2K Says Whites-Only Character Options "Wasn't Deliberate"

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2K Says Whites-Only Character Options "Wasn't Deliberate"

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2K Play Marketing Director Christina Recchio claims the failure to include non-Caucasian faces in the Carnival Games character customization options was simply an oversight, and not the result of some sinister "whites only" policy at the publisher.

Following the release of the Wii title early in the year, MTV Multiplayer writer Tracey John complained that only "one pale hue" of skin color was available in the character customization options. "In other words, as a minority (I'm a Chinese woman), I could not replicate my skin color for my avatar within Carnival Games (much less if I were African-American or Hispanic). I found that a bit offensive," she wrote.

In a follow-up, 2K Play's Recchio admitted the game should have had an option to adjust skin tones, but said by the time the company became aware of the problem it was too late to correct it. "Unfortunately by the time it had gone to manufacturing, it was something that couldn't be changed in the original product," she said.

The DS version of the game shipped in July, and includes a color slider which allows players to adjust their avatar's skin tone. The upcoming Carnival Games: Mini-Golf includes 12 different shades of skin colors, and Recchio said Carnival Games 2 will also offer a choice of skin colors. "When we were developing for the DS, it was the first thing that we put in there because we knew we needed a larger variety," Recchio said.

"I just think it was - honestly - a complete oversight," she continued. "It was just the developers [Cat Daddy] were developing the game, they got so far down the line it was just something that couldn't be added without affecting the ship date of the game. But it wasn't deliberate, by any means."

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"I found that a bit offensive"

Please, stop being offended by little things that don't really matter. Oh no, i can't colour my character in my skin tone, the horror!

Ok, substitute "annoyed" for "offended," then. In a game that gives you a bevy of unlockable headgear, shirts, and pants, it seems a bit odd that you only have one choice of skin color. It's even odder to me that it never occurred to the folks making the game that being forced to choose from white, white, or white might irk some players.

My thinking on the matter is either don't give folks a choice - in Half-Life, you're Gordon Freeman, a nerdy white guy, and that's all there is to it - or give them a range of options that lets them at least approximate what they see in the mirror.

This is complete bullshit. No one bitched when you had to be black if you wanted to be human in Jedi Academy (either that or I never figured out how to change the default)

People are far too easily offended these days, why, I long for the good old days when i could go up to my nearest asian person and crack asian jokes with him.

I'm with Susan, "annoyed" sounds like the better word to use. I mean, clearly 2K just wasn't thinking and when people pointed it out they just thought "DOH >_<"!

If all the faces were blue, no-one would complain.

And...maybe all the people in Carnival Games are of Caucasian Descent? Just a thought really.

I mean, c'mon, I can't make my face out of any of those, being as white as a ghost, does that make it offensive to me?

Instead of being offended I'm more suprised. In today's games full of detail how can you overlook the fact that you custom character can only be white? After games like Oblivion, Mass Effect, and Soul Calibur I thought that the standard for customization was a bit higher than 10 white faces.

Mistah Kurtz:
This is complete bullshit. No one bitched when you had to be black if you wanted to be human in Jedi Academy (either that or I never figured out how to change the default)

You didn't figure it out.

The_root_of_all_evil:
If all the faces were blue, no-one would complain.

And...maybe all the people in Carnival Games are of Caucasian Descent? Just a thought really.

I mean, c'mon, I can't make my face out of any of those, being as white as a ghost, does that make it offensive to me?

They aren't even of "Caucasian" descent though. Caucasians include people from the Middle Eastern and South Asia; how come I don't see any Indian or Persian faces?

How many 'White' people have faces like that anyway?

And that's before you go into racial orientation like nose size etc.

Realism isn't the point though; representation doesn't have to be limited to realism.

It would just be kind of nice to play in a role playing game as someone who represents me better than a white guy does.

Eggo:

It would just be kind of nice to play in a role playing game as someone who represents me better than a white guy does.

Uh....How does a pink, perfect sighted, small nosed, red eyebrowed face represent me any better than it represents you?

Should I complain because I have to be evil if I'm a Ratonga?

Or that my closest similarity in TF2 is a smoking psychopath?

