Polygon: CDPR responds to sexualized trans advertisement in CyberPunk 2077 (Read Staff Post Before Posting)

Deleted member 888

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Oct 25, 2017
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Doesn't Poland have free healthcare?
I'd assume it's like the UK, it might take a while to be seen.

In my last job I was able to request Bupa (private) through my job to get seen for something straight away.

If you don't value your life or can wait a year or two in queue to see a specialist, then yes, it does. Otherwise pay up to see somebody privately asap.



Dogs > Cats

You know it's true.
Dogs are awesome but cats are the best.

Either way, I can see the comments coming that posting the above shuts down the conversation. I don't see why it does unless you are actively unhappy the person you might disagree with is not the caricature of what you might have expected.

That's life sometimes. As I said it doesn't mean you need to agree with someone who appears less comically evil than you imagined, still challenge them, but at the same time if you want to try and take her comments in the OP in good faith, it should help to know a bit more about who you are talking to. I would hope someone who's had serious health issues could empathize and understand others in not so distant positions (trans health concerns) telling you they were potentially unsettled by or concerned with something you're doing.
 

bluexy

Freelance Games Journalist
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Oct 25, 2017
956
So what would be your version of the same ad that does what you're proposing?

I'm not trying to be all "debate me" at all, I'm genuinely curious how they could do this in a way that would satisfy all parties.
I mean, there are two big issues that need to be addressed. First, that this advertisement stands alone both in terms of sexual explicitness and absurdity given the body modification. If there was a broad range of such gratuitous imagery across a spectrum of sexuality, including other absurd body modifications, it wouldn't stand out. Second, the advertisement itself depicts a modern, bigoted view of trans people. The attractive woman is the focus, her penis is only seen at second glance, and all of it framed as a joke, "Mix it up." Bigots online and in conservative politics push the idea that trans people are lying about their sexuality or trying to trick people. It's not Cyberpunk, it's not okay, to channel that discrimination. Especially for advertisements that are aimed to sell soda pop to, according to this CDPR statement, those very same gender nonconforming people.

Cyberpunk 2077's got problems.
 

Funyarinpa

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
6,932
> please don’t say something like “see it was fine in context

The fuck is this? Would it be easier if you just created a poll with the acceptable takes that we can just vote on, then?
It's not that you're not allowed to say you think this is a satisfactory explanation, that sentence is there because people love to dismiss the (rightful) concerns people had about this before (or after) the explanation was published.
 

Lesath

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
763
I still don't like it (the ad).


This is what I'm afraid of. Even if the artist/director understands the issue and has good intentions but then fucks up while implementing their message, this will be the result.

I really hope they know what they're doing... I guess we'll see next year.

Btw was it confirmed that you can create non binary or/and trans characters? I would be grateful for a link, please. I am asking because someone mentioned it in this thread.
Right, and though I can sort of sympathize with *wanting* to like the game (and I really do!), I think a lot of people here are jumping at *any* opportunity to get the moral excuse to do so, irrespective of the perspectives and criticisms given by actual trans people in the thread.

And to directly answer your question, there's nothing that's been said so far that would imply that level of character customization. Last I heard, the only big game of note to offer that sort of thing is Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines 2.
 

Froyo Love

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Oct 28, 2017
803
I don't want to dismiss your concerns, but wouldn't that, if done properly, actually allow CDPR to contextualize and critique trans fetishization? (Whether CDPR would manage to pull that off is a different question though.)
Honestly, in an open world RPG with 5000 other things going on, from a developer with CDPR's past behavior? It's just not gonna happen. The context you'd need to explore this stuff and say something interesting requires that a game be really attentive to these issues.

It would be pretty funny to play in a 2077 world where cis identity was seen as too disgusting for the public sphere and corporations were really aggressively pushing body modifications on cis people so they could fit into society. But that's not the sort of game that gets released with a generic scruffy white guy on the box art.
 

antonz

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,938
Its a reasonable enough explanation on corporate exploitation and abuse.

How you view it personally is going to depend on you. Quite a few Trans people have expressed how much they love the image for the fact it shows what is a Attractive woman who is model material and not just some man with a beard or other offensive portrayal.
 

Truxton97

Member
Oct 30, 2017
199
Even with that reasoning I think that there should be more positive representations of the trans community rather than negative even in a distopian world. Right now there is pretty much nothing but negativity or jokes about trans people in mainstream media and stuff like this just keeps reenforcing bad stereotypes rather than helping.
 

