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#1 Posted by braves01 (119 posts) -

Just listened to the Assassin's Creed discovery, and I have to say I'm disappointed with the crew's blaming of the censorship on Judeo-Christian/western values as if that were some monolithic value system. Also, some of the depictions in the game are literal ancient pornography. Does the gang oppose censoring this material as well, or has the passage of time made transformed these works into art? Not to mention the fact they didn't discuss any of the non-nudity censorship/revisionism which is at least equally worthy of criticism for distorting the value system of the historical period the game is purporting to represent. There was a good discussion to be had here, but I think Vinny in particular just wanted ubisoft to conform to his beliefs about nudity.

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#2 Posted by Efesell (3463 posts) -

I haven't tried out the discovery mode yet but on the beastcast it sounds like they address liberties taken in the main game for the sake of creating their story. Which I don't think there's a problem there since Origins is ultimately a piece of entertainment above all.

Vinny just seems upset as a fan of classical art and seeing it censored by stodgier modern values is especially irritating. Less upset at Ubisoft specifically and more that this sort of thing had to be done at all in this day and age.

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#3 Edited by NTM (10888 posts) -

Wait... What did they censor in the game? I haven't tried the tour yet, but in the game, it was interesting to walk into brothels and see all the walls adorned with art depicting sexual positions/acts. I would be disappointed if the game doesn't represent the facts (as far as we know) truthfully, or leaves out things that are important to what they're presenting. Also, I didn't listen to the beast cast. Now, going off of nothing since I didn't listen to the beast cast or play the discovery tour. Does the game somehow blur the depictions? If that's the case I can understand it. I don't think it has to do with faith though. Some might see the tour as a way to learn, and if children are to play it they probably didn't want to show that, so that's another issue. Maybe what I'm saying has nothing to do with anything, ha ha.

Edit - Okay, I looked it up. I was close. Yeah, it doesn't have to do with faith, it has to do with age. I have to say, I saw an image of censorship, and it's pretty ridiculous though. You shouldn't have to censor statues. Now, it's up to teachers and parents (since Ubisoft is targetting them as well) have to teach the kids that seashells weren't actually on those areas of the body.

Here's a link I found talking about the censorship.

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#4 Edited by MattGiersoni (377 posts) -

Yeah, it's super lame they censor it, because you can literally go to a modern museum and see these kinds of statues in full, with no silly shells put over the intimate parts. I have a feeling it has to do with the +12 rating on the discovery tour itself (you get it for free with the full game but you can also buy it standalone for 20$ and the standalone is +12). I can maybe understand censoring kamasutra images from the brothels in the game (if these are included in the discovery mode), but statues should not be covered up, they aren't in museums last I checked. (Maybe something changed, I'm serious right now, I really don't know, I went to a museum 5 years ago).

The devs do mention that it was also to account for different sensitivity in different countries, which I can kinda understand but still, it's weird, like I said you can go to a museum and see it without covers etc. It's not that big of a deal, but the decision is odd. I guess, they wanted to play it safe.

Other than that everyone who owns AC:O should check that mode out. It's pretty cool, and some Universities did tests with it. It's quite good at teaching people and positive results on tests were similar to those who were taught via traditional lectures. New methods of teaching are always awesome and needed in the digital age, especially since we often still use very old teaching methods that don't suit the modern student and are ineffective.

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#5 Edited by Humanity (17616 posts) -

They, as in Ubisoft, chose the least confrontational route with this stuff and I can't really blame them for it. I would have included a parental mode where you can turn it on or off, but generally it's hard to assign your own values of this particular situation for everyone else. Some parents are much more protective of what their children experience and when they experience it, and as much as you might disagree with that you can't tell someone else how to raise their children. Ubisoft decided it's best to choose the path of least resistance and hey, whatever, it's not a big deal. Not quite sure why they got so up in arms about it as if it's condescending or something of that nature. This is a virtual tour, if your child asks you can go ahead and load up Google or go to the museum and show them that it's a dick under that leaf, but at least you're still in control of that.

