We Talk ‘Xenoblade,’ Our Last Minute 2017 Games And More on Waypoint Radio


#21

I’m not sure if you think I’m just lumping this into “bad anime designs”, but let me be absolutely clear that I am trying very hard to engage with Nier on its terms. I’ve put somewhere around 15 hours into the game, and if that isn’t enough time to start saying “hey maybe the critique against fanservice isn’t nearly incisive enough to justify the fanservice”, then maybe I’m just not cut out for analyzing video games.


#22

Also it’s way, way too easy to go with the “it’s a satire/deconstruction!” when very little about it in Nier comes across as satirical or deconstructionist. Nothing about the act of looking up the protagonist’s skirt and having her be visibly embarrassed/annoyed has much interesting to say about the subject of exploitation.

What I don’t like is how quickly the conversation tracks from “yeah that stuff is tacky but you can ignore it” to “it’s actually a brilliant breakdown of the topic of sexuality in games”, which is why I’m voicing my discomfort with Austin using the former line in defense of Xenoblade 2.


#23

Nier does nothing to justify itself in regards to giving you damn trophies for upskirts. And I say this as someone who has beaten it. Maybe if I upgrade the right fists to level 4 the tragic backstory of 2B’s outfit is revealed but I sure as hell didn’t see anything and by the end of that game I was going over it with a fine tooth comb to find any reason at all to not hate it


#24

I didn’t get the impression that Nier was doing anything to parody or criticise its sexualization, or the practice thereof in general.
If it had something to say about sexualization it didn’t say it with any clarity, I certainly didn’t find anything.


#25

You’re a hero :pray:

edit: this should be the theme for a Waypoint games jam :thinking:


#26

I appreciate the arguments.


#27

You mention the swing might have come in the past couple years, but now I’m wondering whether even egregious characters like, say, Nowi from FE: A were ever critiqued on more than a joking level? MGS: V’s Quiet had think pieces, but it almost feels like everyone decided to leave critique of design to Anita and focus on the games.

Or maybe Bayonetta was the swing? I remember the backlash against critiquing her appearance, with articles by progressive women praising her depiction and dismissing any critique as overreaching “white knights”. Maybe everyone just treads more carefully after that?

Honestly, I just wish people could say “This is my fetish” or “Hey, this doesn’t keep me from enjoying the game but that doesn’t mean it can’t bother others*” rather than rationalizing lacy cleavage and android derriere.

*This is me with the Monotagari Series


#28

Steven Universe has convinced me that new, marginalized creators are the only way we’ll ever change depictions. Persona 6 isn’t going to suddenly get woke, for example, if P5 couldn’t learn from criticism of P4. Existing creators aren’t going to change how they work. It’ll be new voices who grew up with a love of the medium and different perspectives. Steven Universe has stories and character types that I’ve never seen before, because cartoon creators before then lacked the interest/imagination.

Here’s hoping we get the “Steven Universe” of JRPG’s (and other games!) soon.


#29

A new team will be on hands with the next Persona so there a possibility that it’ll change for the better.


#30

Yea not Xenoblade X its Xenoblade 2 - the podcast art was also the wrong game <3


#31

Yep, it will require new teams for existing series to change their handling of these things, with marginalized voiced being raised up instead of being put to “grunt” work.

(While imo SU lost a lot of its mystery and whimsy as the series went on (dropping me off in the process) but I always appreciated the series’s care on subjects of queerness, identity, mental health, family, and so forth.)

Just goes to show how the creative leads really set the tone and expectation, trickle down empathy if you will.
Not to forget valuable contributors like consultants.


#32

He didn’t said that “you can ignore it”.

But let me ask you this: what they should’ve done? Ignore the game completely? I’m all for that, but I don’t see that ever happening. Focusing only on bad stuff? Maybe, but, again, not really realistic.

And I’m honestly asking, because, speaking of white knighting (I’m white dude), I often don’t sure what to do in situations like that. There are couple of recent action movies with female leads that were doing all the usual sins, but women were like “fuck off, we like it”. Or how Spawn on Me podcast was mocking John Walker for his review of “Mafia III” in a “welcome to my life, white boy” kinda way. And I agree. There is stuff that is not for me. Not for me to watch/play/listen to, and/or not for me to criticize.

That’s why it is a good idea to hire diverse group of people to cover games. But, surprise, all people are people, and they would still like things with problematic content in them.