Cabbagehead

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Oct 25, 2017
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This is quite possibly the biggest expression of racist imagery in Bioshock Infinite:



It is striking. Heck, some politicians actually used it unironically.

However, it didn't need explanation because we knew what it was being used to and why it was supposed to be shocking about it: in Bioshock, you had an "apparent" conservative utopia lost in nationalist values. It was clear from the get-go that your enemy was the group holding those values, not to mention that the game was linear and was released in 2013.

Cyberpunk 2077 is not out yet, obviously, but aside from the idea that big corporations are evil (which is weird considering how many people in this thread are willing to defend a company), there is not a lot of discourse that reinforces the idea that the game itself is commenting on those issues. Also, the depiction in Bioshock, as you can see, is clearly visual and exaggerated: every minority is ugly and dark. There is almost no undertone. In the advert seen in Cyberpunk, we see something that, were it not for the bulge, would be completely acceptable (if you consider the other materials from the game and the history of the company).

And that is the thing with satire: it doesn't matter where your heart is if you can't execute it in a way that doesn't just reinforce it.

A good example:



It was supposed to be satire, but it didn't really work. It's not that it wasn't obvious, but the overarching message just didn't come across very well. David Remnick thought it would work. It didn't. Satire isn't just doing the same offensive thing with a good intention.

Now that's a little bit of a false equivalence. Although this very forum has its own vast amounts of irony, while lots of folks worship console companies, in their own separate communities as they fight over. Who's better. But that's also the complexity and juxtaposition of most genres like Cyberpunk, the conundrum of the themselves in those type of stories themselves. Its supposed to be reflect the irony, of a not so distant future and currently. I mean its all based on capitalism reaching its most abject state.

Also i'm not even surprised at politicians using that imagery. It would be out of character for them not to for most of them.


But you made a good point. Totally agree, we will have to see.
 
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Funyarinpa

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
6,932
Honestly, in an open world RPG with 5000 other things going on, from a developer with CDPR's past behavior? It's just not gonna happen. The context you'd need to explore this stuff and say something interesting requires that a game be really attentive to these issues.

It would be pretty funny to play in a 2077 world where cis identity was seen as too disgusting for the public sphere and corporations were really aggressively pushing body modifications on cis people so they could fit into society. But that's not the sort of game that gets released with a generic scruffy white guy on the box art.
That sort of game actually sounds interesting but potentially disastrous at the same time.

I really get the concerns, I have the same worries as well. Here's to hoping the large scope of the game lends itself well to exploring shit like this.
 

justiceiro

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Oct 30, 2017
3,661
Basically the same reason they used to justify women being mistreated by some men in some sections of the Witcher 3. It's "historically accurate", but in reverse.

Hopefully, those who play it are smart enough to not expect the world to follow this path.
 

Kyra

The Eggplant Queen
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Oct 25, 2017
5,190
New York City
Honestly, in an open world RPG with 5000 other things going on, from a developer with CDPR's past behavior? It's just not gonna happen. The context you'd need to explore this stuff and say something interesting requires that a game be really attentive to these issues.

It would be pretty funny to play in a 2077 world where cis identity was seen as too disgusting for the public sphere and corporations were really aggressively pushing body modifications on cis people so they could fit into society. But that's not the sort of game that gets released with a generic scruffy white guy on the box art.
I have this fear as well. I just don't see this having a meaningful context in this game but it's impossible to tell until we play it right.. How meta it would be for this to be a way of exploiting the transgender community for sales as a bait and switch for the game itself.
 

Kurdel

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Nov 7, 2017
8,246
If you’re on RE for more than 60 secs and you have to ask, you’re either being facetious, ignorant, or astoundingly naive. Which one will rely on you to decide!
Ok, so you have literally nothing else to say about this, just thow shit and don't have to back it up.

Not that I was expecting more from that, usualy anyone who uses the term "virtue signalng" is a very specific type of dude on the Internet...

 

Joey Ravn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,514
Basically the same reason they used to justify women being mistreated by some men in some sections of the Witcher 3. It's "historically accurate", but in reverse.

Hopefully, those who play it are smart enough to not expect the world to follow this path.
If this thread is if any indication, the people who were already convinced that this was excusable because it's "context appropriate" will double down on their beliefs. It is literally the "historically accurate" handwaving, but applied to a time that doesn't exist (i.e. the future).
 

Abstrusity

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Oct 27, 2017
2,282
Personally, I would rather be objectified in advertising than viewed as less than a person.

This still smacks of white liberal guilt overcompensation, but I can see where she's coming from. Leaves a sour taste in my mouth, though,as we are not getting decent treatment currently.
 