At the end of the day is this lame? In my opinion I don't think so. Could they have included some more options? Sure, but getting caught up on censorship issues seems like a real pointless nitpick over what is, generally, a really awesome thing they've done.

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#6 Posted by Goboard (283 posts) -

When Vinny brought up Judeo-Christian/Western values as the reason behind covering up all nudity found in the game he was likely drawing from his art history experience in college (He's an art major so he likely took numerous art history courses) and was probably referencing the use of a fig leaf to cover up genitalia during the Renaissance brought about by the Catholic church. This resulted in the ubiquity of the fig leaf appearing on a lot of older works of art. I don't know what Ubisoft's target age range is for this is, but I remember learning the history of Ancient Egypt in the 6th grade so I'd imagine any teachers looking to use the discovery mode as an educational resource would be doing so around a similar grade/age.

I can only speak from experience (I went to school in California), but when I was in the 7th grade someone came in and taught a sex education, there was one student who he and his parents fought to have the class canceled. I'll give you one guess what they used as evidence as cause for it's cancellation. The school had already sent home a waiver so any parents that didn't want their kids to take the class would be excused on that day so that student just didn't show up. They also threw a fit when stem cells were brought up as this was around the time that it was in the news a lot. Any surprise that religious values would have a role in a decision making process about what should be used for education in a classroom is very naive. There are still states with representatives in various levels of government trying to remove evolution from science courses and change how certain parts of history are taught in order to have it conform to their religious values and beliefs.

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#7 Edited by BaneFireLord (3427 posts) -

Another factor I was surprised they didn't bring up is the ESRB. I could be talking out of my ass but I assume Ubi did the cover up at least in part so the standalone edition wouldn't get an M rating for nudity (it wound up with a T rating according to Steam); even if it was on a toggle it would still run afoul of the ratings board. If they're trying to sell it to educators, I'd imagine it's a lot easier for school bureaucracies to sign off on purchasing copies of a T game over an M game.

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#8 Posted by Goboard (283 posts) -

@banefirelord: I just checked the ESRB's site and searched for the Discovery Tour only to find that it's not listed there. Not sure if that means it didn't go through any ratings verification or if the ESRB is really slow to update their database of rated games. Though to counter the latter, there are already numerous ratings for games that won't be out for several weeks so that maybe lends credence to Ubisoft choosing to place a T rating without having gone through the ESRB. The Discovery Tour is also only available as a standalone game on PC as of right now and any game not sold at a physical retail location doesn't require an ESRB rating unless that digital storefront requires one (PSN and XBLM). The free version available for owners of the full game would still fall under the M rating that AC:Origins has. In the end it makes sense that they would go for a T rating or at least the appearance of having sought one.

This Polygon article contains a quote from Ubisoft explaining why they made certain decisions but it doesn't mention the rating specifically. Owen did ask for comment from the ESRB about ratings in general but they didn't respond so things are still unclear.

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#9 Posted by poobumbutt (862 posts) -

Wait, you DON'T think religious values was at least part of this decision? Have you seen America in the past... well, since kind of forever?

I think censoring to try to more easily appeal to school boards or to the ESRB are also good theories on contributing factors. But the idea that it was just Vinny blindly lashing out is silly. Vinny is an art major and I viewed his argument in that respect and don't think it is devalued by the other theories suggested here. Mostly because even if ease of entry into schools or a more lax rating from the ratings board was the reason, that just means there's still silly hangups about art and nudity (likely coming from aforementioned values) in those institutions, so an extension of Vinny's point still stands.

If he made any moral judgement it was just to ask why even model those art pieces if you were going to censor them anyway? Even the "porn". Actually, ESPECIALLY the porn. The whole point of that would be the nudity and sensuality, wouldn't it? And yet it is censored, despite it having been made for one reason. As though if a kid saw censored sex positions, he wouldn't be just as curious if not more. What does that say about the "real" artwork then, if it gets the same treatment? God, what confusing decisions.

