Newsweek's N'Gai Croal: RE5 Trailer Imagery Is Racist

April 12, 2008 -
Earlier this week GamePolitics covered the opening installments of MTV Multiplayer's multipart feature on Black Professionals in Games.

And while Newsweek's popular video game writer N'Gai Croal was the focus of the series' opening article, MTV Multiplayer decided to devote a second installment to his perspective on whether or not there is racist imagery in the controversial trailer for Capcom's upcoming Resident Evil 5.

GamePolitics readers will likely recall last year's flap over the trailer which shows RE5's white protagonist mowing down scores of zombies, all black. The game is set in Haiti.

Croal was very clear in his view that the RE5 trailer contains racist imagery:
I was like, “Wow, clearly no one black worked on this game.” ...The point isn’t that you can’t have black zombies. There was a lot of imagery in that trailer that dovetailed with classic racist imagery. What was not funny, but sort of interesting [about the controversy], was that there were so many gamers who could not at all see it. Like literally couldn’t see it...

It’s not as simple as saying, “Oh, they shot Spanish zombies in ‘Resident Evil 4,’ and now ‘black zombies and that’s why people are getting upset.” The imagery is not the same. It doesn’t carry the same history, it doesn’t carry the same weight...

It’s very difficult in this country... to have a conversation about race. Everyone brings to it their own history, their own perspective... The music that they’re using in the trailer is very reminiscent of the music used in Black Hawk Down which was set in Africa — Somalia. That actually was one of the things that was most disturbing because it sort of had a feeling as like, “Wow, what research did this team do? Did they only watch Black Hawk Down and give it this kind of vibe?”



Victor Godinez, who covers video games for the Dallas Morning News offers his reaction to Croal's comments.
I am more than a little sympathetic to [some specific] objections [to Croal's view]. On the other hand, anyone who watches that [RE5] preview and doesn't feel at least a little uncomfortable probably isn't paying attention.

As Mr. Croal acknowledges, all we've seen of this game so far is the preview... And it could well be that Americans are so unconsciously drilled on what is and is not acceptable in discussions of race that discomfort over the trailer is simply subconscious political correctness kicking in.

In the Arizona Daily Star, Phil Villarreal writes:
Newsweek’s N’Gai Croal – by far the deepest thinker and best writer in the field of video game journalism – sure seems to think [that RE5 is racist]. Judging from the trailer, he points out callous racial insensitivity that has apparently gone into, if not the game itself, at least its previews.

I think Croal has some valid points, but I’d say he’s being a little hypersensitive here. This is an industry that evolves around Mario, one of the most blatant ethnic caricatures imaginable. For whatever confluence of reasons, political correctness hasn’t been able to penetrate the video game realm as much as it has other media, and whatever racism you find is largely due to innocent ignorance rather than any calculated agenda.

UPDATE: An e-mail from a reader pointed out that while N'Gai Croal was speaking of racism in the RE5 trailer, this article might be read as Croal's condemnation of racism in the finished game itself. That would be difficult, since RE5 isn't scheduled for release until May of of 2009, according to GameStop.

Thus, I've edited this article to make it clear that N'Gai's comments were about the trailer specifically. Personally, I believe that the trailer represents the game, or, more specifically, a segment of the game that the publisher, Capcom, felt good enough about to release at E3 2007 as the official representation of RE5.

Moreover, if the trailer imagery contains elements of racism, it would have to be chopped from the final game entirely to avoid placing those elements into RE5. This could happen if Capcom is thinking about potential negative reactions to the game in the U.S. market. N'Gai comments on this aspect:
I don’t know how Capcom feels about it. I think releasing that game is going to be very difficult. I think there are people and organizations who aren’t very understanding of games that if that imagery is brought to them they’re going to be like, “Wait, hold up. I don’t know how you could put that out.” Then you have to say, “Does Wal-Mart want to deal with that? Does Target want to deal with that?”

I’m not saying that censorship is the answer. I’m saying that the same rights that allow Capcom to put the game out are the same rights that allow people to bring pressure on people who might release that game. This is why it is important to whoever works in the American office of a company like Capcom to be able to show this is the history, this is where this comes from, this is where we need to be more sensitive. I’m not sure they’ve done that yet.

