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


Places like the chat will have people be really silly but it is important that we bring it up so that it wont be normalized as it can led to some serious issues that can harm both audience and creators.
It ok to play it but if at any point you feel the game isn’t giving you space either by it gameplay of it visuals than walk away from it. It not like it forcing you to play it. As for your son best not to play it around him and in a few years, when he starts to question subjects in games, sit down with him on those subjects. It important to talk about it.


What’s important is shifting the overall tone so that this kind of stuff doesn’t become more normalized than it already is. It shouldn’t be normal that even a minor jab at the character design on Twitter causes a horde of angry fuckin’ goons to come raining down chanting about how people are too easily offended.

Sometimes that’s just a matter of phrasing and how you’re choosing to allocate digital ink and podcast time to these games. In the case of this Waypoint episode, Austin spent a disproportionate about of time talking about how Xenoblade 2 checks his boxes for campy shonen anime games, while devoting about 8-9 seconds to paying lip service toward the game’s terrible representations of women.

I listen to Waypoint Radio to hear more critical and in-depth conversations about the sociopolitical landscape of gaming that’s so often overlooked or outright frowned upon as a subject by most prominent games communities. In that respect, it’s why I was really disappointed with how quickly Austin glossed over the topic here.


I guess everyone was just too distracted by Tharja’s butt (and cries of “censorship!”) to notice


I think you hit the nail on the head here, and why I was disappointed with this podcast. I think discourse especially seems to jump very quick to the “horny is cool” line when it’s anime-related. If Xenoblade 2, Fire Emblem, or NieR were not all totally anime, would they be getting as much of a pass?


This sort of thing is a big reason why I’m so apprehensive dive into Nier: Automata. Everywhere I look I see glowing praise for all of the insightful things that game has to say about human nature and consciousness and all that good stuff, but only a passing mention at how there’s a trophy for looking up the protagonist’s skirt and how there’s literally some ridiculous shit where you can have all of her clothing get blown off but “there’s cool philosophy stuff in there I swear!”

The ability of writers and fans to constantly dismiss this type of stuff as some “wacky anime nonsense” is super disconcerting and while I still appreciate that Yoko Taro was honest about his decisions he probably just emboldened other devs to shamelessly do it. People’s apathy towards this gross shit is never ending, and if it’s gotten to a point where even infantilization isn’t enough for major outlets to reconsider how much exposure and coverage and praise they want to devote to something then idk what the fuck is.


I haven’t played or seen anything of Xenoblade, but I’m just gonna chime in: Wait, there’s a trophy for looking up 2B’s skirt? Also there’s a part where she’s not wearing any clothing? I put like 40 hours into the game and never saw or heard of this. (Frankly, I would like to un-know this, please.)

I mean, I would expect games journalists to be more aware in general, I guess, but I would wager that a sizable portion of the game’s audience doesn’t know this, because a sizable portion of the game’s audience doesn’t actually try to look up the protagonist’s skirt.


You must not have followed the discourse very hard as it was discussed a fair bit right when it came out before it was just endless praise. Or maybe you just ran in different circles


I didn’t. I tend not to, because I tend not to play games right as they come out and I try to avoid spoilers. After I play, I go back and catch up on some of the discourse (recently, I searched for BOTW articles and read a few of the long form pieces I’d skipped and listened to the Nier spoilercast on WPR, etc.) but I obviously don’t get to everything. That said, I don’t think my experience is particularly uncommon.

Which isn’t to defend Nier, just expressing my own surprise and wondering how much of the lack of criticism is genuinely not realizing that it’s there vs. ignoring it. (Again, this is probably a different bar for journalists than it is for people posting on forums.)


The self destruct system can blow up her skirt or 9S’s shorts, I never actually did that in game. Like there’s so much more interesting stuff going on in the game that it wasn’t exactly something I had to encounter.

I sorta expect Austin to go into more about the over-sexualization of Xenoblade 2, it’s clear in the podcast that it’s on his mind.


I was under the impression that 2B would swat the camera away if you tried to look up her skirt? That seemed like a neat way to not only make it seem like 2B has a tiny bit of agency, but to tell the player off both from her and the game itself (and presumably, the developer).

Hearing that there’s an achievement seems like it completely undermines any value that has by changing the context of the silent dialogue between 2B and the player after it’s unlocked. If they intended to present 2B as in control of her image, not the player, by rewarding the player for violating her the player instead probably comes away feeling as though they were in the right, that they successfully overpowered 2B, or were actually in control the whole time. The message from the developer becomes not “2B gets to decide how you look at her, respect that and stop being gross” and instead “just be persistent, no doesn’t mean no”.

And, well, ugh.


Seeing 2B’s skirt 10 times and seeing her swat the camera away says something about you regardless of whether you’re horny or an innocent achievement hunter. Achievement is not an absolute in which the only purpose is to get them. They interact with games outside of the role they’ve been given. NieR Automata is a data-driven game, everything you do is recorded and someone will see it from your death, to the message you send them and to the choices you make at the end. Achievement is data.


Let’s not kid ourselves that 2B was designed modestly and this controversy is just from pervy players. The upskirt views are clearly shown to the player any time 2B runs or double jumps.


I had literally the same response lol, just wrote them an email about it and then came here to see if anyone was talking about it.

