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usea
Member
(11-23-2013, 12:24 AM)
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During an interview about Blizzard's upcoming MOBA (dota game):
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/11/22/blizzard-on-heroes-of-the-storm-female-designs-in-mobas/

RPS: You have some interesting alternate outfits for heroes. Roller Derby Nova, especially, caught my eye. On its own, that’s totally fine – just a silly, goofy thing. A one-off. But it got me thinking about how often MOBAs tend to hyper-sexualize female characters to a generally preposterous degree – that is to say, make it the norm, not a one-off at all – and StarCraft’s own, um, interesting focus choices as of late. How are you planning to approach all of that in Heroes?

Browder: Well, I mean, some of these characters, I would argue, are already hyper-sexualized in a sense. I mean, Kerrigan is wearing heels, right? We’re not sending a message to anybody. We’re just making characters who look cool. Our sensibilities are more comic book than anything else. That’s sort of where we’re at. But I’ll take the feedback. I think it’s very fair feedback.

RPS: I have to add, though, that comics might not be the best point of reference for this sort of thing. I mean, it’s a medium that’s notorious – often in a not-good way – for sexing up female characters and putting them in some fairly gross situations.

Browder: We’re not running for President. We’re not sending a message. No one should look to our game for that.

RPS: But it’s not even about a message. The goal is to let people have fun in an environment where they can feel awesome without being weirded out or even objectified. This is a genre about empowerment. Why shouldn’t everyone feel empowered? That’s what it’s about at the end of the day: letting everyone have a fair chance to feel awesome.

Browder: Uh-huh. Cool. Totally.

[PR says we've run over, tells me I have to leave]

I don't read much gaming press, but this was all over my twitter feed. Seems like some pretty hardball questions for a gaming interview. I kinda feel bad for the director since he obviously didn't expect what was coming, but when you're a public face you have to deal with the decisions of your company.

If you're not running for president, I guess it's anything goes!

Seriously though, when the only two female characters in Hearthstone look like the exact same hyper-sexual thing, it's kind of off-putting. They could do a lot better with regards to this issue.
Last edited by usea; 11-23-2013 at 12:27 AM.
GhostWriter24
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(11-23-2013, 12:25 AM)
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This is a genre about empowerment. Why shouldn’t everyone feel empowered? That’s what it’s about at the end of the day: letting everyone have a fair chance to feel awesome.

I have never heard such fucking drivel in all my days. Empowerment? If you're deriving self-empowerment from a fucking MOBA, all I can say is you're missing out on some wonderful other things in life.
Last edited by GhostWriter24; 11-23-2013 at 12:29 AM.
Matriox
Member
(11-23-2013, 12:27 AM)
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Originally Posted by usea

During an interview about Blizzard's upcoming MOBA (dota game):
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/11/22/blizzard-on-heroes-of-the-storm-female-designs-in-mobas/



I don't read much gaming press, but this was all over my twitter feed. Seems like some pretty hardball questions for a gaming interview. I kinda feel bad for the director since he obviously didn't expect what was coming, but when you're a public face you have to deal with the decisions of your company.

If you're not running for president, I guess it's anything goes!

Blizz is definately not the only ones doing this, but this wasn't exactly the best response either.. lol
antitrop
does not much care for
anti-shooter bias
(11-23-2013, 12:27 AM)
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What a waste of Dustin Browder's time.
hardcastlemccormick
Member
(11-23-2013, 12:28 AM)
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I don't know if I'd classify it as "ambushing." I mean, I'd prefer an outlet starts asking questions that matter instead of just "so how great IS your game?" That's exactly what interviews SHOULD be.

Despite the guy's insistence, you can't just claim "we're not sending a message" when your game is played by millions of people. Seriously. You're a sending message, a lot of messages, and you're accountable for what you're saying. Start figuring that out and stop making excuses for your vapid pandering.

And we need to start asking why game developers just keep on using the same over-sexualized female characters over and over again. (And the same over-muscled power fantasy men! But that's another discussion, just as valid.)
Last edited by hardcastlemccormick; 11-23-2013 at 12:56 AM.
StayDead
um wat
(11-23-2013, 12:29 AM)
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I really wish RPS would just step away from looking at everything objectifying everyone else all the time. It really has poisened their writing and half the time they're talking rubbish.

