Giant Bomb News

2517 Comments

Eight Women, Eight Responses, and One Dead Island Riptide Statue

A collection of reactions to last week's questionable marketing tactic from a variety of women in the video game industry.

Deep Silver likely did not anticipate the intense reaction to its UK-specific Zombie Bait bundle for Dead Island Riptide when it was announced last week. The news came alongside other bundles for the sequel, but the Zombie Bait bundle received attention for a statue of a torn apart woman that featured nothing more than her bikini-wearing torso.

Deep Silver’s issued a questionable apology in response to the furor. The company did not discuss how this bundle even came into existence, and still hasn’t said whether it will be sold or not. One would hope not? I’ve asked the company for further clarification on that point, but as of publication, nothing has come back.

Here's the company's previous statement in full:

“We deeply apologize for any offense caused by the Dead Island Riptide “Zombie Bait Edition”, the collector’s edition announced for Europe and Australia. Like many gaming companies, Deep Silver has many offices in different countries, which is why sometimes different versions of Collector’s Editions come into being for North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

For the limited run of the Zombie Bait Edition for Europe and Australia, a decision was made to include a gruesome statue of a zombie torso, which was cut up like many of our fans had done to the undead enemies in the original Dead Island.

We sincerely regret this choice. We are collecting feedback continuously from the Dead Island community, as well as the international gaming community at large, for ongoing internal meetings with Deep Silver's entire international team today. For now, we want to reiterate to the community, fans and industry how deeply sorry we are, and that we are committed to making sure this will never happen again.”

The story featured my own opinion on the subject, as do most pieces of content on Giant Bomb. You might have suspected part of my response, based on previous articles I’ve filed at the site, and the reaction was along the lines of the last conversation about #1reasonwhy. When I was mulling a follow-up, I didn’t want to have the same back-and-forth, and hoped to introduce some new voices.

So, I reached out to a number of women members of the video game community, and asked them to provide their individual reactions. There are voices from everywhere in games, from development to fellow writers. I didn't specifically seek out people who had expressed an opinion about Dead Island, I just figured they had one. Some chose to speak directly to what happened, some didn't. There weren't any rules.

I’m also going to start something new here. I won't guarantee it’ll happen every time, but for big features, I want to make sure there’s a dedicated time slot for spending time responding to comments. It won’t happen until the story has been up for a little while, and people have had a chance to digest it. In this case, it’s going to be for 30 minutes at 11:30 a.m. PST. As always, anything I don’t get to can be addressed in PM, on Twitter, or through my Tumblr site.

_______________________________________________________________

Rhianna Pratchett, writer (Tomb Raider, Mirror’s Edge)

I’m both a horror fan, and a Dead Island fan. But my initial reaction to Riptide’s mutilated torso was one of shock, bewilderment and confusion. I wasn’t morally outraged. It was more a deep sigh and eye roll of “Oh come on… really? REALLY?” Yes, horror and sex have been intertwined forever, but there was something about the visual depiction of this one that was unexpectedly disgusting for a number of reasons. A mutilated corpse (of either sex) is pretty disturbing, sure. A sexed-up (and there no other way to describe the perfectly round, barely covered up and non-zombified knockers) female corpse, offered up as a reward, has particularly nasty connotations. Especially when combined with the fact that it’s described as 'bait'--a confusing title for what was apparently meant to be (according to the developers) a zombie’s torso, rather than the mutilated and cut up human torso that it actually looked like. Zombies are not normally known for the penchant to chew down on the flesh of other zombies.

I’m accustomed to game companies marketing towards men. But rarely is it quite so blatantly i.e. "Here are some tits!" It’s a mistake to ignore the legions of female gamers out there, who enjoy their zombie killing just as much as the guys. It’s an even bigger mistake to outright annoy them. Believe me, I know this. I’ve got first-hand experience of being caught-up with a video games "controversy" on Tomb Raider, and so I know that marketing and the way we speak about and depict our characters and games is important. Industry and player debate about how we go about this is also valuable.

I was glad to see Deep Silver apologising for this rather large misstep, although I was a little perplexed by the fact that they seemed to use the fact that players apparently do this in the game (or at least have the option to) as some kind of get-out-of-jail card. I’ve done some horrendous things in games. I don’t particularly want to see them immortalised in statue form.

There’s been a lot of talk about whether it would have been okay if it was a male statue. But the fact that it isn’t (and we can only really talk about what we’ve been presented with, not what we haven’t) combined with the way the torso’s been depicted, strongly suggests that the marketeers would never have done that. A sexed-up male torso (and even with a six-pack it’s not quite the same) wouldn’t have appealed to the intended audience (straight men) in the same way. If they’d wanted to keep up this mutilated torso theme then a male torso and female torso, leaning against each other in zombie-baiting harmony, would’ve been a better way to go about it. And, given that the first game had a 50/50 male to female ratio of player characters and a similar ratio in the AI, rather more in keeping with the general tone of the game.

Better still, something like AMC’s Walking Dead collector’s edition head would have been more appropriate and arguably less offensive.

Follow more of Rhianna's work at www.rhiannapratchett.com and on Twitter.

