New blog is up! I'm writing about Gearbox's newest lady oriented PR snafu and the gaming press' typically facepalm-y response. Fun is had at Colin Moriarty's expense. Here's a teaser:
Working up to the mid-September release of Borderlands 2, Gearbox Software has been in full on PR blitz mode. It has all the earmarks of a smash hit. The original was a fast, funny and addicting mix of first person shooter and Diablo-style loot farming. Everything they've released about the sequel so far makes it seem as though they've worked on their weaknesses and expanded on their strengths. I don't think I'm jumping the gun by saying that it's going to be an excellent game. Unfortunately, gender politics in gaming has been picking up speed (as well as pageviews) this year and Gearbox has had to deal with a few mini-crises as a result.
First there was the release of Duke Nuke'em Forever, which was a terrible game by anyone's estimation and really missed the mark on everything, including some creepy scenes involving Duke's bimbo hangers-on. Not kitschy, tongue-in-cheek, exploitation stuff either but legitimately mean and unfunny crap better left unused. Gearbox mostly scooted past criticism because the game was mostly done when they bought it from the defunct company who had previously been developing it. It was a Gearbox game in name only.
Then, a couple of months ago, Gearbox decided that they weren't going to add female Marines into the Aliens: Colonial Marines multiplayer that's due out next year. The assets were there in the single player but for as-yet-undefined reasons, they won't be included in the multiplayer. Women are fundamental to the Alien mythology, both thematically and in characters like Ripley and Vasquez, so their absence was curious. You can get skins of Aliens characters like Hudson and Apone as a pre-order bonus from GameStop, but no Ellen Ripley? A dedicated fan started a petition to have women added that went well beyond expectations (and garnered articles about it on most of the major gaming news sites) but Gearbox is still silent about the issue.
Most recently, in an interview by Eurogamer, lead designer John Hemingway referred to a skill tree for the Borderlands 2 DLC character class, The Mechromancer, as "girlfriend mode" for it's ability to essentially dumb down gameplay for beginners. Because... haha... girls are pretty bad at games. Am I right, guys? Right? Up top! Yeah! Crack a brewski!
The rest is here: http://electricdragon80k.blogspot.com/
Borderlands 2's "Girlfriend Mode" and Feckless Journalists
Blog entry posted by The Defenestrator, Aug 23, 2012.
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