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

trashtabby

Member
Oct 25, 2017
545
The average gamer is now 35 years old. Its no longer teens. And if the over all games narrative is what she claims then you hope your audience will get it. Some wont. But thats a given in any medium. And context is 100% everything. I can post some images 1000 percent out of context that would look horrible. But in context they would make sense.
Going to take a wild guess and say that it'll fly over the heads of 35 year old cis het gamers as well. Also, you're giving CDPR a whole lot of benefit of the doubt by assuming they'll explain well enough what the intent is, if it's actually their intent at all.
 

Nightwing123

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,661
As a girl with a dick who doesn’t have dysphoria about her dick, I do feel especially qualified to talk about this, LOL.

It’s offensive.

What I mean is, this isn’t a nuanced, thoughtful takedown of sexualized advertising. It’s a chance to use non-op trans women’s bodies as a thing of lurid shock value, as happens so often in stuff like porn, or transphobic jokes in movies and games. This explanation just reads as "My transphobic joke didn't go over as well as I had hoped, so let me pretend it was all well-intentioned from the start." You're really telling me the average cis het gamer teen is going to see something like this in game and think about the cultural impact of sexualized marketing, as opposed to snickering at the funny trans lady?

It doesn't help that I don't trust CDPR as far as I can throw them with respect to trans issues. But go ahead cis people, keep giving them a pass and talking about how context is everything, How brave of you.
Thank you for giving us your perspective on this topic.
 

Kyuuji

Member
Nov 8, 2017
5,038
UK
As someone who had a pretty immediate reaction to this, I honestly still don't think it's great. I'm thankfully in a position where I can break it down though, so let's explore it a bit.

Initially my main reaction was to the latter half of this section:
“I would say it was never the intention to offend anyone,” Redesiuk said. “However, with this image of an oversexualized person, we did want to show how oversexualization of people is bad. And that’s it.

“I think that sexy bodies are sexy. Full disclosure: I love female bodies. I love male bodies. I love bodies in between. This is who I am. However, I hate it when it’s used commercially. And that’s exactly what we want to show by doing this exactly, by showing how big corporations use people’s bodies against them.”
I'll dissect this as my initial reaction to the second highlighted part was what got people stirred in the other thread and it's probably best to quell that a bit. I'll also make a point of saying that this critique and questioning really is with regard to this specific case; the in-game advert, the company and their past issues with the LGBTQ+ community. I'm abundantly aware that dystopian fiction can and does prominently feature imagery that challenges normal convention, which is great and can be a driver in changing or at least questioning some societal constructs. Again though, I'm not speaking to the wider fiction, I'm speaking to this example. That's what this, and the other topic, are about.

We didn't intend to offend, this stuff it meant to be offensive

The two highlighted parts are either expressed poorly or they just make little sense. It was either their intent to produce provocative themes and offend people or it wasn't. They claim it wasn't their intent but go on to explain that what they wanted to show is how large corporations use people's bodies against them, which is something they claim to hate.

So when you're intentionally producing things to allegedly evoke things that minorities hate, how can you intend to not offend?
There's another element to this though;

CDP Group are a large corporate entity

Sure they might tug on the heartstrings of gamers by putting love-letters in the sleeves of their games, but they're still a corporation. CDP itself joined the WIG20 just over a year ago; an index of the 20 largest companies on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. So when the claim is they're trying to handle sensitive issues by "showing how big corporations use people’s bodies against them", but are doing that by being a big corporation using people's bodies against them, it's a fragile effort at best and concerning at worst depending on who's doing it. This time, that's CDP/R.

The theme could work, has worked and will work in numerous fictional titles in the future. The issue is in CDP handling them when there's zero reason to believe they're capable of handling trans and/or non-binary issues well. Their track record on this subject to date is:
  • Transphobic tweet followed by a non-apology
  • Transphobic tweet followed by no apology
  • The advert we've seen today
Which, and this is where my intial jerk reaction came from, could also be initially taken as:
  • We didn't intend to be transphobic
  • We didn't intend to be transphobic
  • Oh no, this time we intended to be transphobic.
So I do hold that it's a little eh to think that the LGBTQ+ community is being overly-sensitive when the first piece handling these allegedly nuanced themes is an advert featuring a chick with a giant cock, with the words "Mix it up" and "Chromanticore" emblazoned upon it. Not exactly the most subtle and nuanced exploration you'd hope for. It's an advert on a wall most players will likely run past or look at and chuckle about the chick with the giant erection.