_______________________________________________________________

Clarice Meadows, writer and former sales operation manager at Take-Two Interactive

When marketing departments come up with various tchotchkes to get people to buy a video game, there are a lot of factors that come into it. Theme, desirability, originality, and more. It's a matter of making something unusual and interesting enough, and yet appropriately themed for the game, that fans will absolutely HAVE to buy it. I like to think that there are focus groups involved in the choice of object, or at the very least more than just a bunch of marketing types being locked in a room for days fueled by caffeine and junk food until they come up with an idea and are let out. Sadly, I am pretty sure the latter is usually the case. The zombie torso created specifically for Dead Island Riptide was, in my opinion, a marketing catastrophe. I've heard many responses to this particular item. From "well women don't play games anyway" to "by getting mad about it and yelling, you guys are giving this company free advertising" to "it's like a classical sculpture of antiquity, but a zombie!" So let's break this down a bit.

1) I am a woman, and I play video games. I am not particularly unusual in my gender group in choosing to play video games. I grew up in the 80s, video games were around, and I liked them. I also happen to know quite a few other women who play games, including games like Dead Island. By ignoring women as a market demographic for a video game, companies are losing out hugely. By assuming women will only buy pink, glittery items or games that are about clothing and boyfriends, these companies are losing money. By putting out a completely sexist and crass marketing ploy, they are losing money. Seriously, isn't the point of triple-A games to make scads of cash? I really don't get making choices that lead to losing it instead, can you tell?

2) By yelling about something offensive, we're making a case that offensive marketing is unacceptable. By not yelling, we're giving silent consent to continuing crappy and cheap marketing choices. And trust me, this is crappy, cheap AND lazy marketing. Oh look, a pair of boobs! How innovative! Apparently these marketers think the only people playing video games are under-sexed pubescent mole men. I mean… seriously? Lazy.

3) The last time I checked, classical sculptures did not have boob jobs. Also, the last time I checked, real boobs did not do that while in a string bikini. There's this thing called gravity… And if we're going to have an argument that this torso is not overly sexed up and has turned a live woman (or live lady zombie) into a bunch of sex organs, then… well… someone is lying to themselves. Is it appropriate? Is necrophilia really acceptable now? Because that's what this feels like it's promoting to me.

Lazy and cheap marketing ploys don't make money, they cost money in PR nightmares and hours of dancing around apologizing. It doesn't take much to be smarter, and who knows? Maybe a new market full of lots of money will open up and be willing to spend that money on video games! I mean, didn't you hear that women have jobs and make money and LOVE to spend it? Think big video game companies. Think about all that cash you're letting slide right through your fingers, and play it smarter.

Follow more of Clarice's work at Plays Like a Girl and on Twitter.

_______________________________________________________________

Kate Lorimer, composer and writer

For my part, yes, I found it offensive, it was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” (though I am sure it won't be the last such incident) after a year of dodgy marketing (Hitman, Booth Babes, Tomb Raider, Girlfriend Mode, Anita Sarkeesian). And from a personal viewpoint, even a close friend expressing his being fed up with online “outrage” and “Feminist point-scoring pandering” from game websites like Rock Paper Shotgun--his words--and his complete (and somewhat deliberate) misunderstanding of the concept of Feminism (being supposedly more about pursuing Women’s interests above male's, as opposed to actually being about equality for both genders).

Unfortunately, amongst teens and younger players in general (but as Jenny Haniver has shown, far from exclusively) there’s likely to be a kneejerk reaction backlash at the outrage and offence caused by it, as kids love a bit of blood'n'gore, and certainly amongst the heterosexual hormone fueled boys that whole “cor... boobies” thing has an attraction. See: http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/153593/yes-ah-tah

The reasons for it being offensive are obvious to the clear of thought--it's objectification at its worst. Remove the person from the body, inexplicably leaving a pubescent boy’s idea of the perfect female figure, with balloon boobs (mysteriously untouched by hungry zombie snacking) and a peek at a panty enclosed crotch--of course, hiding the vagina within--which would likely be too offensive/edgy to the same boys!

Would the situation have been mitigated had there been an alternative option of a male torso? It might have slightly balanced the equality issue, though of course there is a special obsession with boobies--especially globe-tastic ones on an itty bitty waist! But the fact that it's just a female torso they decided to go with speaks volumes about their marketing, and the usual narrow-minded targeted demographic. It might have been just as grisly but slightly more in line with the zombie ethos to have had a scary looking zombie head?

Follow more of Kate's work at K8-bit and on Twitter.

_______________________________________________________________

Elizabeth DeLoria, staff writer at Gameranx and cosplay photographer

In September last year, Jill Meagher, a 29-year-old ABC employee, went missing while walking the short walk home from a popular Melbourne street. Thanks to a somewhat viral social media campaign, the entire country began to follow the case, people everywhere wanting Jill to be found alive and well and brought home.

When she was found murdered, buried in a shallow roadside grave after being kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a complete stranger, the entire country went from hopefully to angry. Angry that someone would do this, angry that she wasn't alive and well as we'd hoped, angry that she was minding her own business in her own suburb when she was attacked. People were so angry that when the alleged killer's name leaked, social media erupted with people from every walk of life wanting his head. An entire nation was in mourning, and thousands in Melbourne marched in her honor.

I mention this because we know it's not okay to kill people. We're angered and heartbroken when women are violently murdered (and that's just the cases we hear about.) The news of Jill Meagher, as an example, was devastating to thousands that didn't even know her. Yet at the same time, we're sent these messages that sexualize, glamorize and exploit a woman's decapitated torso. That use violent murder for the purpose of sex appeal and thus profit.

When I see the same people who I saw march for Jill, whose heart sank when they heard the news of her death ask me why this torso statue is "such a big deal," I don't even know how to begin to explain to them how they've come so close to the right thing, yet they sit so far from it.

