The Dust Dissonance

Posted by yeah_write (219 posts) -

Flipping through the comments on the GiantBomb Quick Look of Dust: An Elysian Tail I found a common thread: People hate furries. People really, really hate furries. What’s a furry? They’re cartoon animal characters with human characteristics. They’re different from regular anthropomorphised animals (think Disney’s Jungle Book or Lion King), in that they generally look more human than animal. They usually retain only the face, feet and tail of the animal--the rest is very human-like:

Furries can also be defined by the characters around them. Disney’s Robin Hood cartoon has a furry-like protagonist, but the supporting characters are tamer, anthropomorphised animals that stick closer to reality (like the rooster or the rabbits and turtles). Same goes for games like Sly Cooper. Sly is furry-ish, but the supporting characters and enemies have more in common with the animals that inspire them than humans. If everyone in Sly Cooper’s world looked like him--basically human except for the face, feet and tail--it could have been a big turn off.

So why all the furry hate? Because the dark over-sexualized corner of the furry art style is too hard to ignore. It’s so disturbing, that earnest non-sexualized art in that style is difficult to appreciate. Personally I feel that the mere existence of that human-bodied, animal-faced art-porn--nestled so deep in the uncanny valley--is enough to make me nervous looking at anything that seems like it could be related. Guilty by association if you will. But that’s not the only negative connotation the art style of Dust has to battle. Many people have pointed out that it looks “deviantarty.”

For those that don’t know, Deviantart.com is like Facebook for artists. Tons of well-known artists use it and it’s a great way to share and peruse art. Unfortunately there’s a huge amount of bad furry art on there. Maybe it’s an easy art style to start off with, or maybe furry enthusiasts just aren’t that great at drawing. Whatever it is, most of the furry art on deviantart has a strong amateur vibe. A “I’m 13 and jungle cats and boobs are awesome, so putting them together would be extra awesome” kind of vibe. Many deviantart furry character designs lack personality, all sharing the same general traits, save for different coloring or hair styles.

I also think some people don’t like it because it reminds them of the immaturity they left behind. What artist (or kid) didn’t go through the anthropomorphic jungle cat phase? I grew up with Thundercats, Ninja Turtles, Street Sharks, Biker Mice from Mars and more. I doodled my fair share of muscled man-beasts. But I eventually grew out of those things. I still love some TMNT (this looks fantastic for example), but in terms of what inspires me as an artist, that stuff doesn’t do it for me anymore. I think a lot of people feel the same way. You liked anthropomorphic animals as a kid, but you’re not a kid anymore. So when something like Dust comes along, and it wants to tell a mature story and it asks you to take it seriously with its art style that appeals to 13-year-old you, it’s hard to get around that dissonance. Also, if you’re like me, you’re afraid one of those cartoon foxes is going to have some furry cleavage, and it’s going to make you feel a little gross.

Despite all that, the furry art style in Dust isn’t a deal breaker for me. I hope it’s not for others either. I played the demo of Dust and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is one of those book cover judgement cases (as in, you shouldn’t do it). I might not be a huge fan of the art style, but I appreciate the consistency, the coloring and the superb animation. The major players are all anime-style furry characters, which means they have that bland we-all-look-the-same-except-for-our-eye-color-and-hair-spikes feel (that prevailing genericness is what bums me out about anime in general). The creature and environment designs on the other hand are inspired, varied and interesting.

Even if you can’t stomach the art, you should still give it a go. The combat is tight, responsive and flashy. The zippy pace and ease of use reminded me a lot of Shank 2’s combat. It’s juggle-heavy combo-focused design makes every fight fun.

I try to play a game in a genre or style I’m not familiar with every few months. I do the same with books. You never know what you might be missing. It’s how I found out I love the Fight Night boxing games despite not liking sports. Or that Advance Wars on the Gameboy Advance was kind of awesome. It’s how The Life of Pi became my favorite book. I suggest you do the same with Dust. Even if the art turns you off, you might find a fun game underneath.

I loved Shank for its art style and combat. Dust has the same type of combat but adds some much needed depth with an RPG-type leveling system and non-linear environments. As an artist working on an indie game, I really can’t get over how slick the animation is, and how it never interferes with the fast-paced combat. I also can’t get over the fact that this game was made largely by just one dude.

So give it a go. From what I’ve seen, the furry art is on the cheesy side of the spectrum, not the creepy sexualized side. Games are great because you don’t always have to like the way they look to enjoy the way they play. Case in point: I don’t like the Arkham City Batman design. I think he’s over muscled and his ears are too long and pointy. But that wasn’t enough to deter me from a fantastic game, because even if he looked kind of dorky in his suit, he still looked awesome busting up criminals. The same goes for Dust. Give it a try.