Comments

Re: Newsweek's N'Gai Croal: RE5 Trailer Imagery Is Racist

Im Racist!!  Im racist towards Zombies!!  Hell ya I Hate em, kill em all!   They disgust me,they have no right to breathe the same air. If it were up to me I would gather them all onto an island and nuke it. They are the nastiest,ugliest,most repulsive things Ive ever seen. However on a serious not in response to those offended. This is just how pathetic our country is becoming its a VIDEO GAME, you supersensative, whiney-ass ,self-righteous retards. Its set in Africa I guess they shouldve made everyone Asian then huh ( cause that wouldve been more believable). Its a setting and from what Ive seen  (Honestly)  it does depict some of the imagery I have seen in Africa. The living conditions, the hostile attitudes and behaviors, and yes even the way they look. Ill say this I am NOT a racist to hate someone simply because of the color of their skin is probably a good sign of serious mental issues. This is trully sad though so many of the replies think that this is racist.COME ON!  it was created by CAPCOM a game company that is one of the best around (and most profitable). Why in the hell would they purposely try to offend somone of any race. You want to know whats racist and no one says a fukkin word....BET   that is racist.  If there was a channel called WET  it would be a controversial nightmare. Sparking riots and protests all over the nation. I do beleive this ........we are each entitled to our own opinions and beliefs. If something bothers us of course we have the right to defend our feelings and state why we believe whatever issue is wrong. BUT* all it takes is for an intelligent, open minded,and (logical) person to open their eyes and see how trully FUCKED UP this country is. I have many friends all of different ethnic & religious backgrounds and never once did I make a concious decision to be there friend based upon what they looked like. There is simply not enough compassion or kindness in the world today. We wonder why  people get so easily offended....it is because  there are issues that have and never will be resolved. Such as Racism. We will always try to seperate ourselves and be different than those we dont understand. Fear creates paranoia. Paranoia creates a sort of defense mechanism that runs on ignorance. This ignorance is spread by us to those that we understand,trust (feel comfrotable around). Wouldnt it be much easier if we were all the same color. But then Im sure we would still find something to bitch about. Ill say this after watching the trailer again and again I still do not understand how its racist. But then again Im not one of the people that are offended. Im sure if those that are offended would have the oppurtunity to sit down and talk with the development team at Capcom Im sure that they would come to see that the game in no way is racist or was created with racist propaganda in mind. Unfortunately their own sensative views and opinions have left a door open to fear and ignorance which has created a false view of what really is. ZOMBIES ! ZOMBIES! ZOMBIES! So please get off your soap box and try to be reasonable its a video game set in Africa (obviously  poverty stricken and possibly an area that has been devastated by war or some sort of destructive conflict) that of which as the viewer we DO NOT know. If you have played the last game then you would understand that its a virus that turns people into these "zombies". Ill end this saying the trailor was just that a small peek at a video game. When someone creates a scheme of racism about  something so miniscule it really makes you wonder about their  mental stability. To those who are offended by the trailor ....I in no way hate or have any ill will towards you. Like I said you have the right to feel any way you chose and express why it offended you. Though if any of you truly want to understand the imagery which has offended you, simply communicate with those that created it with an open mind. ( I apologize if there are any spelling,punctuation, or structural errors within my comment.)

Re: Newsweek's N'Gai Croal: RE5 Trailer Imagery Is Racist

The reason why it's so difficult to have a discussion about race is because of people like him...

For issues that polarize readership like this, I kind of wish there was a different way to discuss an issue on blogs. It seems almost that the linear nature of blog comments allows for a lot of well thought out comments to get lost in the 200+ comments that this sort of issue generates.

I kind of want a moderated, or community declared comment format. One where someone establishes a stance, which then populates a list that future commenters will see. Commenters would then enter their comment, and choose what categories their comment most closely resembles.

So if its say a discussion about Obama, Clinton and McCain, McCain commenters check the McCain box when commenting, Obama commenters check the Obama Box, then people commenting on, for example, Democrats in general, may check either the created Democrat category, or, check both Obaa and Clinton.

It just seems that when you have a dialogue this heated, coupled with people that are just giving two cents without taking in a stance of understanding, you get a lot of nonsense. I'm not sure if anyone benefits from a greater understanding of the issue, which I think we should all strive for.

I have to admit, I partially agree with Zippy, I have wondered if there is a level of pandering to history to be seen as a victim to forward an agenda.

