CD Projekt's Upcoming Title: Cyberpunk

Vrikk wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

If 10 people don’t take issue with a scene of a white dude gunning down black people from a gang called Animals doesn’t mean it’s not problematic. This forum proves that many people will have zero issue with it. But some might and those that might speaking out about it isn’t an attack on those that don’t. It’s simply pointing out that it makes them uncomfortable.

Same goes for RPS vs other sites reviewing the demo.

Honest question, but if there's a character creator that allows you to be any skin tone you want, does this become a moot point? For the third time, I just wonder if we are jumping the gun here.

I am also assuming you can make your protagonist non-white. If you can't, well... carry on.

Skin tone is an option.

TheGameguru wrote:

This forum proves that many people will have zero issue with it.

Has it? Can you show where?

RPS have released a new article which to my somewhat ignorant eye looks considerably more balanced.

ranalin wrote:

Has it? Can you show where?

Millions of people will buy and play this game. The vast majority of them will have no idea this debate is even taking place, or even notice it in the game. The poster in question was background to show off a ray traced screenshot, it's barely noticeable when you see the whole screenshot.

I also wonder if we'd be having this debate if that poster had been identical but lacked the penis in it. That's not to knock the debate going on in this thread by the way, but would it be any less an offensive depiction of a female body without the male genitalia?

Non of that invalidates the legitimacy of the conversation here I stress, but for a lot of people - yeah, they probably won't care because they just won't be aware of it.

Sorbicol wrote:

RPS have released a new article which to my somewhat ignorant eye looks considerably more balanced.

ranalin wrote:

Has it? Can you show where?

Millions of people will buy and play this game. The vast majority of them will have no idea this debate is even taking place, or even notice it in the game. The poster in question was background to show off a ray traced screenshot, it's barely noticeable when you see the whole screenshot.

I also wonder if we'd be having this debate if that poster had been identical but lacked the penis in it. That's not to knock the debate going on in this thread by the way, but would it be any less an offensive depiction of a female body without the male genitalia?

Non of that invalidates the legitimacy of the conversation here I stress, but for a lot of people - yeah, they probably won't care because they just won't be aware of it.

Is that a completely new article or is that original article edited?

Vrikk wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

If 10 people don’t take issue with a scene of a white dude gunning down black people from a gang called Animals doesn’t mean it’s not problematic. This forum proves that many people will have zero issue with it. But some might and those that might speaking out about it isn’t an attack on those that don’t. It’s simply pointing out that it makes them uncomfortable.

Same goes for RPS vs other sites reviewing the demo.

Honest question, but if there's a character creator that allows you to be any skin tone you want, does this become a moot point? For the third time, I just wonder if we are jumping the gun here.

I am also assuming you can make your protagonist non-white. If you can't, well... carry on.

no it doesnt make it a moot point.. how can it? Again nobody is jumping any guns here.. its fine to have a discussion about what was shown and how it might be problematic for some people.

Obviously have choices in a character creator is infinitely better than having everyone play the generic white dude. But it won't help if the game shows people of color as predominately the villains or shifty/untrustworthy.. that just continues to re-enforce the stereotypes that many white people have had for centuries.

Just because I can play a POC who is the protagonist won't absolve them of responsibilities. Think of how bad it is/was that it took how long for black kids in America to finally see a Black Super Hero with his own big screen big budget movie. We like to think that media and imagery has no real effect on perception but it can and does... its the entirety of the experience that is important.

Honestly I don't care because I just want to digitally kill people in new and cool ways.

CDPR's fumbling of the in-game poster depicting the trans woman seems fairly well established by now -- we're any of us really that surprised? Even if nothing else, management seems to turn a blind eye to marketing running a muck pre-release.

As to the outrage (which may well prove to be 'righteous outrage' -- I'm honestly undecided) over Animal/Animals/The Animals (I've seen the gang name spelled multiple ways, in multiple places) I'm still unclear on that being established yet(?)

There's a render out there that supposedly depicts the gang boss, "Sasquatch", and she strikes me as not black, to the point that my first thought was 'an older Honey Boo Boo that got all roided up'.