#1 Posted by yeah_write (219 posts) -

Flipping through the comments on the GiantBomb Quick Look of Dust: An Elysian Tail I found a common thread: People hate furries. People really, really hate furries. What’s a furry? They’re cartoon animal characters with human characteristics. They’re different from regular anthropomorphised animals (think Disney’s Jungle Book or Lion King), in that they generally look more human than animal. They usually retain only the face, feet and tail of the animal--the rest is very human-like:

Furries can also be defined by the characters around them. Disney’s Robin Hood cartoon has a furry-like protagonist, but the supporting characters are tamer, anthropomorphised animals that stick closer to reality (like the rooster or the rabbits and turtles). Same goes for games like Sly Cooper. Sly is furry-ish, but the supporting characters and enemies have more in common with the animals that inspire them than humans. If everyone in Sly Cooper’s world looked like him--basically human except for the face, feet and tail--it could have been a big turn off.

So why all the furry hate? Because the dark over-sexualized corner of the furry art style is too hard to ignore. It’s so disturbing, that earnest non-sexualized art in that style is difficult to appreciate. Personally I feel that the mere existence of that human-bodied, animal-faced art-porn--nestled so deep in the uncanny valley--is enough to make me nervous looking at anything that seems like it could be related. Guilty by association if you will. But that’s not the only negative connotation the art style of Dust has to battle. Many people have pointed out that it looks “deviantarty.”

For those that don’t know, Deviantart.com is like Facebook for artists. Tons of well-known artists use it and it’s a great way to share and peruse art. Unfortunately there’s a huge amount of bad furry art on there. Maybe it’s an easy art style to start off with, or maybe furry enthusiasts just aren’t that great at drawing. Whatever it is, most of the furry art on deviantart has a strong amateur vibe. A “I’m 13 and jungle cats and boobs are awesome, so putting them together would be extra awesome” kind of vibe. Many deviantart furry character designs lack personality, all sharing the same general traits, save for different coloring or hair styles.

I also think some people don’t like it because it reminds them of the immaturity they left behind. What artist (or kid) didn’t go through the anthropomorphic jungle cat phase? I grew up with Thundercats, Ninja Turtles, Street Sharks, Biker Mice from Mars and more. I doodled my fair share of muscled man-beasts. But I eventually grew out of those things. I still love some TMNT (this looks fantastic for example), but in terms of what inspires me as an artist, that stuff doesn’t do it for me anymore. I think a lot of people feel the same way. You liked anthropomorphic animals as a kid, but you’re not a kid anymore. So when something like Dust comes along, and it wants to tell a mature story and it asks you to take it seriously with its art style that appeals to 13-year-old you, it’s hard to get around that dissonance. Also, if you’re like me, you’re afraid one of those cartoon foxes is going to have some furry cleavage, and it’s going to make you feel a little gross.

Despite all that, the furry art style in Dust isn’t a deal breaker for me. I hope it’s not for others either. I played the demo of Dust and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is one of those book cover judgement cases (as in, you shouldn’t do it). I might not be a huge fan of the art style, but I appreciate the consistency, the coloring and the superb animation. The major players are all anime-style furry characters, which means they have that bland we-all-look-the-same-except-for-our-eye-color-and-hair-spikes feel (that prevailing genericness is what bums me out about anime in general). The creature and environment designs on the other hand are inspired, varied and interesting.

Even if you can’t stomach the art, you should still give it a go. The combat is tight, responsive and flashy. The zippy pace and ease of use reminded me a lot of Shank 2’s combat. It’s juggle-heavy combo-focused design makes every fight fun.

I try to play a game in a genre or style I’m not familiar with every few months. I do the same with books. You never know what you might be missing. It’s how I found out I love the Fight Night boxing games despite not liking sports. Or that Advance Wars on the Gameboy Advance was kind of awesome. It’s how The Life of Pi became my favorite book. I suggest you do the same with Dust. Even if the art turns you off, you might find a fun game underneath.

I loved Shank for its art style and combat. Dust has the same type of combat but adds some much needed depth with an RPG-type leveling system and non-linear environments. As an artist working on an indie game, I really can’t get over how slick the animation is, and how it never interferes with the fast-paced combat. I also can’t get over the fact that this game was made largely by just one dude.