@Dick Ward

The Japanese often made stereotypical (and often negative when they do) depiction of Americans and yet, barely any American complained. These peoples needs to be more supple on their judgement.

I'd laugh really hard if there actually was a black person that worked on the game.

Its not racist imagery. It is a setting, it is exactly the same as the RE4 and the zombies being Spanish. How is it not? Is he implying that Spanish people are somehow not as important? Is that implication not racist in itself? Lets ignore that for now as there are more important things reflected in Croal's interview.

Croal just wants attention and he'll get it. This isn't a joke but he surely is. The game has yet to even be released and he is upset at the trailer. It is completely about the skin color of the zombies. He is trying to say it isn't but his comments clearly reflect that opinion.

He is basing his opinion on a trailer. How many times does one base their entire opinion of a game on a trailer only to end up with their foot in their mouth? I see this happening here.

__"I think, again, the point is not that Capcom can’t or shouldn’t make a zombie game set in what appears to be an impoverished country where the majority of residents are black. I’m not saying that. But what I am saying is that if I was Capcom, I wouldn’t have suggested to put out that trailer. I would have said, “You know what, this has tremendous capacity for being misunderstood, and we want to signal that this is not what you might think it is” — and they didn’t do that. That’s what I’m saying."__

Capcom can make the game but they just shouldn't advertise it? Double talk, trying to spin things, this reflects dishonesty. He absolutely was saying that and he is just attempting to cover it up so his opinion seems more reasonable. You see politicians do this every day, lets pay attention to the language Croal decides to use.

__"Again the portrayal of Africa, or the Caribbean, since we don’t know where it’s being set, as sort of this dark, dangerous continent filled with people who only want to do you harm goes back a long, long way. And based on the images put up on the trailer, what else are you supposed to take from it? Especially if you’re not familiar with the franchise?
“It’s very difficult in this country, in many countries, to have a conversation about race.”

Even if you are familiar with the franchise, if you are familiar with those images and their historical weight, you look at it and say, “Man, that’s kind of messed up.” "__

Just support for my comment above, he is saying one thing then also saying he isn't saying it. This tactic belongs in the political realm but is commonly taken and used in aspects of the media such as this. N'Gai Croal is not only jumping the gun but he is using this dishonest tactic in a foolish attempt to remain the "innocent" party. You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all of the time.

Lets take a closer look at this extended trailer and take a close look at the imagery, I will include time stamps to let you know what to look at and you can decide for yourself if you agree with me or not. I do have training in the arts but I always stress that experience in the arts means jack except when it comes to technique. Anyone can be critical of art if they just simply care enough to pay attention.

__"It’s like they’re all dangerous; they all need to be killed. It’s not even like one cute African — or Haitian or Caribbean — child could be saved. They’re all dangerous men, women and children."__

So this quote seems to be his main point of the entire article, it definitely set the mood early on so lets keep it in mind when we are watching this trailer.

0:00 - 0:46 into the trailer.

This seems like every day life for many people. I don't have the desire to kill anyone of these people yet. Maybe Croal does but I certainly have yet to have a desire to kill anyone walking down a street carrying a container on or people talking. I will grant that there is one character that seems to be up to no good. He shows up at 0:34. He doesn't look like he is happy and he doesn't seem to like you but so far thats the only threatening or dangerous imagery that the video has thus far.

0:47 - 0:55
Angry mob. These people do seem dangerous but they are focusing their anger onto someone. This implies they have a reason to be angry. Perhaps some political uprising? At this point it is unclear but clearly these people are angry and throwing stones.

0:55 - 1:31
No one dangerous here. Clearly the main character seems to be out of place because of his skin color but also because of his attire which seems to be made out of more of a quality material and seems to be cleaner. This was done, in my opinion, to show the audience that he is an outsider in this area. It works. I must stress that none of the people around this character presents themselves as dangerous or the need to be killed. Notice this is the halfway point and none of the citizens in the area depicted seemed like they should be killed or attacked.

1:32 - 1:38
Innocent person gets infected with some kind of zombie virus. Again lets look up at Croal's statement that it seems like they all need to be killed and notice that this is the first time it happens. There are 4 individuals present in this room. One is the main character which is an outsider to this place. Two are the first truly dangerous individuals in the trailer that are inflicting harm on an innocent person. The innocent person here seems to be in a lot of pain and is obviously an unwilling participant in the event.