Oct 26, 2017
7,501
UK
Bioshock Infinite isn't a satire about how positive Black identity is suborned into commercialism. When it depicts racist imagery it depicts this "utopian" version of the American past as intrinsically, horrifically racist and oppressive. If you think this ad is equivalent to the imagery of Bioshock Infinite, then Redesiuk's defense makes no sense, and should be regarded as very suspicious.

Bioshock Infinite is also an example of a game where the writers tried to be explicitly anti-racist ("all this racism is awful") and still ended up being fairly racist (you have no agency in the game to do anything about all that racism, and the Vox Populi immediately betray you and start committing destructive violence the moment they get any power, BOTH SIDES guys).
Infinite's a great example of coded bigotry. They wanted to use racism as a backdrop, they wanted the story to revolve around Booker's all corrupting influence whenever he games power, then they threw the racial element to the curve as they told their main theme and they didn't even realise how fucked up it was. The intention of Elizabeth both-sidesing the factions was because Booker had the Vox scalping the elite and Booker turned Daisy into a monster, but it came across as violent minority/working class uprisings are just as bad as the people/systems that exploit them for centuries.

I'm not sure the bigotry here's even coded though, I don't think the response said much to ease people's concerns with fetishistic trans women (this issue persists regardless of the setting or if the model's cis), the issue of their only seemingly trans representation ever focusing on genitals when trans issues go way beyond that, and the fact that they blew off questions about gender fluidity in the character creator last year. It seems to solely exists to please the crowd who don't really understand what people concerns were in the first place.

They don't deserve anybodies benefit of the doubt. They should have come forward with gender fluidity in the character creator and decent portrayal of trans character before the problematic advertising if they wanted that.
 

Ketkat

Heart & Mind
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Oct 25, 2017
3,662
Personally, I would rather be objectified in advertising than viewed as less than a person.

This still smacks of white liberal guilt overcompensation, but I can see where she's coming from. Leaves a sour taste in my mouth, though,as we are not getting decent treatment currently.
Those two things aren't mutually exclusive though. It's possible to viewed as less than a person while still being viewed as a sex object, and while it's hard to tell if this is going that far or if they'll actually have something redeeming in the game, I don't really see it as overcompensation at all. They're hitting very normal levels of representation for trans people by aiming for that fetish side of things.
 

hibikase

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,723
I saw the other thread yesterday and decided not to participate for fear of accusations and subsequent banning for “downplaying transphobia”, but now that I see that CDPR’s statement almost exactly matches what I had to say about it, I gotta say, there’s a saying that goes “depiction does not equal endorsement”, and I wish people would keep that in mind before immediately jumping the gun whenever a work of fiction portrays something offensive.
 

Akira86

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Oct 25, 2017
8,291
If you’re on RE for more than 60 secs and you have to ask, you’re either being facetious, ignorant, or astoundingly naive. Which one will rely on you to decide!
poor soul, they're keeping you away from your awesome game discussions aren't they? pretending to care about other people? these liars, these abject cynical players of games!! it's all about SJW clout and pretending to be a good person.
 
Oct 27, 2017
279
Oof. I like the idea of using ads to criticize commodification of minorities (amongst other populations), but given CDPR's track record on social issues like this, I don't blame anyone for being wary. It's more than just not realizing their impact, so unless the game itself does some good work representing trans or other queer people/characters, this reads kinda gross.

The artist had good intentions, which I admire--far too often we see bad intent or willful ignorance--but it reads strangely with CDPR. It's true that a lot of people into social justice, minority or not, leap to "don't depict bad things even to criticize them", but I think that reading also gets applied to things like "maybe don't graphically depict sexual abuse? you can get across that it happened without showing it". Plus, when a work depicts something offensive to critique it, but the people behind that work aren't actually the parties affected, it can very easily go wrong.
 

Dyle

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
7,379
Wisconsin
Her logic is fair and I imagine she's doing it with good intentions but I don't think the whole world of Cyberpunk from what we've seen is up to the task of making such an ad work in context without losing its message. A lot of the gratuitous violence and obscenity we've seen thus far in the game seems like it's there for the purpose of shocking the viewer first and foremost and what we've seen doesn't have the subtlety necessary to make such messages clear and worth investigating for players. I feel the net harm of perpetuating these harmful modern stereotypes overrides the positive and interesting concepts she wanted to depict.
 

iksenpets

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Oct 26, 2017
2,453
Dallas, TX
She gave probably the best response that she could. Don’t know how much of that is sincere versus how much is spin, and it sucks for her if it’s sincere because she’s having to deal with baggage that whoever is on their marketing team doing social media loaded onto her with their earlier remarks. Because yeah, gender fluidity and exploitative advertising are both big parts of that sort of world. But also it’s hard to trust this particular company to handle that stuff right now. Shifting the focus from the company onto an individual art director at least opens a door to building some of that trust.
 