So give it a go. From what I’ve seen, the furry art is on the cheesy side of the spectrum, not the creepy sexualized side. Games are great because you don’t always have to like the way they look to enjoy the way they play. Case in point: I don’t like the Arkham City Batman design. I think he’s over muscled and his ears are too long and pointy. But that wasn’t enough to deter me from a fantastic game, because even if he looked kind of dorky in his suit, he still looked awesome busting up criminals. The same goes for Dust. Give it a try.

#2 Posted by drevilbones (89 posts) -

This is a really fantastic, well reasoned dissection of the art style of Dust and the reaction to it. It helped me figure out a lot of my own feelings about it as well. Well done and great job!

I also agree that the game is fantastic and people should play it.

#3 Posted by csl316 (9442 posts) -

I didn't even know furries were a weird internet thing before this game.

#4 Posted by OldGuy (1575 posts) -

I keep trying to figure out why furries give so many people the willies but the Bondage and Domination gear in so many other games is A-OK.

#5 Posted by Demoskinos (15148 posts) -

There is porn of literally everything. I think people often mistake the furry culture with being completely sexual in nature or promoting bestiality. As I said in a other thread the "furry" culture is more about roleplaying than anything. Furries are going to very often be fans of many of thr don bluth and Disney characters featuring furry like characters.

Really its not much different from LARPING or role playing your D&D; character. People just judge the whole scene by a sect of the community. I dont really find it to be fair at all but then again this sort of thing has gone on forever within humanity.

#6 Posted by yeah_write (219 posts) -

Originally I had some slightly NSFW links in here that showed a bit of the darker side of the furry world (using Robin Hood no less), but I was told to remove them. You can see them through my website at austindlight.com/blog. Or you can just google ‘Furry’ and see what happens, though I wouldn’t recommend it.

People get the willies from furries for the same reason they get them from The Polar Express or parts of Heavy Rain. A lot of furry art hangs out deep in the uncanny valley. It’s just unsettling to look at. It’s not even a sexual thing (though that doesn’t help). It’s about how human-like it is without actually being human. It’s creepy!

I don’t think the LARPing analogy is a good one, though I do understand the sentiment--Don’t judge an entire art style or hobby because a small portion of the people that also like it are total loons. But you won’t find a LARPer that makes your brain said a “WRONG! WRONG!” message to your stomach the way an uncanny furry can.

Also the part about the furry culture being about roleplaying is fair enough, but the reason people are uncomfortable with it can be traced back to the immaturity thing I mentioned in the blog. Roleplaying as a wolf? That’s something you did as a kid (remember the Bloody Roar games? Altered Beast?). So when you see an adult doing that, it brings up that hard to digest dissonance. Is it any different than someone roleplaying as an orc, elf, dwarf or centuar? No, but furries get a stronger reaction because of beastiality (I guess).

As geeks, we shouldn’t judge. We all have weird things we’re in to--my wife will NEVER understand why I have a Spotify playlist devoted to chip tunes. I tried to layout why people might not like furries above, and I’m happy it provided some insight to others. I admit I don’t like the art style or the culture, I think it’s for the reasons I stated above. They give me the willies and it’s just not my thing. But I don’t care if other people like them. If that’s what they’re in to, that’s fine with me. I’m a grown ass man and I can’t get enough of “Call Me Maybe.” Seriously, I listen to it every day…by choice. So you know, to each their own.

It’s certainly not going to stop me from playing this game, and I hope it doesn’t stop others too.

#7 Posted by Demoskinos (15148 posts) -
@yeah_write I would say there are a number of people who think the videogame scene is weird and unnerving as well. Its not hard to see why people on the outside would think that. Same with other scenes like anime. Some people have it in their head that anime is all underage girls being raped by tentacle monsters. Which is clearly not true. One could also make arguments that both of these hobbies are for kids as well. And I've seen my fair share of the more extreme side of furry art. Its doesn't really bother me to be honest.
#8 Posted by JBG4 (436 posts) -

Man, kudos on the write up. Great job, I was not turned off by the character designs (nor was I turned on) I just thought it was a great looking, beautiful game. Anyone who passes on it for the art style is missing out on one of the best games so far this year.

#9 Posted by JasonR86 (9726 posts) -

The internet is a crazy place.

#10 Posted by yeah_write (219 posts) -

@Demoskinos: That's a very good point. It's been 30+ years and video games are STILL battling a huge number of misconceptions. Thank god for the Wii, Rock Band and smart phones--those things really helped gaming cultural exposure. Maybe that's what furries need. A big budget highly accessible thing. Like, I don't know, a live action Thundercats movie that doesn't suck. That could get the ball rolling.