1:39 - 1:50
The innocent person turns from being a normal human into being a zombie. This is a sudden change from being a formerly peaceful victim of some kind of attack to being a violent person(zombie) that needs to be killed. Yet the main character does not immediately gun down the zombie so this reflects the earlier desire to help the individual that was being attacked by the two other people. Also take note that from 0:00 through 1:48 the music and sound have been gradually building suspense for the viewer. And it isn't until the 1:49, when the zombified individual becomes violent, that the music changes from suspenseful to fast-paced action.

1:51 - 2:01
The fast action music starts and everyone in town is a zombie. The character is defending himself from the now violent zombies and always walking backward. The viewer has now seen a village where it seems like normal every day life(with the exception of the angry mob scene) go to a village out to kill this one individual. Clearly something has happened.

2:02
Aviators guy with a loud speaker. This makes things make more sense as loud speakers are commonly used during political protests. So clearly there is some kind of political situation going on and this explains the angry mob and also labels this person as being more important and probably more responsible for the zombies acting the way they do.

2:03 -2:31
Jittery, fast paced action-packed scenery of violence and struggle. The main character is gunning down zombies but also getting attacked by them. This is normal because if you're surrounded by zombies and have a weapon you are going to be slaughtering them or getting slaughtered by them. Its the core of the game really so this isn't surprising. I do think that this is the only portion of the game N'Gai Croal seemed to pay any attention to.

2:32 - 3:08
This is the end of the trailer. There really isn't any more interaction with the village beside that really quick clip at 2:34 which seems to be a death scene. This portion is meant to identify the game and the company and to also make the viewer want more(to buy the game).

3:08-3:12
I don't know what this is, it doesn't seem to belong at all in the video... I don't think it has anything to do with the actual trailer.

This trailer was powerful and well directed. The entire first half depicts many of the villagers as being normal people. Perhaps angry at some kind of political issue going on at the time, it is a bit unclear what that is but the point is something happens to them and they turn into zombies. It is clearly a Resident Evil story development plot and even if you are not familiar with the Resident Evil series you probably know what zombies are.

If you don't know what zombies are and you only watch 1:51 - 3:08 then obviously you are going to probably agree with N'Gai Croal. However if you know what zombies are and you see even 1:32-3:08 I would definitely find it hard to accept that you don't think something is wrong with those people. And if you have actually watched and payed attention to the entire thing it doesn't matter if you know what zombies are or not you see people go from normal life, to angry, to bloodied sickly looking brainwashed killers.

I'm sorry but I have a hard time believing that Mr. Croal even payed attention to the trailer. I'm not convinced in the slightest. Again I see this as him trying to get some attention from a hot topic that is easily twisted in his favor. Not impressive by any standard. It isn't even that good of an attempt to spin the issue. [FAIL]

“What was not funny, but sort of interesting [about the controversy], was that there were so many gamers who could not at all see it. Like literally couldn’t see it…”

"Perhaps the reason that gamers can’t see the racism is because we don’t see black people in something and try to figure out how its racist. Our ability to see past the color of a zombie’s skin and see them for what they are shows that we are growing as a people and people like this that make this an issue are only deterring humanity’s evolution."

ZippyDSMlee

your looking way to much into what I said, I just thought at the time that the game took place in Haiti, as most articles that I have read said that.
I withdrew my statement with another one a little while after the first, because I checked the link in Robert Lings Post.

Bryan
ya but its not Hatti its Africa..and it still has tribes last I checked.
You see the context is a village made of thatch and sticks and maybe some larger timber based housing, besides some "traditional" garments that might be out of place the context of the location is about right.

Adam
Its not Hatti tho....

JimK
Do not fed the ego to much now :P
I do have issue with writing it can waffe from coherent to WTFness easily :P

I'd wager this wouldn't have even been an issue if they used a different soundtrack, the music gives an overall sense of menace and it sets the overall mood. I get the impression N'gai is reacting to the way they are portrayed not the fact they were portrayed.

To quote Ben Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation.

"Capcom have rather shot themselves in the foot by making the zombies Black, which immediatly started the bleeting and honking from the politicaly correct crowd. To be fair RE4 wasn't any less racist really with all the Spainard murdering but impovrished south africans are a somewhat different kettle of fish from greasy mainland europeans. Of course this game is made by the Japanese and we all know what a bunch of Xenophobic dicks They are. Really I don't think we have to start seriously worring until we see the zombies break out the fried chicken."

