CD Projekt On Game Of Thrones, Sex’s Place In Gaming

By Nathan Grayson on June 21st, 2012 at 2:00 pm.


Yesterday, I mind-melded with CD Projekt CEO and owner of the most victorious last name ever, Marcin Iwinski, on all things Cyberpunk. Also, DRM. However, with those topics covered and safely underneath fluffy wordblankets of information, the conversation weaved its way toward the next natural stop. I’m speaking, of course, of Westeros. Read on for Iwinski’s thoughts concerning parallels between The Witcher and Game of Thrones, the male-driven nature of geek culture, and where E3’s utterly archaic reliance on booth babes and titillation fits into that.  

RPS: Finally, the moment everyone’s been waiting for: let’s talk about Game of Thrones. You’re a big fan, and there are some obvious parallels between the way Witcher and Game of Thrones operate. Aside from the obvious ones – dark fantasy settings, a love of killing kings, etc – there’s the dreaded art of sexposition.

Iwinski: But it makes sense. Both in the show and in our game.

RPS: Some pundits say Game of Thrones uses it as a crutch, though. People talk a bunch, so they use it to keep eyes on the screen. 

Iwinski: I totally disagree with that, but I have a story [laughs]. We were showing Witcher 1 for the first time… and I think it goes back to a different cultural perception of sex. In the US, it’s pretty much a no-go zone. It explains, for example, why you have a very thriving porn industry – which is a bit of a contradiction [laughs]. But, you know, business is business, one could say.

Back home [in Poland], though, it’s just a normal part of life. So with the famous – or infamous, you could say – sex cards, European journalists were like “Oh, cool.” And then we showed Witcher 1 to people in the US, and they were like [gasps in an impressively high pitch]. A lot of the key magazines treated the whole thing as a big feature, and they were writing how our programmer was excited about the sex cards in the game.

So there are different views on these things. But, for me, I read George R. R. Martin’s books after one of the journalists left our presentation of Witcher 1 and told me “Wow, it’s a bit like Game of Thrones!” So I went out and bought the books and read them straight [through]. And in the books, I think there’s even more sex and nudity than there is in the TV series. Is it problematic in the books? For me, it’s not. It just makes sense. It’s power, politics, and sex. It is how we are – how we humans behave. It’s all about power, money, and sex. Come on, look at [E3]. Look at the booth babes.

So [Game of Thrones’ TV producers] can be accused of abusing that, but I think there’s a part of George R. R. Martin’s creation that… removing sex from it would be kind of shitty. It’s just a part of this world. And this world is really hardcore, you know?

That’s pretty much the same in The Witcher. It’s a little dark, but it’s real.

RPS: Right. And, by and large, Game of Thrones presents this unabashedly male-dominated world. I mean, many of the best characters are strong females, but the structure of society is almost comically male-centric. 

Iwinski: And I think it’s exactly the same way in The Witcher. And while there were plenty of stories about the sex cards when we were showing the game, a few talked about the female sorceresses – who have an immense power.

I think, at the end of the day, it’s all about making a great story. We’re not using things like sex for cheap tricks and draw some male audience to that. That’d totally make no sense.

RPS: Definitely. And when those works are taken on their own, they don’t really present a problem. But the culture that surrounds “geek” works and events like E3 is steeped in sexually discriminatory issues. For instance, you mentioned booth babes earlier. And did you see Ubisoft’s press conference? It was very clearly targeted toward some mythical Dew-drinking, female-fearing male demographic that doesn’t exist. Surely you view those sorts of things as problematic, right?

Iwinski: I think it will always happen as long as a part of your audience is male. The cheapest trick is to grab a fancy car and put a booth babe next to it. So yes, it’s there. I don’t think having a presentation where it’s a major part of a game is necessarily a problem. It makes sense, because the game is defending itself. So it’s just a part of the world. Some people will overuse it. Others won’t.

RPS: But isn’t that, on some level, disrespectful to the audience – female or male? I mean, it profoundly alienates women and assumes men won’t care unless there’s sex involved. Like you said, in the cases of Game of Thrones and Witcher, this sort of thing fits the world. But what about when it doesn’t? 

Iwinski: Yes, it could alienate audiences, but you have to look at it from the quality of the product perspective. If it’s overused [in marketing], it probably won’t be a big product anyway. Really, I think the market is eliminating all the weaknesses and all the cheap tricks. But, at the end of the day, males are making certain decisions through hormones. People are paid to take care of the market and know it very well. Am I offended in some of these cases? Sure.

And when people don’t do [these sorts of things] well, it’s obvious and there’s a lot of criticism around it. But you really have to look at it on a product-by-product basis. And then it really depends on somebody’s taste. So with Witcher, we’re not a Dungeons and Dragons where kissing is prohibited. We’re not Barbie world. Game of Thrones is a testament to that. Where sex makes sense, put it there. Because that’s how it was during the Medieval times, and that’s how it is today.

You know, showing Witcher 1 at Gamescom, we had a fake hanging body of an elf at our booth. And we had the German authorities of the show coming to us, like, seven times and saying, “Take it down.” And we said, “Show us the regulation. Why should we take it down?” And they said, “Ehhhh, it’s a dead body.”

But we challenged that. We didn’t take it down, because it made sense in the context of the game. There’s tons of racism [against elves] in the game. It wasn’t just a cheap trick. We were just trying to show the world that it’s not black-and-white and beautiful rose gardens.

RPS: Thank you for your time.

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373 Comments »

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  1. minipixel says:

    btw, thanks for the spoiler pic…

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      The one where Geralt kisses a woman, the one where there’s a dwarf (and a throne) in Game of Thrones, or the one where there’s a woman in Far Cry 3?

      • The Least Fun Human Being On Earth says:

        Didn’t you know? Tyrion becomes king of Westeros in Season 5.

        • Tridae says:

          if only. . I got frustrated at the glacial pace of the series so I looked up the entire series of events. . it’s safe to say nothing exciting happens till the end of the 4th season at least. Season 2 was such a let down.

          • The Least Fun Human Being On Earth says:

            Be thankful it’s not based on the Wheel of Time series.

          • deadly.by.design says:

            Wheel of Time is good, though, even if is long winded.

          • Jenks says:

            Wheel of Time doesn’t start slow, but it certainly gets there.

          • Kdansky says:

            If you think Wheel of Time is good, then I dare you to re-read it. Believe me, it’s really bad. You can pretty much open any book on any page, read ten pages and then summarize them as “nothing of importance happened”. I’ve read most of them.

          • obie191970 says:

            Sanderson has breathed some new life into it though. The last two books have gotten things back on track.

          • radioactivez0r says:

            You didn’t find anything interesting in the Battle of Blackwater Bay?

          • Unaco says:

            Whatever sources you got the “entire series of events” from, lied to you. If you think there’s nothing exciting coming for the end of the 3rd season (1/2 way through Storm of Swords), then there’s something wrong with you.

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            sonofsanta says:

            @Tridae: are you kidding? Everything happens in book/season 3. If anything, book 4 is the one that suffers from padding and slow pacing. The “climactic” events of book 4 would barely have warranted a chapter ending in the first three books.

          • The Least Fun Human Being On Earth says:

            radioactivez0r, you mean the battle of 40 men? That “battle” was a serious disappointment.

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            Carra says:

            The second book is my favourite followed by the third one… The second one is just awesome, I see it as the rise and fall of Tyrion.

            I don’t mind the “slow pace” everyone seems to complain about. I just love the characters, they’re easily some of the best written personalities that I’ve ever read.

          • noodlecake says:

            Well that#s not true at all. Loadss of stuff happens in the, 2nd, 3rd and fifth books. The fourth one was very drawn out though.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        he’s clearly just checking her pulse

    • Bebopahedron says:

      (The marketing for the show has pretty much every character sitting on the throne)

  2. Maldomel says:

    And he’s right, sex is part of those worlds. But dammit, sometimes I swear the mythical audience of neckbeard virgins does exist, considering all the marketing targeted towards it.

    • J-snukk says:

      Well, as a neck-beard virgin, I can safely say that I do not like that sort of marketing as all it does is remind me of what I don’t have. So it’s triply offensive really, offensive to women, offensive to men who are often seen to be supporting that and offensive even to the target audience. Sums up a lot of the big triple A companies sometimes doesn’t it?

    • Grygus says:

      What a ridiculous thing to say. Sex in marketing works on everyone. I suppose it is “virgin neckbeards” who drive sales of fashion magazines and perfume? The mere presence of sex in the marketing of a product tells you almost nothing about its intended audience, and even less about the actual audience.

      • Arglebargle says:

        Yeah, there are a bunch of standard marketing tropes that get re-used all the time.

        Your dick will be bigger if you buy this product. Gals will love you if you use this. This product will make you cool. Your neighbor will envy you if you have this. Your family will worship you if you do this thing. Baby! Dog!

        Used in almost every mainstream focused advertising field, not just our little one….

        • Milky1985 says:

          I think i have some pills I can sell you to help you with your little one

          (Fits quite well… into the conversation i mean, sorry i’ll get my coat)

    • MSJ says:

      If Avengers taught us anything, it’s that male nerds gets boners from nerd stuff, not T&A.

      • Patches the Hyena says:

        Speak for yourself, Scarlett Johansson is not T&A? Please.

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          Matt_W says:

          One of my favorite scenes in the movie was when Black Widow was escorting two of the male characters (Banner & Stark?) to Fury on-board the Helicarrier and she gives them a quick glance backward, knowing exactly what they (and the male, straight portion of the audience) are looking at: a very tiny bit of self-awareness on the part of the movie makers.

          • Kestilla says:

            I thought that scene was out of place. It was weird at the time, I went – why did she do that? What is she looking at? Huh, kind of a pointless scene that broke the flow. Shouldn’t we be looking at the spectacle of the interior of this awesome ship? Why is she in the way? Get her out of the way, where is Nick Fury and his amazing eyepatch!

      • HothMonster says:

        I was gonna make some nerd porn joke but when I googled “sexy ewok” a picture of Peter Dinklage came up

      • Azriel says:

        How about BOTH. It’s not one or the other.

  3. Mr. Mister says:

    Denied.

  4. BreadBitten says:

    Nice article, I like how the interviewee is unwilling to cave in to any pressures regarding sex and such, in the end it’s all about context…

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      Drayk says:

      Exactly. I’ve never been offended by the depiction of sex in the witcher 1&2 even if some female partners were a bit easy.

      But the booth babes, it’s just plain silly and it’s showing a lack of respect for both male and female gamers. IMHO.

      • Azriel says:

        They actually got rid of booth babes a couple of years at E3 because the people at E3 thought it was offensive. Guess what? EVERYBODY said E3 was less fun without the booth babes and wanted them back, so the companies brought them back.

        • Jimbo says:

          Not sure who ‘EVERYBODY’ is, but wasn’t it more because they changed the style of the whole show (less people, less spectacle) rather than specifically because ‘booth babes’ weren’t present? I remember people saying the changes had made it boring, but I don’t recall a “Bring Back Booth Babes” campaign.

          • Kestilla says:

            Same. Das ist vat I remembah too.

          • Azriel says:

            Yes and no, they did change the show, but later (after the show reverted back to the original crazy state) they also put new vague guidelines that said something to the affect of, women can’t wear sexy cosplay outfits, something about not offending women or some other political correct BS wording. It was really vague and nobody knew what it meant so most companies just cut out booth babes all together for a couple of years. I should not have said everyone, bad choice of wording on my part. However, there was definitely a reaction, because many gaming journalist were complaining that E3 did suck. I don’t know what changed, but all of a sudden, booth babes were back in all their sexy glory. It probably started off a few companies did it and drew more traffic, so everyone came back. *shrug*

      • lexoneir says:

        “Even though some of the women were easy.” I think you’re confusing realism with sexism. Women aren’t all the same, in case you didn’t know. Some are ‘easy’ and some aren’t.

      • Dreforian says:

        Geralt could be considered “easy” too if you played him that way.

  5. deadly.by.design says:

    The problem is that it’s usually just there for cheap titillation.

    • QualityJeverage says:

      Did you actually read the interview?

    • Azriel says:

      Read the article, it makes sense in the setting.

      • deadly.by.design says:

        My puns are mediocre here, but you guys have lost your sense of humor in defense of game nudity.

        C’mon, now. Don’t be a t(w)it.

    • HothMonster says:

      Don’t be such a boob.

    • gwathdring says:

      If that’s a pun, then I’m Peter Dinklage.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        Well, privately, I think the parts of this interview are pretty small

    • Furius says:

      I appreciate the effort to try and create a pun thread in here, I love ‘em, but i’m sorry Deadly, but really, these aren’t puns.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I had hoped there would be a long tail of pun-posts with a huge flow of wit after this, but I guess I was left hanging.

  6. ari says:

    I wish CD Projekt RED had done the GoT game.

    • Raziel_Alex says:

      Exactly my correct opinion.

    • Azriel says:

      Don’t we all, however they wanted something different than a fantasy setting so they are making a cyberpunk one. There is no reason they cannot make a GOT game later though.

    • Shooop says:

      I wish they had done every game this year.

      Wait, no I don’t. I don’t have that kind of money!

      • Azriel says:

        They are expanding with a second group who is working on cyberpunk, and you know they are working on the witcher 3, I hope they keep growing and create even more new IP’s, Its something the industry really needs, games NOT designed for kids, NOT an FPS, and original NEW games

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      Malibu Stacey says:

      Having read all the books up to the 5th (which I’m reading at present) and having played Crusader Kings II, I reckon Paradox would’ve done a bloody job if they’d been given the licence for A Song of Ice and Fire.

      Well at least there’s third party mods instead of Cyanides abortive attempts at game development.

  7. rustybroomhandle says:

    I don’t think he understands the root of the problem. It’s not the presence of sex or how much of it there is, but rather the way women are presented.

    • TormDK says:

      Or prehaps we as modern day humans try and project our current way of life and current viewpoints on a fantasy medeval society where things are as they are described/shown in the games mentioned?

      The opening scene in the witcher 2 I could do without, but I didn’t find the bath scene tasteless or out of touch with the setting. In the Game of Thrones game I’ve yet to be shagged by anything, but there are (clothed) whores about and they do play a role – much like in the series/books I would imagine (Haven’t read/seen them)

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        Okami says:

        Or prehaps we as modern day humans try and project our current way of life and current viewpoints on a fantasy medeval society where things are as they are described/shown in the games mentioned?

        This argument is stupid and it doesn’t get any more intelligent by stating it for the millionth time. These fantasy societies are created by modern men, they create the rules for these societies, they decide that they should be misogynistic and everytime someone says, that maybe the depiction of women might just be a little sexist, someone jumps to defend the sexism by saying: But the society is sexist, it’s just an accurate portrayal of the society.

        Most fantasy worlds have nothing at all to do with the middle ages or medieval society, they just happen to feature castles, swords and metal armor.

        The problem are not people projecting their modern beliefs on ancient societies, it’s writers projecting their view of women on their work.

        • duncanthrax says:

          The writers have the right to project anything they want. It’s their story. If it does not fit your taste or sense of fairness, that is your problem.

          • McCool says:

            This idea robs of the power to say, for instance “The writing is shit, insulting and is only there to pander to base hormones in men”. These are things we are genuinely allowed to say. IMO, both The Witcher and Game of Thrones toe the line, and both of them stumble into the porn territory sometimes. Occupational hazard, I suppose.

        • MichaelPalin says:

          What is wrong exactly with trying to build a game with a sexist society on it? According to you every fantasy world is a copy of the creators mind. Even if that is mostly true in the underwhelming field of video game world design, I don’t see why scriptwriters cannot imagine worlds that go beyond their cultural references. It’s what creativity is about, isn’t it?, creating new things.

        • abandonhope says:

          This argument is stupid and it doesn’t get any more intelligent by stating it for the millionth time.

        • Yosharian says:

          If you think Witcher 2 provides an inaccurate representation of the treatment of women in Medieval times, you need to go back to school.