With text referencing gang and leader

IMAGE(https://preview.redd.it/k6dxs29h28431.jpg?width=640&crop=smart&auto=webp&s=c6b78ab9301dd1973e442351ccdfc5db995a16b4)
(just image linked directly vsn; I hope this doesn't blow up; I'm still not clear on hotlinking(?) vs 'that's how the internet is supposed to work in the high bandwidth age'...)

I'm also more than marginally lost on RPS being cited as both a good source for the information itself, as well as being the cited as ~ just because RPS doesn't have a problem with it doesn't mean it isn't wrong. I should reread all that, unclear if there are two clashing opinions coming out of RPS from two separate journos (??)

To the specific point of IF this proves to be the case, should people be able to openly voice that they find it troublesome without being dogged on their opinion? HELL YES. Naturally, by the same token, seems there's a balance when it comes to voicing that stance and how we should interact with each other in direct verbal [albeit text based, but still] exchanges when they veer into the grey area of ~ quote warring.

Amoebic wrote:

Anyway when the one person of color at the table on a livestream didn't mention anything public about a game calling people of color animals, that doesn't mean it's therefore a non issue. It's not the responsibility of people of color to point out every single instance of harmful racist stereotypes for the rest of us to notice and rest assured if something is racist or not. Likewise, if one person of color doesn't take issue with it, they're not the mouthpiece for their entire demographic. Some things require context and perspective, and as adults we should think about that critically and sort it out amongst ourselves.

Yes, 100% agree!

AND would like to mention in the instance here of Austin at Waypoint, he's not shy about calling things out and he's "in charge" of the site and podcast at large. I actually look to him specifically for these perspectives and give them a bit more weight than most. So in this particular instance, it means something to me when Austin sees that presentation and doesn't come out completely disgusted by what/how it was presented. The Witcher didn't have any PoC's until an expansion, so playing in a region where it's predominantly folks who aren't white is both a sign of progress from CD Projekt Red and incredibly fraught because they have a history.

Cyberpunk 2020 (the RPG the game is based off) was designed by Mike Pondsmith, who is also a person of color. The "Animals Gang" was from the book, although I don't know if they were predominantly black.

None of the above means you don't take a critical eye to how things are shaking out or give any kind of free pass to the game or the developers. The reason, I think, the blow back and discussion can feel heated despite the relatively small data we have to go on is because this is going to be a HUGE game and it's a ways from coming out yet. Keeping them on their toes and thinking critically about what they're putting in the game, how they're framing it and why matters a lot. ESPECIALLY in a setting like Cyberpunk where Trans issues are going to be heavily in the mix. Representation matters, we're still on incredibly shaky ground with how our Trans friends and family are shown in media. Media is a way we normalize certain points of view and behaviors. If they can at least not make things WORSE that would be a good start.

Recreational Villain, I appreciate you sharing that and that makes me less concerned and clarifies some details.

The link above posts to reddit, be advised if you're browsing at work! Also if you don't want to be exposed to the vitriol of your average reddit gamer commenters.

If it's more of a mix than is represented at the cannon fodder level, or has been revealed thus far, then that is slightly less problematic and I hope that was just a poor sample revealed.

I'll back off this one.

^ @ Amoebic,
Thank you for the diplomatic framing of your response -- and the other tips! And to be clear, for purposes of the thread -- also reason for providing link beyond the image, it's Reddit so everyone take with a grain of salt on that point. That said, seems official.

As counterbalance, as referenced in my post, this is in no way suggesting CDPR are saints in the bigger picture of things. If anything, I think they're slowly hamfisting their way through this and probably have some entrenched issues going back to [originally] being a ~small Polish dev (and various, bundled environment factors) starting with Witcher I. Realistically, they probably didn't see their big boom till the money started rolling in from their gamble with going all in with Witcher II (?) A numbers/money-tracking poster might have a better insight there.

Hopefully the constructive points of internet forum discourse, across multiple boards, will nudge them into a better direction with these things. They're solidly in the public gaming eye these days and certain responsibilities come with that. A responsibility they, at times, sadly seem to thumb their nose at.

