This image was presented as part of a montage of character clothing for Fallout 4 at E3 this year. It was presented without comment, or highlight. It wasn’t shown any longer than any of the other images, and as best I can tell from watching the video it was put in to make it clear that the new Fallout wouldn’t have any gender specific limitations on clothing in the game. Great thing right? If you want your male character to wear a dress for any reason, you can. For some people, however, it was somehow offensive.
From speculating the reason for including the image to just simply being outraged for outrage sake people took to social media to express their offense. Sadly it’s not the people we’ve been told to expect. The majority of gamers that I’ve seen range from ambivalent to supportive, including a good deal of the LGBTQ gamers that I interact with online. A few who I don’t follow, have posted that they think it was put in as a joke, somehow able to read the minds of the developers and artists at Bethesda. They’ve actually called for an apology from Bethesda for perceived slights, slights created in their own minds about an image that flashed on the screen for a couple of seconds. I can’t imagine how exhausting it must be to create so much outrage in one’s mind over something so small.
Another fantastic thing to come out of the previews at E3 is the variety of characters in new games. Gamers, for the most part, love variety. We love new games, new stories and ideas, new art, and new characters. We’re getting our share of sequels, which is expected and in a lot of cases welcome, but we’re getting a great selection of new characters. Of course a lot of outrage artists, who don’t seem to know much about games, have come out to express how refreshing and innovative it is that games like Fallout 4 have responded to the #GamerGate controversy, and the gamers tweeting under the hashtag by including women…yes, games that have ALWAYS included women are somehow sticking it to ‘goobergob’ by including women characters in their games.
“And of course you can play as a female”, followed by applause: the proof feminism has already changed the industry for the better.
— Rami Ismail (@tha_rami) June 15, 2015
I love that the video game industry’s response to goobergob is female protagonists everywhere — Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) June 16, 2015
First, I just have to say Rami…I’ve been playing RPGs for a lot of years. Long before feminism ever took notice of gaming as a medium that needed to be influenced you’ve been able to make male or female characters in just about all of them that I can think of. Fallout has always allowed the player to play whichever gender they want. The only thing this proves is that gaming continues to do what its always done and give players options in RPGs that have character creation. It’s not new, it’s not innovative, it’s not progressive, it’s business as usual and it’s what makes our hobby great.
As for Jason…along with sounding like a 5th grade schoolyard bully making up words to shame the nerds playing games at lunch, he doesn’t seem to pay much attention to what’s going on. I follow quite a few people that tweet under the #GamerGate hashtag and all I see about the female protags announced so far at E3 are how badass they look, how excited people are to see them in game, and how much fun the games look. The only people I see even making gender an issue are the outrage artists and Neo Puritans trying to stir up controversy for their clicks and donation coffers.
To add to the snarky childish jabs on Twitter, some took to social media to decry how violent games like Doom and Fallout look. Yes, you heard right, people complained about how violent Doom and Fallout are, and how ‘sad’ it is that gamers were applauding. Despite all the evidence in the world that games do not cause violence there are still people out there that think games shouldn’t be violent. Some people that just can’t accept that every game doesn’t need to be for them, and that some people have tastes different than their own and that’s OK. They feel it’s their personal mission to shame gamers, and developers, into creating the ‘right sort’ of games, or buying games that fit some moral standard.
On the censorship front, yes censorship, The Mirror: An Intelligent Tabloid (emphasis mine) ran an article about Doom 4, playing into the outrage, or maybe not with all the quotation marks. I’m unsure if they are aware of the oxymoron in their moniker, but at the end they asked a question so absurd it shouldn’t even be asked, “Should Doom 4 be censored?” I know the laws in the UK are different but I believe that freedom of speech is pretty much a universal protection for art in the civilized world. Maybe it’s the more restrictive speech laws getting passed making people think censorship is somehow more normal, but anyone that writes or creates should be absolutely disgusted by the question. Sadly, as of this writing, 7% of respondents said yes. I have no idea how many responded to the poll, but that’s certainly 7% too many.
Continuing the trend a petition to cancel Metroid Prime: Federation Force was posted shortly after the announcement of the game. With nothing but the preview video, and a description of the game 6,538 people, as of this writing, have called for the game’s cancellation. No consideration for the artists that are working on it, the vision the creators have in mind, and the gamers that might actually like the game. More blatant censorship from people because they don’t like a game concept and rather than see what it’s going to turn out to be, and just not buying it if they don’t like it, they’ve called to censor it. I know I won’t get the game myself, but I do hope that it gets made, and it turns out to be a smashing success just to spite the outrage mob who just can’t accept that there’s enough room for all sorts of games, even games they don’t like.
Thankfully most of this is a vocal minority who’d rather say “I don’t think this game should exist” instead of “That’s not for me.” I’m also glad to see the developers are listening to gamers, the people who buy their games. Whether you want big RPGs, fast action games, card games or sports games, there seem to have been a lot of great announcements for everyone. Not all of them will be my cup of tea, but you know, they will be just right for someone else, and that’s awesome. I’m happy to see all of the variety of character, theme, art, and style. I hope to bring you some positive articles on what I’m looking forward to, and what I’m worried about, so stay tuned. Above all, remember, every game doesn’t have to be made for you, or me.