Two Steps Back

Looks like the Dead Island: Zombie Bait Collector’s Edition will feature a disturbing extra for zombie fans: A headless, armless bikini-clad girl’s torso. Ick. From the press release, because I could not make this up:

Paul Nicholls, Sales & Marketing Director, Deep Silver, said “Dead Island Riptide is one of the most anticipated releases of the year and is set to build on the original’s reputation for OTT action, dark humour and brutal zombie bashing. We wanted to provide a unique collector’s edition that was utterly ‘Dead Island’ and would make a striking conversation piece on any discerning zombie gamer’s mantel.”

There’s another line in the release that compares the armless statue to “Dead Island’s grotesque take on an iconic Roman marble torso sculpture”, and I won’t tell you the classicist rage that gave me. I’ll not include the picture here, but the Dead Island torso is two anti-gravity, perfectly round breasts, covered with a tiny bikini and lots of blood, forming a perfect cleavage V under a neck stump. It’s pretty disturbing, and I wouldn’t like to see it on a “discerning zombie gamer’s mantel”. Also, that is not what the Venus De Milo looks like. And, also, the Venus De Milo is not the only statue in the world without arms.

I’m sort of amazed that this ever seemed like a good idea to anyone. Doesn’t a headless bikini girl just seem like a parody of a bad promo item? I was once a designer on a game, and I was outranked by a promoter who thought the game could be best marketed to women by handing out pink bracelets at NYCC, so I’m pretty sure there are talented dev and design folks working on Dead Island who argued against this.  Without ranting at Deep Silver (while I was editing this, they’ve issued a half-apology for “any offence caused,” as if some players are being weirdly touchy over a perfectly normal headless bikini rack), I think this says embarrassing things about our industry.

I don’t believe that violent games cause violent behaviors, and I think that argument is flawed in pretty much every way that an argument can be faulty.  But I do think that tasteless, misogynist promos make our industry look like tasteless misogynists.

Added 4/24/13: That lame half-apology about not realizing people would be offended didn’t actually say the headless torsos would by pulled, and guess what? Collector’s Edition still totally includes them!

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3 Responses to Two Steps Back

  1. MantisBot says:

    But… Guys like boobies! BOOBIES! And it’s art-ish!


    • Meg says:

      Give her some limbs, and it’s just another boobie-focused male gaze figurine. Hardly even worth mentioning the casual marginalization of women hobbyists in games and comics! But a dismembered D-cup while respectable games companies are taking heat for being violent? Seriously?!?!?!

  2. Pingback: Carnival of Video Game Bloggers, February 2013 | Gaming My Way

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