And we need to start asking why game developers just keep on using the same over-sexualized female characters over and over again. And the same over-muscled power fantasy men.

Is there a problem with that? I mean REALLY? They're just characters in a fictional universe. Not everything needs to be made to make a point all the time.
Loxley
Member
(11-23-2013, 12:30 AM)
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I love RPS but good lord I feel like they're seriously out to prove something lately.
Valnen
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(11-23-2013, 12:31 AM)
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Originally Posted by antitrop

What a waste of Dustin Browder's time.

Yeah he was more civil than I'd be.
usea
Member
(11-23-2013, 12:31 AM)
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Originally Posted by hardcastlemccormick

I don't know if I'd classify it as "ambushing." I mean, I'd prefer an outlet starts asking questions that matter instead of just "so how great IS your game?" That's exactly what interviews SHOULD be.

Despite the guy's insistence, you can't just claim "we're not sending a message" when your game is played by millions of people. Seriously. You're sending message. Start figuring that out and stop making excuses for your vapid pandering.

Agreed. Saying that they're not sending a message is so completely wrong. Like, that's exactly 100% what you're doing.
Foshy
Member
(11-23-2013, 12:31 AM)
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To be fair, what would have been a good answer for him to give in that situation?

Sure, the characters should have been designed differently, but if that part is already set in stone, what more can he say than "we appreciate the feedback and will try to do better next time?"
Khaz
Member
(11-23-2013, 12:32 AM)
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Guys, it's because of comics books, they're only following the trend here!
Valnen
Member
(11-23-2013, 12:32 AM)
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Originally Posted by usea

Agreed. Saying that they're not sending a message is so completely wrong. Like, that's exactly 100% what you're doing.

What does that even mean? The goal of a game isn't necessarily to send a message.
Dukey
Banned
(11-23-2013, 12:33 AM)

Originally Posted by usea

If you're not running for president, I guess it's anything goes!

If you're creating games, writing books, making movies, directing a TV show then yes, anything goes. Anything YOU want to create is fine. If the public rejects it, then they reject it.
XANDER CAGE
WELCOME TO THE XANDER ZONE
(11-23-2013, 12:33 AM)
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I think the question itself is valid, but holy shit that writing is unbearably smug.

RPS: What is the Storm? How does one become a hero of it? Is it at all important to any sort of story? A blizzard is a type of storm. Is it just another way to say Heroes of Blizzard?

RPS: Over the years, I’ve developed a wild theory: Blizzard is not, in fact, an altruistic charity like everyone presumes, but is instead some sort of business. How do you plan on making money off this one?

RPS: LoL and DOTA have taken eSports by storm, but how is your Storm going to take eSports by… DOTA? No, that really doesn’t work. Please act as though I said nothing, but randomly answer a question about similar topics stated much more eloquently.

How fucking precious.

That being said, I do think their actual questioning regarding the designs is entirely fair, and "uh huh, cool yeah" is a pretty flippant response from Blizzard's end. That being said, if someone had been interviewing me about something and had opened with ten obnoxious questions before one serious one, I'd be looking to get the hell out of there too. What a waste of time.
Imperfected
Member
(11-23-2013, 12:33 AM)

Originally Posted by 24FrameDaVinci

I have never heard such fucking drivel in all my days. Empowerment? If you're deriving self-empowerment from a fucking MOBA, all I can say is you're missing out on some wonderful other things in life.

You're misreading the term. "Empowerment" simply means you're playing a character who is (within the context of the game) someone who is powerful and important. See also: Devil May Cry, God of War, etc.

That's sort of to be expected when you're playing Heroes of the Storm. You're there to play as Kerrigan or Arthas, not Fodder Space Marine #216. The point he's making is that you should feel big and heroic no matter what hero you pick.
antitrop
does not much care for
anti-shooter bias
(11-23-2013, 12:33 AM)
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Originally Posted by Foshy

To be fair, what would have been a good answer for him to give in that situation?

There isn't a good answer, it's gotcha journalism. RPS usually does good work, but this is some Kotaku level shit.
PaulloDEC
Member
(11-23-2013, 12:34 AM)
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While it's admirable that RPS are willing to ask tough questions, I'm not sure what it really achieved here. Blizzard know their market very well by this point, and you can bet they're going to keep making the kind of content that brings in the cash regardless of how sexist it might be.
DMiz
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(11-23-2013, 12:35 AM)
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Originally Posted by Foshy

To be fair, what would have been a good answer for him to give in that situation?