Wink_and_the_Gun wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Fwiw, I believe the Voodoo Boys are from the P&P rpg.

I can't speak for the Animals gang though. (Crazy juicers are a typical cyberpunk concept.)

Man, I loved Rifts...

The things I would do to get a massive Rifts game in the Witcher mold...

As a setting Rifts was interesting, but as a ruleset it was an incoherent mess, power level balance, rules mechanics, and the way it was organizationally laid out in the book. I mean I played it back in the day and all, but yeesh.

"okay these are your stats from which you derive various bonuses [some 50+ pages later] oh yeah these are your physical skills which modify your stats so go ahead and recalculate half of that stuff. oh and when you level up, all your skills improve by a fixed amount...no they don't increase by the same amount, it's different depending on the skill so have fun looking up all your skills each time you level up."

Note on the Voodoo Boys:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/nkMhnKb.png)

I always wonder with CDProjekt Red if I need to "grade them on a scale" given that they're based out of a country that is, if not fascist, then getting dangerously close to it. A lot of times with them it feels like dealing with a more-or-less well meaning older relative, rather than someone who's straight out hateful.

Whatever the case, it sure seems like they need to hire some people to point out these issues before they step right into the middle of them. Having a trans person and a person of color on the writing staff would be best. But honesty, just having a consultant to look over things is probably the minimum standard at this point.

From what I gathered, they do have a variety of consultants, one being the orig source creator who is familiar with the content and is a person of color. Hopefully they means they'll heed the critical eyes they paid for.

I wonder if they have consultants from different regions. POC from different countries would probably feel differently about the issues brought up.

Baron Of Hell wrote:

I wonder if they have consultants from different regions. POC from different countries would probably feel differently about the issues brought up.

At this point it feels like CDProjekt is going to get blasted no matter what they do or don't do.

Hedinn wrote:
Baron Of Hell wrote:

I wonder if they have consultants from different regions. POC from different countries would probably feel differently about the issues brought up.

At this point it feels like CDProjekt is going to get blasted no matter what they do or don't do.

In a sense, yeah, exactly. And that's a good thing. Because they f*cked up before, many times. They're continuing to f*ck up as evidenced by the latest controversy. And the below isn't really aimed at you as such but more a general note in a bottle thrown into the sea that is the Internet.

Everything CDProjekt do now is going to be scrutinised heavily. Potentially problematic things that might get a pass in smaller studios, or studios with a proven track record of making things right or handling nuance well, will not get a pass in their hands. They've lost a lot of goodwill and trust from progressive voices in the industry. And that's the way it'll be until they can prove they have the ability and desire to improve, and so far they're not really demonstrating that well at all.

And to be clear, it's not like being "blasted" is going to cost them much if anything, they're still going to rake in mountains of money on the game. Few people amongst the progressive audience want CDProjekt to fire anyone involved, or want the company to fail, or are calling for "censorship" in even the diluted sense that's come to mean, although I'm sure a lot of people would be happy if the recent backlash caused CDProjekt to reconsider the poster in question. Like the second RPS article says:

RPS wrote:

If you’re excited for Cyberpunk 2077 regardless – and I know full well it’s going to sell millions of copies – please know I’m not here to tell you not to buy the game or to stop enjoying it. I am asking instead if you could please engage with this issue, in Cyberpunk 2077 and beyond. There are groups of people who need your support, who could use your amplification of their voices and whose lives you could help change. You wanna fight an actual dystopian future? Well, that’s how.

All people are asking for is for people to listen, engage, and maybe stop with the knee jerk reactions when they say they're concerned, or unhappy or even angry with the decisions made by companies that have wide audiences consuming the messages they broadcast. I'm at the point where unless they really turn things around, I'm not going to get Cyberpunk despite it being ostensibly the sort of game I'd be really into. And if other people still want to buy it, literally no one is stopping them. But it's exactly the sorts of declarations of concern going on in this thread and in other parts of the Internet that made me a more critical consumer of media. The progressive voices in the GWJ community made me a better citizen of the world, I genuinely mean that. So CDProjekt are going to get blasted, and it won't really hurt them much, but it might convince a few people not to buy the game, and it might make a few people like my younger self more ethical in their consumption, and slowly things might change.