Doof

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Moose the Mooche

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Good response. The image gave me a chuckle tbh since its so absurt. Think a lot need to chill a but here. Game isn’t out for nearly a year or so. If it proves to be the way some think it is then complain but this is honestly a bit to much imo
 

Manu

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Oct 27, 2017
5,649
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Personally I think it's a good answer and the intent behind the design was good, but the game is doing a terrible job at doing anything meaningful with it, and people are rightfully wary about it.
 

Four-Eyes

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May 12, 2019
9
I saw the other thread yesterday and decided not to participate for fear of accusations and subsequent banning for “downplaying transphobia”, but now that I see that CDPR’s statement almost exactly matches what I had to say about it, I gotta say, there’s a saying that goes “depiction does not equal endorsement”, and I wish people would keep that in mind before immediately jumping the gun whenever a work of fiction portrays something offensive.
This is how I see it. The game depicts murder, drug abuse and a dozen other nasty things, but is using them in the context of a grimey, spiteful world. Corporations soulessly hijacking progressive ideals and imagery to sell a product is wonderfully on the nose, and brings to mind perfume and motor companies which have been using LGBT elements for no reason other than to say that they've been inclusive.

Cyberpunk is filthy and dehumanising, where individuals are worth less than the ammunition it takes to snuff out their lives. Unless CDPR begin to express consistent messages like this in a way we're expected to support (I. E. the depiction becomes endorsement), I'm not concerned and am eagerly awaiting to see what else is in the world.

As an aside, it's a bit disheartening to see transgender people thrown aside for "internalising" bigotry if they support CDPR's artist. We're not a hive mind of insects, and playing the No True Scotsman card is far grosser than any clumsy allegory.
 
May 26, 2018
3,350
Personally I think it's a good answer and the intent behind the design was good, but the game is doing a terrible job at doing anything meaningful with it, and people are rightfully wary about it.
If that's the intent of the ad, I guess the next question is, "where's the minor character this ad is supposed to appeal to, who in actuality finds it cynical and craven?"

The game won't be out until April, so it'll be a long time before anyone has the answer.
 

Aizō

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
4,189
ほぼ真ん中の方
How many cisgender folks will explain how this isn't offensive in this thread? Ultimately, we'll have to see if the rest of the game captures the tone that she's arguing for. I'm not completely convinced, though I am still very excited for this game. I hope it's not like me and Lovecraft—love a lot of his Horror, creatures, tone, and voice... but he's a huge racist shit. There's tons of media I love that has issues. Just hand-waiving it all without criticism is not how we push for improvement.

I cannot take it seriously that we actually have people in this thread attacking what they call "virtue signaling." C'mon, y'all.
 

Dphex

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
6,781
Cologne, Germany
Even with that reasoning I think that there should be more positive representations of the trans community rather than negative even in a distopian world. Right now there is pretty much nothing but negativity or jokes about trans people in mainstream media and stuff like this just keeps reenforcing bad stereotypes rather than helping.
who knows, maybe there will be positive representations? jumping from one ingame ad for a kind of "have an all night boner when you drink this energy juice" advertisement to conclusions without knowing the full thing is also a bit premature.

the reasoning they give is fair and considering the genre and especially Cyberpunk 2020-which is the source material- no one should expect an "equal rights for all people" world in this game, it wouldn´t fit anyways.

i think it is questionable to go ahead and take things out of the context and that is exactly what happens here, people see one advert in a game and jump to conclusions. let´s wait till the final product is here to judge how the representation is done.

that being said, if you can´t give a female looking character a big chromatic dick and a chosen male character breasts and a hyper feminine look in this game it is a missed opportunity to let players play as what they want to be. if there is really only male and female as player character in a game in this world it would massively suck.
 
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Jogi

Member
Jul 4, 2018
73
Easy to question because they haven’t done a thing to provide any context behind it. What she is saying sounds fine, but that was not conveyed in any previews that have been released. They couldn’t have assumed there wouldn’t be an uproar about it. They kinda feel like shock jocks, tbh.
 