Sure, the characters should have been designed differently, but if that part is already set in stone, what more can he say than "we appreciate the feedback and will try to do better next time?"

This, really.

I don't understand if the reporter was trying to drag out an argument or hoping for something inflammatory. His 'questions' sound more like his own conjecture that he's laying out on the table, rather than in the interest of obtaining information or to set up discussion (which, judging from the context, was really not the time or place).
hardcastlemccormick
Member
(11-23-2013, 12:35 AM)
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Originally Posted by StayDead

I really wish RPS would just step away from looking at everything objectifying everyone else all the time. It really has poisened their writing and half the time they're talking rubbish.

I'm glad RPS is trying. Even if they're the only one and it seems they're all alone. This sort of thought should begin, even if it's awkward. I'll take a poorly phrased question over pretending it doesn't happen.

Originally Posted by StayDead

Is there a problem with that? I mean REALLY? They're just characters in a fictional universe. Not everything needs to be made to make a point all the time.

When the exceptions can be counted in your fingers and toes, there's a goddamn problem. And despite what people think, there are implications to having an entire industry who refuses to diverge from these unquestioned (and frankly uncreative) tropes that only serve to alienate. These MOBA's are huge and Blizzard's will be unquestionably huge, so why can't they spend a little of that massive dough and come up with something different, something positive?

Originally Posted by Valnen

What does that even mean? The goal of a game isn't necessarily to send a message.

Media of any medium communicates. That's the whole point of media.
usea
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(11-23-2013, 12:35 AM)
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Originally Posted by StayDead

Is there a problem with that? I mean REALLY? They're just characters in a fictional universe. Not everything needs to be made to make a point all the time.

Out of context it's fine. But games exist in context. The amount of objectification of women that goes on causes real harm. And Blizzard is particularly guilty, doing it non-stop with almost every female character.
ogmaster
Banned
(11-23-2013, 12:35 AM)
I'm surprised anyone would support Nathan's line of questioning. The question was so vague and off-putting. The question basically said "Other companies are doing this and it's bad, are you going to do this too?" Might as well ask if he was going to beat his wife too because other people do it and it's bad.
Kintaro
Worships the porcelain goddess
(11-23-2013, 12:36 AM)
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I read that interview and the follow up editorial and all I could imagine was the after the dude asked the question, Browder just looks at his PR rep and made the "we're done here" signal.
Mechazawa
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(11-23-2013, 12:36 AM)
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Originally Posted by 24FrameDaVinci

I have never heard such fucking drivel in all my days. Empowerment? If you're deriving self-empowerment from a fucking MOBA, all I can say is you're missing out on some wonderful other things in life.

...wait a minute. Are you seriously implying video games shouldn't be a power trip for some people?

When I play God Hand and kick a motherfucker into outer space, you better believe I'm looking for "empowerment"
Ysiadmihi
Banned
(11-23-2013, 12:37 AM)
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Browder: We’re not running for President. We’re not sending a message. No one should look to our game for that.

Really all that had to be said.
Dukey
Banned
(11-23-2013, 12:37 AM)

Originally Posted by usea

Out of context it's fine. But games exist in context. The amount of objectification of women that goes on causes real harm. And Blizzard is particularly guilty, doing it non-stop with almost every female character.

Because the way they handle male characters is so incredibly realistic? Everything Blizzard does is over-the-top. Male and female. It's one of the reasons why many people love their style.
The Goat
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(11-23-2013, 12:37 AM)
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Originally Posted by 24FrameDaVinci

I have never heard such fucking drivel in all my days. Empowerment? If you're deriving self-empowerment from a fucking MOBA, all I can say is you're missing out on some wonderful other things in life.

I have to agree with you on this. Games are not to be looked to for things like building strong role models for female or male. Both sides are objectified, albeit in different ways, but objectified none the less.

I'm really tired of these arguments. It's entertainment, people. No messages are being sent. If you take issue, then don't play the game.
Riposte
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(11-23-2013, 12:38 AM)
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The idea behind the Blizzard rep's response is good, but how it was said came off too weaselly and lacked conviction. "We like how it looks" is all that needs to be said on matters of aesthetics, whatever other "messages" get interpreted be damned. Being open-minded to feedback is good, but likely not enough for some who want nothing short of being agreed to.