Apologies for this poorly edited rant.

kazooka wrote:

I always wonder with CDProjekt Red if I need to "grade them on a scale" given that they're based out of a country that is, if not fascist, then getting dangerously close to it. A lot of times with them it feels like dealing with a more-or-less well meaning older relative, rather than someone who's straight out hateful.

Calling a country who’s invasion by the Third Reich triggered the Second World War fascist? I’d like to see you go to Warsaw and say that.

Poland is a somewhat socially conservative society certainly - the historical dominance of the Catholic Church in day to day life being a primary factor there - but they have made some progress towards equality for LGBT communities recently - still with a long way to go for sure but it’s not ‘fascist’.

CD Projekt Red certainly don’t see the representation of minorities as as wide an issues as some other parts of their (potential) customer base do I agree but don’t paint a whole country based on the one example you probably have any interaction with.

not somewhere i would willingly go for a holiday on my own*, but they certainly don't seem to be any better or worse than the US or England is at the moment. Certainly far from the worst places to go in Eastern Europe.

*But then tbh i would also say that of the US at the moment, so *shrug*

Poland, like many countries is going increasingly right wing, but they don't as yet have concentration camps, AFAIK, so probably less overtly fascist than the US and Australia.

I do give a bit of slack to someone from a non-English speaking country. It's easy to forget that we don't all grow up immersed in similar cultures. I remember a conversation not so long ago with someone from Finland who didn't understand why the racist Serena Williams cartoon was so bad, but they genuinely didn't have the cultural framework, they didn't know what a Sambo cartoon was.

However, by now CDPR should know better, and as mentioned before, if they have Keanu money they have cultural consultant money. If they cared they could do a better job.

I'm hoping the concerns I have, raised by people smarter and with more on the line than me, get addressed. The Witcher series is my favourite game series of all time, no competition, so I want to love Cyberpunk. Right now I just can't.

PS

The apparently brutal labour issues haven't come up much yet in this conversation yet. The answer to "how the hell did they make Witcher 3 without spending billions?" is apparently "abuse."

Sorbicol wrote:
kazooka wrote:

I always wonder with CDProjekt Red if I need to "grade them on a scale" given that they're based out of a country that is, if not fascist, then getting dangerously close to it. A lot of times with them it feels like dealing with a more-or-less well meaning older relative, rather than someone who's straight out hateful.

Calling a country who’s invasion by the Third Reich triggered the Second World War fascist? I’d like to see you go to Warsaw and say that.

Poland is a somewhat socially conservative society certainly - the historical dominance of the Catholic Church in day to day life being a primary factor there - but they have made some progress towards equality for LGBT communities recently - still with a long way to go for sure but it’s not ‘fascist’.

CD Projekt Red certainly don’t see the representation of minorities as as wide an issues as some other parts of their (potential) customer base do I agree but don’t paint a whole country based on the one example you probably have any interaction with.

Yeah, I meant authoritorian. We've been dealing with enough actual fascists in the US lately that it's blurred my lines a little bit.

I apparently haven't kept up with politics in Poland. Last I had heard, the ruling Law and Justice party looked like they were about to turn the country away from democracy and were villifying queer people. Sounds like it's getting a little better?

MrDeVil909 wrote:

The apparently brutal labour issues haven't come up much yet in this conversation yet. The answer to "how the hell did they make Witcher 3 without spending billions?" is apparently "abuse."

They keep promising that things are better for this game. Hence the 2020 release.

Crunch is "optional" and they have people on record saying that 8 hour days and weekends at home are real.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

Poland, like many countries is going increasingly right wing, but they don't as yet have concentration camps, AFAIK, so probably less overtly fascist than the US and Australia.

I do give a bit of slack to someone from a non-English speaking country. It's easy to forget that we don't all grow up immersed in similar cultures. I remember a conversation not so long ago with someone from Finland who didn't understand why the racist Serena Williams cartoon was so bad, but they genuinely didn't have the cultural framework, they didn't know what a Sambo cartoon was.