I'm not really offended, I'm just mortified at how easily we seem to forget.

Follow more of Elizabeth's work at Gameranx and on Twitter.

_______________________________________________________________

Vanessa Hunter, artist and game design graduate

We need to start at the beginning if we are to stop the pervasiveness of sexism in gaming culture, and by sticking this statue in a set that will be received by kids and young adults, Deep Silver is reinforcing an already warped attitude toward women held by the gaming community.

If this statue had been reminiscent of Venus de Milo or the statue of David, and posed in a beautiful, creative way, perhaps I could have even admired it. But as a hunk of flesh plopped into a lifeless pose and trussed up in a string bikini, I seriously have to question the thought behind it.

My main reaction to this statue, however, is that it presents a woman as a literal piece of dead meat. It beheads all personality and life and strips away individuality to present the viewer with what is simply a hunk of flesh in a gaudy bikini. This figure gets up and screams "all I am worth is to fulfill your pleasures"

To a woman like me, it's sickening because it represents how some men see real-life women every day.

From someone who has seen firsthand how a monster who holds this attitude can choke the life out of someone beautiful and radiant, this bust is a nightmare come true. And what's worse is that the attitudes behind such an object reinforce this behaviour as okay.

As for Deep Silver's "apology" placing the blame on its fan base, many of whom view them as a role model, teaching them that sexism is okay if someone else has done it before is unacceptable. They need to grow up.

Follow more of Vanesssa's work through Instagram and on Twitter.

_______________________________________________________________

Anonymous

I didn't feel offended by the Dead Island bikini statue. I did, however, find it quite tiresome. I don't think that it can be denied that the statue is an obvious example of sexual objectification--a mutilated torso with perfectly untouched breasts.

Sexual objectification of women is everywhere, and it's impact is a massive discussion that goes way beyond video games. What I found most tiresome about the statue wasn't the objectification but that making a statue such as this suggests a number of things that Deep Silver assumes about their audience. They assume that the audience are young shallow men whose main interests are tits and violence. It's insulting to men and its a common assumption in video game marketing. Women are not even considered as part of the possible audience. It's outdated thinking.

I've been playing video games since I was a kid, and it's probably the main thing I do for entertainment. I have as many female friends as male who play video games. It is tiresome to be constantly excluded--and if I am included then I am considered a novelty. Women who play games are a sizable chunk of the audience and have been around for as long as video games. Objects like this statue show that we are not really considered to exist.

This individual chose not to share their personal information for fear of potential backlash.

_______________________________________________________________

Melissa Cooke, writer for FemmeGamer

Personally, I think that it's rather disgusting that Deep Silver decided to sell this. The usage of a female chest and abdomen I assume was originally used as a shock tactic to grab the eyes of the media, obviously this has worked, but what made it sexist in my eyes was the way it was dressed up and the proportions on the body.

The breasts are very unrealistic in the way they're being held up by a string bikini, not to mention that there are no wounds on the breasts, making them all the more obvious.The stomach is also very flat, and the bust looks almost anorexic, which is a very damaging image to promote.

The bust lacks also a face or any other feature that makes this bust look human, which could be interpreted as Deep Silver saying "Look this isn't a human, it's a woman, look how her breasts are positioned for your enjoyment, isn't that cool?"

Overall, this is a rather shameless grab for attention on Deep Silver's part, and all this sort of stunt does is give the non-gaming public the idea that games and the people who are playing them are immature, and push any progress the industry has made back a few more years.

Follow Melissa's work at Femme Gamer and on Twitter.

_______________________________________________________________

Anna Kipnis, senior gameplay programmer at Double Fine Productions

It's really hard to approach this topic in any kind of novel way. At this point, it's hard to bring round people who have made their minds up that feminism threatens to ruin their entertainment; to convince them that it's troubling to have games openly revel in dismembering decomposing women in bikinis. Yet I don't believe in censorship, either. Personally, I push this sort of thing into the same category in my brain as boob mugs (which I respect more for at least cutting to the chase and showing actual nudity). I'm not sure why someone would want a headless, bloody, dismembered corpse of a woman's upper torso, with grotesquely fake boobs obscured by a sadly implicated union jack proudly displayed on their mantle, but they're not a person I can imagine seeing eye-to-eye with on many things.

I honestly believe you can have sexiness and violence in games, even at the same time, if that's what you want. I can't think of a great example of a game that has done this particularly well (no doubt there is one), but there are many examples in film. For instance, Quentin Tarantino has made plenty of movies over the years that feature sexy women in violent situations. Even women getting dismembered (Kill Bill Volume 1, Death Proof), and yet it's never felt sexist or misogynist to me. I walk away from the theater generally thinking of those women as role models, not victims.

I think it's on us, game developers, to prevent controversies like this one. I'm a game programmer and I would be pretty bummed if I was working on what was essentially a game equivalent of a boob mug. You're appealing to the lowest, most vulgar aspects of your audience at a time when games are widely criticized for being juvenile, senseless, and immature, only to then complain that the medium is not being taken seriously as an art form. We should strive to treat our medium with the respect it deserves.

Follow Anna's work at Double Fine Productions and on Twitter.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
2527 Comments
Posted by Smokey_Earhole

@Slumberpunch said:

Patrick Haters + Patrick White Knights = Your 2013 Giant Bomb Community.

The truest truth ever truthed.

Online
Posted by TehChich

@Kill:

Can I hug you? That was the best argument to why these articles shouldn't be here and actually won me over. I now, too, wish these articles weren't here at all and for Patrick to stop not having fun.