EDIT: The most of the empowerment from a game like DOTA is more dependent on winning and being a good teammate.
Last edited by Riposte; 11-23-2013 at 12:40 AM.
Valnen
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(11-23-2013, 12:38 AM)
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Originally Posted by hardcastlemccormick

Media of any medium communicates. That's the whole point of media.

How does a MOBA with no storyline do that exactly? These games really are not about sending any sort of message. I'm not really sure how you could possibly think otherwise.
Jackson
(11-23-2013, 12:39 AM)
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I wouldn't describe Roller Derby Nova as hyper sexualized. She looks like what a female roller derby player looks like.

I would agree that videogames and MOBAs have way too much female hyper sexualization and comicbooks are even worse.

But to pin this on HotS is silly. It's a much wider topic. LoL's characters are way worse in the female exploitation area than his reference.


Last edited by Jackson; 11-23-2013 at 12:41 AM.
Effnine
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(11-23-2013, 12:39 AM)
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Originally Posted by antitrop

What a waste of Dustin Browder's time.

So much this ...
usea
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(11-23-2013, 12:39 AM)
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Originally Posted by ogmaster

I'm surprised anyone would support Nathan's line of questioning. The question was so vague and off-putting. The question basically said "Other companies are doing this and it's bad, are you going to do this too?" Might as well ask if he was going to beat his wife too because other people do it and it's bad.

Except we don't really have any reason to believe he beats his wife, so it'd be a pretty weird question. But we have every reason to believe the game is going to portray women in a particular way, which is problematic.

Originally Posted by Valnen

What does that even mean? The goal of a game isn't necessarily to send a message.

It doesn't have to be the goal. It does send one. It's up to Blizzard to choose which message to send. You can't opt out. If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.

I mean, I get that it's probably not a priority for them. They're a business and their cost-benefit says it's not worth changing things right now. Speaking up changes their cost-benefit analysis.
Noray
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(11-23-2013, 12:40 AM)
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Originally Posted by antitrop

There isn't a good answer, it's gotcha journalism. RPS usually does good work, but this is some Kotaku level shit.

Holding a company accountable for their choices and asking them for justification is not gotcha journalism. It's journalism.
Beant
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(11-23-2013, 12:40 AM)
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RPS is the first mainstream gaming website in years to actually have something to say.
David H Wong
(11-23-2013, 12:40 AM)
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Originally Posted by Mechazawa

...wait a minute. Are you seriously implying video games shouldn't be a power trip for some people?

When I play God Hand and kick a motherfucker into outer space, you better believe I'm looking for "empowerment"

I'd say it's 80% of the reason people play games. To pretend to be a more powerful being than you actually are. Even sports games are about pretending you're as strong and fast as Lebron James.
Pistolero
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(11-23-2013, 12:41 AM)
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How about those big, cut and sometimes shirtless male protagonists? Nobody seems to take offense at them being objectified...
Effnine
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(11-23-2013, 12:41 AM)
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Originally Posted by Noray

Holding a company accountable for their choices and asking them for justification is not gotcha journalism. It's journalism.


Accountable for what? Are you implying that Blizzard is evil for whatever art they choose to create? If you don't like what they do, then don't buy their games, simple as that. No need for a witch hunt here ...
Valnen
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(11-23-2013, 12:41 AM)
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Originally Posted by usea

It doesn't have to be the goal. It does send one. It's up to Blizzard to choose which message to send. You can't opt out. If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.

The only way this could be true is if you're looking for a message where there is none and make one up yourself.
David H Wong
(11-23-2013, 12:42 AM)
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Originally Posted by Noray

Holding a company accountable for their choices and asking them for justification is not gotcha journalism. It's journalism.

It's so unusual coming from gaming journalists that nobody even recognizes it.
Saintguine
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(11-23-2013, 12:42 AM)
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RockPaperShotgun has got to be the most wheels within wheels, fires within fires publication ever.

Also if you seek empowerment through videogames let alone a fucking MOBA rather than standing on your own two feet, you really have to go outside and stop being a slacktivist. Not to mention Heroes of the Storm isn't sending any particular message, it's about Blizzard characters beating the shit out of each other.
ogmaster
Banned
(11-23-2013, 12:42 AM)

Originally Posted by Noray

Holding a company accountable for their choices and asking them for justification is not gotcha journalism. It's journalism.