#11 Posted by JCrichton (55 posts) -

Great post. I wanted to play this game since the quicklook, and the more i hear about it i want to play it more. Its more about the story and the characters personalities then what they are (furries) if they even are, at least thats what i got from the demo

#12 Posted by MajorMitch (562 posts) -

@csl316 said:

I didn't even know furries were a weird internet thing before this game.

Same here. Now it's kind of weirding me out that people are so weirded out by furries :P

I've really been enjoying pretty much everything about the game so far, art included.

#13 Posted by Phatmac (5727 posts) -

I'm scared of mushroom people which i will now call mushy. I can't play this game anymore because of this.

#14 Posted by Ares42 (2796 posts) -

@MajorMitch said:

@csl316 said:

I didn't even know furries were a weird internet thing before this game.

Same here. Now it's kind of weirding me out that people are so weirded out by furries :P

I've really been enjoying pretty much everything about the game so far, art included.

Nice to see there's more of us. I had no idea, and all I can think about when I see this vitriolic reaction is that these people must've at some point gone down some ugly furry-hole (no pun intended). Without the pretense of the furry phenomenon I didn't really see anything inappropriate or disturbing about the art design of the game.

#15 Posted by Rainbowkisses (472 posts) -

Great post. I don't really care for the art style but it's not because it makes me think of anything sexual. I just find it to be a little too soft and clean and horribly generic. I don't like the art design in a game to remind me of hundreds of various devianart profiles.

I never really liked this type of art style but it never truly bothered me until I met this girl in college who did this type of drawings. Not to sound too mean and judgemental, but I found her to be slightly irritating. This girl was the type of person who would bring up internet memes in real life and think things are funny because they're "random"

#16 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3085 posts) -

I'm not going to play this game because I don't like the character art, but it has nothing to do with furries or furry art. I just don't like it. Will I miss out on a game that is actually pretty good? Maybe, but I have no problem with that. There are other games I have chosen not to play because of their art. Not everyone dislikes the character art because they are "furries," it might just be because they simply don't like it.

#17 Posted by Metric_Outlaw (1172 posts) -

Great write up, the sexual nature of furries isn't what turns me off to the game's art style. Its more that I really cannot take the game seriously every time I anime style fox or mouse talk to me. This isn't keeping me from enjoying the game it just makes me enjoy it less.

#18 Posted by Brodehouse (10129 posts) -

I feel the same way about furry fandom as I do about Tool fans; I just don't even want to be involved. I don't want to argue, I don't want to discuss, I just don't want it. Thanks to the Internet, I can indulge that whim. If Giant Bomb gets taken over by the furs, well I guess I just can't come here anymore.

I think your write up is pretty much spot on. It's the willful ignorance of reality in favor of fantasy indulgence that just makes it something I don't even want to be affiliated with. The LARP example, I don't LARP myself, but I play tabletop, and I always have to break it down for my fellow nerds at the table; do not play to 'escape being you'. That's the worst reason to do anything. Play to be creative, and clever, and to tell stories that interest you. Do not play because you wish you were an hot elf maiden, Mark.

I completely understand how Gadget from Chip n Dale could turn your crank as a kid, and I especially understand how slutty anime girls can do it... But to fully give yourself over to it in every aspect of life. And I don't have to just roll with it. I don't have to play games that are about the joys of being pissed on and pissing on others and shitting your pants because it feels so good, either. That's the glory of free choice. You're free to be a scat freak and I'm free to ignore you.

#19 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4883 posts) -

@Brodehouse: What the hell is wrong with Tool?

Online
#20 Posted by SuperWristBands (2266 posts) -
@Oldirtybearon said:

@Brodehouse: What the hell is wrong with Tool?

He mentioned the fans not the music.
 
@ShadowConqueror said:
I'm not going to play this game because I don't like the character art, but it has nothing to do with furries or furry art. I just don't like it. Will I miss out on a game that is actually pretty good? Maybe, but I have no problem with that. There are other games I have chosen not to play because of their art. Not everyone dislikes the character art because they are "furries," it might just be because they simply don't like it.

That's pretty much how I feel about it. Though I dislike anthropomorphic animals in general. I always have and I don't really know why. Humans are just super rad, I guess.
 I'll get around to playing the demo eventually but I'm not particularly interested in the gameplay so it's gonna have to really wow me in order to win me over. I don't really see that happening given my current interest level in it.
#21 Posted by Enigma777 (6058 posts) -

Personally I just don't like the art style. It looks really poor to me. Sure, it's probably something I won't pay much attention to after a few hours, but with so many other games on my plate, I don't even want to bother.