If you're going to have something that truly represents your race, it's gonna have to go a LOT deeper than what RGB your face is, I would have thought; because it sure will with mine.

And the designers would have a cardiac arrest trying to pallete my hair; I haven't heard a game yet that does a 'proper' English accent.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Uh....How does a pink, perfect sighted, small nosed, red eyebrowed face represent me any better than it represents you?

Did you read the part where I said role playing game?

The_root_of_all_evil:
If you're going to have something that truly represents your race, it's gonna have to go a LOT deeper than what RGB your face is, I would have thought; because it sure will with mine.

And the designers would have a cardiac arrest trying to pallete my hair; I haven't heard a game yet that does a 'proper' English accent.

Again, you're conflating realism with representation.

The developer ultimately has the final artistic prerogative to decide the features of characters in their games, but it would be nice if there was more choice (or at least diversity) in character features that are not related to the game/do not affect the game or story in any way.

Odysseus, Greek hero and awesome dude in general, isn't Indian and I would never ever want him to be Indian in the stories or games that are related to him because his nationality matters very much to the story. But why can't we have a choice for when nationality/ethnicity has no bearing on the story?

I know most people here reading this won't understand, but having these choices does make the gaming experience more enjoyable.

Not really. I'm no more represented than you are.

And surely the idea of a "ROLE PLAY"ing game is that you act differently to your RL persona?

I'm pretty sure my hair is real though. Never found a salt/pepper hairstyle in any of the rpg's.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Not really. I'm no more represented than you are.

White males are easily the most represented and salient characters (and interestingly enough, consumers) of video games.

Just because these characters don't mirror your facial characteristics exactly doesn't change the problem of a globalized and diverse region as North America (or Western Europe) facing a white cultural hegemony in all forms of media.

The_root_of_all_evil:
And surely the idea of a "ROLE PLAY"ing game is that you act differently to your RL persona?

I'm pretty sure my hair is real though. Never found a salt/pepper hairstyle in any of the rpg's.

The idea of a role playing game is that you can act however you want.

And read my edit; it might make things more clear.

The_root_of_all_evil:
... I haven't heard a game yet that does a 'proper' English accent.

Fable has several, anyway on topic I'm mixed race and it doesn't offend or annoy me in any way

I don't see how they could miss it, colour sticks out quite a bit when you look at all those unnaturally pink faces.

I think Nintendo did it perfectly with their Miis.

Eggo:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Not really. I'm no more represented than you are.

White males are easily the most represented and salient characters (and interestingly enough, consumers) of video games.

Nail:Head. But still, take a look at the facial representations. Even in something as wide ranging as City of Heroes or "The Movies", I haven't found a face/character that resembles/represents 'me'.

Just because these characters don't mirror your facial characteristics exactly doesn't change the problem of a globalized and diverse region as North America (or Western Europe) facing a white cultural hegemony in all forms of media.

But don't you see that all white people are NOT the same...Just because a character has a pinkish tinge does not make it a 'White' character. Just as if I was to change the hue of a white face to brown, it wouldn't represent an African. Totally different bone structure.

The_root_of_all_evil:
And surely the idea of a "ROLE PLAY"ing game is that you act differently to your RL persona?

I'm pretty sure my hair is real though. Never found a salt/pepper hairstyle in any of the rpg's.

The idea of a role playing game is that you can act however you want.
[/quote]
And then you're into the issue of realistic types... Try playing an ugly character, or a weedy character, or a fat character...They're as 'missing' as an Asian, Jew or African.

However, there's only so much a designer can do. Wiimi's are quite accurate, but look at the possible combinations there.

'Fluff' is always nice, but it does take a LOT of development time, and if you've played UT3, you'll know how godawful time restraints block even the most basic of testing.

Back to my original call, if all the characters had blue skin...who would be complaining?

Even if they do add skin tones, people will complain that you can make your Mii too black. You know, kind of like 'black-face'.

People really will bitch about anything if you give them the opportunity, won't they?

Lt. Sera:
"I found that a bit offensive"

Please, stop being offended by little things that don't really matter. Oh no, i can't colour my character in my skin tone, the horror!

I totally agree people are out looking for things to get angry about! they should just lay off.

Oh and why are any of you playing Carnival games?