Posted by Milkman
@marcusofadown

@Ohnoshinobi: @Ohnoshinobi said:

@Akyho said:

@LikeaSsur said:

"Eight Women, Eight Responses, And Every Response is The Same."

Are you a woman with a different view? and the fact that 8 women have the same response shouldn't that tell you something?

That while it may not matter to you. It matters to other people.

I am really saddened by people response. Mostly going "Oh its a piece about women! I am a man. SO FUCK WOMEN!"

Ontop of that people are going "Oh Patricks doing some Journalism....FUCK KLEPEK!"

I myself I am interested in the opinion of women on the subject. I wanted to see if this really was a subject that truly offended women. The Lara Croft "Protect Lara" was so nebulas and purley from the point of women I couldn't form a true opinion.

This I saw and went "No that is really bad taste. Even if it was male...but as a women.. that is just sexing it up." I wanted female opinions on the matter, more so game centred women that have put up with the decades of Anti-women aimed marketing. Here it is delivered it.

These are not views easily found in a larger text. Its small snippets. Here is the meat and bones of the their opinion, I am intrested. A number of yous may not be but to come by and just go "OH BLAH BLAH BLAH! WOMEN! I dont wanna here about WOMEN!" doesn't help anything, its is a larger issue than just you as a male. Just because it isnt your issue dosnt make it "A" Issue.

I only see the valid comments on if they want such articles on GB. However when they are delivered with the tone of "I hate Patrick and that fact he often writes, I WANT HIM TO STOP!" ruins any good feedback by being a child on the playground about it.

Well put! Lot's of "It's not offensive to me, so why is it offensive to you?!" going on in here.

Good point indeed!

Throwing my +1 onto this post as well.
Online
Posted by Ohnoshinobi

@Extreme_Popcorn said:

The Dead Island statue isn't bad because it's a woman's torso, it's bad because it's a fucking headless, limbless torso. If it had been a male torso, it probably would have been sold and not one single article would have been written about it. Yet because it has tits we've got a scandal!

It's shit articles like this which cloud the issue of sexism and trivialises the issue to the point where real cases of sexism are ignored or simply dismissed out of hand because people are sick and tired of being preached at.

And why do you think it wasn't a limbless male torso, hm?

Posted by Wes899

@Carousel said:

@Jumbs said:

3. A bunch of privileged males

That didn't take long

pls check ur privilege

Posted by Qlanth

@CastleD said:

Some of these same people who are morally outraged by this statue have also murdered hundreds of thousands of male characters in video games in every conceivable bloody way for years. I'm sure not a peep from them. Actually, they enjoy it immensely.

Why is that?

Because men haven't been victims of sexual objectification, disenfranchisement, subjugation, and societal neglect for hundreds of years.

Posted by Koinzell

Well I was expecting some of those girls to at least be understandable, but I guess this is more of a outcry from them ''Why can't we get anything, why aren't we being catered to?''..

I personally find this issue to be quite stupid. I mean they did lose tons of money by doing this, and it obviously would've created tons of backlash from the community... Though to be quite honest, if instead of a ''zombie'' torso, which doesn't really look too appealing, there would've been a nice and cozy boobie pillow instead (With idk something that'd make it ''dead islandy''), then it would've been a different matter entirely.. That would've been a direct ''Well we kind of made this for men, cause women usually aren't really interested in sexual objects (That they can't already easily get, though this isn't my area of expertise.)''.

Yes Dark Silver f-ed up.. But is it enough to insult them for it? I'd say not.

Posted by baldgye
Posted by Nottle

So i this doesn't sell does that mean there is a warehouse full of fake bikini clad torsos?

Why couldn't this just be a man's torso?

Edited by EnduranceFun

@flufflogic said:

If you don't see the sexism of having an anorexic, augmented bikini girl that's been reduced to a sliced up torso as a "collector's edition" centrepiece, there is no help for you. It's sad, because as some of the commenters point out, the game has multiple strong female characters; of course, one was famously lacking underwear in the original, so I guess we should have seen this coming.

It cheapens gaming, and as a result gamers, to have this crap. This is worse than, say, Sims nude/"real hair" patches and the Skyrim mod scene. It's a whole new level of crass.

Can't help but feel this view on the torso thing is making a mountain out of a mole hill. It's clearly indecent for several reasons, but not especially sexist. I see a dismembered torso first before I see the female form, for example, and it's just too silly to take into real consideration, enough that I can't understand it offending someone.

Frankly, for what it's trying to do, Patrick is kind of helping it to succeed. It's an advertising ploy and they're getting talked about. That may be more of the issue than some care to admit in this comment section.

Posted by Shaanyboi

Look forward to reading this tonight when I have the time. But boy... the comments on Giantbomb never fail to make you want to disassociate one's self from this site....

Posted by Stymie

I totally agree this statue was lame (but I wouldn't use the word "offensive"; you kind of have to be above things like this). However, I really, truly wish we could have these conversations without the constant tones of "the industry obviously only treats women like this."

How many men do any GB readers know with the super muscular, broad shoulder, 0% body fat, perfect-chizzled-chin look that virtually every male video game character has? Video games are suffering no shortage of manwhores.

Posted by ReV_VAdAUL

This was a really good idea for an article Patrick thankyou for doing so. I really appreciate the fact Giant Bomb is doing stuff like this.

It is a real shame that when 8 different women from different companies and parts of the world all say how this was a big issue to them the misogynists complain how it couldn't possibly be a big issue because they personally don't mind treating women as inhuman pieces of meat.