But hold them accountable to what? The example given wasn't "THIS CHARACTER IS TOO SEXY! WHY YOU DO THAT?" but rather it was asking about what they're going to do in regards to others MOBAs.
Noray
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(11-23-2013, 12:43 AM)
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Originally Posted by Valnen

How does a MOBA with no storyline do that exactly? These games really are not about sending any sort of message. I'm not really sure how you could possibly think otherwise.

Imagery is not communication? Call the advertisement companies, comic book artists, TV makers, etc.

Everything carries a message, inherently. This isn't rocket science. They're promoting a certain type of female character design, and it doesn't exist in a vacuum. It conforms to a stereotype that's prevalent in games, it's part of a bigger picture. You can not be bothered by it and that's fine, but the fact that it bothers others should not bother you.
TaroYamada
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(11-23-2013, 12:43 AM)
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Dustin handled it maturely IMO. Interesting how he states that they'll consider their feedback and then they just have to keep drilling on it. I've been taking RPS a lot less seriously since they adopted their John Walker SJW platform.
stfuppercut
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(11-23-2013, 12:43 AM)
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RPS are the biggest tryhard "journalists"

They're constantly trying to find petty stuff like this to make something out nothing. How is this site so loved on GAF? Just cover some cool PC games instead of trying to stand up for human rights and shit, it's not that deep.
daman824
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(11-23-2013, 12:43 AM)
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They aren't asking questions, they are making statements. And while they have a point, a Q&A with a developer isn't the best place to make statements.
antitrop
does not much care for
anti-shooter bias
(11-23-2013, 12:44 AM)
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Originally Posted by Noray

Holding a company accountable for their choices and asking them for justification is not gotcha journalism. It's journalism.

So have a reasonable interview with the artists, under the expressed intent of character design and empowerment fantasy, then.
You don't just throw that fucking curveball to the lead developer at the end when the clock is running out.

It's ridiculous.
hardcastlemccormick
Member
(11-23-2013, 12:44 AM)
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Originally Posted by Foshy

To be fair, what would have been a good answer for him to give in that situation?

Sure, the characters should have been designed differently, but if that part is already set in stone, what more can he say than "we appreciate the feedback and will try to do better next time?"

The fact that they don't have an answer is enough of a warning signal, in my opinion. If they can't come up with a good answer, maybe they shouldn't do it?

Originally Posted by Valnen

How does a MOBA with no storyline do that exactly? These games really are not about sending any sort of message. I'm not really sure how you could possibly think otherwise.

Isn't the point of good art design to send some sort of "character" to what you're playing? And we have to wonder why it always happens, even in games that aren't trying to say anything, but do it anyway, because that's how games are done.

Just because something isn't designed to thematically communicate something doesn't mean it's suddenly free of any inadvertent interpretations, especially when they're as obvious and unquestioned as the hypersexualization of women.

Originally Posted by Valnen

The only way this could be true is if you're looking for a message where there is none and make one up yourself.

Just because Blizzard doesn't think there is a message doesn't mean there isn't one. Twilight wasn't made to be about abusing relationships and creepy behavior, but it is.
ZeroGravity
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(11-23-2013, 12:44 AM)
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Originally Posted by usea

Out of context it's fine. But games exist in context. The amount of objectification of women that goes on causes real harm. And Blizzard is particularly guilty, doing it non-stop with almost every female character.

It causes about as much "real harm" as violent video games do. It's not real.
Gestahl
Member
(11-23-2013, 12:45 AM)

Originally Posted by Pistolero

How about those big, cut and sometimes shirtless male protagonists? Nobody seems to take offense at them being objectified...

How do you people like you still exist
erpg
GAF parliamentarian
(11-23-2013, 12:45 AM)
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All I can do is shrug.

I'm sure they can get their message across without taking insubstantial potshots.
Valnen
Member
(11-23-2013, 12:45 AM)
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Originally Posted by stfuppercut

RPS are the biggest tryhard "journalists"

They're constantly trying to find petty stuff like this to make something out nothing. How is this site so loved on GAF? Just cover some cool PC games instead of trying to stand up for human rights and shit, it's not that deep.

If this is common practice for them I'm glad I've never really wasted my time with them.

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