#22 Edited by SubwayD (556 posts) -

@yeah_write said:

People get the willies from furries for the same reason they get them from The Polar Express or parts of Heavy Rain. A lot of furry art hangs out deep in the uncanny valley. It’s just unsettling to look at. It’s not even a sexual thing (though that doesn’t help). It’s about how human-like it is without actually being human. It’s creepy!

I don’t think the LARPing analogy is a good one, though I do understand the sentiment--Don’t judge an entire art style or hobby because a small portion of the people that also like it are total loons. But you won’t find a LARPer that makes your brain said a “WRONG! WRONG!” message to your stomach the way an uncanny furry can.

Really? Is that how people feel when they see furries? I'm the total opposite. I can rarely get my head around "realistic human" characters in games. The more cartoony and/or fantastical they are, the easier I can emphasise. To make a character an anthro, no matter how many human traits are piled on, from psychology to anatomy, it's pretty much a free pass from the Uncanny Valley for me. Weird. I got so much more out of Solatorobo last year than any other game thanks to the well realised "furry" characters.

Same sort of thing goes with comics. I'd take Blacksad, Grandville or *cough* Omaha over most genre stories out there.

I'd always assumed the scene became a whipping boy for the same reason most other sub-cultures have. Just poke them with a stick and you're sure to get one or two loons riled up and, oh, how we laugh. Isn't it funny to point at those who are easily identifiable as different?

After that, I'd guess it's just the way humans are to mix sexuality into their interests. Haha. You know, when I bought a boxed copy of Star Trek Online, it came with a pin-up of a Vulcan girl!

#23 Posted by Aetheldod (3723 posts) -

I think the whole furry argument is the most stupid thing I have seen in these forums (not your post) , also liking a type of art makes you childish???? Have you even seen some of Picasso´s Fauno art? It is in all intent and porposes "childish" yet it is highly revered in art world , so what Im trying to say is that liking X or Y style does not make you more childish or not. Now if you dont like the characters designs because of how they are (I dont like them as well) rather than what style it is , then by all means you are correct .The one thing I learned is that in GB´s forums if you can only like big macho brute Gears/War of War Estern character designs if not you are some how evil and the worst humanity has to offer... for shame duders , for shame >:(

#24 Posted by mellotronrules (1246 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

It's the willful ignorance of reality in favor of fantasy indulgence that just makes it something I don't even want to be affiliated with.

i really don't understand how one can make a statement like that at a videogame enthusiast website. there is always going to be an escapist element to all forms of recreation and entertainment.

i am flummoxed in equal proportion by those who believe all things 'furry' are implicitly 'creepy' AND those who actually find furry porn engaging. to the first group i say- welcome to the internet, where everyone may find their kink. try to keep your eyes from bleeding out. and to the second group i say- i don't get it, but you get points for creativity.

#25 Posted by Brodehouse (10129 posts) -
@mellotronrules I hate that term. The reason to view 'other worlds' or other lives should be because they're interesting and grab your attention, not because you want to escape. Prisoners want to escape, we are free men.

It's also why the term 'immersive' is terrible. The term we actually want is stimulating, or attention grabbing. We are not immersed in a game, we are interested in it, and invested in it. We never forget our names and think we're Commander Shepard while playing. The longer we keep up that 'immersion' thing the longer people will think we're like 5 years who are playing make-believe as Batman.
#26 Edited by Cloudenvy (5891 posts) -

@ShadowConqueror said:

I'm not going to play this game because I don't like the character art, but it has nothing to do with furries or furry art. I just don't like it. Will I miss out on a game that is actually pretty good? Maybe, but I have no problem with that.

It's pretty much this for me as well. I don't really have anything against anthropomorphic characters, I just think the character design is garbage and that bothers me enough to the point where I don't really have any interest in playing it.

#27 Posted by Brodehouse (10129 posts) -
@Oldirtybearon

@Brodehouse: What the hell is wrong with Tool?

There's actually a couple Tool songs that I dig, but their fans are like fundamentalist zealots over a stupid rock and roll band. Just like I think Star Fox is cool but I don't want to talk to a furry about it.
#28 Edited by SubwayD (556 posts) -

@Brodehouse: Seems a little like you're creating exaggerated caricatures. Can't say I've met many tool fans, but I have spoken with a fair share of furs and, get this, they actually have lives. The fandom is interesting and, dare i say, fun to be a part of. I'd guess that the ratio of people hopelessly lost in fantasy is about the same as in the gaming community, or any collection of like-minded people who gather around art or entertainment.