Which makes me still question the image, regardless of how many paragraphs of intent you assign it.
I don't think most people will see that image and see social commentary, I think they'll see a cheap joke.

Perhaps if these themes are being explored in a well-written and nuanced binary and/or trans character the backlash and concern wouldn't be as harsh. "But there may be a character like this yet!" you cry, and well – yes – there might be. I'll be honest I don't have much faith considering this is the overarching Group that can't even muster an apology for transphobic tweets they've sent out, but you are right. There may be such a nuanced character in the game and that would be fucking glorious. Which leads me on to the next point:

They could have attempted to quell ill-will at literally any point they wanted

CDP are well aware of their poor relationship with the LGBTQ+ community, and of their past problematic output. Considering this knowledge and circumstance they could have produced something similar to a development blog series including a topic like "Gender in Cyberpunk 2077" to explore how the game is handling nuanced themes or characters like trans and non-binary people. It could even have been a featured article on a gaming press site, or a youtube promo video on their own channel.

If I'm being entirely honest, even though it's a tad fallacious and a perhaps shitty take, I can't believe that Cyberpunk 2077 would have a fully featured trans or non-binary character with all the nuances that requires, without doing something like the above – especially in the knowledge of their past mistakes. So to some extent the fact they've been silent about it up until there's an issue doesn't instill confidence for me either.

I could be wrong though

I'd love to be. I like great games, just not ones that I feel are taking cheap shots at me or others within the community. The company does have a history of these kinds of shots and I'm left lacking confidence considering that history, and with this advert being as it is. I appreciate what they're going for with the explanation but they could and should have been proactive in communicating their goals if it is the case that the game challenges those themes well. We're only discussing adverts in a screenshot as a result of a lack of this.

Until they do bother to reach out and reassure the community they last spent time mocking and refusing to apologise to, I think it's perfectly fine to remain critical as to whether the final product will handle these things well.
 
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Hobbes

Freelance Games Journalist
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
1,515
United States
It was meant to make people feel uncomfortable," Redesiuk concludes. "Not because they're seeing someone with breasts and a penis, but because the body is being exploited. I didn't slap the penis there for people to laugh about it. There is a beautiful body there being used to sell soda.
Thoughts on this particular quote from the trans folk in this thread?

I'm interested, aside from track records, if you think this type of commentary is warranted. While I understand the notion of depicting offensive and awful things to prove a point in a story, I wonder if depictions like this are necessary in minds of people who are essentially being represented in the poster.
 

hammurabi

Member
Oct 27, 2017
364
Yup. Pretty much what I said in the other thread. It's an in-game corporation that is out of touch and trying to profit off of a product and a group of people, who ironically, are probably much more accepted in 2077 than they are currently because of how commonplace body modifications are in the future.
From the sound of that explanation, this all seems pretty faithful to the source material. However, I guess we’ll have to see how it actually plays out in game.
 
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DerpHause

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,727
We didn't intend to offend, this stuff it meant to be offensive

The two highlighted parts are either expressed poorly or they just make little sense. It was either their intent to produce provocative themes and offend people or it wasn't. They claim it wasn't their intent but go on to explain that what they wanted to show is how large corporations use people's bodies against them, which is something they claim to hate.

So when you're intentionally producing things to allegedly evoke things that minorities hate, how can you intend to not offend?
There's another element to this though;
I'm getting a slightly different read on this: It was meant to offend, not because it was a trans person, but because of its exploitative nature, and that this theme was intended to expand beyond the realm of that single add or group represented.

I'm also lost on the transphobia a bit because a world where trans people are a group that can be publicly/openly exploited in the mainstream by corporate entities would seem like a world far less transphobic than the one we're currently in.
 

Apollo

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,188
Thoughts on this particular quote from the trans folk in this thread?