It is also deeply saddening so many young men get deeply scared and violently lash out over the idea of gender equality.

Posted by WolfHazard

@sephirm87: Yes I take it people don't like him? I don't see a problem with the article other than I'm sick of hearing about this stupid statue, maybe it came a bit too late because this thing should have blown over weeks ago, but still calling him a pretentious fucking hipster, saying he's ruining GB etc etc seems a bit extreme because he put together an article you didn't like. I just didn't think people hated on the GB crew this badly if there was content they weren't fans of. Personally I love Patricks work and opinions, hearing him speak about shit and his general commentary on most issues, and an article I'm not interested isn't going to change my view of him as a person, so everyone else just straight up flamming him makes it seem like people here just straight up feel spiteful towards the dude.

Posted by Sumna

Next on Giant Bomb, dog quotes about cats.

"Fuck 'em"

Posted by lordofultima

@flufflogic: It's not anorexic at all. I think people are overreacting, this is not sexist. No. I'm ok with it being a dude bust as well, after all...that's how zombies are ALWAYS depicted in video games. As dudes.

Posted by DreadMorrison

My contribution to this discussion

Posted by Wes899

Didn't Agarest War come with an oppai mousepad a few years back or something? No one seemed to care then.

Posted by AlexanderSheen
Edited by crusader8463

It's not something I want, but at the same time I don't see why people are making such a big deal out of this other then using it as an excuse to try and soap box their beliefs about sexism in video games. The whole point of these game items is to take something "iconic" from the game and include it as some kind of toy or item to display. If you actually play the game you see nothing but fields of beheaded corpses as far as the eye can see and honestly it's really the only thing that the game has visually that stands out. So when it came time to make some item from the game it's not that hard to see why they would have gone with this, and since I'm sure their largest demographic is young sexed up boys of course they are going to choose a lady because that's what appeals to that market. If it turned out that the largest market of people who bought their game was 30-40 year old women then guess what? It would have been a statue of a super ripped/buff dude complete with super pecks and a six pack. Because sex sells no matter who the market is for. No one sat around a table twirling their evil mustache trying to think of the best way to stick it to the ladies. It's marketing. Plain and simple and nothing more.

As long as any kind of media is being made for a young horny male market there will always be someone looking to sell boobs to them. Just like all those bad romance novels for bored house wives that have Fabio on the cover with his shirt off and making a brooding face. That's the sex that appeals to that market. Barbie doll boobs is what most young men like so that's what they get. It's lowest common denominator mixed with mass market.

EDIT: @patrickklepek: You know Pat, I would really like to see you do this same article again, or a part 2, with people that disagree with your opinion on this. I know people on your side of the argument like to think that anyone who disagrees with your views as being nothing but trolls, uneducated mouth breathers, and/or slobbering evil childish fools, but there are tons of people that are making perfectly valid views on why they disagree with this. As said below, the guy in this video makes good points and it would be nice to see a news story that's balanced and not just all one point of view. The related bit starts around the 4-5 min mark.

Posted by Mirado

@Giganteus said:

@Mirado said:

I'm kinda confused about the purpose of this article. Would any woman say that the statue was fine? Would any man agree that this wasn't a stupid idea? This is just "Newsflash: Women think torso statue is stupid at best and offensive at worst...which is exactly what every article on the subject already stated." but with eight people saying it at once.

The only story here involves finding out whatever drugs Deep Silver was on when they figured this was going to work out great for them.

Well, it's for the purpose of highlighting sexism in the industry and in general. Though most people know what this is, so it's kind of repetitive. I appreciate Patrick's article for that, but I felt like I was basically hearing the same opinion from every response. I also understand Patrick feels like that's justified and needed, but why have 8 people basically saying the same thing? That's odd to me if you're going to submit an article like this. It's not very diverse.

It was highlighted well in the first article. I'm not saying you cannot have a followup or constant discourse on the subject, but this strikes me as being exactly what you say (repetitive) but also uninteresting which is the real crime; if he gathered a group with a dissenting opinion, I'd be much more willing to praise it. But he didn't. He couldn't, really; no one in their right mind is going to take a stand about how this statue was a wonderful idea, but that means you can't have any debate, any thought provocation, at least beyond what the original articles provided, because this isn't bringing anything new to the table.

@CaptainCharisma said:

I don't see why so many people are up in arms about this article. Just don't read it if you don't want to hear what women think about it. Go ahead and complain when there were people that were legitimately offended by the statue. Personally, I just think it's a stupid statue that only weirdos would buy and display.

I'm up in arms because this article is useless. It doesn't do anything beyond with the first ones did. As above, if he gathered a group of differing opinions, at least we could have picked apart the viewpoints. But no self respecting woman was going to say that this statue was a godsend, just like no man in his right mind would want to be associated with it. It serves no purpose and strikes me as lazy.

I don't see why people are so offended but I'm not going to verbally lambast Patrick for letting women speak their mind when the issue involves women.

They don't need Patrick to let them speak their minds. They can write blogs, make videos, compose operas or write prize-winning novels on the subject. They could have come to Patrick and say "I've got an opinion on this subject that I'd like you to run on GB." But instead he asked for it, which is a hell of a lot different then letting them "speak their minds" as if someone was barring them from doing that in the first place.

Hell, I really don't have a problem with the piece. It's not my website. I just want to know why he ran it, what he thought it said beyond what was already said. It's a message that bears repeating, yes. But do it in a way that fosters discussion about the topic and not the person writing it or the people commenting on it, which is all this is serving to do.