        • Deano2099 says:

          Yes, male writers and world-builders create this stuff. But in Game of Thrones and The Witcher they may present women in a sexualised, under-dressed way, but they are also often powerful, forthright and independent.

          And if you’re going to the slag off the world creators for making them look hot, you also have to give them credit for making them so kick ass.

          • Yosharian says:

            No no no, don’t you see? If they are all-powerful spellcasting sorceresses then that’s just another MALE FANTASY, and therefore automatically still sexist! See how this works?

            Pseudo-feminism is so awesome!

            >_>

          • pipman3000 says:

            so what if they dress in rags and get raped all the time they once beat up a dude!!!

            STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS, RAWR!

          • Yosharian says:

            Yeah, because rape never happened in medieval times, and in fact never happens at all. How silly to include it in a dark medieval fantasy RPG.

          • pipman3000 says:

            neither did magic men with std immune mutant dicks

            how come people only want the parts of medieval society that fucked over women included in their fantasy stories? i can’t remember the last time i’ve seen someone complain about how their character isn’t being forced into a life of serfdom.

            I think Mount & Blade 2 should be a farming simulator.

          • Yosharian says:

            I never said I didn’t want STD simulation in TW2. I’d be perfectly fine with that. I guess the devs just thought that’d be a bit silly.

            What else from Medieval life do you think was removed in order to make TW2 a sexist game? So far we’ve got STDs.

          • pipman3000 says:

            i dunno, ask that imaginary strawman in your head you’re talking to instead of me, since i never said they removed anything to make the game misogynist you silly goose :)

        • Shooop says:

          The representation of women in The Witcher isn’t exactly inaccurate compared to the actual treatment of women in the medieval time period. There were women of public status, but extremely few.

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      Gap Gen says:

      I’d argue that such projection is inevitable, because it’s going to be consumed by modern people. You can’t make a game for a completely objective, value-free audience. It just doesn’t exist. There’s always the question of whether the values of the characters in a piece of art represent the values of the creator, but a good creator should be able to make this clear.

      This isn’t to say that this is limited to treatments of historic settings. Games like Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 2 demonstrate some very hateful values simply by not thinking about what they mean as pieces of modern culture.

      (Note that this isn’t a criticism of the game’s content, per se.)

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      liquidsoap89 says:

      In many games that would be true, but obviously in the Witcher (being in medieval times and all) it makes more sense. Add to that what he said about the powerful female sorceresses being a pretty important aspect of the game… Personally I think the combination of “wenches” and the people like Triss more or less balance out the sexism in the Witcher series.

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        Okami says:

        Triss is not an empowered woman, but just another male fantasy.

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          Matt_W says:

          Indeed, there’s an entire scene where she’s being carried around by Roche, and he spends the entire time commenting on her ass.

          • 2helix4u says:

            The Witcher 1 was pretty bad on women. The Witcher 2 was confusing, because the Geralt-Triss relationship is probably the strongest videogame relationship I’ve seen and I enjoyed that there were one or two serious decisions to make that were purely about the nature of that relationship. T
            hey do a good job of letting you be monogamist or not, and actually making that feel like a meaningful decision.
            Then there is stuff like the aforementioned Roche-Triss-Ass scene.

            “It makes sense for the context” isn’t the invincible argument people think it is.
            Writers create context, if I make a fantasy world where women are opressed or sex objects that doesn’t make the presentation of women in my world unassailable. Just like writing all the antagonising catwoman dialogue with “bitch” in it doesn’t get a free pass just because the people written for were criminals.

            Women have been around as long as men and just because they have been opressed for a long time doesn’t make them uninteresting or limited characters in old timey fiction, the opposite in fact.

          • Yosharian says:

            This is just another example of people seeing sexism where there is none. It is Triss who first mentions her ass, “Keep your hands off my ass!” and Roche’s comment is merely that he ‘noticed’ she was a woman. This is just a humorous convo that’s totally fine in context and there’s nothing sexist about it at all. Frankly, it’s pathetic to see you keyboard warriors grasping at such nonexistent straws.

          • pipman3000 says:

            now if roche complained about her tugging on his dick or something then it would of been bad because she would of been objectifying him

          • Shooop says:

            He only mentions it once. The rest of the time I’d imagine he’s busy worrying about elf arrows turning him into a funny-looking pin cushion.

        • pipman3000 says:

          she’s a STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER!!!! (in the kate beaton sense)

          does she get better in witcher 2?

          • kud13 says:

            Actually, I found her to be a “weaker” (in the sense of “more vulnerable”, compared to TW1. and definitely much more so compared to the books.

            this may have had much to do with the fact that they changed the Russian voice actress to a much more soft-spoken one. The Polish lady still sounded fairly independent, but the Russian (which is my preferred choice for these games) sounded far too meek.

    • Azriel says:

      Stop trying to politically correct everything, this is how life was in mideval times.

      • McCool says:

        Really now, this is how it was like in medieval times? In what sense, precisely, does “this” resemble “medieval times”?

        The depiction of women in games like The Witcher couldn’t be further from their place in European Medieval Society. It is a work of fiction – fantasy to be precise, and very often sexual fantasy. Medieval Times with +20 Raunchiness, and without the unifying ideals that actually defined the Medieval World – Christianity. Like all fantasy, it is entirely a projection of 20th Century ideas backwards onto an imagined world with medieval technology (and often twee modern ideas of mythology realised through magic). It was not “like that”, ever. Worlds like The Witcher’s stand on their own merit, as pieces of fiction.

        • gwathdring says:

          Very well said. Let’s not confuse sexism in a historical or pseudo-historical universe for historical sexism. It’s every bit as contextually sensitive as the interviewee suggested. You can’t simply apply similar amounts of discrimination in different ways and call it historically accurate thus washing your hands of it.

          However, I do want to be careful. I think it is ok to create a world that contains invented discrimination as well as or in place of real or historical ones. The creator has to work hard to be at fault for doing so. But the work itself has to leverage that somehow and make it worthwhile; a lot of works don’t. I haven’t gotten around to playing The Witcher yet so I can’t judge it. I will say that based on the first book A Game of Thrones, the degree of male domination doesn’t really add anything to the work for me; the sex never felt especially out of place, though. As a whole, it wasn’t really my thing even ignoring the wonky gender dynamics, so I’ll leave judgement to people who either enjoyed it or would have enjoyed it otherwise.

        • Claidheamh says:

          You’re not a historian, are you?

          • gwathdring says:

            I’m not sure that should be a requirement. If it was, we’d be in a bit of a pickle because most people wouldn’t be able to discuss history. If you asked for historical *sources* that would be much more reasonable.

          • Claidheamh says:

            Of course it’s not a requirement. That’s not at all what I meant.

            Edit: That comment was meant for McCool and not you, sorry if it wasn’t clear.

        • Yosharian says:

          Information I’ve just found off a website: “Prostitution thrived in the Middle Ages, whether it was approved by the Church or not. In larger towns, prostitutes could practice their trade in anonymity and it was regarded as an honest and essential profession.

          For a time, the Church actually approved of prostitution. Ironically, the practice was regarded as a way of preventing adultery and homosexuality on a larger scale, so it was viewed a necessary evil. St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the sterner theologians, wrote: “If prostitution were to be suppressed, careless lusts would overthrow society.”

          The most respectable prostitutes worked in brothels, or “stews.” Most villages had one. In some villages, prostitutes had to identify themselves by particular pieces of clothing, such as a veil with a yellow stripe. Women who practiced outside of a brothel were often exposed to the harsher elements of society. Some were imprisoned, tortured or mutilated. ”

          But clearly you know better.

          • gwathdring says:

            I don’t think the point was that sex didn’t exist then, the middle ages were prudish, Christianity made sense and everyone followed it in a sensible way, or really anything about brothels. Even if such had been the point, I personally would defend the letter of his statement without that particular element of spirit.

            The point is more that Gearalt’s world doesn’t really contain or recreate a substantial amount of specifically middle-age thought or practice. It doesn’t look like the middle ages simply because it has brothels, swords, and castles any more than Middle Earth looks like anything at all from ancient through medieval England. There’s a big difference between borrowing thematic elements here and there and emulating the mindset of a period to the point that that mindset serves as a source of content in its own right.

            What we see in the Witcher is the Witcher. Not historical accuracy. I think you should defend it on its own grounds, not on those of our past.

          • Yosharian says:

            No, that’s just nonsense. TW2’s setting may well be made-up, but it is still a world populated by humans and as such real human history plays a part in how such worlds look, feel and play. That’s not to say it needs to adhere 100% to historical events, facts or whatever, but it DOES shape certain things like sexuality etc.

            If human history was one of matriarchy, TW2’s setting would look out of place and make no sense.

          • gwathdring says:

            I’m a tad confused. You seem to be suggesting that games that cleave away from history and toward the fantastical would be senseless and out of place. I think you should reconsider your argument.

            Furthermore, my point is not that the Witcher should be a perfectly accurate historical game or that history doesn’t serve as an inspiration. My point is that using historical inspiration as a defense of content falls apart when you intentionally change aspects of that history to fit your message. Whether the criticism is that it is unrealistic, poorly implemented, or what-have-you, only an attempt at accurate recreation really serves as a defense in-and-of-itself and then only somewhat.

            Let me put this another way: if the designer can add magic and modern perspectives throughout the world, the designer could also replace castles with Henges and replace serfs with wage laborers. The Witcher is an intentionally crafted world, not a historical recreation. As such, we have a right to analyze that content on its own merits and/or in a modern context.

          • Anabasis says:

            Ah yes, because you’ve wrapped yourself in credibility with your “from a website” source.

          • Yosharian says:

            @gwathdring: No, I’m not saying that games which go off into completely made-up fantasy are bad or shouldn’t exist or whatever. I’m saying that games which contain inherently shitty situations for women should have a good reason for it, and TW2’s reason is that IT WAS LIKE THAT IN MEDIEVAL TIMES. Hence it is fantasy with elements of historical accuracy. I’m not saying that gives them carte blanche, they couldn’t make it a rape simulator or whatever. I’m saying it gives them some artistic freedom to use it as a canvas, if you like.

            And really, for the record TW2 seems like a pretty OK game in terms of morality. Most of what you do in the game is sticking up for the poor people, helping the downtrodden, etc. I mean, you have that CHOICE, anyway. You can’t even be a complete bastard in this game, unlike some games.

            I mean shit, in the GTA games you can sleep with a prostitute and then kill her to get the money back. But yeah, let’s pick on THIS game.

            @Anabasis: so prove me wrong. A website isn’t an instantly dismissable source just because it’s easily accessed. Go ahead, prove me wrong. Prove that brothels weren’t an accepted part of medieval culture. Which by the way, I find disgusting. I would never pay a woman for sex, I find the entire idea to be demeaning to both parties. I had to explain that to a ‘working girl’ in a strip club once. She wasn’t impressed, just wanted me to pay for a lap dance haha. (and I was there because my friends wanted to go, before you say AHA WHY WERE U AT A STRIP CLUB, U R MISOGYNIST)

          • Anabasis says:

            Yosharian: You misunderstand me, I’m not saying you’re wrong (in fact you’re probably right about the existence of brothels), but that quoting from a website without naming it or linking to it is the citation equivalent of “my friend told me once…” If you’re going to appeal to authority in an internet argument make sure everyone can read it.

          • gwathdring says:

            “IT WAS LIKE THAT IN MEDIEVAL TIMES.” isn’t a good reason for it, though. And what, exactly, was it like in medieval times? I don’t exactly see what your point is here. There were brothels in medieval Europe and they weren’t seen as negatively as they are today … so what exactly?

            “Hence it is fantasy with elements of historical accuracy. I’m not saying that gives them carte blanche, they couldn’t make it a rape simulator or whatever. I’m saying it gives them some artistic freedom to use it as a canvas, if you like.”

            They already have artistic freedom. The historical context has nothing to do with their artistic freedom, and really doesn’t have much bearing on the argument. Again, if they arbitrarily change the context of various social elements, use significantly more modern influences than historical ones, and generally play around with things as they see fit then history is no longer especially relevant. If I inserted sexist attitudes into Dungeons and Dragons and claimed it was for historical purposes, would that work? Where do you draw the line?

            Even if I were not utterly convinced of this idea, I don’t see The Witcher as a medieval work at all. How much of medieval Europe is really accounted for in it?

            “And really, for the record TW2 seems like a pretty OK game in terms of morality. Most of what you do in the game is sticking up for the poor people, helping the downtrodden, etc. I mean, you have that CHOICE, anyway. You can’t even be a complete bastard in this game, unlike some games.”

            I’m not sure that matters, frankly. Sticking up for poor people wouldn’t make me less of a racist if I also went around shouting slurs at every elf I saw. Similarly, it doesn’t somehow negate any sexism the game might contain.

            I’ll come back to this: if you want to defend the content, defend it on its own grounds in it’s own context; your last argument I quoted was the right sort in that sense–I just think it’s a poor argument. Social context of the now matters a lot more to The Witcher than social context of medieval Europe.

        • Anabasis says:

          This 100%. It’s pretty obvious that the Witcher and basically all modern fantasy (except maybe Tolkien; that dude loved the Middle Ages) is the product of contemporary concerns and ideas (with a healthy dash of nostalgia) dressed up in medieval clothing. In reality gender relations and sexuality were much more complex and nuanced than Iwinski seems to think (although that doesn’t stop him from using history as an authoritative source for his baloney).

          • Yosharian says:

            Source

          • Anabasis says:

            I was actually going to track down some articles discussing the relationship between modernity and the Middle Ages for you, but judging by your other posts in this thread I’m pretty sure you’re just mad that I made fun of you for treating an anonymous website (which you didn’t even bother linking to) as a definitive source.

          • Yosharian says:

            so no source then

          • Anabasis says:

            It’s a website.

          • Anabasis says:

            Ahahaha! So I Googled the quote from your website and turned up this: http://www.oddee.com/item_96646.aspx. Wow, you must have dug pretty deep to turn up a piece of scholarship as credible as “Sex In The Middle Ages: 10 Titillating Facts You Wanted To Know But Were Afraid to Ask,” hosted on a website that also includes informative articles on “12 hilarious TV screen shots” and “10 coolest absence notices.” Did you find Cracked too dense a source to read through?

            But since we’re playing this game, I’m not sure what point of mine you wanted a source for (which was largely opinion anyway), but for modernity and the Middle Ages look at “Tolkien’s Modern Middle Ages,” by Jane Chance and Alfred K. Siewers, for the facts about Tolkien’s life and career just look at his WIkipedia page, and for a study on Medieval Sexuality and it’s nuances consider for example James W. Baldwin’s “The Language of Sex: Five Voices from Northern France around 1200.”

          • Claidheamh says:

            I’m not here to discuss the portrayal of sexuality in gaming. But I have to correct you on this.

            If there is one example of anachronic concerns and ideas in works of medieval fantasy, it’s Tolkien’s work. It’s riddled with contemporary (at the time, post-War) values. That’s not to diminish his work in any way though. Tolkien’s legendarium is still the most formidable work of fiction Mankind (and Womankind too, just so I’m not accused of sexism and/or misogyny :P), has accomplished. Even though the Bible has convinced many more. But that’s a different discussion. :P

          • Anabasis says:

            You’re right, I was too hasty in locating some sort of authentic spirit of the Middle Ages in Tolkien. In fact, as you quite rightly point out, Tolkien’s work is full of modern concerns and anachronisms. Hell, even Tolkien’s nostalgia and hostility to modernity by nature necessitates a modern world to react against (and an idealized pre-modernity to look back to). The reason I mentioned him (again, probably incorrectly) as an exception was that there hasn’t been a fantasy author who has better understood (at least within the confines of the academic paradigms of his time) the Middle Ages than Tolkien; the man set the tone for Beowulf criticism for years following. I absolutely agree with you that he’s a master of the genre however; there’s a reason his work became the standard template for fantasy authors that followed. In my opinion, he’s yet to be surpassed.

