altairre's comments

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Posted By altairre

@zevvion: It's interesting to me that you consider yourself and idealist but at the same time you mention that it's "silly" to expect corporations to change their ways. This is not a knock against you don't get me wrong. I understand the reasoning and I know that changes like these often take a very long time but on the other hand, and like I mentioned in my last post, we have seen at least some progress in that regard. Because people keep pointing these things out, they keep talking about it, they keep pushing against it. I think that's part of the reason why there are people, even on this site, like Austin or Patrick in the past, who spend time writing a bunch of excellent articles about topics like this one.

I also think that it will eventually just make sense from a business perspective to embrace diversity a bit more, because, as it turns out, people who play videogames can be fairly diverse these days. There is a pretty interesting talk by Anthony Burch (who I will always remember as the guy Ryan burned super hard on Twitter) about cynical reasons for diversity in videogames that touches on that subject as well (it's worth a listen regardless of your opinion about Burch as a writer).

The part in my last post about people who say "that's just how it is" to defend the status quo was not directed at you by the way but at those who try to shout down discussion in that manner. I think this discussion has shown that we're pretty much on the same page here. (I'm sorry for bombarding you with all these links but this is something I care about and sometimes I can't help it.)

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Edited By altairre

@zevvion: That's the important point though: it IS based on discrimination and it IS based on racism and I can absolutely fault the companies for doing it. Racism and discrimination are way more subtle in reality than "I don't like black people and/or women" and you can definitely be racist even if you don't intend to be. It does not matter that they're supposedly doing it for the profit. If you can't be asked to change what you are doing for the better, even though, as you correctly pointed out, there is absolutely no research to support their "only white males" assumption then that's on you and I'm not going to defend your shitty corporate practices.

With movies it's a similar case. They cast a bunch of white people for Exodus because "it would sell better" and guess what, that movie fucking tanked (same with Gods of Egypt) whereas the Fast&Furious series features a ton of minority actors and makes a fuckload of money with every entry. If you see these sort of practices, istead of going "welp that's just how this is" the correct response is to ask if this is how we want it to be and if this is how it needs to be because otherwise we wouldn't have made all this progress in the last couple of years. That's what I believe anyway. I like that picture though it's pretty appropriate.

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Posted By altairre

@zevvion: While I would like for you to be right I think the chances are extremely slim. The gaming industry has still a lot of growing up to do in that regard. Eurogamer just posted an article about the Fable 3 boxart which was supposed to feature a black woman. Guess what happened? "They were going, you can't have a black person on the cover, and you can't have a woman. And you want a black woman. And I was like, yes, I do, because it's about be whatever hero you want. No. It's a white guy. That's just the way it is. We know what sells and that's fucking it. Stop the arguing." I'm not as naive as to assume that this shit only exists in a bubble. It doesn't matter what the reasons are, it's still discrimination.

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Posted By altairre

@zevvion: First of all I appreciate that you're willing to discuss this in a civil manner by addressing my arguments directly and specifically. By now I'm sort of used to another tone whenever this topic or something similar comes up.

Regarding the points you've made: I don't think that racism or discrimination had any play in how the character of Nadine Ross came to be because I have a higher opinon of Naughty Dog than that. They even addressed it by saying that they did interview a variety of people for the role, minorities included. I believe them when they say that. The character was not black originally until one concept artist came up with the design and liked it. Bailey gave it a shot and they decided to run with it which I think is totally fine. I don't even assume that the underrepresentation is necessarily due to malicious intend but you have to take a bit of a chance to improve on it. If you go with the safe choice again and again (which are usually established white voice actors like Bailey) then how is anybody else supposed to deliver a breakout performance (which is difficult enough when it comes to voice acting anyway) to get into that circle?

Black people being voiced by white people, like Balrog, Aveline, Clementine or Nilin are no rarity, a white person being voiced by a black person, like Kratos, is the exception. I just don't buy that there are so few capable minority voice actors available, which is why the "they went with the best person for the job" argument always irks me a bit.

As far as reading something "blacker" goes, I do think that it is an issue especially because of what it represents. Black people are no monolithic entity so what the fuck is it even supposed to mean when you instruct someone to read "blacker"? You would never instruct someone to read "whiter". The only thing you could be referring to is a stereotype, which comes dangerously close to racism and that's exactly what I mean by saying that the intend does not have to be malicious. I doubt the guy saying it thought much about it but Phil LaMarr (the black voice actor in question) still remembers that part. A lot of it is subconscious which is why you have to actively point these things out if you want to change them for the better.

If you are interested in this topic I can only recommend this Kotaku article about the representation problem videogames have when it comes to black people. It even delves into the voice actor thing for a bit and one of the contributors is a so called Austin Walker, maybe you have heard something about that guy.

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Edited By altairre

@zevvion said:

@altairre: I have to admit I'm not sure I understand you. You're saying you don't think everyone is equal? I'm not talking from a genetics point of view obviously, but from worth and rights.