Posted by Slab64

@Nation764 said:

This pretentious little hipster is why I cancelled my subscription. Why would I pay to read this kind of stuff? Entertainment = pay, Holier than thou drivel = don't pay.

lol, nobody is paying for news articles, but way to play the pointless martyr

you're just like a little spartacus

Posted by Rekt_Hed

I feel the same about the game now as I did before. Completely indifferent.

If this was a male torso there would be no debate AT ALL. Everyone just fuckin SHHHHHHHHHHHHUUUUTTT UUUUUUUuuuUUUUUPPPPP! God damn.

Posted by Ravenlight

@SupberUber said:

I honestly am unable to see how a lifeless torso, boobs or not, could - in any way - attract anybody in a sexual way. There is no hawtness to be had here; it's a dead fucking torso!

You've obviously not accidentally strayed into the wrong corners of the Internet.

DISCLAIMER: DO NOT GO LOOKING FOR THESE CORNERS! THEY ARE VERY DARK INDEED!

Posted by Darji

@flufflogic said:

@TopCat88 said:

Seriously, another article on this! Patrick. You contribute a huge amount of great stuff to this site, across all forms of content. But this sexism angle has got to be toned down. There is nothing sexist about this figurine. Yes it's a little crass and obvious and cheap but it's not sexist. At all. It just isn't.

I'm a male and perhaps I don't get it. Maybe I'm lucky or ignorant about these issues, although I'm not trying to be.

A reduction in opportunities for woman in the gaming industry would be a bad thing and could be ruled as sexism and I'm sure there are genuine examples of sexism in the video game world from time to time. Please report or write about them, inform us and add to the debate. It's clearly an important issue for you and so it should be.

This is a piece of marketing, aimed at young males. I bet it works too. It may alienate some of the audience but I'm sure that was a calculated decision. There are many examples of marketing aimed at women too. Hunky men, etc. Sex sells...it isn't sexism.

If you don't see the sexism of having an anorexic, augmented bikini girl that's been reduced to a sliced up torso as a "collector's edition" centrepiece, there is no help for you. It's sad, because as some of the commenters point out, the game has multiple strong female characters; of course, one was famously lacking underwear in the original, so I guess we should have seen this coming.

It cheapens gaming, and as a result gamers, to have this crap. This is worse than, say, Sims nude/"real hair" patches and the Skyrim mod scene. It's a whole new level of crass.

Why because you think a DEAD SLICED UP Torso is in any form sexy and that people will only buy it because it is a sexy? Again it is a homage at all these horror B Movie trash zombie flicks. It is not a political statement.

But yeah you guys also would screams SEXSIM if its some nude woman tortured woman painting that is seen by the whole world. No wait that is art.....

Posted by Giganteus

Does anyone else find it disturbing that this brought up the issue of sexism more than our lust for extreme violence? I feel like the violence part of it is much more in-your-face than the sexist part. There's some amount of weirdness and hypocrisy in this on both sides..

Posted by OriginalGman

It's a shame that the person I agree with most in this article felt that she had to remain anonymous. The words she uses and level-headedness she shows makes me question why she feared backlash at all, compared to the more confrontational and almost copy-pasted opinions of the others. I think this fear of putting a face to her words is more troublesome than this entire stupid ordeal surrounding a hunk of plastic that 10 UK teenagers were gonna buy, before it got all this free marketing. It was worth it point how dumb it was, but at this point we're just making it worse. Someone else is going to do this because free publicity is always better than paid-for publicity.

We complain about sensationalist media being as influential as violent games on kids, and then we can't shut up when a marketing exec shows his true colors. Everyone in marketing is a scumbag, be they man or woman. That's kind of the job. Sell a thing based on factors other than what the thing actually is. Or, lie.

I'm surprised Patrick didn't bother to point out that this same publisher is the one that purchased Saints Row, a franchise the entire staff now loves. I wonder, will people suddenly be more offended by the dildo bats, pimping missions and strip clubs that will undoubtedly litter The Next Great Sequel in the Saints Row Franchise?

Posted by alibson

@flufflogic said:

It cheapens gaming, and as a result gamers, to have this crap. This is worse than, say, Sims nude/"real hair" patches and the Skyrim mod scene. It's a whole new level of crass.

Oh shit, bringing up nude mods? It's getting real up in here, we're one step away from porn.

Posted by BlastProcessing

At least Patrick didn't quote himself this time. Still, this progressive, Kotaku-esque clickbait shit needs to stop, It's a horrible statue made in bad taste, nothing to cry about.

Posted by leinad44

I would join in on this debate. But looking at the comments, it'd be completely pointless.

Posted by EarlessShrimp

@Ravenlight said:

@EarlessShrimp said:

Of course, all these suppositions come from the standpoint that I'm okay with the torso statue to begin with. And I do. I have a macabre sense of humor and find a lot of hilarity in B-grade movie violence be it to men, women, aliens, monsters, whatever.

I think the statue is hilarious, too. But at the same time I understand that I'm probably in the minority with that. It's definitely offensive but I feel like that's because it's in poor taste as a piece of promo material.

It definitely takes a certain type of person to find it entertaining. Is that where your point arises from the poor taste? The fact that there would only be a minority of people who would be okay with it? I mean, I don't think people are going to prominently display most of their swag. I'm thinking they probably have a room or closet or special area set aside from that. I had a book case where I kept all this stuff so it could have been buried at the back. However, right now it seems like they thought of a really clever scheme to market the game, not because they actually wanted to sell the statue, but because they wanted to stir up controversy and have people talking about this game much more than they really should be. That, if it is true, is essentially why I think it's in poor taste.