While it's absurd to suggest accepting everyone unconditionally, but the bands a person listen to or the art they like are tiny little hurdles to get over, it's how they act that should matter. If a self professed tool fan acts like, well, a tool, then that is their issue, not the band's or everyone else who enjoys them.

Just sayin' that life will be a little sweeter if one drops as many negative prejudices as possible... at least that's how I see it.

#29 Posted by NaDannMaGoGo (338 posts) -

@Ares42 said:

@MajorMitch said:

@csl316 said:

I didn't even know furries were a weird internet thing before this game.

Same here. Now it's kind of weirding me out that people are so weirded out by furries :P

I've really been enjoying pretty much everything about the game so far, art included.

Nice to see there's more of us. I had no idea, and all I can think about when I see this vitriolic reaction is that these people must've at some point gone down some ugly furry-hole (no pun intended). Without the pretense of the furry phenomenon I didn't really see anything inappropriate or disturbing about the art design of the game.

Yeh, I cannot believe that this is actually a big deal with this game (or maybe it really isn't).

I was looking at the quick look and didn't even waste a single thought on "furries". When I read the comments afterwards I was like:

*click, it's a GIF*

Also there's too much porn of everything on the internet so that shouldn't be too much of a concern?

#30 Posted by Brodehouse (10129 posts) -
@SubwayD Dude, I'm a grown man. Drop the Pollyanna act. Maybe you should go gaze into the abyss for a while, go search the darkest corners of the Internet. There's your cure for optimism.

I don't have to actually get down with scat freaks and vores and people who want to be human animals. I actually don't. This "you're missing out!" stuff rings absolutely hollow. I don't want to be involved, and you cannot make me.

Anyways, I was thinking about it and it's not necessarily animals who act human that bother me, like the Rescuers or Chip and Dale. They know they're mice, or the albatross, or whatever. Or My Little Pony. They're horses, they just act like they're people. It's people who are clearly human and yet have animal bodies. Everything about every facet of it is clearly human, except they're also a wolf. And they have nine penises. That's fucking crazy.
#31 Edited by SubwayD (556 posts) -

@Brodehouse: Huh. You know, I was wondering about your age. A whole lot of this internet negativity is usually from teenage hard-cases, toeing the line because 4chan or SomethingAwful said it was edgy / cool.

I was going say that hopefully open mindedness, or at very lest tolerance, might come with with maturity. Apparently not.

Other than that, you seem to be putting words in my mouth. It's better I just walk away and leave you to talk with yourself.

#32 Posted by Brodehouse (10129 posts) -
@SubwayD You insult someone because they don't want to argue with furs, and then say you don't want to argue, how hypocritical and disingenuous can you be? You insult others and then plug your ears, but you have the unmitigated gall to call others childish? Unbelievable.

If you're going to use the word intolerant, you should learn what it means. Furs can do whatever they want, but I don't have to be involved. I don't want to surround myself with their art, I don't want to yiff with them. I don't have to, that's what freedom is, and you can't wag your finger until everyone yiffs along.
#33 Edited by AndrewB (7689 posts) -

Everyone referencing Deviantart... when Furaffinity is essentially the Deviantart for Furries. I guess if you consider Deviantart a dark corner of the internet, you've probably never been deep enough to know Furaffinity exists, though.

You'd think people were referencing a bunch of admitted murderers for the loathing they spout on and on about Furries though. As long as we're going here, I might as well point out that everyone has their fetishes. All of them share one thing in common: someone out there finds them repulsive enough to question how it could be a thing. Some of them take it a step further and actively try to wipe it from existence (not speaking of violence, although it can quite often lead that far in real life).

Me? I've been a huge fan of Anthro stories and art since I was a kid, growing up reading books like the fantastic Redwall series. It has nothing to do with Furries or porn. That's the only thing that irks me every time I hear people reference Dust. If this game was designed by Furries for Furries, it wouldn't matter because there's, as far as I can tell, no pornographic scenes of anthropomorphic creatures fucking. It's fantastical creatures and mostly astounding art. If you don't like that style, that's one thing, but Furry should not even factor into the conversation, like it always.... always... always does; bleeding out into random other places on these forums and pretty much every conversation I can find about this game on mainstream gaming websites.

And to call people immature for a style of art they like? I don't even know where to start with tearing down what's wrong with that. That extends far beyond the topic of anthropomorphism.