          • Claidheamh says:

            Well, in what regards historical authenticity in fantasy, I believe George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is a great example of it, since it’s talked about in the article. More so than Tolkien’s, I believe. There are also other great authors who I think authentically portray fantasy human societies with access to magic or whatever fantastical devices, Andrzej Sapkowski also being one of them. None quite so well as GRRM, I think. But maybe that’s because I’m quite fond of his works. :P

          • Anabasis says:

            Well I guess I don’t agree with you then =(. But seriously I do like aSoIaF in spite of its problems, and I do appreciate that Martin depicts his feudal society as the exploitative garbage heap that medieval feudalism was in many ways, as well as portraying honor as a largely empty ideal when the excrement hits the fan. However I still maintain that Tolkien displays a far more sophisticated understanding of the medieval source material than Martin, regardless of how he chooses to incorporate and interpret that material. I can’t comment on Sapkowski’s work since I haven’t read it (and until today wasn’t aware that it had been translated into English).

          • Claidheamh says:

            I don’t doubt Tolkien knew much more about medieval history than GRRM. He was a scholar after all. But if you’re looking for actually medieval values in fantasy, I think you’ll find them much more easily on ASOIAF than on Tolkien’s legendarium. That’s all I’m saying.

          • Anabasis says:

            Ah, yes, well then we agree again. Consensus at last!

          • RegisteredUser says:

            Not sure how well this slots into this comment subthread, but for one thing, modern “romantic love” is a social construct(how to behave in order to xyz, what its about, how it should feel and so on) that only recently got invented(20th century-ish), but the notion of which colours our perception of how stuff of course always must have been or should be or how to portray things when we tell them, etc.
            Look into sociology / gender sociology.

            A buttload of “what we think” is socially manufactured stuff and not some objective truth(say, uh, what is in a good or bad way sexist and what is not, e.g.), and history writing and other things have quite the complex background accordingly.
            We have chunks of history being written in favorable ways for e.g. certain people or organizations, chunks of it just left out, colored in a certain way, and so forth.
            And then on top of that is how we NOW look onto it and interpret it.

            Basically I’m a bit sick and tired of this underlying tone of “there is that one truth we can get at” and the “yes well but we right now at this point in time have completely 100% sorted out what is really truth, the best way to do stuff and how to treat everyone and what’s good and bad”.

            If nothing else is perfectly certain, this is: That’s not the first time we thought that.

        • Azriel says:

          Stop reading the whitewashed disney books on how history was. The past was a cruel place to be just human, let alone a woman in the past. Prostitution is known as the worlds oldest profession for a reason. Most towns and cities had prostitutes and unfortunately, many women had to sell their bodies for financial support since there were few jobs for women. Kings had the rite to have first sex to any woman who marries in his kingdom on the woman’s wedding night. Knights were known to have their way with the peasant women. Nobles treated daughters like chess pieces to have them married for political reasons, or sometimes to keep the blood “pure” by marrying them with a cousin or relative which created children of incest. This was also the time the infamous chastity belt was used to protect women from the wild ways. This is just a small sample, but human history is filled with monsterous treatment. Hell, look at how women/people are treated in different parts of the world today to know what humans are capable of.

          However, this is going a bit on a tangent, and obviously the story of the witcher is a fantasy setting, but it does use inspirations of actual events that happen.

          However, this is all moot. The developers can create any game they want to for any audiance. The one this is created for is males and it does use strait male fantasy. Which there is NOTHING wrong with. Sorry, but its a game, I will not feel bad for non existent people. The witcher 2 is a fantastic game (obviously by how well its praised and sold), but the things you are complaining about, I actually like. Does that mean I hate women and treat them like scum. Hell NO! No more than reading or watching a game of thrones does. Its just a medium and I LIKE the direction it went with the maturity/world. It’s not for everyone, NOR SHOULD IT BE. Find something that doesn’t offend your sense of outrage. Like spending the time fighting for REAL WOMEN who are treated as slaves in REAL parts of the world.

      • Kestilla says:

        The medieval times were 5 parts assholes starting wars and maiming entire armies of people and the peasant folk, 2 parts ravaging the landscape, 4 parts peasant oppression and religious persecution, and 1/8th part extremely ugly nobles, as almost everyone back then was comparatively homely without the advent of baths, makeup, or plastic surgery, having arranged marriages to to carry on their bloodline.

        I don’t really remember anything as spectacular as Game of Thrones or the Tudors, or the Witcher ever happening. Not only did the vast majority of humanity have better things to do like dying from the plague and quarantining each other in their homes where they rotted and died, but to compare these franchises with Medieval times is to compare Hollywood with reality, and that never works out.

        • Anabasis says:

          There were no utensils in medieval times hence there are no utensils at Medieval Times, would you like a refill on that Pepsi?

      • pipman3000 says:

        Everything I know about the middle ages I learned from Monty Python. Everything.

        • pipman3000 says:

          kidding aside one of the monty python guys did a pretty good documentary on the middle ages to dispel a lot of the misconceptions about the period. i think it was called something like medieval lives.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Agree completely. We should have a 25-35 times overfunded kickstarter about it and then discuss stuff endlessly instead of deriving any kind of joy or entertainment out of media that is clearly aimed to be a fantasy based pastime rather than education on what the right or wrong way of gender portrayal is.

  8. Kdansky says:

    I wish there was more tasteful sex in games and films. Our lives positively revolve around it, yet television and movies are either frigid like outer space, or tasteless porn. Stuff like Rome and Game of Thrones (both by HBO) are actually more close to real life, but rare exceptions.

    If you can show a girl cutting someone’s head in half (see Underworld, conveniently linked just a few articles ago), why can’t you show soft-core sex? I don’t need to see a close-up of penetration (in fact, I prefer not to), and I sure hope an actor can cope with being a bit naked. The theatre-people don’t mind, and they are doing it live, which I think is infinitely more embarrassing. But if you are easily embarrassed, I don’t think “actor” is a job for you.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Indeed its been said a million times, but I love when you have P-13 movies where there are hundreds or thousands of people killed, pretty graphic violence, but it two characters get a little too kissy it is *fade to black*. It is so silly.

    • gwathdring says:

      I wish there was more *real* sex in movies. By that I don’t mean either graphically depicted or actually occurring between the actors. But when sex appears in film it tends to be a very particular kind of somewhat silly sex. It can work in films that are intentionally shiny, intentionally sanitized, or intentionally poetic. But even in such films it can feel silly and out of place. Everything from the way sex is talked about to the frequency of foreplay (exceptions made for films that jump cut through the scene) tends to come off as … well, slightly off.

      That in mind, sometimes I appreciate the fade to black approach. I don’t always need to see the scene, and the film isn’t always composed in a way where the scene is necessary or productive to the film as a whole. But sometimes that the characters are sexually involved still matters and skipping the exact moments of passion works just fine. It is silly that films are less able to depict sex than violence, but I can think of a lot more films that could have done without the included sex scene than films that could have done with an extended cut of a fade-out kiss.

    • Furius says:

      This whole thread just made me angry. Come on guys it’s just a bit of shagging.

      • TariqOne says:

        Come on, guy. It’s just a thread.

        • Claidheamh says:

          Wherein many people are baring their opinions on the matter, so his/her point is perfectly understandable.

      • Anabasis says:

        Are you going out of your way to not understand why people are criticizing this company and it’s games?

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      It’s like the interviewee says, sex is just a part of life. That’s why the game includes gay sex and lesbian sex.

      Oh wait.

  9. db1331 says:

    I agree that sex fits The Witcher perfectly. The scene in the beginning of TW 2 with Geralt in bed with a completely naked Triss didn’t come off as forced or in your face or even childish. It just seemed totally natural. But then I started playing AssCreed: Brotherhood last night, and in my first real mission I help carry a box of flowers for a girl who promises to fuck me if I can keep her surprise party a secret. Now that caused me to roll my eyes. It feels like it’s made for the “Dude, that bitch is totally gonna bang you, bro!” crowd. You know, the ones that whooped over the topless tribal lady in the Farcry 3 demo. So even though there wasn’t even a hint of nudity or actual sex in that AssCreed scene, it was infinitely more juvenile and ridiculous to me than anything I’ve seen in either of The Witcher games.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      The Far Cry E3 video didn’t really strike me as particularly attempting to be titillating (though I get what you mean). It was more like “oh, there are boobs on the screen”. This was from the same conference where someone referred to “girl wood” every five seconds and an announcer bellowed “HARDCORE PORNOGRAPHY”, though, so I’m not sure how this changes the context.

  10. Mordsung says:

    I have a pretty cut and dry definition of when I think sex is appropriate in a narrative (any narrative, from movies to books to games.)

    If I removed the sex scene, would the plot change?

    The way I figure it, if the sex scene advances the plot, it’s good.

    If I could remove the sex scene and nothing changes other than there being less sex, then the scene was porn for fanboys/fangirls.

    Take some sex scenes from Game of Thrones for example. With Daenerys, the sex scenes in the book were meant to enhance the story about her change from a naive girl into a leader. While the scenes were a little unnecessarily descriptive, even in book form, they served a purpose. If all mention of that sex was removed I don’t think it would have made Daenerys seem as pragmatic (Since she didn’t like the sex at first, she learned to like it/do it better) and also showed she was strong enough to evolve from what was effectively a concubine into the strong wife of a leader and a leader in her own right. She went from being basically raped to becoming the one in control of her sexuality and body.

    Now go look at some average action movie with a hot female co-star and the sex scenes are usually just excuses for soft core porn.

    Witcher 1 has a lot of completely pointless sex. I have yet to play through W2 so I can’t comment on the scene above.

    • Mr. Mister says:

      Spoiler much?

      • Mordsung says:

        When a book has been out for 16 years, I think the expiry date on spoilers expired a while ago.

        You do your best to avoid spoilers for the first 2 or 3 years but after that point it just becomes stifling to conversation about the book to preface everything with “possible spoiler”.

    • Adam Smith says:

      It’s the oft-mentioned example but Don’t Look Now has a splendid sex scene. Emotionally important, brilliantly edited and vital to the momentum of the film.

      Also, Donald Sutherland’s bum.

    • Kinth says:

      As far as I remember in the book she starts liking sex during the first time she has it and she is also the one who initiates it, the sex being consensual between the two. This is done for two reasons

      1. To show that Khal Drogo isn’t just a pure savage brute and is capable of being gentle.

      2. To show that Dany is really the one in power from the start, not Drogo or Viserys

      In the TV show Drogo is shown as nothing but a dumb brute and repeatedly rapes her till she aims to please him and starts enjoying it. She also learns to please in the book but it’s a slightly different message in the TV show since she has been raped repeatedly before hand.

      • Mordsung says:

        I felt even in the book it was more of a factor of her body liking it but her mind resisting at first.

        Yes, the TV show did these early parts of their relationship an injustice by making it seem like total rape, but I felt the feeling was somewhat implied in the book as well when I read it. I read it before I saw the show so I end up “filling in the blanks” when watching the show.

        • HothMonster says:

          My memory of the scene in the book is closer to the show than not. She was a semi-willing participant in some pretty serious sex. It wasn’t rape, per se, she wasn’t trying to stop it. But it was forceful and not so very enjoyable for her because Drogo saw her as a piece of meat for fucking, not a lover. She turned the tables and learned some tricks so she could fuck him and assert her will into their sexual escapades. She had to make him see her as a person and not just a backside for the old in-out.

          • gwathdring says:

            Per se? I’m not sure what you mean.

            I remembered their first encounter as a rape, but I also remembered Drogo as being “gentle,” so I gave it a read. She was completely coerced into the situation and definitely didn’t consent to the initiating of the post-marital ceremonies. I sort of get what you’re saying about the rest of the scene, but coercion was definitely there even if she did consent to some of it, after things had already started (and then weakly as best). He wasn’t brutal … but still. Sexual assault definitely occurred, whether it worked as a piece of writing or not.

          • HothMonster says:

            I don’t have the book handy. In my memory she was tentative about it starting, enjoyed it for a bit and then he got too rough and she didn’t have much fun. In between that night and her taking control in the sack sex wasn’t very pleasurable for her.

            Maybe the “per se” was bad form, was it rape was it sexual abuse do the semantics really matter, it was sex that she found unpleasant but endured. Did she endure it for fear of her life, because he forced her, because she felt it was a duty, because she felt no other choice, because she thought thats what sex was, because she thought time would make it better? idk, some of those would be rape some would be abuse, some would be something else entirely.

            I was just trying to say he is just as much of an asshole, at first, in the book as he is in the show.

          • gwathdring says:

            Point taken.

            The exact context is something like this: they go off alone as part of the wedding night, she gets scared, he endeavors somewhat successfully to calm her down during the (seemingly ceremonial) mutual undressing procedures. Then he starts to touch her gently but nonetheless quite squickily and eventually he sort of asks if they can proceed to the next part and she agrees. End scene, fade to black. We don’t get any more of her thoughts on the matter. The very next time sex is brought up is the time she “takes control” of things more adapted to the Dothraki customs.

            So, not really an intricate progression but yes he begins as just as much of an asshole.

    • Azriel says:

      Couldn’t that argument go for killing also? Hell, the super majority of games is nothing but mindless killings, take it away and the story is just as good. I don’t think that argument holds up in games.

      • x1501 says:

        Your analogy is invalid, since if you take away mindless killings from the majority of games, they will lose the only feature that makes them interactive and consequently cease to be games.

      • Mordsung says:

        I think it could be done for killing and I think it would improve the game.

        Killing 100 guys with bullets wouldn’t be nearly as amazing as a game with 2 to 3 very intimate kill scenes.

        Imagine a first person stabbing scene from the stabbers eyes after playing hours of a game where you hadn’t killed anyone.

        It would heighten the emotion of the scene immensely.

        I think it would also be interesting to see what could be done with first person rape… not from the rapers eyes, but from the victim.

        I think decreasing the frequency while increasing the brutality of these types of scenes would work fantastically, especially in the first person view point.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      To be honest the plot would probably change quite dramatically in “Anal Whores 6″ if you removed the sex scenes, but justifying the sex scenes wouldn’t also justify the treatment of women in the film. It isn’t about the sex, it’s about how women are treated by its representation.

      • Mordsung says:

        Sometimes it’s both the sex and the representation of woman.

        But here’s the thing, some woman are the totally submissive side of a sex act.

        Sometimes the man is the submissive as well. Then there’s the whole host of homosexual sex acts that involve tops and bottoms and power bottoms and chubby, bears, and cubs (oh my!) and the female equivalents.

        I think it’s perfectly acceptable to show a woman being the submissive member of a sex act who’s just “getting fucked”.

        BUT, we must also try to show other sexual situations where the woman is dominant or equal.

        Basically, I don’t think we should try to make everyone as equal as humanly possible in every scene of every game because life doesn’t work that way. There are tops and there are bottoms, but we do need to diversify the sex to show that not every sex act is a top vs bottom affair.

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      There’s more to a text than the plot. But sure from a perspective of economy, the sex scene probably should be doing multiple things, character reveals, plot, story, color, etc. Most elements of a good work should be working on multiple axes, or you end up with a lot of filler. A sex scene that provides theming for the story, fleshes out a character, and illustrates the setting might be plenty, even if it isn’t an anchor for the plot.

      But if it’s just tittilation, well, it’s porn. Not that I am gonna say porn is a terrible thing. It’s just possibly porn included in an inappropriate vehicle.

  11. NyuBomber says:

    I think he kinda went around the point. The way sex is used in Game of Thrones and Witcher is appropriate and not detracting, but the problem is that it IS becoming inappropriate and detracting from the core experiences and atmospheres of a lot of games and franchises, just for the sake of getting eyes on the game because “OOOOH, THEY SHOWED BOOBS (insert marketing firestorm here that gets everybody arguing and probably sells a few more copies)”

    It’s no different in this purpose from the pervasive ultra-violence that many people commented on coming out of E3, and nothing sums the problem up better than the Hitman trailer. Put aside any notions about feminism or religious sacrilege or “there’s too much violence” or whatever: It was stupid. Nothing I’ve played of previous Hitman games felt anything like the ham-fisted grindhouse action feeling they blatantly went for. Nothing I’ve seen of the GAME IT’S SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT has felt anything like that trailer. I am fully aware that part of their defense of the trailer is that it represents only a section of the game, but I’m going to bet dollars to doughnuts that the actual gameplay section won’t be nearly as insipid.