Posted by Jumbs

@Darji said:

@Jumbs said:

@CastleD said:

Some of these same people who are morally outraged by this statue have also murdered hundreds of thousands of male characters in video games in every conceivable bloody way for years. I'm sure not a peep from them. Actually, they enjoy it immensely.

Why is that?

If you think murdering hundreds of 'male characters' in video games is the same issue as objectifying women to market a video game, I don't know what to say.

Here's a breakdown for people that don't want to read the comments:

1. Scoops interviewed a bunch of women about a controversy about something that objectifies women.

2. The women, naturally, find it offensive and abhorrent.

3. A bunch of privileged males on the internet claim "People should get over it" and "Men get killed in video games all the time WE DONT CARE!" and think this issue that is a huge problem in the gaming industry should be ignored.

Ok how about all these topless male characters? I feel offended and I think it is the same problem.. To we get reports about that all the time? No we do not. I feel offended about bully and very muscualr male characters. I thiks it is an issue of objectifying.

If you want to fight this stuff do it on both level. Do it FOR man AND woman and not only one gender.

Ok, that's great - now that you feel offended, you can help men rise up above lesser wages, objectification, being slut shamed... oh wait, none of that happens!

Every time someone complains about being 'friendzoned', every time someone says "Taylor Swift gets around", every time someone uses a pair of tits to sell a video game to 15 year old boys, alienating a potential userbase, this is women being lesser than men in society.

If you don't think this is true, I suggest you ask some of your female friends how they feel to be constantly stared at by creepy men on the street. But of course, this is only if they're skinny, because women are only worth acknowledging if they're not "FATTIES".

Posted by Boboblaw

Nice article Patrick, but never really gave a shit about the statue or the uproar myself.

Posted by TvsFranksWildYears

@Abendlaender: Man, see it's hard to tell if someone's being sincere on these comment pages. I apologize.

Posted by InsidiousTuna

Klepek's closing statement from a previous article on games industry sexism is exceptionally relevant.

"I’m a guy, I’ve never had to deal with any of these problems. But I’m willing to admit where there’s smoke, there’s probably fire, and listening is helpful, informative. If you don’t want to listen, you don’t have to. No one is forcing you. Just stop shouting down others who want to."

Posted by Video_Game_King

@patrickklepek said:

By ignoring women as a market demographic for a video game, companies are losing out hugely. By assuming women will only buy pink, glittery items or games that are about clothing and boyfriends, these companies are losing money. By putting out a completely sexist and crass marketing ploy, they are losing money. Seriously, isn't the point of triple-A games to make scads of cash? I really don't get making choices that lead to losing it instead, can you tell?

I'd say this is less a problem with games specifically and more a problem with marketing in general. Why yes, I do have random Cracked articles to back this up.

Posted by Humanity

Well I was hoping he would choose 4 reactions that found it gross and 4 reactions that didn't care. It's a bit redundant to post 8 identical reactions to the same topic.

It would have been much more interesting "journalism" to find the unexpected response rather than the expected one.

Posted by Karkarov

Why is this even an issue? Women's rights? Please. I can understand a woman being offended by this, but it is the female gamer who is actually being insulted but the Dead Island fan in general. Be they male or female. This was a stupid idea for any number of reasons but it does no more to objectify women than a million other things do and frankly if you actually find that statue attractive (perfect boobs or not) you need to see a psychiatrist.

Posted by CastleD
@OneManX: But the place where I think this article could use some help is, provide the counter arguement,

Most public figures, especially men, would never come out and give a counter argument and risk losing their jobs and ruining their careers. Not just with this statue thing, any type of male/female issue. If you question anything regarding sexism in the mainstream and don't fall in line with feminist orthodoxy you'll be equated to a misogynistsexistneckbeardbasementdweller.

As bad as comment sections are sometimes, that's what you need to read to find more honest opinions that don't fall in line with menbad/womengood. This article reads like something on Jezebel.

Posted by DazzHardy

It kind of saddens me that people think that not talking about these things is the best way to get them to stop. Simply ignoring the problems won't make them go away.  This is one of those cases were it needs to be talked about often enough and as publicly as possible so that people understand why it's not a great idea to do dumb stuff like this. When it's been talked to death, that's when I think we'll start seeing it not come up so often, and thus not need to be spoken of so much. 

Posted by NakAttack

@OriginalGman said:

It's a shame that the person I agree with most in this article felt that she had to remain anonymous. The words she uses and level-headedness she shows makes me question why she feared backlash at all, compared to the more confrontational and almost copy-pasted opinions of the others. I think this fear of putting a face to her words is more troublesome than this entire stupid ordeal surrounding a hunk of plastic that 10 UK teenagers were gonna buy, before it got all this free marketing. It was worth it point how dumb it was, but at this point we're just making it worse. Someone else is going to do this because free publicity is always better than paid-for publicity.

We complain about sensationalist media being as influential as violent games on kids, and then we can't shut up when a marketing exec shows his true colors. Everyone in marketing is a scumbag, be they man or woman. That's kind of the job. Sell a thing based on factors other than what the thing actually is. Or, lie.

I'm surprised Patrick didn't bother to point out that this same publisher is the one that purchased Saints Row, a franchise the entire staff now loves. I wonder, will people suddenly be more offended by the dildo bats, pimping missions and strip clubs that will undoubtedly litter The Next Great Sequel in the Saints Row Franchise?

