Little Devil Inside Devs Apologise For Racist Enemy Design And Will Change Them

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Little Devil Inside Devs Apologise For Racist Enemy Design And Will Change Them
Screenshot: Neostream/Sony, Twitter

The developers behind one of the games shown off at the PS5 event on June 11 have issued an apology after folks on social media spotted some enemies which seemed to be racist caricatures of black or indigenous tribal people. They also plan on changing the design of the enemies.

Little Devil Inside was one of the cooler looking games seen during the PS5 event this week, but over the last few days, folks have noticed some enemy designs that contained racist stereotypes including big, red lips, dreads, and white loincloths. One of the first people to spot this and share it on Twitter was Twitch streamer Lord Balvin. “I was so excited for Little Devil Inside. Then I noticed these enemy types,” Balvin said in his tweet criticising the design.

Others also found the designs to be stereotypical depictions of tribal people, like Twitch streamer Pika Chulita. In a series of tweets, she explained how the design was a racist caricature. “There’s a way of depicting indigenous tribes or tribal people without portraying a caricature. The lips, the dreads-those are stereotypes.” PikaChulita explained.

In response to these criticisms the developer behind the game, Neostream, posted an apology earlier this morning on the game’s official Facebook page.

“Racist stereotypes of any kind were absolutely not intended, we were not aware of the stereotypical connotations and wish to apologise to anyone who may have been offended by the character design.”

The developer said it was never their intention to create “character designs referenc[ing] any real African and/or Afro-American human tribes.” The studio does claim they have plans for fixing their mistake. The developer will remove the dreadlocks, change the look of the lips, alter the skin tone, and tweak the dart blowers to make them look “less like a joint”. And if this isn’t enough the devs may “change the design entirely”.

They should probably just do that.

Comments

  • Right now it wouldn’t matter how ‘correctly’ they depicted an indigenous tribe, they’d get slammed regardless.

    Anyone claiming otherwise is being willfully dishonest.

    • It’s possible. It sounds like you’re already on the “Political correctness gone mad” bandwagon so I don’t know what would change your mind. I googled for one minute and found a list of 30-odd games that I assume haven’t caused controversy. Not that they are being released right now, but I don’t have a time machine to test your theory.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_people_in_video_games#Games_where_Indigenous_people_represent_themselves

    • at this point game developers should just do what the simpsons did when a vocal minority had a whinge about apu being racist. remove all “black” characters from their games. if youre gonna have a bunch of racists with too much time on their hands yell at you anyway, you may as well choose the easier path of not bothing with them in the first place.

      • Then you open the door for the “equal representation” mob to start slamming you for not being inclusive and then calling you racist anyway because you’re discriminating against them. It really is turning into a “damned if you do, doubly damned if you don’t” situation these days.

      • Or, maybe, y’know.. just include BIPOC characters that are well represented (in both narrative and design) and not make the colour of their skin and violent, uncivilised nature their only character trait? Radical thought, I know.

    • I am sure there are ways to do so, with responsibility, respect, and humility. I don’t remember any great complaining about Moana’s portrayal of oceanic tribes, for example.

      That said, if you are creating some natives of a primeval fictional land, why not simply get rid of all the identifiable caricaturisation of real-life indigenous people and create your own? Some properties have done this successfully as well.

  • This is wrong. I’ve literally marched in the streets for equality etc but this is not in any way racist. It’s just some enemies in a video game wearing some silly masks. FFS I don’t think I could even remember how many games I’ve played with enemies or characters like that in them.

  • I understand the issue with the big red lips (though frankly I don’t think the lips in question here actual conjure the aspersions the complainers are referring to, these are big mouths, the lips aren’t big at all)… But white loin cloths are racist? Dreads are racist? Holy shit, next thing you know we won’t be able to have witches in popular culture because of the historical oppression of women and links to real life witch hunts (which were so heavily based on sexism). Sorry Crones from The Witcher 3, you’re not allowed to exist anymore! No matter how good you may be as characters…

    • It’s the sum of the parts and context in which they are used. From what I’ve seen, I don’t imagine that these characters are going to be well-written, nuanced representations of indigenous tribes. They may as well be saying “ooga booga”.

      The Crones are rich, complex characters steeped in lore and have agency beyond being a mob enemy.

      • I agree with you generally regarding the sum of the parts argument, but you’re raising a different issue to me by referencing elements other than their presentation. The game’s not been criticised on the basis of the characters’ writing and the developers aren’t removing this ‘tribe’ from the game because they don’t have a good backstory.

        The writing is irrelevant in any event; a racist or sexist character design remains exactly that regardless of how well written it may be in the story. The logical conclusion of the line of thinking of those complaining is removal of many character types we well know. Hence the reference to the Crones, removal of which would be absurd.

        • Fair. If you’re saying that there’s a point where, regardless of the writing/backstory etc, a design can be irredeemably racist/sexist, then yeah I would agree.

          I was more referencing the cascading inclusion of different design choices that can arrive at a questionable end result, as you were questioning why white loin cloths could be a racist design. I would argue that they are not, when in isolation. Same for dreadlocks. Same for skin colour. Same for blowdarts. But to have a black character, with dreadlocks, bright red lips, wearing only a loincloth, and waving a blowdart while speaking gibberish.. then yeah, that cascade is a racist sum of its parts, parts which may be benign if taken individually.

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