Not exactly what he said but I think thats pretty close.

The fact is, this is all just bitching to Bitch in reality, much like most of the things Al sharpton, jesse jackson, and other so called "Civil rights" leaders of the modern day say and do. Unlike Rev. King, they aren't about unity but division and political agendas, least thats my opinion of it.

As the old saying goes. "Cant we all just Get along?"

PH
Africa actually, Ngai said Hatti in his article as discussion fodder.

Can I also point out I don't believe that he has seen the whole game. There may be multiple racial zombies in the game. It may depict Africa correctly. Or do we assume that the trailer is an accurate sample f the entire game? I mean, they haven't even announced a release date.

Keep in mind that there were complaints that Dead Rising was extremely racist towards Americans. Pretty much talking about how much hamburger Americans eat.

So, even if it's racist, at least it would be equal opportunity racist. I mean, if they left Africa out, then wouldn't they be biased in their racism?

@Rammsoldat

Fellow UK'er here too, Scotland in fact. I can see where N'gai is coming from and I think a lot of people are trivialising what he is saying, some just seem to be jumping on the bandwagon without even reading what he has to say.

Its open to interperation, for example:

Star Wars, notice how the Empire are all English, isn't it obvious George Lucas was dregdging up the UK's history to paint us as immoral Imperalist slavers. If they weren't sinister they were submissive. Meanwhile their personal army, Stormtroopers, were faceless drones sent into peril at the command of the Imperialist masters who sat in safety.

The rebellion however consists of young commited American freedom fighters. Echoing the war for independance.

Jabba the Hutt represents America at its worse, corrupt and corpulant but this is easily resolved by a few dedicated members of the rebellion, showing once again that the American spirit cannot be quashed.

The above is, of course, total bullshit. Is it racist because you didn't see Star Wars in the way I just described? No. Is it racist because you aren't aware of the regional and historical sensitivities of a foreign nation or culture. No.

Uh, maybe I'm missing the point here, but there were black zombies in Romero's movies. That's the whole point of a zombie swarms. Is it isn't exactly racist when it can affect, are you listen to this critics, EVERYONE! it doesn't give a damn if your white or black or Christan or Jewish or Buddhist.. . You will either become one of the flesh eating undead or become a meal for the flesh eating undead.

Wild Zero took place in Japan and Undead was in Australia which has Japanese and Australian zombies respectively. Do you want to call them racist?

"Also, ohma, any “point” you could have possibly made just now is completely overshadowed by the ignorant statement that gamers are mostly “of the sheltered, privileged, upper-middle-class, white, male, persuasion” "

Like I give a shit what you morons think of me any more.

Sorry, but I don't see the racism here.

I think this is a case of seeing racism where there isn't any.

Maybe he's talking about the black zombies chucking knives and spears?
Still, it's stupid.

hmm, for some reason my comment got deleted...ho hum.

anyway, there is nothing racist about this game. basically, this n'gai hack just wants his 15 minutes of fame

@LujanD
You had me in stitches dude, really.

@Joyatho

RE:"Racism is bad, really bad. But racism only really hurts when it is against a minority/a weaker group. Since caucasians are generally the wealthiest people around the world, it could just be seen as being ignorant of the real problem if you’re actively acting against it."

You just showed your own racism, not against whites, but against everyone else by claiming whites are generally the wealthiest people around the world. You should have just stopped at "Racism is bad."

@ KayleL
"When ever I and many other people think of Africa, we think of the victims, not the criminals. They think of the kids with missing legs, mothers who die from birth, kids who are left alone because the parents die from malnutrition, children who are forced into war due to corrupted governments."

I'm not sure thinking of Africans as victims is any better than thinking of them as corrupt officials. You still only seem to see part of the picture, but think that you have the better half. I think we all have kneejerk images that come up in response to certain things, but perhaps it would be better to spend time thinking about the Africans who are neither.
Those in Accra, Cairo, Marrakech and Cape Town, for example, who live a life much like our own, granted without some of the luxuries, but not necessarily in poverty.

I'm reminded of the South Park episode about their flag, which featured two people hanging a third guy. Chef got mad at the children defending the flag, because he thought they were being racist. Instead, they were working the violence angle, because the connection between the black man being hanged by two white guys didn't occur to the kids. They didn't see two white guys lynching a black guy, they saw two people lynching a third person.