The general discussion and conversation around Mark Knight's Serena cartoon shows half of Australia didn't understand how it was racist and we have a whole lot more cultural framework than Finland that we should know better.
Despite the recent media raids here (of which the true reason and result is still playing out) I feel the above comment overplays facism in Australia, we may have some facist ministers but to characterise the Liberal government or government in general as fascist seems false to me and undermines the term in a 'boy who cried wolf' kind of way. The political landscape in Australia over the past decade has been far too disorganised for such a claim. I'll leave it there as getting very P&C and off track, but felt compelled to call the above as I see it.

garion333 wrote:

Crunch is "optional"

Riiight.
Good to hear it might be better at least. But "optional" crunch always sounds so wrong.

kazooka wrote:

I apparently haven't kept up with politics in Poland. Last I had heard, the ruling Law and Justice party looked like they were about to turn the country away from democracy and were villifying queer people. Sounds like it's getting a little better?

Probably not better. They just cant be so overt about it, without creating a fight with EU.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

I do give a bit of slack to someone from a non-English speaking country. It's easy to forget that we don't all grow up immersed in similar cultures. I remember a conversation not so long ago with someone from Finland who didn't understand why the racist Serena Williams cartoon was so bad, but they genuinely didn't have the cultural framework, they didn't know what a Sambo cartoon was.

Yeah I think that is important. Our historical differences do matter imo - mostly in the sense that Europeans do not always view things that clearly are racist, as racism. Anyway, afaik most of CD Projects bigotry in recent years have not been related to racism, but rather LGBT and women, so they can hardly hide behind historical differences.

garion333 wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

The apparently brutal labour issues haven't come up much yet in this conversation yet. The answer to "how the hell did they make Witcher 3 without spending billions?" is apparently "abuse."

They keep promising that things are better for this game. Hence the 2020 release.

Crunch is "optional" and they have people on record saying that 8 hour days and weekends at home are real.

I'd be glad to be wrong, but yeah, "optional" crunch makes me very doubtful. Would you want to be the person on the team who works reasonable hours while everyone else is killing themselves?

troubleshot, I specifically referred to concentration camps for a reason.

What reason was that? To conflate detention centres with concentration camps? Words matter, use the right ones.

I guess I just don't expect them to fit any particular cultural zeitgeist. They are Polish, their issues aren't our issues, they've got their own axes to grind and so on. I bounced right off W1 because of those stupid sex trading cards, so I'm aware how bad they've been in the past, but W3 was really pretty good, and I'm inclined to not worry about it too much with 2077.

I guess I just don't think I can hold them to my standards. They're writing for a lot more people than just me, and there will be lots of writers' ideas being mixed into the final game. There may be elements I don't like very much, but I just don't think it's right to expect them to toe some imaginary line that's in my imagination. I'll try to judge it as a whole, rather than obsessing over any particular details.

Well, as long as they don't go back to sex trading cards. Those were appalling.

troubleshot wrote:

What reason was that? To conflate detention centres with concentration camps? Words matter, use the right ones.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/sy...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double...

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/nmEaKby.png)

Am I allowed to critique him on allowing 1D6 humanity loss for a "sex change"? Or is he immune to criticism from that, too?

* * *

ooo...this twitter thread yep. This. <---

zero interest in waiting for a game to come out to judge it for myself when it gets to hurt me for the entire duration of its multi-year marketing cycle

there is basically no game fun and restorative enough to make up for how exhausting it is to find, analyse and speak out about the repeated incidences of transphobia from before it even launches

and we all know how this goes - trans people are hurt, we're required to educate on exactly *why* the content is hurtful, there's a wave of outrage making the content unavoidable, angry gamers retaliate, dev makes a non-apology, we're tired

game comes out, everyone still plays

we just get to be exhausted and overwhelmed by the transphobia, just for reviews to mention it as a footnote alongside how great the graphics and controls are. just to see all our entire twitter feed filled with friends playing the game on day one

and to be clear im talking about transphobia here because I am trans, but there is NO QUESTION this is even more of a problem when it comes to racism, colonialism, ableism

demand better. no more second chances on games which knowingly hurt your friends