For example, if you cast a woman to voice a male character and she voices the character with a feminine voice (that doesn't fit the character), then yes, it's a good time to say they probably shouldn't have cast a woman. But if they cast a woman and she can perform to accurately voice the male character, then what's the problem?

Yes, I absolutely do think that pointing out the character isn't voiced by a man is super weird in that case. At that point you're arguing for it to have been voiced by a man just for the purpose of it being voiced by a man.

Again I'd ask you to read my previous post including the part where I quoted two black voice actors talking about this exact issue. Everyone SHOULD be equal yes, and in an ideal word it wouldn't matter who voices which character but unfortunately that just isn't the case if you look at the representation of minorities in pretty much any kind of media. Minorities just have a different experience and often a more difficult one. To quote another part of the article: "“Early in my career, white directors would ask me to make a read ‘blacker,'” said Fennoy,". I'm sure that there are plenty of directors who asked white voice actors to read "whiter" since, you know, we're all equal anyway. If nobody makes an effort to improve on the situation (and once more, this is a general issue and has nothing to do with Naughty Dog in particular, I like Nadine Ross a lot and think that Bailey does a great job), then the status quo will never ever change, which would be a bummer.

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Posted By altairre

@zevvion said:
@jmdoane said:
@mike123jen said:

I'm indecisive on whether or not I should get this game. Naughty Dog hired a white woman to play a black woman in the game and I just think that is a terrible thing to do. Great quick look, overall. But man, I'm still sad they did that.

You should totally not get this game for that reason. That's what a true social justice warrior would do.

It's not even social justice warrior though. Real social justice believes all are equal do they not? Which means it doesn't matter who they hired for any singular character. If they explicitly only hired white people across the entire cast, then there might be an issue there. For one character it obviously doesn't matter. Whichever voice and performance fits should get the job. Regardless of race or any other genetic property. Pointing out the performer isn't the same race as the character in the game and having negative feelings with that is not social justice. It's more like unintended racism.

Sometimes I can't even tell what's sarcasm anymore. Are you for real? Yes, expressing disappointment that they didn't take the opportunity to hire someone from an underrepresented minority is totally racist. If you haven't you might want to read my previous post in this very comment section, I even linked an article about it. Again, they casted her before defining the character which is why I don't have a problem with it in this particular case but please stop with the tired "all people are equal though" bullshit argument. #AllLivesMatter, right?

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Edited By altairre
@mmarsu said:

So you shouldnt hire a black person to voice a white charachter either or? Not sure I understand this specific complaint. Great QL, game looks great

If you read my post then you hopefully will understand.

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Edited By altairre

@phuturist said:
@altairre said:

Oh and by the way all of you who are going with the "but we're all the same in the end" and "shouldn't they pick the best person?" spiel are making a terrible argument.

It's more of an argument than your quoted paragraph here at least. Also it's not terrible, you are wrong. If you can't see that anymore...I don't know, that would be sad.

No it absolutely is terrible because you'll find those arguments in pretty much every discussion about race and they always get shut down immediately. Here I'll even explain to you why if it isn't clear. Your position only works if you assume that everything is just fine with the representation of minorities when it comes to voice acting, which is highly unlikely if you look at representation of minorities in media in general (guess what, in videogames too). If you want to change that then you have to make an effort, which will certainly not happen if you just keep defending the status quo whenever a discussion arises without even listening to what the people directing the criticism have to say.

I'll even give you two quotes from two black voice actors. Dave Fennoy, who voiced Lee in the Walking Dead mentioned that he would prefer it if black actors were able to voice black characters "so that black actors are able to work". Phil LaMarr who voiced Green Lantern in Injustice said "“From an artistic perspective I would love it if race didn't have to be a factor, but from a "paying-my-rent" perspective, I'm glad it does,” and “If I have to compete for a Black male role with every Black male voice actor AND every white male voice actor, my chance of getting a job decreases immensely,” (found in this article). In an ideal world you would be right, it shouldn't matter who voices which character but as it stands that's not the reality we live in.

Like I stated in my previous post, I don't think there was necessarily anything wrong with the decision in this case because the character wasn't done when they casted her but it's not an issue that should generally be dismissed so easily. If you can't see that, that would indeed be sad.

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Posted By altairre

I'm indecisive on whether or not I should get this game. Naughty Dog hired a white woman to play a black woman in the game and I just think that is a terrible thing to do. Great quick look, overall. But man, I'm still sad they did that.

It's a fair criticism but in this case they hired Bailey before they knew what the character was going to look like. One of the concept artist drew the character she was going to play as a black women and they thought it was a good idea. They had discussions about it and decided to try out how it would fit and in the end they kept it because they thought that Bailey did an amazing job. I think that's totally fine but I do agree that it is a topic which warrants discussion.

Oh and by the way all of you who are going with the "but we're all the same in the end" and "shouldn't they pick the best person?" spiel are making a terrible argument.

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Posted By altairre

@zojirushi: the movement in Dying Light is a joy compared to this she looks like she's running through treacle.

Having played Dying Light very recently I vehemently disagree. This looks a lot better.

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