QFT. Don't know why she wanted to remain anonymous for potential backlash, I feel her opinion Is one of (if not the) most well thought out.

Posted by EnduranceFun

@Mirado said:

@Giganteus said:

@Mirado said:

I'm kinda confused about the purpose of this article. Would any woman say that the statue was fine? Would any man agree that this wasn't a stupid idea? This is just "Newsflash: Women think torso statue is stupid at best and offensive at worst...which is exactly what every article on the subject already stated." but with eight people saying it at once.

The only story here involves finding out whatever drugs Deep Silver was on when they figured this was going to work out great for them.

Well, it's for the purpose of highlighting sexism in the industry and in general. Though most people know what this is, so it's kind of repetitive. I appreciate Patrick's article for that, but I felt like I was basically hearing the same opinion from every response. I also understand Patrick feels like that's justified and needed, but why have 8 people basically saying the same thing? That's odd to me if you're going to submit an article like this. It's not very diverse.

It was highlighted well in the first article. I'm not saying you cannot have a followup or constant discourse on the subject, but this strikes me as being exactly what you say (repetitive) but also uninteresting which is the real crime; if he gathered a group with a dissenting opinion, I'd be much more willing to praise it. But he didn't. He couldn't, really; no one in their right mind is going to take a stand about how this statue was a wonderful idea, but that means you can't have any debate, any thought provocation, at least beyond what the original articles provided, because this isn't bringing anything new to the table.

@CaptainCharisma said:

I don't see why so many people are up in arms about this article. Just don't read it if you don't want to hear what women think about it. Go ahead and complain when there were people that were legitimately offended by the statue. Personally, I just think it's a stupid statue that only weirdos would buy and display.

I'm up in arms because this article is useless. It doesn't do anything beyond with the first ones did. As above, if he gathered a group of differing opinions, at least we could have picked apart the viewpoints. But no self respecting woman was going to say that this statue was a godsend, just like no man in his right mind would want to be associated with it. It serves no purpose and strikes me as lazy.

I don't see why people are so offended but I'm not going to verbally lambast Patrick for letting women speak their mind when the issue involves women.

They don't need Patrick to let them speak their minds. They can write blogs, make videos, compose operas or write prize-winning novels on the subject. They could have come to Patrick and say "I've got an opinion on this subject that I'd like you to run on GB." But instead he asked for it, which is a hell of a lot different then letting them "speak their minds" as if someone was barring them from doing that in the first place.

Hell, I really don't have a problem with the piece. It's not my website. I just want to know why he ran it, what he thought it said beyond what was already said. It's a message that bears repeating, yes. But do it in a way that fosters discussion about the topic and not the person writing it or the people commenting on it, which is all this is serving to do.

Great post and I agree with this criticism of the article. It's not far-reaching enough, though that it reaches out at all is an improvement. Can't say I'm too impressed with how long it's taking for Patrick to improve to Cracked.com levels of writing rather than certain other websites, but maybe in a few years he'll be there.

Posted by MegiDolaDyne

I understand a lot of these reactions, really I do, but what the hell is Elizabeth DeLoria talking about?

Posted by JoshyLee

If you hate it so much, Patrick, why are you promoting the shit out of it. Let it die. Stop being so sensationalist.

Posted by Phished0ne

The problem with anything like this is that it boils down to opinion. In my opinion its stupid, tasteless, dumb, tactless, terrible marketing, etc. But i dont find it particularly sexist. I see how some people could see it as sexist, but i just dont take it that way. When i see a female, "man look at those tits" isnt the first thing i think. So i guess its harder for me to see it as sexual. Apparently i am extremely out of touch with the common person, because i saw a limbless torso first. Then i thought "hmmm bikini girl, kinda gross but Dead Island takes place on a vacation island where there would be girls in bikinis." But, obviously my opinion doesn't matter because i am a 24 year old white man who's opinion is opposite of (mostly) everyone else.

Posted by SniperXan

@rramo010 said:

Great article Patrick. It is great to see a women's perspective on this issue.

Posted by PillClinton

And meanwhile the GB set unashamedly displays a disembodied female leg lamp... Just sayin'.

Posted by RustySpoon

I find it mind-boggling that there are people arguing in these comments that there is something inherently wrong with being progressive.

Edited by Hef

Who cares? Why is it when something involves women that everyone gets all up in arms and has to go blog about how offended/unoffended they are.

I am so sick of this "games industry is sexist" attitude. When piranha 3DD came there wasn't some big debate over actresses in the film industry and how they're viewed by their peers. You know why? Because there are serious game/movies like a bioshock or lincoln or whatever and then there's B movie/games like Dead Island or Pirannha Euphemism.

All you did was bring attention to some stupid fucking limited edition bundle that NOBODY was going to buy anyways! You did exactly what Deep Silver's marketing team wanted, and you're all fucking stupid.

All of you.

Posted by Baal_Sagoth

Rhianna Pratchett and Anna Kipnis make some thoughtful and reasonable statements here. Critical, yet balanced. Not shying away from strong opinions but still not losing sight of the larger context. Which isn't meant to say I absolutely agree with either position but I don't have to for the opinion to be valid. Those two at least provided insight that was generally a step above many of the hypocritical and hyperbolic reactions one could read recently.

Doesn't make the internet outrage over PR bullshit any more excusable but I already said my piece on that in a comment on the first article. At least this follow-up attempts to give the topic a little more nuance.