I'm interested, aside from track records, if you think this type of commentary is warranted. While I understand the notion of depicting offensive and awful things to prove a point in a story, I wonder if depictions like this are necessary in minds of people who are essentially being represented in the poster.
I’m concerned as to whether or not they’ll be able to successfully convey the fact that it’s meant to be a contemptible ad within the game’s narrative, and whether or not they’ll have more positive trans representation to counterbalance it. Because should they fail to do so (especially considering the fact that they’ll probably need to be heavy handed here considering how easy it can be for cis gamers to not give a shit about the trans experience), the ad is going to be doubly upsetting. As some have said, it’s not difficult to imagine your average player seeing the poster, going “hahaha girl with penis” and never engaging with the poster or its supposed satire on any meaningful level. It may seem offensive to a lot of trans people, but that doesn’t mean the wider audience will find it offensive, something that’s been made painfully clear in these threads.
 

Ketkat

Heart & Mind
Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,662
Thoughts on this particular quote from the trans folk in this thread?

I'm interested, aside from track records, if you think this type of commentary is warranted. While I understand the notion of depicting offensive and awful things to prove a point in a story, I wonder if depictions like this are necessary in minds of people who are essentially being represented in the poster.
The idea of trans people being fetishized or only valued as sex objects is nothing new, and largely I don't think that it's going to make people uncomfortable for the reasons that she's hoping for. It seems more likely that the average person playing the game is going to be uncomfortable because it is someone with breasts and a penis displayed prominently in a sexual way. Whether people express that uncomfortableness openly or not, it's what I expect to see because that just is my experience with people in the real world when it comes to this kind of topic.

I'm still unsure about what context she's saying that we need, and how we need positive representation in the context of looking at this advertisement in the game. I don't believe that anyone is going to look at pinup posters of women in other games and try and spin those as positive representation, at least not in good faith, so I'm confused on how that works in this scenario.
 

Chrome Hyena

Member
Oct 30, 2017
2,349
Going to take a wild guess and say that it'll fly over the heads of 35 year old cis het gamers as well. Also, you're giving CDPR a whole lot of benefit of the doubt by assuming they'll explain well enough what the intent is, if it's actually their intent at all.
I would say i am withholding judgement to see if what she says is true. If its all she claims, great! If its trash like P5 well it will be one less game i will buy. Im sure we will know well before it launches as well.
 
Nov 2, 2017
389
the thing with a previous thread about the word "cocksucker" is that sometimes, the apologies aren't ever enough as these past trangressions with apologies were again brought up. Yes, its been uncomfortable but CDPR did apologise.

As for the idea of them being anti-trans. It was the social media guy being an idiot and again, there's been an apology. The game isn't made by 1 person. Its a big company full of creatives.
As has been noted before, they absolutely did not apologize. They issued a statement that was the classic "sorry if you were offended" non-apology. If they'd offered a genuine apology, we might be in a different place, but they've consciously avoided ever doing that.

And that lack of a real apology means that the issue goes beyond the actions of one person, because at that point you had the company dictating PR strategy that engaged many people and ended in an official response, and that response was "We're not sorry about what we said, and we'll play it off like anyone who was offended just didn't understand what we meant." That's not the actions of 1 person, that's the actions of the company as an entity, of many people who are employed by the company to communicate on their behalf. And if there's anything that it's fair to judge the company by, it's official communications from the company.
 

Kyuuji

Member
Nov 8, 2017
5,038
UK
the thing with a previous thread about the word "cocksucker" is that sometimes, the apologies aren't ever enough as these past trangressions with apologies were again brought up. Yes, its been uncomfortable but CDPR did apologise.

As for the idea of them being anti-trans. It was the social media guy being an idiot and again, there's been an apology. The game isn't made by 1 person. Its a big company full of creatives.
From an earlier post of mine. It breaks down why it's more than just one person and why the responses were unsatisfactory. I'm not disagreeing that there are great people working within CDPR either, but that's true of most companies.
It wasn't the company though, it was a person on twitter!

Again, this level of naivety and feigned ignorance over things that are common practice in every other facet of business and industry is one that's hard to take seriously. The person didn't just fart and land on the desk in the office, primed to write a shitty tweet. They were hired, they were told the remits of their position, they may or may not have had the tweet vetted by at least one other employee before it was sent – and yes, I have worked within marketing departments of large organizations. It's rarely some spotted teen who's been allowed to run rampant with the front-facing image of the company without restriction.

That's what this is, and that's what twitter is. It's a very conscious front-face to your company that can be used to directly engage with your community. Anyone hiring for, and anyone applying for, this position would know this and understand the importance of it.

"Gut writes shitty tweet, guy gets fired" is a reduction of what happens.