#34 Posted by WMWA (1162 posts) -

Best editorial I've read in a while. Like, better than people who get paid to write this stuff. Good job

#35 Edited by Insectecutor (1205 posts) -

To me it has nothing to do with the furry association, it's just that I find the art style bland and inconsistent. The reason it reminds me of amateur art is the lack of finesse in the width of the lines and the lack of cohesion between the backgrounds and the characters. The colour palettes don't match up and there's too much blur and depth in the backdrops so it's strange when these ultra-sharp characters are just pasted on top. It looks like someone replaced the actual characters with their own, much like people on DeviantArt paste their furries over some gaussian-blurred pic from google images.

I also have a problem with the lifeless animation. Sure it gets the movement across but it lacks expression, it looks like cheap kids TV where the animators were just working a day job and had no investment in the characters. Compared to the character animation in Mark of the Ninja it just looks dull.

I heard this game was made by like one dude, maybe two. If you need that knowledge to appreciate the art in this game then the art has failed.

Edit: also your perception that the uncanny valley is somehow involved might be right, but I think it's simply because a lot of furry art is done by amateurs rather than it being a specific attribute of all furry art. Mickey Mouse doesn't freak me out and that's just a human body with a mouses head. People can draw anthropomorphic hot foxes and mice with human boobs or whatever and it looks fine. It's about the skill of the artist.

#36 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

I've walked as dark a path as you can through the internet without ending up in drug dens or hiring hitmen, or blowing dudes for bitcoins. I've gazed upon many, many things in that time. I very rarely feel anything these days. You can show me dudes getting their heads cut off and I only blink if a puppy gets punted at the end of it. And yet, despite it all, I still have one burning, burning hatred.

YIHF. YIH.

#37 Posted by Dunchad (506 posts) -

I'm not sure I agree with the uncanny valley theory, since anthropomorphized animals don't really register as "fake humans" to me at least. They're just their own thing. I mean, I wasn't freaked out by the Na'vi for example, when I watched Avatar.

The reaction some people have to this is just so weird to me. I grew up watching stuff like Winnie the Pooh, The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast - all portraying different types of anthropomorphized animals. From teenager onwards, I've always thought werewolves were cool - I think it's badass that in GW2 the Nords can turn into a werebear for a short while. Anime has tons of examples of catgirls and whatnot - whether the ears and tail are detachable or not, doesn't really make a difference most of the time.

Honestly, I think most people are reacting the way they are, just because they think "they ought to". Like laughing at some nerd when with your friends and then breaking out your D&D sheets when you're by yourself. And the rest, that are honestly freaked out by this - they're probably offended by a whole lot of other things as well and we shouldn't worry about what they think about anything. People should just lighten up.

Unless there is a hidden scene in the game where Dust bangs that little flying fox or whatever, then I think it's pretty safe to assume that the game is not aimed at "furries" and is suitable for the general population.

#38 Posted by SubwayD (556 posts) -

@Brodehouse: Wow. You seem really really angry and quick to read whatever meaning you'd like into my comments.

I ask you, what would be gained by "arguing"? Your mind is made up, as is mine. Seeing as there is no graceful way to bow out of a spat online, I might as well just walk away.

There. You win. Enjoy it.

#39 Posted by Insectecutor (1205 posts) -

@Dunchad said:

Unless there is a hidden scene in the game where Dust bangs that little flying fox or whatever, then I think it's pretty safe to assume that the game is not aimed at "furries" and is suitable for the general population.

There's something about the intent behind that flying fox's character design, poses and voice that make me question this. Also he doesn't need to put that scene in the game because the community will make it for him a billion times over.

#40 Posted by AngelN7 (2973 posts) -

I gotta say the internet opened the doors to knowledge of a lot of things that would've been better to left unknown.

#41 Posted by yeah_write (219 posts) -

@AndrewB: Just to be clear, I wasn't calling someone immature for the style of art they like. I was pointing out that the style could remind people of their once-immature tastes. If they feel they have grown out of that style, liking it could bring up some sort of cognitive dissonance. I wouldn't call anyone immature for the geekery they're in to. Like I said, I love chip tunes. I'm also a huge fan of The Last Airbender, Doctor Who and Spider-Man. If those things make me immature as a 28-year-old man, that's fine with me. At least I can share that immaturity with my son!

#42 Posted by yeah_write (219 posts) -
#43 Edited by Humanity (10070 posts) -

I think what got lost in that original Dust thread is that theres a good amount of people, myself included, that just don't like the art in genreal and not because it is furry inspired. Everything seems to draw on that aesthetic of what a teenage kid would think is cool. The writing seemed pretty bad as did the voice acting - the little flying squirrel sidekick being the worst offender. The thread soon got engulfed in the whole furry debacle and I recognize that there are strong influences of that in there - the creator of the game does furry art so obviously even if he wasn't aiming for the game to take on that style it did draw on some aspects from it. As such I think it's unfortunate that it does boil down to AHH furries this is terrible! As opposed to ahhh this art style just isn't that good in my opinion. Jeff and Brad may praise it all they want but it's just an over the top Golden Axe with an eastern motif, and what for some is a deal breaker, furry-esque characters. If the art was really interesting I wouldn't even mind the animal-people characters - but as it is I can't shake that amateur anime feel from it.