Were the kids racist through their ignorance? Or able to treat both "races" equally, by not even acknowledging the "race" of the men portrayed, much as you'd look at someone as crazy for suggesting there's a significant difference between someone who has brown hair, and someone who is blond...

The episode ended with the flag being altered to add two more lynchers, a yellow man and a black man.
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

@ LujanD

"Now I’m intrigued, exactly what luxuries do you believe ‘they’ are missing?"

With the exception of Cape Town, really banging electro. There;s just no decent rave music in North and North West Africa.

"at one point several hundred years ago “african-americans” were slaves. "

1863 when the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect was several hundred years ago?

Dude ted. You said.
It is set in Africa!!! So there are gonna be African Americans!!!??????
WTF????

Africans are Africans, not African Americans.
I think the depiction of the people was racist. I dont think they're not gonna be dropping N bombs or nothing like that but this game is certainly looking to be in the grey area.

"I was like, “Wow, clearly no one black worked on this game.""

Clearly no one black worked on this game, since Capcom is a JAPANESE company.

There are no black people in Japan? That's like saying, of course there aren't any asian people working on Mass Effect, Bioware is a CANADIAN company.

Incidentally, Capcom is an international company, with headquarters in Japan and California.

I don't like that controversy or that point of view (I didn't found it racist at all for many reasons), but I must admit some gamers reactions only made the controversy worse.

Funny thing about racism, 5 times out of ten you wont see it unless you are racist......

Haven't we heard from Black Thompson about this before?

Yeah, the North American Capcom office pretty does nothing but translate and contact a studio about voice acting. The only racial issue the Japanese ever run into, near as I can tell, is when depicting other eastern asian ethnicities such as the Chinese but in particular the Koreans.

On another note, my cousin's been to Haiti and the pictures he took compared to the scenes in the game (minus the whole military and zombie stuff of course) do kind of look dead-on for the background. I would get off Capcom's back.

I've not played the game, so I'm not able to judge, and I find it funny how many people are willing to defend RE. I'm not saying it's a rascist game, I'm just curious how everyone else knows it isn't?

@ Dick Ward

Think about this for a second.

You are being pursued by caucasian zombies hungry for your flesh, what do you do?
Shoot them, of course.

You are being pursued by Black zombies hungry for your flesh, what do you do?
Shoot them of course.

@Dick Ward

Are you familiar with Canada? There are fairly good odds of non-caucasians working a game at Bioware since the average Canadian city is composed of around 42% of visible minorities.

@Dick Ward

Sadly, some peoples (like someone we know too well) only sees what they want to see.

This is why I only trust balanced speech that presents both sides correctly. This speech looks like that person only saw the trailer and didn't bother looking for much more.

@ PeterWDawson

That was my point Peter.

@ CenturionRyan

I haven't played the game. N'Gai doesn't appear to be calling out the black zombie shooting as the problem though. He appears to be calling out the setting, the music, and the behavior of the black non zombies.

Resident Evil 2 had a black zombie you had to kill. Why are they getting up in arms just now?

The similarities to Black Hawk Down are striking, but does that mean that BWD is a "racist" movie, and therefore RE5 is a "racist" game? Be precise with your critiques.

How about if the protagonist were black? Would you feel better then? What if the trailer were exactly the same, but the village was set in 'Nam, or Burma, and all the zombies were Asians?

Since when does a video game have to be historically or geo-politically accurate? Honestly! It looks like to me that Capcom is trying to use the same formula again that made RE 4 so successful.

Your perception is skewed sir.

I'd be interested to know exactly which parts of the preview looked racist to be honest. I can understand how the representation of Africa being peopled by a Volatile people who all live in derelict townships could be considered a poorly-considered image to portray, but I'd say that is more stereotyping than racism, and has been carried over from other Media.

I can understand a race that endured slavery and abuse in the Western World being somewhat uncomfortable at the concept of playing one white man wandering around in an all-black environment shooting them, take away the context and yes, it would be racist, so I think what N'Gai is saying is that he will save his final judgement until he knows how the story is presented.

It possibly also raises uncomfortable overtones because of the problems Africa has recently had with the AIDS epedemic.