    And because this sensationalism is now becoming the focus, the light is being taken off of making good, compelling games. It’s a common denominator approach. Look at Resident Evil and Dead Space. RE6 and DS3 may be fine action games, maybe even great, but they’re just going to be drops in a sea with better games, instead of being unique horror experiences and having evolved that branch.

    Sex and violence are tools to be used, but the focus seems to be on exploiting them for bucks as opposed to organically making the game good. And then the problem of misrepresentation of women, men, and gamer culture follows.

  12. Kinth says:

    Have I missed something? Are CD Projekt making a Song of Ice and Fire game? I mean I get that the Witcher 2 is similar to Game of thrones in a few aspects but then so is Monty Python and the holy grail but it seems to be that all people really ask them about these days is Game of Thrones.

    It’s like asking Rockstar only questions about Die Hard because the films have some similarities with the Max Payne series.

  13. Jenks says:

    Finally, someone is taking on sexism in the video game industry.

    • Azriel says:

      Where have you been? This has been going on a while, violence in games is old hat so we have to find some new devil in games to blame for the world problems.

      • gwathdring says:

        Which is exactly what we’re doing, isn’t it? Blaming sex in games for the world’s problems. Just yesterday I told my friends that if it weren’t for sex cards in the Witcher, the economy wouldn’t have crashed.

        • hilltop says:

          The media storms over violence in the industry typically came from sources outside the industry trying to scapegoat games for some horrible tragedies.

          The issue over sexism in games is currently coming from a minority (or majority?) of critics close to and within the industry. The focus is purely on the portrayals themselves and their reflection on the industry. It is not to try to scapegoat societies problems on games.

          The portrayals are there because of social attitudes, not the other way round.

          I don’t think it’s fair to try to shut down discussion by making an inaccurate comparison. Not that you were trying to.

  14. The Smilingknight says:

    That was painful to read… as much as the other parts of this interview and the latest on their cyberpunk game.

    This guy thinks there is more sex in the books then in Game of Thrones tv show?
    Is he… completely delusional ? – to put it mildly … because what i want to say would get this comment deleted.
    And then he blathers about what it is used for while being factually and blatantly wrong in the stupid excuses he makes for it – in the context of that show.

    And goes for strawman that people disapprove of it just because it is sex – which only a delusional moron could claim.
    While nothing stops him from talking about how Witcher sex scenes actually serving some purpose instead of being just blatant flesh gimmicks.
    With which i would agree to a point – but that is exactly the opposite of what the tv show does with it.

    Looking at content of other interviews and new direction they are taking with new game and looking over the recent history of their going for DRM that brings them money directly…

    I have nothing but absolute despise for CDprojekt, this guy and whoever is connected with it.
    Designing games for morons!

    And using cheap hype and PR to pretend to be something else.
    Fucking despicable.

    • Unaco says:

      Why are they ‘designing games for morons’ exactly? Really… I think the frothing at your mouth is getting in the way of what you’re trying to say here. Broadly painting anyone who enjoyed the Witcher games as a moron is pretty f*cking low as well, don’t you think?

    • Paul says:

      The only thing fucking despicable here is your post, “bro”.

      • Vorphalack says:

        Indeed, that read like the confused ravings of a man who got lost on his way to the Daily Mail forums.

    • MSJ says:

      Maybe like Roger Ebert, he’s just a boob-hound. If Roger Ebert finds breasts he likes in a movie, he will probably take time to praise them in his reviews (and give the movie a bonus in the rating he gave them).

      • Arglebargle says:

        Are you sure you didn’t mean Joe Bob Briggs there?

        Twenty three boobs and some head splittin’ kung fu action! I give it three and a half stars!

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      Erithtotl says:

      I think there should only be action if it is key to furthering the story. I mean instead of a skillfully rendered cut scene of Geralt doing something amazing, it should just allude to Geralt fighting, and then we can move on. Same with Game of Thrones, there should be no action on screen because it would be easier to just say ‘they had a fight and Jon won’. Because otherwise its just gratuitous ‘death porn’ for the fanboys.

      • Unaco says:

        Reply fail? Should this be in response to Mordsung above? I think I have to agree with you on this line of reasoning… Should we apply Mordsung’s idea that, if it doesn’t advance plot it is pointless and frivolous and unnecessary, to everything, and not just sex?

        • gwathdring says:

          I would argue two things there. First, that to an extent would should apply that logic. Not exactly to “plot,” as plot isn’t always part of a game. But if it isn’t a coherent part of the work, it doesn’t belong. That’s much more subjective than even “advancing the plot,” but it’s an important metric nonetheless. Maybe it enhances characterization, maybe it establishes a relationship, maybe it sets the tone … it doesn’t have to relate to the plot but it should do something other than titillate if you want to claim it isn’t “just” titillation.

          You wouldn’t argue for bathroom breaks in MP3 just because it’s something people do in real life, would you? You might argue for them because, if done right, it could be a hilarious and amazing mechanic in a playful spin on the action genre … but not because its a crucial part of human life.

          The obvious difference is that sex has emotional and cultural significance that are rather important here. Sex is part of our lives in a very different sort of way, a way more fundamental to our perceptions and relationships as opposed to our biological machinery. So it has a greater place in games, yes? Yes and no. That emotional and cultural importance comes from both sides–it demands that we respect the context of sexual thought and experience. This doesn’t mean we can’t ever have sex in our media just because it’s pleasant or that taboos always ought to be obeyed.

          Perhaps a more important metric is whether you want it to matter to the audience. If you want it to matter to the audience and be something other than a casual, titlating distraction but really say something about the world (even if its just, this is a world with real people in it and that includes sex) … well, it has to actually match the message. And if your audience is going to perceive sex a certain way, you need to be mindful of that.

    • Yosharian says:

      What’s despicable and painful to read is you attempting to sully the good name of the Witcher series, some of the best fucking RPGs to come out in this godforsaken industry in the last decade, and CD Projekt Red, one of the best developers working in the industry right now.

      So there’s a bit of sex in it, boo fucking hoo.

      edit: or maybe you’re trolling, in which case damn you got me

      • Apples says:

        Hold on a sec, I want to ask you a question here. The Witcher is, according to you, one of the best RPGs. Simultaneously, it is not for me, as I am a woman, which you have implied/implicitly agreed with in another post. Is this okay? Should I pass up playing what many have called a great RPG because it is not intended for me? You did actually mix up ‘including women’ with ‘having a female playable character’ in that other comment, but disregarding that, how do you feel about the state of affairs where the majority of the best games are just “not meant for women” and deal with women in a way that is clearly from a male perspective for a male perspective?

        • Yosharian says:

          Of course it’s ok

        • Shooop says:

          The only thing that determines whether or not a game is or isn’t for you is your own personal taste. The only caveat would be if you were a minor and then your parents/legal guardians would have to decide whether or not you could play the game because of its age rating.

          But whether or not you like it? That’s not up to anyone else. The majority of us think it’s a brilliant game, but that doesn’t mean you’ll agree or have to.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            From my position of priveledge, I don’t have to care about how the expression of that priveledge in media negatively affects you!

  15. Hoaxfish says:

    Won’t someone please think of the children!

  16. Raziel_Alex says:

    Why such a short interview, should have been combined with the first part.

    Thank you for your time.

  17. TariqOne says:

    No surprise he’s unwilling to express even the slightest discomfort with the treatment of women in gaming culture. These guys make games for guys and couldn’t give less of a shit about women gamers. They are so profoundly and unabashedly dude-centric and regressive on this issue it actually makes them, for me, impossible to root for.

    • Premium User Badge

      choie says:

      Yup. Women who play games are just kinda invisible creatures who don’t enter into their minds. I think the nekkid pixelized versions are more real to some developers than the potential customers of their games. It’s really fuckin’ aggravating to be so marginalized as to be not even considered as part of the market for their products. I’m not asking for special consideration, just any consideration other than “oh, the default gamer is male and 20something, those wimmin’ll either buy our stuff as-is or let ‘em play Barbie Princess Unicorn Rainbow Academy or whatever the hell else is out there that has pink in it.”

      • TariqOne says:

        Because we all know there are no women gamers. And even if there were they’d never be interested in RPGs right? I mean, the immense presence of women in MMORPGs and the BioWare forums aside. There’s definitely no reason for an RPG company to think about women gamers.

      • D3xter says:

        There were quite a few female game designers working on The Witcher 2 if some of the videos like the one where they say “Thank You” or the credits etc. are anything to go by: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFJoP1yL-z4&hd=1

        Maybe it’s just that not everyone is as “stuck up” about the issue as you seem to be trying to demonize it and there’s a different culture in Poland/Russia/Japan and other countries than there is in the US (and apparently increasingly the UK)?

        Other than that it might just be that they’re making a game that isn’t for you? *gasp* I know…
        Most of these arguments boil down to: “I don’t like this, change it so I like it, screw everyone else!”

        • TariqOne says:

          Oh snap! The straw man goes down for the count!

          I don’t see the argument going much beyond “I don’t like this and I’m going to express it on a forum set up to allow me to express my likes and dislikes.” But if it makes you flail about comically some more, I’d be happy to demand they change their games and reissue them as Prom Nite Dress Up With Geralt 1 and 2.

          Man, you must really lose your shit when people complain about DRM and advocate that it be abolished eh?

          • D3xter says:

            I’m not really aware of anyone that *likes* DRM aside from company execs and the people that make it…

    • Azriel says:

      So they are making games for guys. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT?!?! Sorry, but I don’t go after companies that makes games for women/girls or novelist that write romance novels (porn for women). They are focusing on a particular demographic and there is nothing wrong with it. Not everything has to be made for everyone. In fact I prefer it not to be, EA games try to be everything to everyone and they just suck. Stop trying to demonize it.

      • TariqOne says:

        Yes. The cause of EA games sucking is the fact that some small subset of their games have a reasonably defensible portrayal of or appeal to women.

        And yes, I’m glad you agree with me regarding CDP’s worldview. They can do whatever they want. Seems they’re doing fine. But no, I’m not going to stop thinking it’s horseshit. Sorry.

      • Mark Schaal says:

        I wouldn’t mind if CD Projekt just straight up said sex sells and we aren’t embarrassed by that, but when they explain magic sex in an hidden underground pool as “that’s how it was during the Medieval times” that sets off the bullshit detector pretty quickly.

        • gwathdring says:

          I haven’t played it, so I can’t say if I agree. But I was quite amused by your comment, in any case. :)

        • MD says:

          Man, when I get my time machine working… first stop: the Middle Ages!

      • Yosharian says:

        No no, you’re not allowed to make a game for guys. It’s sexist.

        Irony.

        Never mind the fact that to add in a playable female character for this series would:

        1) require changing the entire series lore and retconning a female character into TW1’s backstory

        2) mean the project would cost about 1.5x as much to make (possibly a lot more), meaning that the gameplay/story elements would have to be cut to make the extra content doable

        Now excuse me, I’m going to go find an article about Mirror’s Edge and bitch that it’s sexist for forcing me to play a female character.

        • TariqOne says:

          Word. Remember that interview the Mirrors Edge guy did where he tried to say guys complaining about the veiny-dong cards in the game just fear hot man sex? What a douche.

          • Yosharian says:

            Fail attempt at trolling/straw man.

          • gwathdring says:

            What would be funny, Yosharian, is if you read that post you just left, the one you replied to, and then your original post.

            Do that, and perhaps you can have your literary device license back. Until then, stick to straight rhetoric and the direct invocation of literary or rhetorical terminology will result in a fine.

          • Yosharian says:

            He’s saying that the nature of the character is what is in question, when actually Geralt just behaves like any man would. Thus it’s a straw man attempt.

            It’s actually a simple question of Geralt being the only character you can play, which is not sexist at all. Proved by the Mirror’s Edge point.

            But really, this is entertaining watching you try to stick up for him.

          • Apples says:

            “Geralt just behaves like any man would” somehow i dont think he behaves like pipman3000 would
            (maybe that guy isn’t a guy though and it’s just a misleading name, I don’t know. soz pipman)

          • gwathdring says:

            @Yosharian

            I was actually just talking about this, rather than defending his argument:

            “No no, you’re not allowed to make a game for guys. It’s sexist.”

            “Irony.”

            “Now excuse me, I’m going to go find an article about Mirror’s Edge and bitch that it’s sexist for forcing me to play a female character.”

            “Fail attempt at troilling/straw man”

          • Yosharian says:

            For christ’s sake. It’s called a persuasive device. Mirror’s Edge ISN’T sexist because being a female character doesn’t matter! Just the same as being Geralt shouldn’t really matter if you want to play an RPG where you kill bad guys + monsters!

            My post, unlike his, did not lead the argument into a minor detail and focus exclusively on that. Hence it’s not a straw man argument, and it isn’t trolling.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Privilege Man says gender doesn’t matter, that’s why it’s just fine to have many games with male leads who have women throw themselves at him. Because it’s immaterial. Gender doesn’t matter folks.

    • faelnor says:

      You are confusing everything. A game can have sexism and racism without being sexist and racist. If anything, besides the contextually natural presence of women of ill repute, The Witcher has one of the most commendable depictions of women in modern gaming: Triss Merigold is an independent, clever woman whose position of power lets her play with people and, maybe, have sex whenever she feels damn like. She’s not getting told by anyone except when some of her weaknesses take over, weaknesses that all characters in the game — and in life — have. She’s a straight-up feminist ideal!

      Now, it’s completely different from saying that women are badly treated in video games because the games are male-centric. The Witcher, book and game, is the story of Geralt de Rivia, a sexy dude who likes women and fighting. Of course it’s statistically going to appeal more to male gamers.
      But be very careful of what you are asking for in video game stories. For example, offering the possibility to play either a male or female character is a great move towards gender equality, yes. But how would it work in The Witcher? You’d need to have another game entirely, almost every quest would have to be and to feel different because of another character. On the contrary, allowing a choice might lead to one-dimensional characters, a good example of which can be found in Mass Effect, where romance feels nothing more than another quest to tick and has no impact because the characters are so damn shallow.

      • Laurentius says:

        “The Witcher, book and game, is the story of Geralt de Rivia, a sexy dude who likes women and fighting. Of course it’s statistically going to appeal more to male gamers.”

        Mild SPOILER
        That’s certainly not what books are about in the first place but especially Witcher’s saga last two tomes shifts focus so completely that anyone who actually read them must realize that they aren’t about Geralt anymore but about Ciri girl/woman witcher coming of age.

        • faelnor says:

          You are most certainly right, I apologise. My point still stands ;)

        • pipman3000 says:

          I heard Geralt was supposed to be pretty ugly, I guess that must of gotten lost in the transition from one form of media to another.

          • TariqOne says:

            He looks like an albino Fabio. I guess it’s sexy in parts of Queens and Brooklyn.

      • TariqOne says:

        I’m not confusing anything. I made statements that are not in dispute: (1) CDP caters to bros; (2) I don’t like them. Sue me.

        I’m surprised at this notion that there’s some inherent tension between amazing narrative and making a bigger place at the table but whatever. I’ve got Fallout 2 and Bloodlines and tons of other great games that say otherwise. Each his own.

        • Unaco says:

          I’d dispute 1. It’s not indisputable that CDP “cater to Bros”. I’d say things like moral grey areas, delayed consequences, radically branching story and the difficulty of the game, go against the ‘catering to bros’ accusation.

          • TariqOne says:

            You’re the first person to argue here that CDP doesn’t cater to the male gamer market — including, implicitly, the CDP guy above — but OK.

          • Unaco says:

            Male gamer market? Where did that enter the conversation? You talked about ‘Bros’. Or are you saying that ALL males are ‘Bros’, whatever they are?

          • TariqOne says:

            “these guys make games for guys”

          • Unaco says:

            You: “(1) CDP caters to bros”

            Me: “I’d dispute 1″

            C’mon Tariq… pay attention now.

