuality or relationships, but there is a huge difference between including this for the character, another character, or the story, and a character being sexy for us, the audience.


For example, did you know you can earn a trophy in Lollipop Chainsaw for peeping up Juliet’s skirt? That is just perverted and completely unnecessary, considering this is a real-life problem.


Or how about the zoomed in shot of Miranda’s butt in Mass Effect?


While I do believe that male characters are stereotyped as being gruff, tough and buff, which is another discussion topic, that is more of an idealization. I can’t recall ever encountering these kind of examples while playing as a male character. These women, however, based on their posing and/or attire, are breaking the fourth wall for the gamer’s benefit, not for themselves. That’s deliberate fanservice, it’s exploitative, and I think it is a big issue that people mistake “prudishness” for protesting objectification.

I can’t convince you to change your mind if you aren’t offended by this marketing, but if you can take anything away from the opposing side, it’s that this Dead Island debacle is not related to “prudishness” or any gamer’s sexual orientation. It’s just another unfortunate example of misogyny being used to sell a game.

 And I find it sadly ironic that the game industry is creating barriers within the community because of these mishaps, considering that gaming itself already has a stigma associated with it, with non-gamers. One good thing that did come out of this is that Deep Silver was very quick to apologize and respond to the situation. Hopefully next time, instead of collecting feedback from the gaming community after the event, they can prevent instances like this from happening in the first place.

*Note: If anyone is interested in seeing more objectification examples, I highly recommend a tumblr site called Escher Girls. This is an awesome blog which criticizes the portrayal of women in various media.