It feels weird that issues like this still seem to get the same level of discussion they did a decade ago, which is to say none. Theyre treated like a niggling technical problem. The “it treats women really grossly and poorly, but if you can get past that its really fun!” is framed exactly like “The framerate is locked at thirty, but if you can get past that its really fun!” Its a problem, but not a huge one.


You’re saying this like it’s shoved in your face any time you perform these basic actions - and I guess you’re lumping combat in here too - but it’s absolutely not because a) the skirt isn’t billowing around her face whenever she so much as moves or whatever you imagine is happening and b) the default camera state of the game is designed for navigating the world and the game’s combat. Like, the reason you get the achievement for looking up her skirt ten times is because you have to be persistently doing so, manipulating both 2B and the camera to get the angle just right in the right place and ignoring 2B’s deflection and glare at the player each time they fight the game this way. The achievement’s hidden and is the only one to break the fourth by literally asking the player what they’re doing.

For what it’s worth, as a side note, there’s also a similar secret achievement for playing as 9S for at least one hour in his boxer shorts. It’s possibly also worth mentioning that you can purchase an item called a Dress Module later in the game that allows you to switch between each character’s default state and how they look after self-destructing and what happens when you use that is one of the Pod’s lifts a curtain to hide the character as they privately undress slightly or vice versa.

Whatever the case, when you actually complete the game you get access to a shop where you can buy all the game’s achievements anyway, just to show how meaningless they all were. So, like, I get the complaints about the design of the characters themselves but there’s more context regarding this specifically than is being made out here and, honestly, implying that the game is less deserving of the coverage it was given as well as praise because of this is a bloody ridiculous thing to say whether you understand the full context or not. It should be obvious that the joke’s on whoever the hell is actually obsessed with achievements to the point where they’ll mindlessly do this sort of thing with zero self-awareness or buy them along with others they’re missing with a lot of in-game currency that could be better used elsewhere just to get that platinum trophy or whatever and whoever unlocks it not knowing there actually is one for screwing about with the camera consistently for one purpose, in which case they’re asked an unexpected and surprisingly loaded question.


None of this information about the context, to my eye, actually changes anything about that aspect of the game.

It is possible for people to know the context and still feel that the commentary is not incisive, that it fails to subvert what it’s trying to subvert, or that whatever point Yoko Taro was trying to make is undercut by the attitudes he’s expressed in other venues.

Can Yoko Taro call anyone out for peeking up 2B’s skirt when he’s clearly had his team put a lot of effort into rendering what’s up there, and when he solicits 2B porn from fans? Can the fanbase credibly claim “the game doesn’t treat 2B voyeuristically” when that same fanbase has gleefully been doing exactly that? A lot of it feels very much like people trying to have their cake and eat it too.


death of the author except the author is alive and we’re picking everything he does to invalidate what the game says


Even if you’re applying death of the author, it’s still a game with heavy usage of objectification in visual design, where it’s often at ends with itself (an animation showing the protagonist visibly aggravated with the player leering, vs an achievement that encourages you do so).

This isn’t even getting into things like, the fact that 2B’s ass becomes more pronounced when she steps out of a body of water. I don’t know how you could argue something like that isn’t meant to titillate, and considering that one popular tweet that was like “aww yeah check out her wet asscheeks” without a hint of irony, the end result is titillation.

Yoko Taro’s own personality is being brought up because it exacerbates that creative intent, and how defenders of the game’s sexuality will use his honesty in horny intention as a positive thing vs Kojima trying to be coy about it.


Bayonetta is an interesting topic in this whole thing in that to my eye it’s not really the same thing in some ways. Bayonetta is like, 100% about being kinda porny. It’s not trying anything deeper on a narrative level really and also Bayonetta is an adult as opposed to Nowi or frankly the Xenoblade characters (I don’t care if they look 18 for anime even if I thought they did the literal age of consent isn’t really the issue at play here it’s the power dynamics and just because someone is of legal age doesn’t mean it’s suddenly all okay) and at no pint is Bayonetta presenting itself as a deep exploration of of, whatever Nier is about, rehashed Ghost In The Shell episodes I guess? I don’t get the love for that game but that’s not relevant. Point is Bayonetta is wholly about being aggressively horny and if you aren’t into that you aren’t missing that much on a narrative level and that’s not something I can say about these other games


but how come we’re at waypoint and the only idea that we’re able to get from an achievement is : “you are encouraged to do it”.

Are you ?

110% of what is being brought up in the thread can be summed up about how its fanbase might be completely unironic about what the game says and leeches on it to feed their lust. You’re absolutely right, but this flimsy defense of the creator being refreshingly honest, or a horniness that can be ignored to enjoy the game comes more from the failure of the writing circles you follow to actually engage and write about the product than it is about what it actually says.

Has a piece of entertainment failed if everyone eats up everything it says at face value? Is it impossible to consider that the irony of the situation reinforces the message that is being played before us? There is no sane discussion to be had if the pulse of a game is taken only from the reception of its audience. That’s giving a free pass to the anime right to poison everything you interact with, that is to say at its most browbeat way.


I’ve read The Republic enough times to know that I’m all for some fictional titillation, tbh. The Discourse spawned by something as benign as 2B’s ass has grown so tiring that I almost wish they put pants on her just so it never happened.

And for what it’s worth I’m like 6 hours into Xenoblade and it’s… pretty tame. Although I’ll say from the outset that I don’t think this game does 3D models/anatomy very well, in general? The 2D designs on the menu screen definitely seem better all around.