          • pipman3000 says:

            they cater to nerds who wish they could be bros

            you know those types. always green with envy at the sex-having bros. then they go whine about jerkass jocks and how women are all dumb bimbos lol no wonder they never get laid am i right guys?

          • TariqOne says:

            Considering one is expressly a breezy summary of the main point made first, it should be self evident.

            But I won’t deny you the scoundrel’s refuge of semantic argument. You win the thread sir.

          • hilltop says:

            Why are you letting the actual worthwhile point get dropped by using unclear language like “bros”? They are a good company, good to their customers and far more deserving of support than many in the gaming industry.

            But their games obviously cater to a particular male vantage point. The games would be just as good if not better if they toned this down. (Which they in fact did – somewhat – between Witcher 1 and 2).

          • TariqOne says:

            Fair point. Precision in language is always best. I tend to get a little folksy when bullshitting with people on the internet. It gets boring saying the same thing over and over — which is my real-life job — so I try (and often fail) to add some zing. Point taken.

            As for CDP, it should be implicit in my lead post I don’t care much for them. I’m a partisan too, I suppose, though nothing of the order of the passionate supporters. CDP has been awash in the glow of near-universal adulation despite multiple nagging concerns on the part of some about their politics and the direction they are taking cRPGs, and the contrarian in me likes to voice the minority objections from time to time. But hopefully they’ll make a more classic and fun RPG with Cyberpunk and blow me away.

    • Anabasis says:

      I agree, this interview is pretty eye-roll inducing. The fact that Iwinski characterizes the reaction to Witcher I as typical American moral majority “think of the children!” Puritanism shows that he either doesn’t understand the issue or that he’s intentionally misrepresenting the other side. This whole issue is precisely 0% about conservatives who are weirded out and morally outraged by sex. It’s also frankly insulting how he basically ignores the interviewer’s point about “booth babes” being alienating to women and insulting to men by blabbering on about marketing and how men will always make decisions based on hormones (what the hell). Furthermore his “this is how the Middle Ages was!” argument is absolutely ridiculous, because there’s a conspicuous absence of elves, sorcery, dragons, and Witchers in the Middle Ages, but that hasn’t stopped CD Projekt from putting those things in the game. “Gritty” and “realistic” fantasy settings like GoT and the Witcher always try to excuse the creepy way they depict women through some appeal to “realism” while simultaneously constructing elaborate worlds fantastical in every other way with no problem, which is pretty absurd. Fundamentally Iwinski comes across as a regressive developer unable or unwilling to react to changing currents in gaming since he’s apparently unable to get over this “prudes vs. people who are cool with sex” fallacy. This is really a shame, since I quite enjoyed Witcher II, and I think CD Projekt has some great things coming down the pipe (I’m already salivating over the Cyberpunk game).

    • Unaco says:

      Erm… did you read the interview, or just look at the pictures? The interviewer DOES express discomfort at the treatment of women in gaming culture – calling it a cheap trick, that it can alienate audiences. What he is saying, is that context matters. Just because something has nude women/sex, doesn’t mean that it’s automatically lowest common denominator, pandering to the males, simply there for titillation. There can be ‘valid’ uses of such things.

      • TariqOne says:

        You got me. I just looked at the pictures. Which is why your totally intellectually honest and rigorous factual summary of the guy’s views is so helpful.

        I withdraw my point. Time to swallow my American prudishness and collect some tit cards.

        • Unaco says:

          Well… you make claims directly contradicted by the WORDS in the interview. That leads me to believe that you didn’t read the WORDS in the interview. But, if you just want to dismiss my arguments with petty sarcasm (which shows the hollowness of your arguments, rather than a deficiency in my arguments) knock yourself out.

          • TariqOne says:

            Given his market defense of booth babes, disingenuous conflation of objection to tit cards as a puritanical fear of “sex,” the historical dude centrism of his games and defense of same as “gritty realism” and not Barbie world, then yes, I can both RTFA and still conclude his lip service to the possibility that maybe yeah there can possibly be such a thing as too much tits and ass … is just that — bullshit lip service.

            And if you want to be argued with respectfully give it to get it. Or you’re free to breeze in swinging the snark. I won’t complain. I got multiple modes.

          • pipman3000 says:

            @unaco

            how come whenever a game developer says or does something stupid and misogynist you’re always there to defend them?

          • Unaco says:

            @pipman3000

            Where have I defended misogyny? Source/Citation, or get the f*ck out please. Defending something stupid, perhaps, because I might not consider it stupid. But misogyny? Please, provide proof of your accusations, or shut up.

            In my defense, I have never defended misogyny when I’ve seen it, from a developer, a publisher or from a commenter here. In fact, I’ve railed against it. So please, don’t accuse me of defending misogyny without valid proof.

          • Unaco says:

            @tariq

            Multiple modes. No valid arguments.

          • pipman3000 says:

            you’re defending it right now, einstein

            you’re basically the rps’s public defender of all that is shitty and wrong. whenever something stupid could be said you’re always the first one to say it and you’ll defend that stupid thing to the death. nearly every comment thread i can find you losing an argument and somehow thinking you’ve already won, you are the anthropomorphic personification of terrible opinions on everything. i’m not going to say any more because this is dangerously close to flaming.

          • Unaco says:

            Because I don’t think it’s an indisputable fact that that this is an example of misogyny. It’s something that is still open for debate, not clear cut, and I happen to be on the side that it’s not misogyny. Now, want to provide proof that I ALWAYS defend misogyny, please? Or retract the accusation..

            Edit: Just to be clear, there is a difference between defending misogyny, and defending something against accusations of misogyny. I consider myself doing the latter here.

          • pipman3000 says:

            thanks for proving my point by defending the stupid and misogynist things said in this article.

            what do you define as misogyny? i’m getting the vibe you’re one of those guys who doesn’t consider anything sexist unless it’s literally raping and murdering women to death just for being women, loud-mouthed straw-men shouting about how they think women should all die, etc.. you know, the kind of attitude that excuses actual misogyny because “it’s no big deal”.

            please give me an example of some things you think are undeniably misogynist, then another example of something you think is skirting the edge.

          • Unaco says:

            I’m just going to stop now Pipman. You’re turning the argument against me, as a person, rather than on my posts and my points. I have, largely, stayed clear of discussions of misogyny/sexism in games. I avoided the whole Tropes vs Women in Games thing, expressed some disgust at some of the comments in Steam chat, but stayed out of the comments… because threads like that end up with what you’re doing. Turning the argument against me or against the individual, rather than their points. The insinuation of what I view as misogyny is pretty insulting, I find.

            My last word on this… There is a difference, I think, between defending misogyny, and defending against accusations of misogyny. When I see misogyny, and I find the argument that something is misogynistic convincing, I would not defend it (I don’t know where you get these impressions of me and my attitudes towards misogyny and what it is, but provide a source for them though, and we can go from there). Accusations of misogyny, if I don’t find them convincing, I will object to. In this situation, I do not consider the arguments that CDPR are misogynysts convincing, and so I’d defend them against those accusations.

          • gwathdring says:

            Pipman3000? You are being utterly unreasonable and rude. He has a different opinion than you do, and is defending that opinion … not defending “misogyny.” This community has higher standards; show some respect and some common decency.

          • Apples says:

            Unaco what DO you find to be misogyny, if not basically “booth babes own and you guys are all just prudes if you don’t want to see tits”? I mean, the guy straight up says “It is how we are – how we humans behave. It’s all about power, money, and sex. Come on, look at [E3]. Look at the booth babes.” If this is not equating “humans” with “men” and “sex” with “women” then how should this be read? I’m pretty most human women do not just behave in a way where they want to see booth babes.

          • Unaco says:

            I find Booth Babes quite misogynistic, yes. I have problems with them, definitely. But look at what he says directly after your quotes…

            “So [Game of Thrones’ TV producers] can be accused of abusing that”

            He’s acknowledging that it can be abused, as it is in the case of Booth Babes as well, was how I read it. He’s acknowledging that there is a problem, that he does have some discomfort with it, which Tariq originally said wasn’t the case. He doesn’t condone it, or approve it, he acknowledges it. He does express discomfort with it (as should be expressed), but I think Iwinski is arguing that it isn’t a clear cut black and white situation, there are arguments for context, for setting etc., that inclusion of attitudes does not imply approval of those attitudes. That there is some grey area.

          • gwathdring says:

            I guess I’d argue that the sex cards kind of get in the way of his whole context argument. What’s the appropriate fictional context there? What does the meta-game aspect of the cards do that keeps it in the grey area?

            Some of what he said was fine, but he also points out female sorceresses having a lot of power as though that somehow changes things.

            He also says ” […] it could alienate audiences, but you have to look at it from the quality of the product perspective. If it’s overused [in marketing], it probably won’t be a big product anyway.” as though a sexist product is less likely to be well made in other ways or a good product is either less likely to be sexist or less likely to be TOO sexist.

            He generally seems out of touch with the issue. I’m not going to call him misogynist from this interview (and I’ve never seen an interview from him before, either). But he certainly seems to be part of the problem in his own way. If this is how a lot of developers think … then they clearly don’t want to be sexist and understand why its a problem … but don’t quite get it when their actual product is involved.

          • hilltop says:

            I don’t think pipman needed your policing gwathdring. Unaco isn’t a child.

            Nor is Unaco lacking lucidity. You can take a charitable reading of the interview, assume some difficulties with the language on Iwinski’s part and lean towards the side suggesting he isn’t misogynistic.

            But a much plainer reading of the interview doesn’t lead you to that conclusion. Tariq’s point still stands. I can’t help but feel like your fondness for the company is motivating your defensiveness here.

    • Yosharian says:

      None of the sex scenes are forced on you. If you want to tell the various love interests in the game where to get off, you can do – no-one’s stopping you.

      Just bitching for the sake of bitching.

      • TariqOne says:

        Yeah because this its totally about sex scenes. Just like the guy said. Not about depictions of women as marketing commodities.

        Just bitching about bitching for the sake of bitching.

        • pipman3000 says:

          Careful there he might call you out for being a sexually impressed keyboard warmer

        • Yosharian says:

          It quite clearly IS about the sex scenes

          but really, you need to try harder

          • pipman3000 says:

            if you removed the sex scenes the game would still be misogynist as hell HTH

          • TariqOne says:

            It’s it about the sex scenes? Or is it about the fact that there’s no playable girl Geralt? I wish there was any coherence in your jabs at my post. It might make you entertaining to talk to at least.

          • Yosharian says:

            The argument you are trying to make is about the sex scenes. The cards are an irrelevance thrown in to strengthen your argument.

            The only argument you actually have is that Geralt is the only playable character. Which I dealt with in another post.

          • TariqOne says:

            Read my post. I said these guys unabashedly make games for guys and have little regard for women gamers or the way women are treated in gaming culture. I said I, personally, don’t like it.

            You’ve tried everything to turn this into an argument about something, despite the fact that YOU ACTUALLY AGREE WITH ME that they cater to the male market.

            The rest is just you trying ineffectually to somehow poke at me me for not liking it. But I actually appreciate it. Like the guy turning up at the City Council hearing on affirmative action wearing KKK robes, you’re actually doing wonders to illustrate the sort of douchebaggery these guys tacitly encourage.

          • Yosharian says:

            Your post stated ‘treatment of women in gaming culture’.

            Leads to -> there is a problem with the treatment of women in The Witcher games.

            Leads to -> there is a problem with the sex scenes in The Witcher games

            Hence why I wrote that that is what you are attempting to make an argument about.

            However, this is no argument at all because there’s nothing wrong with them. They’re merely depictions of sex, and in Triss & Geralt’s case pretty tasteful ones, even if they’re a little graphic in places. Sex != sexism

            All you basically have is that TW2 is a game about a male character, and thus it’s sexist.

            Which has some merit, but the realities of game development have to be considered for christ’s sake.

          • TariqOne says:

            I’m gonna give you and yourself a little space so you two can carry on this fascinating argument.

            I’ll be over here with the people who make a lick of fucking sense if you need me.

          • hilltop says:

            Impressive gymnastics from Yosharian

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            So, interactions with women are only based in sex. Is that right?

  18. Premium User Badge

    Jackablade says:

    That tribal lady has rather well manicured eyebrows.

  19. D3xter says:

    RPS got TOLD xD

    Props to CDProjekt for standing up for what they believe in and mature media and not giving in just to be considered “politically correct” and satisfy a few writers in the game industry that seemingly can’t stop harping on about “feminism” and evil “sex in games” as if they’re emissaries from the catholic church.

    • TariqOne says:

      It’s funny how many people can’t differentiate between sex and debasement of women. These guys think the objection to their puerile “sex cards” is an objection to sex, rather than an objection to a juvenile reduction of women into collectible sets of bewbs. Speaks volumes.

      It’s the same species of cluelessness as that behind the reply that people who object to Brazilian chain mail bikinis in games don’t like when people are “attractive.”

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        It’s funny how many people can’t differentiate between sex and debasement of women.

        It’s not strange at all. It’s quite revealing, of both personal character and how society treats women.

        • dE says:

          It’s funny though. There’s this quite popular theory in Gender Studies that basically says:
          All sexual intercourse including a male defaults to rape and domination.

          So it seems that in some (relevant to the topic) areas of science, there really is no differentiation between sexual intercourse and debasement of women.

          • hilltop says:

            I appreciate you bringing some scholarly elements into the discussion, but I don’t think that particular aspect of Gender Studies is of any value or legitimacy, in this discussion or otherwise.

            It misrepresents what rape is, muddies the waters and waylays the discussion.

          • gwathdring says:

            That line of academic thought also doesn’t help the unfortunate perception of feminism and gender studies as radical and out-of-touch.

          • Apples says:

            Just want to comment on this because you have grossly misrepresented the meaning of that concept, and people reading it are also taking it at face value and I don’t want people to go away thinking “my god, feminists ARE nuts”. The meaning is not “sex will always be rape” or “men are all rapists”. It was also never said by Dworkin, who it is usually attributed to – although some argue that she heavily implied it, but in either case it is certainly not a popular or well-regarded theory by the majority of feminists.

            The generally accepted meaning of it is that, because of patriarchal society and and pressures/attitudes around sex, and in how women should traditionally behave (submissive, pleasant, agreeable), there is a good case to argue that any instance of heterosexual sex has an element of coercion about it. That is, in patriarchal society with strict gender roles, one cannot make a completely free choice to have sex as a woman, nor can one ever be sure about a woman’s consent as a man. It also means that sex is often presented in media and in cultural exchanges as being based around conquest, domination, etc that calls to mind rape and violence rather than mutual consent. It’s not a literal “MEN EVIL!!” thing, it’s a theoretical “this is a really bad conclusion we can draw from some things we have observed, which shows the harm to both genders of patriarchy and gender roles.”

            It is also NOT a popular theory in feminism, especially not in the form you present it. Nor is gender studies really a science, or if it is it’s a pretty soft one since it focuses a lot on media etc.

          • gwathdring says:

            That’s an important distinction, and a rather fascinating line of argument.

            I wish, however, that even if the argument were to frequently be made exactly as posted in the OP people would still be able to differentiate between feminism, gender theory, and the specific branch of gender theory that holds specific, extreme viewpoints. The common misrepresentation of the idea, I feel, comes more from a tendency to equate all bodies of thought with one extreme or another than from an explicit misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the original idea.

          • hilltop says:

            Thank you Apples. I’m a little less ignorant because of your post.

      • Deano2099 says:

        They weren’t collectible. They’re just a bit of artwork you get instead of a sex scene. You can view them again if you dig through the menu, but there’s no tracking how many you have, no indication if you ‘miss’ one, no achievement for getting them all.

        It so happens that in the US and parts of Europe, cards are associated with being collectibles. In most places, they’re not. They’re just bits of card with art on.

        • Yosharian says:

          Yes but there’s no question that the intention is a feeling of achievement. An ‘I got the card’ sort of thing. I don’t really feel that the cards are defendable, really, they are kind of dumb. I don’t think the intention is to use smut to sell games though, which is the accusation being levelled here. It’s just intended to be a fun mini game to sleep with as many women as possible.