#44 Posted by yeah_write (219 posts) -

@Insectecutor: Those are all excellent points. Especially the bit about the character replacement and gaussian blur. They mesh with most of the foreground environments, but the backgrounds...not so much. So I will give you that the art is a little inconsistent and somewhat bland. But now that I've seen the inside of game development and know the challenges of creating a gazillion pieces of art, I DO respect the art in this game BECAUSE it was made by one dude. I'm a pretty decent character artist, and it seems like this dude is too. So the characters in the game I'm working on look great. I'm not an environment artist, and that part has been a challenge for me. I'm also not an animator, though I've studied the art of animation long enough to know what works. The fact that this guy made decent character and environment art all on his own is great, I really respect that, even if they don't quite match up. I mean the fluidity of the animation alone is amazing.

That said, Mark of The Ninja looks leagues better. I LOVED Shank 2's art style, and MotN seems like more of that. But those games are made by a team of seasoned developers. Dust is one man's passion project.

You're right about the uncanny valley being a factor of quality, but that's kind of the case in any uncanny valley situation. Higher quality art--whether it's cartoony and moves away from the valley or it's realistic and moves past it--is usually less likely to give you the heebie jeebies.

#45 Posted by Alkaiser (366 posts) -

@Insectecutor said:

@Dunchad said:

Unless there is a hidden scene in the game where Dust bangs that little flying fox or whatever, then I think it's pretty safe to assume that the game is not aimed at "furries" and is suitable for the general population.

There's something about the intent behind that flying fox's character design, poses and voice that make me question this. Also he doesn't need to put that scene in the game because the community will make it for him a billion times over.

Thats pretty much my issue with stuff like this. Though most of my hangups deal with awful anime that I've seen snippets of or had people relate to me. Is there really that much of a difference between straight up showing child pornography and the sexualization of a minor as 'comedy?' I guess the same could be applied to the whole furry thing. I'm not really that familiar with Dust, but if it does the whole anthropomorphic thing where they just put a pair of tits on an animal then what purpose would that serve other then to delight someone who was into freaky shit like that?

#46 Posted by Campion (33 posts) -

I find it confusing that people state an uneven presentation as their gripe when the whole thing was drawn and animated by the same artist. I also think the main concerns over Fidget are entirely drawn from the fact that she wears no clothes like an actual animal, and her female attributes are more noticeable because of that. OP, your analysis of furries and their culture is limited at best, but that is a discussion I will not bring up.

#47 Posted by Atary77 (502 posts) -

To me a furry fan is no different from Trekkies ,or people into Star Wars, Super Heroes ,ect. And ya know what? There's an adult side to all of those things too just they aren't brought to light as much as everything else.

#48 Posted by JoshingMad (10 posts) -

I will agree with people that the characters look very amateurish from a technical standpoint. However, that does not diminish my opinion about the animations, and I will put faith in those who say that the gameplay meets some expectations and exceeds others.

That being said, I'm always disgusted at how people are quick to dismiss the game simply because the characters are furries, in spite of the fact that one or more of you who make that claim will probably play the latest Sly Cooper and Ratchet & Clank, and constantly telling yourself, "it's cool, this game isn't creepy furry fuck-fetish". I simply wished there came a time where such boorish ingrates were clumped together with the worst filth of the furry fandom, and had them all gassed to death with extreme prejudice. Long-standing pointless grudges like this have no place in the material world of men.

I'd also like to mention that it's extremely hard for furries to make games that are both: a) of actual competence, and isn't a horrible trainwreck or lackluster aping of an existing formula or barren wasteland of a game, and b) actually gets released without enough infighting to have development cease altogether.

Considering how furries are often plagued with crippling amounts of infighting due to varying differences, or the fact that FurAffinity is a shining example of how to run a site with all the staff being complete idiots and control freaks, the mere existence of Dust is a sure sign of defiance to the taboo that not only are furries always going to be vilified in most of North America, but furry games will also end up being cream of the crap even when compared to shovelware titles.

Dust is hardly a perfect game, but it's a huge help to disappointing tenures of games like Solatorobo, and its arrival has been long and overdue.

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