Whilst Capcom is a Japanese company at heart, the game unknowingly touches on some very delicate imagery here in the West, and I think that I, like N'Gai, will be interested to see how Capcom present that imagery through the story, there's 3 different cultures 'interacting' here (Japanese writing a game about Westerners and Africans) and a lot of possibility for misunderstandings.

We see dozens on WWII shooters by American developers every year since Call of Duty. All we see is Germany stereotypes. It's like they used only American propaganda. Every Germany is a Nazi. Oh wait, that isn't racism?

But when a game from a 'Japanese' company come out with a game that sets in a African like setting, it's racism?

I don't like the argument of 'white boys thinks that Africans are violent people'. When ever I and many other people think of Africa, we think of the victims, not the criminals. They think of the kids with missing legs, mothers who die from birth, kids who are left alone because the parents die from malnutrition, children who are forced into war due to corrupted governments.

I also don't like the idiots who viciously attack African Americans, and call them bitch, niggers, and other things just because of this controversy. I am also against the use of the word nigger in online game as if it's not even as bad as bitch.

Studies shows that video games may change our stereotypical view of a group, but majority of people doesn't go around, stereotyping everyone, and making up their mind about someone just by their race.

"What was not funny, but sort of interesting [about the controversy], was that there were so many gamers who could not at all see it. Like literally couldn’t see it…"

Perhaps the reason that gamers can't see the racism is because we don't see black people in something and try to figure out how its racist. Our ability to see past the color of a zombie's skin and see them for what they are shows that we are growing as a people and people like this that make this an issue are only deterring humanity's evolution.

There's been ALOT of discussion of this at Destructoid.com and Kotaku.com.

Particularly at Destructoid, there are a handful of community bloggers that wrote very good article about the perception of the imagery and some general response to one of the Chief Contributor's article decrying a similar incredulous/defensive response to the perception of racially charged imagery that has been displayed here so far.

I've blogged about this for two days, and I'm pretty spent about it :) But i will say that
-This is alot like Mister Sparkle (The Simpsons)
- No one's calling for a boycott of the game, an even so, its unlikely that this will stop the game from being released at large
- Its important, in discussions of debateable racially charged imagery that a distinction is made from something being racist/displaying racism and something that invokes stark racial imagery
- I advise anyone with a preformed, alarmed reaction to this general topic, to please, read and understand the actual article
- And also, please note, this is not someone starting down a warpath agenda *against* RE5. N'Gai was responding to being asked about the RE5 controversy. The context being the MTVblog's series on black professionals in the game industry.

@sbryce

During conversations, I've learn to forget the color of the skin of the person I spoke too.

But there are some who clearly can't do that.

@ KayleL

Yes, saying all Germans are Nazis is rascist. WWII shooters don't show that though, they show that every member of the German army was a member of the German army.

I truelly think N'Gai should delve deeper in the game, before even making a conclusion.

Take for instance GTA San Andreas. You, as a black male regularly shoot white cops. In fact, except for the motorcycle cops, every cop ingame is white. Now, if you have the game, you know that the "Bad guy" is also black.
The Resident Evil series have been full of caucasians antagonists and protagonists. Suddenly, the local is changed in RE5, which happens to be Africa. You know, where the VAST MAJORITY of all black people live.
That is not racist. It would be racist if its INTENT is to kill black people as a measure of white supremacy, but that has never been the case.

@ Tubatic

Agreed. Anyone that responds by saying “Oh, they shot Spanish zombies in ‘Resident Evil 4,’ and now ‘black zombies and that’s why people are getting upset.” obviously read the title of the thread and responded. Please read the full article before responding, not the short clip.

@ DoggySpew

He's not complaining that the zombies are black.

@Uh...
Yeah black hawk down actually was a mildly racist movie, and intent aside this trailer does carry imagery that someone with less context about what it was may find racist. There was NO character developement whatsoever in black hawk down about any somalian, they were presented as hordes of drug-crazed africans that were to be mowed down with a gatling gun, they were essentially presented as zombies in that movie, so yeah it might be based on historical fact but it was presented in such a way to be slightly racist.

this whole controversie is bull!
really, this guy just wants attantion, that´s why.
nobody thought whether or not this trailer could offend someone, because it wasn´t meant to!

and by the way: what sense would it make to have a black gordon freeman? it doesn´t even matter which color he has,
because you never see him in the game...
 
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