          People who think THAT’s sexist need to wake up and smell the coffee. Every heterosexual man who’s ever existed has thought, at least in passing, of all the women he’s ever slept with and wondered about it in terms of how much of a man he is. That’s just human fucking nature.

          • gwathdring says:

            I’m really not sure how to respond to that, Yosharian, so I’ll stick to the bit I agree with for now.

            I will will agree, on reflection, that the collectibles distinction doesn’t change much. It may be quite possible to think of them as mementos as opposed to collectibles, but they’re still pin-up photograph mementos and the overall feel seems unnecessary and odd to me. I don’t feel like it added anything to the game, and while I am more understanding people defending the sex itself I don’t understand defending the cards.

          • Apples says:

            lol i just commented on how the interviewed man equated “human” with “man”, but here you are doing it too, and being completely blind to any experience but your own at the same time. What you personally do as a man = human nature?

          • Yosharian says:

            Ok, I should have said:

            “It is an example of human nature”

            I did not mean that it was the sum total of human nature. This is just ridiculous how you are trying to crowbar misogyny into my comments.

          • Apples says:

            I find you talking about human nature while only considering the behaviour of men to be problematic. I am not saying you are a misogynist. But the way you wrote that sentence implied that you have a viewpoint on the world that does not automatically include women (over half the population of the world), so that’s not great. If you do not want things to be taken the wrong way, you may want to spend some time considering outside viewpoints, for example that of a reader of your comment, and then modify your writing – or indeed your ideas! – to not say things you don’t want to say.

          • TariqOne says:

            I honestly don’t spend a lot of time wondering how much of a man I am, but hey, I’m sure you’re on to something.

          • Yosharian says:

            It didn’t imply that at all

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            So a mini-game where the male lead “collects women” and “ties to score as much as possible” is not in any way sexist. I’m getting this right?

      • Anabasis says:

        Seriously, those sex cards and the majority of the sexual encounters in W1 are some of the most crass and blatant examples of objectification in games I can think of. From what I remember the majority of these women have no other purpose in the game other than existing so Gerolt can have sex with them.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        I point you to the college girls with fuck-journals, chronicling and grading(the sex obviously) what they did with what guy. Some even have neat letter coding and all.
        So rare of course that it barely existst. Outside of the bit where even John Stewart on The Daily Show now recently made a reference to it.

        But that might not fit into the one-sided world of ONLY MALES ARE SEXIST DICKS?

        I can also link you some articles where women have via the internet pretended to be men, seduced minors, put on a prosthetic penis and proceeded to “force themselves unto” the minors.

        Then there’s the female teachers banging their male students.

        There’s still more, and then there’s more after that.

        Truth is, we’ve long moved past men being the only perpetrators, rapists, debasers, etc.

        But since that inconvenient fact creates a relativity of evil/bad/wroing not being restricted to male behavior, but actually being something HUMANs are sadly capable of, it tends to be forgotten or argued out of the way with “Well yea, but not enough do that so nyer the men are still the mostest evillest so there”.

        Also if we can’t reduce reality to evil only coming from being sexist, why that would mean we’d have to look at more complex items than idiotically irrelevant gaming cards and maybe into actually relevant issues such as upbringing, value systems and social networks and integration.

        Screw that, its tits in games that make the world bad.

        All this reductionist “sexism in videogames” bullshit is starting to make me sick to my stomach. Not for its existance or nonexistance, but for the people so staunchly hitching their waggon to the concept.

        Sexism is not going to go away even if you were to be able to 100% identify and reduce it to infallible and detectable itemized things; removing it from media presence still won’t remove it from social reality, and if you understand and realize that, you only have to take one more step to realize that the real problem sits and lives in reality and therefore must be addressed there, rather than trying to delete/censor/change every too revealing armor/sexist plot/character/etc pp from every game ever.

    • Azriel says:

      Agreed, there is more than enough political correct BS games out, I want a game that is mature and does not hold back any punches to appease some outraged people who have nothing better to do with their time, but ruin things for other people.

  20. faelnor says:

    I’m not entirely comfortable with sex scenes in video games, not because they have no place in the medium but because of how awkward they look and feel. I do think however that The Witcher 2 has the least irritating ones: beyond the still poorly-rendered and animated visuals, these scenes make sense in context and suggest some of the deeper details of character development, good or bad, cliché or not, in Geralt, and Triss for example. In my opinion, they emphasize that both characters are deep down romantic, although Geralt’s weakness is in its easy temptation to collect women and act a strong Casanova, and Triss’ maybe in her poor objectification of her feelings. Or something.

    Still, I thought the dialogue leading to sex + erotic cards achieved a similar effect with more class in the original game.

  21. Universal Quitter says:

    “In the US, it’s pretty much a no-go zone. It explains, for example, why you have a very thriving porn industry”
    “sex cards, European journalists were like “Oh, cool.” And then we showed Witcher 1 to people in the US, and they were like [gasps in an impressively high pitch]”

    To be fair, our journalists are far more controversy-baiting and reactionary than our citizens. Well, somewhat more.

    • gwathdring says:

      It depends on whether you hang with middle-America or spend most of your time in major cities.

  22. Jimbo says:

    The card collecting in TW1 was dumb. ‘The Scene’ in TW2 was always fine.

    • hilltop says:

      I pretty much agree entirely. But his defense of the cards was also dumb.

      A lot of this thread is based on people not getting your cogent distinction.

  23. Faxmachinen says:

    There’s nothing wrong with sex in games in concept, and everything wrong with it in execution. Sex toy is the most common of many female character stereotypes, and that is the only reason games that play on sex are offensive to women.

    Take a drink every time a female character speaks to another female character (but not about a man), and you have the worst drinking game ever. Why is that?

    Now, sex does indeed “just happen”, but getting a postcard about it afterwards is a little weird, don’t you think? I have not played The Witcher, but it does seem to me that a character can’t be very deep when you have to get a picture of her to ease your tally.

  24. Lucretious says:

    Nathan,

    Thanks for challenging this guy when it came to his views on sexism. He seems to not really get it, what with him making market-apologist excuses for booth babes, which certainly makes me less excited about the game. Great interview though.

  25. Laurentius says:

    Wow, now I am not surprised why depiction of women is so problematic in Witcher2, this guy is an ass and actually thinks that’s what makes him smart. It’s so painful to read, he has no clue that sex is not a problem but objectifying women is.
    PS. It is also so hard to believe that he read Sapkowski’s books, if so he didn’t get much out of them. They are not “grimdark” + sex, he’s so shallow that there is big chance that it was his idea to include sex cards in first game, shame that RPS didn’t try to make him admit it.

    • Shooop says:

      You’re thinking of the first Witcher game. The second adds significantly more female NPCs who have more purpose than just being there for Gerald to shag.

  26. Darthus says:

    This is so interesting. My reaction to seeing Nathan’s series of articles is not that he’s “challenging the establishment” but that nearly every piece of news/interviews includes some part of what appears to be his moral/political agenda.

    I would classify myself as a pretty firm “liberal”, but that’s beside the point. Whether it’s commenting on how upset he is about violence in games such as The Last of Us, Sex and sexism in The Witcher, or how “evil” big faceless corporations are, the agenda appears to always be there.

    I, like many others, appreciate the difficult questions and putting people on the “hot seat.” But can the questions please be in the interest of encouraging better games in the global sense rather than trying to conform the industry to his political agenda?

    How would we react if he was asking the Mass Effect team if they were ashamed to put in homosexual relationships that damage the sanctity of marriage or if he was criticizing the Witcher for including “witchcraft” which is a sin and an affront to God? I think it’s important not to confuse “hard hitting journalism” with the journalist having a moral agenda or just trying to stir up controversy.

    • pipman3000 says:

      There’s quite a bit of difference between being appalled that sex exists and asking someone to quit treating 51% of the world as objects for gamers to masturbate to.

      It’d be more like if Mass Effect 3’s only gay character was a lisping limp-wristed rapist who sneakily tries to infect Sheperd with HIV by slipping his penis in Shep’s mouth when they’re sleeping, and whenever someone complained Bioware would accuse them of being bigots who hate the idea of a gay character even existing.

      • Smion says:

        Surely, more believable, more sympathetic and all in all better written characters that serve a purpose other than to be something for people to drool over is a good thing?
        Edit: meant for Darthus’ comment

      • Azriel says:

        Sorry, I thought this was a mature game, not a disney game that you want.

        • hilltop says:

          I do see how the opposite side of the argument to the one you are standing on is Disney. Point well made.

        • pipman3000 says:

          old disney or modern disney?

        • pipman3000 says:

          lol yes your adolescent power-fantasy is actually for mature adults not dumb teenagers who get picked on at school who can relate to an ugly loser nobody likes who gets to murder jocks and bullies

    • nmute says:

      he may have an agenda. but then, you have several. one in each paragraph!

    • hilltop says:

      This comment is a little disturbing. Nathan carries out a few excellent and refreshingly frank interiews and you warn him of pursuing an agenda.

      He persists on the topic of sexism in video games for a couple of questions and you compare this to a scenario involving a hypothetical homophobic journalist. Interesting how you got there. We’d best not question the sexist based on our totally arbitrary notion of equality for the sexes, because that’s the same as homophobia…

      What is distressing you so much? He is bringing up questions the readership would – by and large, I think – like to see asked in an unswerving manner.

      As a consumer, I’m glad to know who I support with my wallet. Your claim that the interviews are being morally informed and that this is somehow terrible doesn’t seem sincere.

      • Azriel says:

        Actually, I have been seeing a trend on gaming sites to be hard on any game with anything offensive to women lately. This feels more like getting on the bandwagon to get page counts with something he knows will create controversy than any real journalist integrity by the way the article is biased.

        • hilltop says:

          Instead of choosing to view this as a laudable cultural shift that will hopefully mature the way we talk about games, you try to portray things in a negative light – for whatever reason.

          If you want interviews to be carried out in a totally amoral vacuum, that’s your business. I’m not suggesting people be judged in the interviews but it is totally worthwhile to sketch out what an interviewee actually thinks about the issues raised in their game/games at large.

          If a game was blatantly racist or portrayed certain nationalities in a persistently negative light, it would be worth asking developers what they think about that. If games shoehorn women into particular roles, it is wort asking what developers think about that.

          Your revulsion that an “agenda” is being pursued really doesn’t hold up. Not because there is no agenda – Nathan and the rest of us live in a world with ethics. Of course some questions are going to be informed by these values. Some questions will try to draw out the values of the developers. This is worthwhile.

          Simply asking these questions doesn’t cheapen the interview.

          Except for you, I suppose. I’m not even clear what your ideal interview would look like. Could you sketch out how an interview that brings up these issues would go, if you and your hypothetical agenda-less interviewer were running it?

          EDIT: On re-reading your post, I notice how you try to jam together the idea that websites not including any material offensive to women (confident you can be proven wrong here BTW) is revealing of a bias…

        • Faxmachinen says:

          Well, about fucking time.

  27. pipman3000 says:

    i wouldn’t mind this shit half as much if they quit pretending it is deep thought provoking emotional stuff for mature adults and just admitted it’s there so horny nerds can get their jerk on in between killing tons of dudes. seriously, fucking sex cards? what am i playing all of a sudden? yu-gi-oh-face? they should of atleast had a purpose like in a minigame or something lol

    “ha, by having your witch with her tits out attack my naked elven woman you unknowingly triggered my trap card! look like your victory…. was snatched away.”

    • pipman3000 says:

      oh shut up of course someone from an AMMERICAN site like rps would object to our sexual pandering you’re all prudes and brutes who can’t tolerate our genius!!

      wait you’re telling me rps is british?

      • hilltop says:

        Indeed! I found it odd that Europeans were apparently fine with the exquisite and sophisticated sex cards whereas the juvenile Americans simply couldn’t bear the taboo.

        Surely they got criticism from EU sources too?

      • Premium User Badge

        Malibu Stacey says:

        This just in: Replying to your own comments doesn’t make you look clever (if anything, the reverse is true).

    • TariqOne says:

      /salute

    • Azriel says:

      You have issues.

  28. MichaelPalin says:

    We’re not using things like sex for cheap tricks and draw some male audience to that.

    Didn’t these guys put Triss on Playboy?

  29. pipman3000 says:

    why don’t games and movies ever show ugly people having ugly sex. why doesn’t it game and movie sex ever have ugly sex sounds like sweaty fat folds slapping together and climaxes that sound like a pig squelling, it’s all beautiful people having perfect beautiful sex instead of ugly folks like me having gross imperfect sex.

    i can relate to two plain or even ugly folks having regular sex instead of this crap in games where it’s two real dolls bumping into each other and nobody farts.

  30. Sauerkraut says:

    Semi-relevant Draper monologue, go! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmQqpPwxfoA

    Anyway. Winski’s defense is pretty decent. Most of Geralt’s encounters with the fair sex were pretty decent, too; that sorceress who wasn’t Triss, the dragon, that traitorous elf, most of Ves’ romance, the female troll, etc. That still doesn’t negate the silly scenes that existed for fap and fap only.

    Succubus, anyone?

    • shizamon says:

      This is basically where I’m coming from too. Sure there were sex scenes, but it isn’t like this game is on the same level as Duke Nukem Forever or anything. And what if women and men want to occasionally sexually objectify themselves?

      I think that the comments are more upset at how the interview played out rather than the actual game as a whole, but I could be wrong.

      • Apples says:

        I think you don’t understand what sexual objectification is. It’s not “looking sexy” or “feeling sexy” – it’s not a positive thing. Sexual objectification is when you are made into an ‘object’ by the viewer, i.e. your wishes and feelings are disregarded, only your physical form is important, and often only parts of your form (look up examples of ‘dismemberment’ in advertising). I can’t really go into examples without typing for fifty years and posting a ton of pictures but this has been discussed a lot in media analysis, gender studies etc so if you’re interested you can find the info easily probably! For quick examples, I think that things like Twilight (which seem absolutely ludicrous to men even though Edward and Jacob are equivalents to the female characters which pop up in nearly every blockbuster movie) come kind of close to showing objectification of men, or how gay men often get treated in fandom. Would you want to be seen in those ways, and would you find it reasonable for women to demand that you looked that way? Welp, somehow most people find it reasonable to demand that female athletes wear high heels in adverts and that female superheroes perform back-breaking twists to show both their boobs and ass on movie posters – that’s objectification, not just being sexy.

        What I’m saying is, you may want to feel sexy, but you never want to be objectified. And in the game, most of the women are not someone you would want to be, because they are not powerful or self-determining or anything we find good in a video game character – they’re just things the powerful, self-determining player acts upon.

        • shizamon says:

          Hey, just went looking for your post on “objectivity” and found it..right under mine..derp. Yes I do see where you’re coming from with that. I guess that I think it’s unrealistic that anyone can totally objectify someone: not see them as a person still. So I guess I’ve never objectified the way that you mean it.

          And although I know I’ll regret this, I actually read the Twilight books and kinda enjoyed them, although they were shallow/poor writing in quite a few areas.

        • gwathdring says:

          Objectification in games is, I think, somewhat more complicated than in other mediums. In many senses, objectification and simplification of various characters and ideas is an essential part of most games. Consider this:

          http://media.pcgamer.com/files/2011/06/Batman-Arkham-City-one-armed-goon-has-CLAW.jpg

          What we have here is one character, the player agent, and several objects. Punching bags with voice boxes. Some of the things you do to them would be downright horrible if you did not, as a player, objectify them and reduce their humanity. To a certain extent, we objectify even the player-character–we throw our character into situations that would be too traumatic or dangerous if we were actually possessing the body of that character.

          I don’t want to trivialize sexual objectification, and I understand the issues of societal context. There isn’t a widely held societal context in which running around beating people up while dressed as a bat is considered ok and natural so there isn’t the issue of reinforcing negative gender politics at stake. Nor am I trying to conflate the issues of sexism in games with violence in games. But this line of discussion has me thinking about a broader topic.