#33

It’s really case by case but the main thing I try not to do is not talk over people who are more directly effected by something when they are present and try to think about rather my saying something is going to drive away those same people. Something I would keep in mind though is that communities tend to be self selecting, meaning that people who post on a gaming forum are more likely to tolerate the way in which games are sexist and racist and so on and so forth. This does not invalidate the opinions of women who do not mind say Nier (which in terms of sexist outfit issues is low on the list though still very much on it) but to keep in mind all the people that did care 20 years ago and left because they didn’t want to deal with all this crap anymore or even in the first place

And also it’s one thing to like something in spite of it’s problematic content. Frankly on an individual level I don’t really think voting with your dollar means anything most of these things work on a scale too large for it to matter but I think we really need to start asking ourselves if we need to be running glorified free ad campaigns for them. I really like Horizon Zero Dawn. The native appropriation stuff in and around that game fucking sucks and I don’t really talk about it much as that game don’t need me telling people all the ways in which I Think it’s great so they run out and buy it. There’s plenty of other stuff to praise I don’t need to go out of my way to try and canonize it as Saint Zero Dawn, Saint Of Extremely Ill Considered Use Of Racist Terminology And Also Great Combat. It’s okay to like something and not share that with the internet especially in our social media age, it’s okay to find value in something flawed even extremely so (though I believe there have to be limits on just how far you take that for it to still matter) but we need to think about what being vocal about that love means in an age where it can be removed from it’s context with the push of a button and the only thing you have is Zero Dawn Saint Of Great Combat with all the qualifications removed


Ignorance is bliss and I can't claim ignorance anymore
#34

Agree. Completely.

The only productive thing I can suggest is to write to Austin. I yelled at him about, let’s just say, similar-ish flaw in their coverage and he fixed it. So, it is possible that they would change something, and it is a reason (well, one of them) why I still believe in Waypoint the hedgehog.


#35

You mention the swing might have come in the past couple years, but now I’m wondering whether even egregious characters like, say, Nowi from FE: A were ever critiqued on more than a joking level?

Yes, this is exactly what I mean when I talk about infantilization as the elephant in the room. There have been dozens of thinkpieces about Bayonetta, who is, regardless of your stance on her, at the very least an adult character. I have never seen anyone write a thinkpiece about Nowi, a little kid who wears lingerie. And she was in an extremely popular game!

The most charitable explanation I can think of is, maybe some content goes so far over the line that confronting it is more consequential than some commentators want to grapple with?

It’s easy to say “this game depicts women poorly, but I still love everything else about it it.” I think it’s a lot harder to say “this game features a lingerie kid, but I still love everything else about it”. There’s just no non-terrible-sounding way to say that. Once you’ve acknowledged that a game contains that kind of thing, letting it slide is really tough to do, so maybe it just becomes easier not to mention it at all.


#36

Just on Neir, I found a lotta people happy about Yoko being honest about why their character designs were sexualized.
I kinda hope though this doesn’t become a defense though. It was nice for once to not have a incredibly dumb cover up reason but I worry a lot of folks are now gonna give these really bad designs and gaze stuff a pass simply cause the devs said they were just horny.


#37

Star Wars: Kardashian: Hollywood Rogue

holy shit.

Also It could be cool do generate names with a neural network but that could maybe not turn out as funny.


#38

Just on Neir, I found a lotta people happy about Yoko being honest about why their character designs were sexualized.

I think this reaction is very directly linked to the negative response to Kojima back when MGS5 came out. Everyone smelled bullshit when Kojima pulled the “ashamed of your words and deeds” line, and it was generally agreed that it would have been better if Kojima just admitted he wanted to have a sexy girl in the game. And in that moment, I think the bar got (unintentionally) lowered. Yoko Taro comes along with NieR:A, and look, he’s not lying like Kojima was, so let’s pop the champagne.

It’s treated as a goofus-and-gallant thing, when maybe it’s possible that both are still just different degrees of goofus.


#39

It’s a relieve to see other people speaking out about how poor the critique of objectification of women still is. After the Xenoblades stream I wasn’t feeling comfortable at all with voicing my concerns in this community.
Not with all that ‘ironic horniness’ in chat. (Like, seriously bad look when talking about a design that looks like it’s fetishizing a minor)

I’m sorry for not adding much else to this conversation. I just wanted to give my deepest thanks to everybody who spoke up about all this.


#40

I have been thinking a fair bit about Xenoblade these past 24 hours. I am playing it, I am enjoying it, I am pretty uncomfortable about the imagery. I am wondering if I have a moral responsibility to put the game down and walk away? To clarify, my main thought revolves around my son. He is way too young to understand anything much right now, but if this was a few years forward and he saw me playing this game, I would hope he would question me as to why I find it acceptable to play a game that has the character images it has. And I don’t know how I would justify it to him, or myself. I am a bit confused really. Having a kid has made me take things way more seriously than I used to, in terms of the example I am setting.

I might be over-thinking it. Dunno.