Laiza

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,416
This is how I see it. The game depicts murder, drug abuse and a dozen other nasty things, but is using them in the context of a grimey, spiteful world. Corporations soulessly hijacking progressive ideals and imagery to sell a product is wonderfully on the nose, and brings to mind perfume and motor companies which have been using LGBT elements for no reason other than to say that they've been inclusive.

Cyberpunk is filthy and dehumanising, where individuals are worth less than the ammunition it takes to snuff out their lives. Unless CDPR begin to express consistent messages like this in a way we're expected to support (I. E. the depiction becomes endorsement), I'm not concerned and am eagerly awaiting to see what else is in the world.

As an aside, it's a bit disheartening to see transgender people thrown aside for "internalising" bigotry if they support CDPR's artist. We're not a hive mind of insects, and playing the No True Scotsman card is far grosser than any clumsy allegory.
But why give them the benefit of the doubt? Between the hard binary character creator, the lack of any other depictions of trans people in the entirety of the marketing materials they've shown thus far, and the uninspired racial stereotyping we've been exposed to in their latest showings, why would you give them the benefit of the doubt?

I genuinely don't understand. At this point there is basically zero evidence that they're even capable of producing a nuanced take on the subject.
 

RadCatDad

Member
Feb 27, 2019
473
Kinda what I initially figured. Hopefully the writing in game articulates the points being made just as well.
 

MXT

Banned
May 13, 2019
487
Extremely gross stuff from CDPR, as usual. Whatever message they are trying to communicate, unless it is 'we suck!', they are failing.
 

Fjordson

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,578
I supposed that explanation makes sense, but it's tough to feel too comfortable about it before release.

Just have to hope stuff like this isn't just window dressing for the setting "look how fucked up this city is!!!". How about actually being able to work with or alongside trans NPC's and have them be actual good characters that you can sympathize with. Crazy concept, I know.
 

Four-Eyes

Member
May 12, 2019
9
How many cisgender folks will explain how this isn't offensive in this thread?
How many transfolk will be spoken over and dismissed because they disagree with the general consensus?

Jumping at the cis bogeyman isn't what I would call helpful, either. Not everyone who sides with the artist is a cisgendered alt right member, and not everyone who disagrees with her is a melodramatic snowflake looking to be offended.

But why give them the benefit of the doubt? Between the hard binary character creator, the lack of any other depictions of trans people in the entirety of the marketing materials they've shown thus far, and the uninspired racial stereotyping we've been exposed to in their latest showings, why would you give them the benefit of the doubt?

I genuinely don't understand. At this point there is basically zero evidence that they're even capable of producing a nuanced take on the subject.
I trust in their previous games and how they've handled nuanced subjects. The Bloody Baron springs to mind - disgusting, horrible person that the game never makes you feel sorry for, but still leaves you in no doubt that he's a rounded individual who in a sick way genuinely loved the family he abuses.

I don't include ill-mannered social media posts, as the person responsible for those was punished accordingly and judging CDPR through degrees of seperation leaves absolutely nobody in this industry a positive influence.

I'm curious how CDPR "should" handle transgender representation in this case, however. The Bioware route of announcing they're transgender and plastering that over preview materials would be just as shallow and objective as this advert is claimed to be - reducing the person to their sex characteristics.

Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but despite being trans I don't identify as such. I identify as a woman, and characters pushing their transgender status as an identifier raises my eyebrows.
 

dude

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,076
Tel Aviv
This defeats the purpose of asking for an explanation. You’re not interested in having a discussion, you’re interested in people not being angry about alleged isms, which is your prerogative.

But I’ll be over here, asking people to explain why they can’t seem to write people of color with any due care, and I won’t be waiting for whenever some third party deems it the appropriate time to have the conversation. The appropriate time will always be immediately.

We’re done here.
You can be done, sure, but I'm not writing this just for you, so I'll write my piece as long as I have something to say. I'm guessing your prerogative is being rude and arrogant - You're assuming my intentions even though I've explained my reasoning.
I'm very much for discussing these things in full, and having a conversation right now - and I agree there are plenty of concerning things so far in what we've seen of the game, but demanding explanation is not a conversation, it's an accusation. And when we jump to the accusation part without having the actual work to substantiate it - We're not actually furthering anything.
You disagree with all that? Quite alright, but don't assume my intentions are the worst. Just disagree and move on or debate my actual point without flinging shit at me.
 

motherless

Member
Nov 6, 2017
1,828
It never was a problem and I don't digest media (Movies, music, games, etc) with the hopes of always being "comfortable". In fact part of what often makes or adds to something is having many uncomfortable aspects.