          Where do we draw the line, exactly? With objectification as a natural and integral part of games, at what point should be be disturbed by our capacity to make these characters inhuman? At what point should we be disturbed by any fantasy that eliminates empathy through objectification?

          • corver says:

            I’d just like to say thank you to Apples and gwathdring for being clear and furthering discussion on this topic instead of letting it remain in the mire that so many of the other participants seem content to wallow in. It would be nice if all discussion about the portrayal of women would occur on this level instead of devolving into accusations, insults, assumptions, and misunderstandings. Explanations and some measure of empathy for opposing viewpoints certainly help a lot.

          • gwathdring says:

            I think Apples has been doing a much better job than I have as to being clear and furthering discussion. Thanks, though. I do try, at least. :)

        • Shooop says:

          I completely understand what you’re saying here and I’m impressed by how well you put it into so few words.

    • Apples says:

      Hint: if you’re trying to say something about women, you probably shouldn’t start off by calling them “the fair sex”.

  31. molten_tofu says:

    Witcher 1 was basically your classic boobs fest of an RPG when it came to women, so f*ck that context argument. Seriously, there were so many boobs just hanging around in that game, I consciously avoided playing it around my girlfriend (she would have openly mocked it, and I have a hard enough time convincing her video games are cool).

    If you are going to consciously include sex in the game, you can do all that nice nice stuff CD Projekt *said* about complexity and context, OR you can *actually have* it just be fetch quests that boil down to TF2-hats-but-more-useless achievements. NOT both.

    Also f*ck that argument that americans are all still puritans – you should check yourself about *why* some of said americans had that reaction you characterize as up-tight. Lemme jog your memory: Eastern Promises wasn’t about protestants from Minnesota. *drops the mic*

    • kud13 says:

      Eastern Promises also had nothing to do w/ Poland.

      contrary to popular belief, Eastern Europe is not one big happy “Commie Land”, and people here have diff opinions and such.
      Shocking I know.

    • hilltop says:

      Good comment until the parting shot. Everything before that pretty much still stands though.

  32. Yosharian says:

    A lot of sexually repressed keyboard warriors commenting on this topic, pretty funny.

    Iwinski, if you’re reading this:

    NEVER CHANGE.

    • gwathdring says:

      Ah, see some of them are sexually repressed. But some of them just aren’t at a point where sexual activity needs to be a major part of their lives. Also some of them found your surveillance equipment and just thought it was kind of creepy to engage in sexual activities while someone was watching. Your data is off, as a result.

      • Yosharian says:

        Well nobody is forcing them to play this game, or indeed to partake in the sexual stuff if they do play the game (apart from that tiny bit at the start of TW2 which frankly is hardly hardcore grade porno).

        This whole comments section just reeks of people complaining that a game about X isn’t a game about Y. No, this game isn’t about women’s rights or modern relationships. It isn’t about feminism. It’s a fucking fantasy RPG, and yes it’s made primarily for men. Cry me a fucking river.

        • Smion says:

          The thing is, according to you, The Witcher is more or less about being sexist in a lazy attempt at being gritty. I’m not saying that sexism isn’t something you can have in your game, but if you decide to put it in, you shouldn’t be surprised when people call you out for handling it in a less than stellar way.

          • Yosharian says:

            Shrug, I don’t think it’s ‘lazy’ to have realistic sexual interactions in a fantasy RPG game as part of the setting and the character’s development.

            I think the real issue here is that sex is still a no-go area for most American and a lot of European (especially British, christ I should know) people. They just can’t deal with it. Have to throw the sexist card at it.

          • hilltop says:

            Shrug, I don’t think it’s ‘realistic’ to have lazy sexual interactions in a fantasy RPG game that doesn’t further the character’s development.

            I think the real issue here is that maturity is still a no-go area for most American and a lot of European (especially British, christ I should know) people. They just can’t deal with it. Have to throw the “realistic” card at it.

        • Faxmachinen says:

          I don’t want to play a game about women’s rights, but giving the female characters more depth than your hand would be nice. Otherwise I might as well just watch random porn.

    • pipman3000 says:

      look robin it’s the misogynist symbol! to the predditor mobile!

      • gwathdring says:

        … I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean.

      • Yosharian says:

        Just a poor attempt at trolling, but I’ll bite anyway.

        I’m not a misogynist, I have nothing against women at all. I don’t base my views on women on the way Witcher 2 represents historical views on women. I don’t base my treatment of women on the way Witcher 2 treats women. Witcher 2 is a game. I enjoyed most of it, and the bits I didn’t like (which by the way included some of the sexual stuff and a lot of the violence) I ignored as they were but bits of flotsam floating upon tidal wave of awesomeness.

        A mature individual doesn’t base his views and treatment of half the human on the experience of a fucking videogame, and doesn’t get angry when it doesn’t represent his views in very small, unimportant ways.

        A keyboard warrior like you, and yes that’s what you are, goes onto an online forum to decry one videogame as the end of the fucking world because it showed a few titties.

        • D3xter says:

          I object to your use of the word “keyboard warrior” to try and debase people, but it is pretty much the same argument as “Violence in video games rots childrens brains and turns everyone into a psychopathic murderer!” that some of these same people were fighting over for years and years on the opposite side of the issue if you boil it down, isn’t it?

          • Yosharian says:

            @D3xter: well if I understand your comment correctly then yes, that’s what they’re trying to say. Whereas I think it really doesn’t matter, it’s a bit of fun. I guess what I’m saying, to try to bring this back to the original article, is that you really can’t compare a bit of flesh in a videogame to the whole booth babes thing, because Witcher 2 is just a game, where as the booth babes is a real thing affecting real people. You want to bitch about sexism, go complain about booth babes. Which btw I think is an awful, tired and pathetic marketing ploy and I’m sick of seeing it.

            @TariqOne: yes I will admit I have been drawn into a bit of a comments war here but only because I hate to see a favourite game/developer of mine being thrown to the lions for what is basically misinterpretations and downright lies. So I guess my response is: you started it. Mature, eh?

            @pipman3000: eloquent.

          • hilltop says:

            Your favourite developer (and one of mine, too) did a fairly poor job of defending himself against some pretty mild questions. You yourself just came out far more clearly against booth babes than he did in the interview.

            He’s not going to become a pauper overnight just because this is pointed out. We will still get the next CDProjekt game. And we won’t have to pretend he’s come off well in this interview either.

        • TariqOne says:

          This from the guy flailing around with his keyboard zweihander as much as anyone here.

          It’s always such a wonderful if empty tactic, vociferously complaining that people are “complaining” by expressing views in a forum set up for expression of views. You’d be superior if you were actually any different from anyone here. Too bad you’re just one of us assholes.

          • Laurentius says:

            But why weren’t you so eloquent when RPS discussed TW2 in WIT and The Verdict ? You said you don’t like the character and not going to play it etc… Somehow now game is all about sexism and actually players that like it value it mainly for it and for it alone. Somehow that’s not how RPS judged that game.

          • TariqOne says:

            Right now I’m slagging this guy for his deeply disingenuous comments and his company’s (thus far) disregard for women gamers and women in games. I’ve also slagged off Geralt for being an unlikeable douchebag and The Witcher games for dumbing down and consolizing RPGs as bad as or worse than have the BioWare games.

            But yeah, I’m a hypocrite in that I’ve purchased and keep trying to play both Witcher games, but between not being able to jump off most curbs, let alone roll a non-detestable character or encounter anything truly emotionally resonant, I’ve never been able to make it more than halfway through either. I’ll probably also buy their Cyberpunk 2020 reboot so I-WIn-Ski here is really going to live up to his name.

          • Laurentius says:

            If you look above at my comment, I’m slugging his guy as well for almost the same reasons plus his completely disregard for source material and general shallowness but that doesn’t mean Witcher games are “all about it” and that what has “made them popular”. Comparison to your precious Bioware games is anecdotic, so Geralt is a douchbag but in the end doesn’t have to kill everyone, even three main opponents unlike your favorite customizable “genocide” Hawke that is unable not to kill three dozens people when leaving home for shopping or Shepard who certainly has so high human kill count in ME3 that many Reapers must be jealous of her/him. So yeah dumbing down and consolization …

        • pipman3000 says:

          lol there you go with that word again.

          ” Know, O prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Geocities and the gleaming sites, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars – 4chan, Facebook, Kotaku, Google, Something Awful with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Tumblr with its chivalry, Tvtropes that bordered on the pastoral lands of Reddit, Eurogamer with its shadow-guarded tombs, Snopes whose riders wore steel and silk and gold. But the proudest kingdom of the world was RPS , reigning supreme in the dreaming west.

          Hither came Pipman the Keyboard Warrior, black-haired, sullen-eyed, mouse in hand, a liberal, a nerd, a gamer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.”

      • shizamon says:

        I still don’t get how sexual objectification of women equates to the hatred of women (misogyny). I’m not trying to say that women have no issues with this, nor that they don’t face struggles based upon their sex, but I can’t make the connection that if I want to see my wife as a sexual object at times, it makes me have a hatred of women?

        • Yosharian says:

          It’s actually pretty funny.

        • Apples says:

          Do you also get super mad when people use the word homophobia, because they’re not actually SCARED of gay people?
          Also if you see your wife as a sexual object rather than a sexual person or a sexual partner (see my post above about objectification) then yes, I do think that is a problem.

          • shizamon says:

            Well it’s not like I see her as a sexual object all the time. Like when we’re going for a hike, or getting groceries, etc. And I could use the term sexual partner or others you used interchangeably with the term “object”, I chose “object” because I’ve seen the argument that objectifying women equates to misogyny. And because during sex that is what partners view each other as, even if only briefly.

          • Yosharian says:

            Christ, no it isn’t, get a grip. If you think your wife has a nice ass, you’re a bad person? Jesus.

            Everyone objectifies at some point. It’s how that fits into your overall frame of reference that determines ‘sexism’.

          • Apples says:

            I don’t think it is, though. Like, when you’re having sex with your wife, is she for that moment interchangeable with any other woman? Would you rather she were replaced with [insert hot actress here]? Do you, while having sex with her, also care about her needs and what she finds pleasurable? If so then you’re not viewing her as an object, but as a normal, sexual person. Sex is not necessarily degrading and it doesn’t necessarily reduce the partner to an object. If you want to use that terminology, you can do, but it’s loaded with more meaning and denigration than you attribute to it, so you may want to be aware of that when using it.

            edit: Yosharian you are (as in most of your other comments!) not getting it. Admiring someone’s body is not necessarily objectification either. You can admire their body WITHOUT REDUCING THEM SOLELY TO A BODY. If we were not capable of doing this then we would literally pair up with the person with the sexiest body and during sex would just fantasise about the sexiest body we can think of, and surely even you have to admit this is not how human relationships work.

          • shizamon says:

            She’s definitely not interchangeable.

            I guess it’s just that since the tropes vs. women vs. video games article, I’ve been researching the subject and a lot of the content on wikipedia and some femenist websites is confusing. Because as it is, it makes it sound like it’s very easy to mistake attraction to women (and first time attraction is almost always visual) for hatred of women. And that is probably why there is so much uproar about the subject from a large amount of the male population.

          • Apples says:

            Oh yeah, I totally agree. Obviously I can’t say I fully understand a male experience of feminism, but I can see how it must be really difficult to get to grips with it and not to feel like it’s a criticism or just plain mental, especially when “finding women attractive” is pretty mixed up with “making women objects”. It is complicated and subtle and feminists will have huge arguments amongst themselves over whether this thing or that thing is objectification or empowerment or god knows what so yeah, if you’re kind of just starting out researching it’s probably baffling. This post sounds kind of patronising but I don’t mean it that way, sorry if it comes across badly!

          • shizamon says:

            No, definitely not. Thanks for the explanations, they help.

          • Angel Dust says:

            Apples, just posting here to let you know that your posts in this thread have been enlightening and thought provoking. Really made me understand some things at least.

          • Yosharian says:

            Ugh.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      my keyboard is pretty liberal, I use it with a mouse, a graphics tablet, and sometimes an xbox controller

    • Shooop says:

      They do have a few valid points though.

      The first Witcher’s cards were wholly unnecessary. They didn’t serve any purpose other than the equivalent of a frat-boy high five.

      The second game however thankfully handled sexuality much, much more tastefully and sensibly. Female NPCs suddenly served more purpose than being seduced by Gerald, and several played extremely important roles in the story – most without ever taking their clothes off and none doing ridiculous acrobatics in bondage gear.

      Iwinski is spot-on about the E3 “booth babes”. It’s almost hilarious how hypocritical we are about making sex a marketing strategy but then going “hush-hush” whenever it appears in the very games being promoted by putting women in revealing outfits and having them stand around. It’s like a bizzaro world double standard – real flesh and blood women being used as advertisements= A-OK, virtual women being shown topless= SCANDAL! SAVE THE CHILDREN!

      That is in fact objectification – those women are being used as nothing more than advertisements designed to attract young male customers. The Witcher’s cards were objectification – they served no purpose other than just titillation.

      But fortunately it looks like CD Projekt has grown up. Even though they didn’t admit it.

  33. bulekman says:

    Ahh so much buttclenching. Come on nerds take a break.

  34. ScottHarrigan says:

    Game of Thrones is modeled after real medieval politics and life. The truth is it was male dominated and many women were largely treated like possessions. There is also the fact that sex happens as fearful as many people are to admit that fact. Game of Thrones and Witcher are adult oriented games and the inclusion of sex does not de-legitimize them. I believe them when they say it is not just a cheap gimmick. Ironically, the movie about the sperm heist is probably going to do really well among video games fans.

    http://www.videodetective.com/movies/the-babymakers/266886#.T-N3PrWCp-c

    • Anabasis says:

      The political and social world in Game of Thrones isn’t modeled on medieval reality, it’s based on George R. R. Martin’s interpretation of the evidence. This is an important distinction since there isn’t really a consensus among historians on this subject which is far more nuanced and complicated than people seem to think (the same goes for medieval gender relations). Also this obsession with gratuitous sex is far from adult (try explaining to someone who hasn’t heard of the Witcher how accumulating nudie cards to celebrate your sexual exploits is mature with a straight face). This obsession with “adult” content is quintessentially adolescent; a truly adult game would involve making hard but mundane choices about your career, your relationships, and saving for your kids to go to college and stuff like that, and would probably involve a lot less swords and magic.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        it’s based on George R. R. Martin’s interpretation of the evidence

        Not even that. It’s an original fantasy world based loosely on parts of medieval Europe. It’s intended to be “gritty” rather than historical fiction of any kind.

        You’re entirely correct that history is far from an exact science. Views among historians about the middle ages have changed significantly over the past 50-100 years. Once you get past the well-established names and dates of nobility and wars, you have to piece all the details together from the relatively few surviving documents.

        • Anabasis says:

          True enough; I suppose I’m just being generous in my assumption that G.R.R. Martin did a decent amount of research to base his novels on.

          And yes, no one (in spite of what those jerks at the University of Chicago think) would claim that history is a science anymore. Furthermore, the evidence we do have is highly ideological in character, and therefore doesn’t reflect the realities of life in the middle ages, and must be interpreted by the historian/modern reader. Really, there’s no such thing as objective historical truth when it comes to the Middle Ages.

          But other people who’ve posted on this subject are right. How closely the Witcher adheres to historical accuracy (it doesn’t at all) is irrelevant to it’s sexist elements which are entirely the creation of the game’s makers. As someone who works on the Middle Ages I just get sandy when people try to use “that’s how it was in the dark ages!” as an excuse for their garbage because most of the time they have no idea what they’re talking about.

          • pipman3000 says:

            In the future people will defend their favorite games bigotry by saying it really was that bad during the year 2012. It doesn’t matter what bigotry it is or if it really was that bad because appeals to history never change.

            It’ll give you something to think about when you’re a head in a jar watching your half space slug great-x1000 children playing Modern Warfare MXVI: Still Set In Iraq

          • Anabasis says:

            I like to think that by that point they’ll have dropped all pretense and started calling it Modern Warfare: Cheer-leading Western Neo-Imperialism.