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#10 Edited by Mikemcn (8438 posts) -

It is weird that they censored statues if that is what they did, most kids see a picture of the statue of David at some point in their history courses, and that statue bares it all.

I thought they would just take out the topless women walking around for the educational mode. I can understand wanting to leave out HD, true-to-life nude character models, but marble representations of people, who gives a hoot..

The use of shells though is pretty hilarious...
The use of shells though is pretty hilarious...

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#11 Posted by MindBullet (673 posts) -

Considering the nudity present in the core game I have to imagine it was either a decision made to keep the Discovery Tour as family friendly as possible, or it was something they had to do in order to qualify for a certain rating/being allowed to sell itself as educational software in some places. I suppose its a bit silly, but I did feel that the crew gave it a bit of a rougher time than it maybe deserves considering how much care and attention to detail is present beyond the nudity stuff.

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#13 Posted by TheHT (15303 posts) -

Oh wow, that's lame. Not nearly as bad as that museum that removed that painting of so-and-so with the nymphs, but still pretty annoying.

I assume the Beastcast's position was that this covering-up was bad? I'll give it a listen later, but yeah, this sucks. The family friendly (i.e. 'won't somebody think of the children') angle doesn't justify this imo. As a kid it was giggle-inducing at first to see David or Venus (because I was certainly raised with that same sort of Abrahamic sense of modesty that as I understand it is indeed quite ubiquuitous in the west; it's traditionally been religious conservatives who'd campaign against nudity yes? Though in fairness in more recent times that market has certainly widened to include other kinds of conservatives), but then it's like "okay, it's just a statue; I guess it's cool that somebody made that a long time ago." I'm not sure what kind of grievous harm or devilish corruption people expect to follow from seeing an exposed ancient marble tit.

I do not know what depictions of 'ancient pornography' there are in the game that you're referring to, but yes, the historicity of old depictions of sex does turn them into relics of a sort. And having ahistorical elements that they've created for their story and world is also fine. The Assassin's Creed games are about as historical fantasy as it gets. They not only regard Adam and Eve as literal real people, but hold them to be the lead revolutionaries in freeing humanity from the yokes of an ancient supreme species of technogods. Granted these games have certainly played with art before, turning works into proof of ancient technologies passed on (Apples of Eden in paintings for instance), but I don't recall them ever just covering something up for the sake of it.

But I do sympathize with their imposition. Like it or not, there are people and places that feel deeply wrong for looking at something even as tame as the statues shown in this thread, and I get wanting to reach out to these people and places too. That even if they're hindered in consuming the work as it is they'll still be able to get some learning via the other features of the Discovery Tour. I'm not sure acquiescing to their sensibilities is quite the best thing to do though. I suppose they could've at least made it an option, for goodness sake. "Art without bullshit" or "Art with ********."

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#14 Posted by wardcleaver (249 posts) -

@humanity said:

They, as in Ubisoft, chose the least confrontational route with this stuff and I can't really blame them for it. I would have included a parental mode where you can turn it on or off, but generally it's hard to assign your own values of this particular situation for everyone else. Some parents are much more protective of what their children experience and when they experience it, and as much as you might disagree with that you can't tell someone else how to raise their children. Ubisoft decided it's best to choose the path of least resistance and hey, whatever, it's not a big deal. Not quite sure why they got so up in arms about it as if it's condescending or something of that nature. This is a virtual tour, if your child asks you can go ahead and load up Google or go to the museum and show them that it's a dick under that leaf, but at least you're still in control of that.

At the end of the day is this lame? In my opinion I don't think so. Could they have included some more options? Sure, but getting caught up on censorship issues seems like a real pointless nitpick over what is, generally, a really awesome thing they've done.

Agreed.

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#19 Posted by cikame (2210 posts) -

I've always been put off by nudity in classic art, i'm not really sure what it's for.