Carnival Games is yet another garbage game for the Wii and people should be more offended by its cheapness than its character creation options.

What an interesting and fresh perspective!

It's a good thing we have white dudes around to decide for us which identity issues we get to complain about.

wrshamilton:
It's a good thing we have white dudes around to decide for us which identity issues we get to complain about.

Also it's wonderful how being 'white' nullifies any opinion on race you might have.

Let us remember that a game is intended for entertainment. If someone is offended because they couldn't make their character quite the way they liked it, they are clearly taking it far too seriouly (wasn't the Wii aimed at more laid back and relaxed gamers?), I was never offended by the fact that I found it impossible to make a character in Oblivion who looked remotely human (never mind looking like me). And on top of that, does anyone else remember the original UT? Regardless of what character you were, your forearms would always have been caucasian even if your character was black, asian, hispanic or quite literally white (I see dead people), why wasn't anyone offended by that?

The_root_of_all_evil:

wrshamilton:
It's a good thing we have white dudes around to decide for us which identity issues we get to complain about.

Also it's wonderful how being 'white' nullifies any opinion on race you might have.

It makes your opinion about what is or isn't or should or shouldn't be important for people of different backgrounds pretty uninteresting and irrelevant, yes.

It's hard for people (me definitely included, not trying to make assumptions about you) with a certain kind of dedicatedly geek background to grasp, but there are some arguments that not only can one not win, but that moreover one has no real place in.

The_root_of_all_evil:

wrshamilton:
It's a good thing we have white dudes around to decide for us which identity issues we get to complain about.

Also it's wonderful how being 'white' nullifies any opinion on race you might have.

Well...It does.

Eggo:
Realism isn't the point though; representation doesn't have to be limited to realism.

It would just be kind of nice to play in a role playing game as someone who represents me better than a white guy does.

Yeah I agree with that, I think it is a very light offense, but not to the point that I'd complain. I feel exactly the same way you do man!

The fact that people get angry offends me, because they clearly don't understand.

It doesn't offend me that so many people don't understand this; it just kind of saddens me how mainstream Western culture hasn't really changed at all even though mainstream Western law has changed substantially.

wrshamilton:

The_root_of_all_evil:

wrshamilton:
It's a good thing we have white dudes around to decide for us which identity issues we get to complain about.

Also it's wonderful how being 'white' nullifies any opinion on race you might have.

It makes your opinion about what is or isn't or should or shouldn't be important for people of different backgrounds pretty uninteresting and irrelevant, yes.

It's hard for people (me definitely included, not trying to make assumptions about you) with a certain kind of dedicatedly geek background to grasp, but there are some arguments that not only can one not win, but that moreover one has no real place in.

Hold on...so you're saying because of my race, my views on race are irrelevant? Doesn't that seem just slightly, well...racist?

It's not you, it's me your race, but your culture which prevents you from being capable of understanding the problems in Western culture for non-mainstream Westerners.

O...K...
But surely your Non-mainstream Culture means you are then incapable of understanding 'my' Western Culture?

And as far as I'm aware, you're equally indoctrinated into the 'Western Culture'

Let's look at it a different way.

I'm part of quite a few minorities: race, gender, sexuality, eyesight etc. and have suffered prejudice, misrepresentation and sometimes violence because of it.

Now, none of those faces up above represents me, but even the article's title lumps me in as "White" despite the many factors in my racial origins. (Which, tbf, none of you really know...I could be Inuit).

Let's say that all those faces were a shade of brown. Would I then be 'capable' of understanding and complaining about the racism?

Even if what we're saying is that most contemporary human game protagonists since the 16 bit era are white males...and I'm not disagreeing on that. Why is it suddenly all right to lump all 'Westerners' as incapable of understanding minorities?

As I said before, there's a few pakistani/hindu protagonists, but I can't think of one Irish or Welsh...or Native American apart from Turok...Or Eskimo...(And all four of those are counted as 'White' despite massive differences in Racial Origins)

I'm not saying that non-whites shouldn't complain about misrepresentation, just that whites should be equally able to; and that there should be an acceptance that sometimes there can't be the choice to be any hue...especially as creating a realistic skin hue takes a HELL of a long time, whether white, brown, black, yellow or any other colour.

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