    • nmute says:

      ASOIAF is “modeled” after a hundred fantasy books that were ostensibly modeled on a romanticized view of the dark ages. i appreciate the use of “modeled”, though, as it allows freedom to pick and choose which parallels adhere to history and which ones don’t.

      in these discussions it generally ends up being used to illustrate why women in gaming (and other) narratives are so often treated like whores or nags, while waving away the presence of dragons and magic.

      there’s nothing historical or respectable about any of it, and i say this as a fan of asoiaf. it’s pulp; formulaic, addictive and designed to move in bulk.

      i’ve boycotted The Witcher, but have been unable to ignore all the adulation heaped on it at every turn by the many fans and obliviously-privileged women-hating toadies out there. from what i gather, TW is about as historical as the fur ball my cat puked out two days ago.

  35. MistyMike says:

    My dream The Witcher game is more of a ‘witcher simulator’.

    Instead of putting Geralt in the middle of a political intrigue/ linear storyline, I’d like to see more of a ‘day in the life of the witcher’ kind of thing, as described in Sapkowski’s works. Instead of playing Geralt, the player would create their own witcher (or witcheress), choose their skills, mutations and their tradeoffs etc. Then off you go, out of Caer Morhen, across the land in search of witcher contracts. Upon finding one, the witcher performs an investigation into the monster sighting, interviews witnesses (interpersonal skills come into play), examines corpses of victims, looks for traces in the wilds and negotiates his payment. If he decides the monster is in his skill range, the battle itself should be more like an elaborate boss fight, instead of hacky-slashy. Preparations are important, like elixirs and equipment. After killing the beast, Witch can invest his earnings into alchemical ingredients, witchering gear etc and hit the trail again.

    One can only dream. Or make their own rouguelike based on the idea (hint, hint).

    • TariqOne says:

      So in other words you have a dream that someone will make an actual Witcher RPG as opposed to an Action-Combat Narrative Experience With Choices?

      /Wizardry

      • MistyMike says:

        More or less. The Witcher 2 is essentially a Gothic style action-rpg, the complicated nature of many of the quests, crafting options etc doesn’t really put it in the same league as Mass Effect.

        Adding more open-endedness would suit better the idea of playing as a monster-hunter for hire. Of course it doesn’t mean the game couldn’t have a narrative-driven main quest with all the ‘make your choices’ stuff. Skyrim merges the sandbox element with a pretty epic main story line. It would just be nice to have the general framework I mentioned. The monster contracts would be procedurally-generated, natch.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I like it. I’m entirely indifferent to the Witcher source material, having never read any of it, but that certainly sounds like a good setup for an interesting game. Though I’d nix the action combat and make the research/preparation the main gameplay.

  36. Shiny says:

    I don’t understand why appealing to fundamental human instincts is “utterly archaic”. If there’s anything that’s archaic, it’s asexual chivalry. This is the era of universal access to any type of porn you want, fading religious influence, and hookups. Sex is everywhere, like in the film Idiocracy. Why would it not be associated with video games, too?

    It’s certainly not any less archaic than the dominance of violent, combat-focused games at E3. There’s a game-buying audience that is a certain demographic. You are a company chasing their dollars. Do you a) appeal to their sensibilities with sex, violence, competition, action, special effects or b) appeal to the sensibilities of concerned writers?

  37. Branthog says:

    The thing I hate most about this subject is it always starts and ends with a bunch of idiots throwing around words they don’t understand. Like calling the disrespect toward *a* woman in a game or the depiction of women, or the interest in attractive women, or skimpily clad women, or women as objects of sexual interest . . . as MISOGYNY.

    Let’s be clear on one thing — because people NEVER GET THIS RIGHT in these discussions where they try to equate “I like sex with women and I like attractive women and sometimes I say things that aren’t respectful towards women (and I probably say things that aren’t respectful to a lot of people but it has little to do with any sort of classification)”.

    SEXIST: Someone who believes that one sex is inferior to another. Liking tits doesn’t mean you think women are inferior.

    MISOGYNY: The sibling of misandry. As in, THE HATRED OF WOMEN. I can not think of once instance in any game I have ever played — or even all of the dispicable comments I have heard people make online while playing games — that approaches actual MISOGYNY.

    So lets quit throwing these fucking words around. They’re the equivalent of throwing out “you’re a racist”, just to end a conversation. Because, hey, once you throw that out there — you don’t need to justify or qualify it. You win the conversation. The person you tagged with that words loses.

    Just earlier today, I watched a review of Lollipop Chainsaw by some guy at IGN who called it “misogynistic”. It’s pretty sad when even supposed journalists covering gaming can’t get that right. (Lollipop is definitely a parody and perhaps exploits sexuality a bit, but calling it ‘misogynistic’ is just absolutely fucking absurd. The word does NOT mean “sexually caters to, panders to, or manipulates males”.

    • TariqOne says:

      This sort of jowl-spluttering, demi-informed, self-satisfied, dictionary.com-semantic-level-setting pedantry may well have been useful hours ago when the conversation was getting underway. Given we’ve moved well, well beyond a kind of basal discussion of agreed-upon terminology, and deep into the meat of things, this just comes across as, well, jowly and pedantic.

      Thanks, though. Sorta.

    • hilltop says:

      I think you missed the bit where people use the word to mean more than just hatred of women.

      Apples said it best a few posts up asking if “homophobia” bothers you as much even though people aren’t literally scared of gay men.

  38. Nameless1 says:

    I seriously think you RPS guys have some sex phobia or something similar.
    It is becoming embarassing.

    OMGOMG they’re using female sexuality to attract male audience, what an aberration!
    Are you serious?

    • pipman3000 says:

      truly anyone who is grossed out by adolescent pandering is just an old sex-hating prude

      just like people who think minstrel shows are bad really just hate seeing black people

      • pipman3000 says:

        i’d be happy if rps posted about all the tasteful/mature depictions of sexuality in gaming. i think the only reason there isn’t an article like that here right now is because there are none yet. well there might be some in visual novels or something but i know how much rps hates japan. any visual novel fans know if depictions of sex is better there or not?

        • Treymoney says:

          I don’t know anything about visual novels, but I do know a little about Japan so my guess is no.

    • Anabasis says:

      Haha, whatever; I’m so pro-sex it’s ridiculous!

  39. arkestry says:

    There’s something wrong with you if you think depictions of sex have no place in fiction or art, and there’s something wrong with you if you think titillation has any place in fiction or art. (Art that isn’t porn, that is. It’s beside the point to argue if intended jerking material can be art or not––some obviously is fiction by definition, but that can be excluded from what I referred to above as fiction.) Isn’t this basically how everyone feels? What a weird distinction not to make explicit on Marcin’s or Nate’s part, but I guess Marcin basically comes down on the slightly pro-titillation side with the hormones comment? Ugh. I think the sex in the Witcher 2 and ASOIAF largely fall into the former category while the Witcher’s ridiculous sex cards are in the latter. Game of Thrones is a mixed bag, though sadly, given much of the rest of the show’s quality, leaning toward titillation.

    Even if sex adds to the plot and is logical, etc., I think elements of titillation should be removed. To paraphrase Orson Welles explaining why he didn’t show sex in his films, you can make a masterpiece of fiction, or you can make a masterpiece of pornography, but the ends and the experiences of story-telling and eroticism are so different that to include them together just lets them work against each other to diminish the whole. What’s the idea behind Bioware’s sex scenes or the Witcher’s sex cards? Am I supposed to put down the controller and start wanking? Maybe I’m alone in not being interested in being titillated sans payoff, but I doubt it.

    A good way to solve this problem of showing sex without titillating is to have female characters look realistic rather than bursting out of their tops. The way most video game/action adventure movie/show female characters look, anything they do is titillating. A better way is to not shoehorn love interests into everything.

    P.S. I actually think the rise of sex in premium cable is due to people (mostly older gals, I imagine) who aren’t comfortable watching James Deen but are comfortable with the next best thing and use Jon Hamm and Rich Madden to pad their spank bank.

    P.P.S. As an aside, what the fuck would sex be like if you didn’t watch porn? And given that super-widespread porn watching by an entire generation is relatively new, how has this affected our sex lives? Are we boxed in, making real sex more artificial and porn-like, losing the creativity of our ancestors, or are we all gods of love compared to they who hadn’t watched hundreds of strangers fuck for every real one?

    • hilltop says:

      Good comment, but I don’t know quite how necessary it was for Nathan to spell that out. Opining that booth babes are problematic surely doesn’t need to be prefaced with “sex in art is appropriate”. Fairly obvious, I think.

      It’s good to see what CDProjekt-man thinks of these things. I don’t think he addressed some of Nathan’s issues well. And his claim that the market will weed these sorts of things out if people stop buying is a bit superficial.

      Sometimes it takes more energy to achieve the culture shift in the first place, before markets follow.

    • wererogue says:

      While I definitely appreciate the intent of this comment, I really don’t think that “no titillation” is a great rule. Titillation can be great! And, to be honest, even male gaze-y cameras can be great. But there are a few caveats:

      1. Sexy content isn’t for everyone, and you definitely alienate some potential players.
      2. Titillation isn’t just for men. The *best* erotic material is appealing to lots of types of viewers. So the male gaze can be a great tool for a camera artist – it’s just that for the piece to be enjoyed by many, it’d be nice to have some female gaze in there too, and some more neutral content that showcased a more objective view of the scene.
      3. This stuff is hard to do, because we learn from the work of our predecessors, and it’s overwhelmingly male-focused. So if you don’t think that you’re going to be able to make your sexy content inclusive, either cut it out, hire an expert, or just own up that you couldn’t do it – preferably while releasing your failed attempts with a post-mortem, for other people to learn from.\
      4. As mentioned elsewhere in the comments here, the context of the titillation is important – if the players don’t have a deep connection to the events beyond the sex, and/or the sex is just shoehorned in for a bit of excitement, then you might as well skip it.

  40. Eddy9000 says:

    Yeah, I’m glad the interviewer stuck to his line of questioning. To be honest I found the interviewees opinions so blinkered and ignorant that I’m going to think twice about buying their games. The new hitman on the other hand, wow, I really wanted to buy it but after the nun trailer I don’t think I could play it through without feeling like a jerk for supporting that kind of shit financially.

    • Azriel says:

      and nothing was lost.

      • hilltop says:

        Nothing would be lost if you stopped giving your opinion either.

    • hilltop says:

      I agree, but in many respects CDProjekt is still one of the best out there. I wouldn’t want them to attribute their reduction in sales (hypothetically, obviously) to something absurd like lack of Drm or too much choice in their games or something. Obviously it’s a nonsequitor but, you know, “game industry logic” and all that.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I will never understand people like you.

      When you can’t create overdone characters and settings in a medium that strongly resides in a fantasy realm anymore, is all that we have left thought-policed, politically correct, pre-approved, paneled plots, characters, actions or what?

      I still take the stance that if a woman wants to become a high-heeled assassin in a nun outfit and does so willingly and makes a good living out of it in a male-assassin dominated world, good on her.

      I sooooo wish you’d boycott stuff for DRM or suing potential customers rather than not being able to fit the thought into your head that a woman could be a freaky looking assassin without that being the pinnacle of sexploitation, or, even if I were to give you that 100%, it being in any way a relevant reflection of reality or impacting it more than you as the gamer CHOOSE to let it.

      Obviously you chose to let it fluster you completely.

      I hope you do realize that increased chances of a man playing that and then going up to all women henceforth with “Where’s your high-heels and sexy nun outfit hyuckhyuck” is a prejudiced sexist assumption against men, rather than helping the defense against sexism towards women.

      • hilltop says:

        Who are you talking to
        and why are you creating a caricature of the point you’re arguing against
        and why are you making assumptions that I don’t boycott DRM
        and why are you assuming I’m a little disturbed by Iwinski’s attitude because of the imagined impact on men as opposed to any more obvious more relevant reason?

  41. AdmiralAckbar says:

    This is irritating to read. His game couldn’t possibly be sexist, it’s sorceresses have immense power! Must just be prudish american’s afraid of sex. Sad the same thing is parroted by people in the comments here.

    It is possible for your female characters to exist in a male dominated world, even be subjected to sexism, and still be handled in a mature, fleshed out, and interesting way. These games do no do that, and the “My sex cards might be objectification but that’s okay because women were objectified in the time period so it’s actually gritty-realism” argument is a little hard to buy.

    I really feel sorry for any women who might be interested in the genre, I imagine things like the witcher series and many others are pretty much unplayable.

  42. kud13 says:

    funny thing is, I glanced this page at work, when there were 0 comments. now, wow

    I do certainly feel that a whole bunch of this stuff IS being taken heavily out of context. Primarily because the (predominantly Western, English-speaking) audience is essentially completely unfamiliar with the source material. That’s point 1. Sapkowski wrote a pretty intricate world, despite it being pretty gender-split. Decisions that were made were made for a reasons. It’s canon that women can’t be witchers–the mutations affect them badly (see Ciri in “Blood of the Elves” when she’s in Caer Morhen). that’s to address the “lack of choice” complaint. Oh, alsoyou play as Geralt, since the IP belongs to sapkowski, and he was a major consultant for the first Witcher game.

    Point 2–the cards controversy. I don’t have a reliable source atm, but I certainly remember reading something along the lines of “they were put in because we didn’t have the means to make each encounter a cut-scene” And yeah, given I didn’t grow up in the West, I didn’t get the whole “collectibles”argument either.

    Point 3–anyone who’s watched the any of the GOG/CDP conferences would know that Iwinski’s command of the ENglish language is less than stellar. Given that i’m originally from a place that shares a border with Poland, and I grew up within 100 clicks of said border, with a language quite similar to Polish, I can tell you that very often meaning of the phrase is lost in translation to English. So I wouldn’t judge the guy that harshly.

    just my 3 cents, you can now carry on berating the guy.

    • hilltop says:

      Good comment – and I will try to be mindful of things being lost in language issues. But even with that understanding on board, he doesn’t do a great job of defending the sex cards here in this interview.

  43. lexoneir says:

    I like how the RPS guy seems to be deeply entrenched in those same values that the interviewee is essentially mocking. I’ve seen other posts on here that show the same distressing bias. People flip out because of sex, when sex is just a part of life.

    I also love the subtext of how much of a joke it is to confuse male desire with sexism, which many people seem to do in ‘geek’ culture.

    Also, regarding the comment that GoT is ‘comically’ male-centered, I think is another badly understood remark for two reasons. The first being the genre of medieval fantasy takes from history, which was largely run by males. Secondly the book itself deals with the idea that it is a male-centered world and how wrong that is, many many times, from Cersei to Arya, and in others as well – it’s not just that they are ‘strong women’ but that they are pointed out as being restricted by their world. GoT is dealing with it, not being sexist as the interviewer seems to say. Not to mention the fact that Cersei is one of the more sexually aggressive characters.

    • hilltop says:

      People are not flipping out because of sex. Booth babes, “collectible” sex cards and two dimensional characters are not sex. They are a few manifestations of an industry steeped in pandering to a male audience.

      The people claiming that this is showing Nathan’s own “agenda”, “bias” or “values” are revealing quite a bit about their own.

  44. Totally heterosexual says:

    I feel like i should be a part of this discussion.

    Heh

  45. MistyMike says:

    I’m currently playing through Witcher 2 and haven’t got the faintest idea where people see ‘pandering to adolescents’ in this game. The moment of intimacy between Geralt and Triss in the begining would make most adolescents I know somewhat uneasy. Same goes for the naturalistic sex with the prostitute. How are the likes of Triss or Vess ‘objectified’ is a mystery to me, and the ‘equality’ types in this forum didn’t really make any compelling argument, just behaved like that was an already prooven fact.

    • TariqOne says:

      I’m fairly certain the issue here is his casual defense of objectification in gaming generally in the interview, combined with the way he either mistakes or disingenuously conflates criticisms of objectification with a prudish fear of sex. This is in the context of them making two games that really aren’t particularly accessible to the female gamer and in many places — most notably the cards, but also things like putting Triss in Playboy — present objectification issues of their own.

      I don’t think it’s unfair to call bullshit on him, and I think he’ll live.