So, the chaps at Cynical Brit brought up some of the concerns around the depiction of a female torture victim in The Witcher 2 directly to CD Projekt Red, which led to a surprising revelation. Based on various comments about said torture victim arguably being presented somewhat… lustily, the developers are having a bit of a rethink about that scene.
They don’t want people to be thinking sexy thoughts when presented with a tortured woman, basically – so they’re going to alter how the character in question is presented.
Good on them. Seriously. While there’s been a lot of disagreement as to the appropriateness of the scene, that the devs have acknowledged that at least some people are concerned is testament to how impressive and mature a game they seek to create. And, presumably, that they’re aware that criticism of the use of titillating imagery in situations of suffering does not equate to a universal prudishness on the part of the concerned observer.
The comments are about 14 minutes in to the interview (original here), which also involves interviewer Total Biscuit reading aloud my scathing comments on the scene’s original, heavily-boobed presentation in a way that makes me want to curl up and die from embarrassment. Ow.
Update: here’s the telling quote, as I now realise a number of the more vocal commenters perhaps haven’t listened to the interview. These are words directly from the mouth of the Witcher 2’s senior producer Tom Gop. They are interesting and telling words.
“We wanted to show in a mature way that this woman is being tortured. But it’s true that the way you show it, some of the players will think ‘okay so there’s a naked woman, maybe there will be a sex scene.’
Guys, this was not our intention. We’re gonna have to think about it, redo some graphics or redirect the scene. It’s not about that, let’s make it so players don’t want to have sex with her, they really feel for her.”
So that’s what they say.
I’m comfortable with admitting that basing my comments on my gut reaction to notes to seeing the demo played live on a big screen at GamesCom do seem overstated compared to poring over the shakycam small-screen Youtube clips. If those had been my first exposure (hah!) to the scene, I suspect my eyebrow wouldn’t have raised anywhere near as much.
Again though – excellent to know that CDP want to be sensitive as well as sexy.