Hiring for the above positions should rely on some background into the person their hiring's activity on social media, not least because this person is front-facing in a digital position where they'll actively been communicating on your behalf. It's not some NSA level nonsense, just a cursory scroll through public pages to get a sense of some of their vocal positions. It's basic due-dilligence for the role, done in minutes while assessing candidates. So it's likely it occured and nothing was raised, but it's a potential area for things like this to be caught.

So you've got your written job spec (likely written/agreed by people outside of the hiring manager). You have your hiring manager. Now you've hired the little would-be devil. You have an induction, you train him. At this point you might be congizent of the fact you've had prior twitter controversies within your family of companies, and knowing how one can affect the other perhaps you labour the point of being careful what to post. It's not comprehensive but it's key guidance on the tone your company wishes to write with, the remits of what they can and can't go for (politics, social issues, competition, the like). This is an important step as it's the bridge between their past experience within media positions, and how you would like for them to represent you. This can be as vague and as strict as it likes, but it's defined by the client/employer.

So.. guy writes shitty tweet.. From this point it's not even about the guy any more. That part of the story is locked in time, and now the only matter of meaning is how the management and wider entity react.

It's here where people galvanise their long lasting opinions, not the actual act.

Employees have done shit things in abundance, it's a tricky thing for a company to handle granted but if done right it can almost completely reverse the tide of good-will. This is because we largely recognise that yes, any employee of a company can go rogue and do whatever so it can be hard to not have such an event occur within a large organization over the span of many years. Instead it shifts to how this event is handled, whether similar events have occured recently, how swiftly a response is made, what that response is and whether ongoing any shift or change. It varies from situation from situation but you get the gist of it.

In this case it's where most people feel GOG and CDP have let the ball drop.

Firing the person isn't the start and end of this, nor is it particularly worthy of praise (nor scorn either). You would expect any major company to fire someone over transphobic tweets. There's poorly worded tweets and then there's mocking the entire notion of gender identity. We've established there's internal scrutiny to be cast on the hiring and training process, but now it shifts to how they were fired and how that was communicated with those hurt.

"It's gotten too much" as the sole reason for firing someone for the above is pathetic, and – with that we have – honestly doesn't point to much more than "you've become more hassle than you're worth to us".

Firing the person certainly shows they understand that there was a negative reaction to their actions, but in isolation it doesn't indicate much more. You have a very real financial and business incentive to fire them, even outside of any concern for LGBTQ+ rights. So further clarification is needed at that stage, to see whether CDP/GOG understand the ramifications of the tweet within the community and how it's hurt players. You'd want a statement put out pretty prompty to reassure that, to which we got:




Which, as with the above, misses the mark again. "Sorry to all those offended" is not an apology for the action. It's an apology solely if it offended you, when it should be an apology regardless because the issue is the mocking in the tweet not the reaction to it. Harming somoene is rarely anyone's intention, so again – nothing really much here. No outreach toward the trans and NB community, just a "sorry for the offense".

So it's felt that nothing was really understood in what was actually wrong in the scenario, despite a corrective action (the firing) being made. Then you have this pop up:



Which is responded to with this:


Even less understanding and zero apology.
 
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TheLostBigBoss

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
7,521
As a girl with a dick who doesn’t have dysphoria about her dick, I do feel especially qualified to talk about this, LOL.

It’s offensive.

What I mean is, this isn’t a nuanced, thoughtful takedown of sexualized advertising. It’s a chance to use non-op trans women’s bodies as a thing of lurid shock value, as happens so often in stuff like porn, or transphobic jokes in movies and games. This explanation just reads as "My transphobic joke didn't go over as well as I had hoped, so let me pretend it was all well-intentioned from the start." You're really telling me the average cis het gamer teen is going to see something like this in game and think about the cultural impact of sexualized marketing, as opposed to snickering at the funny trans lady?

It doesn't help that I don't trust CDPR as far as I can throw them with respect to trans issues. But go ahead cis people, keep giving them a pass and talking about how context is everything, How brave of you.
But this is half right. The actual image has a women who has chosen (well it's advertising within the game but I don't want to get bogged down and not deal with the bigger issue) to alter their body to include a male sex organ.

In the world of cyberpunk, it's not a non-op women they are showing, it's a person who has already undergone body alterations and surgeries.

And the argument that "people are too stupid to understand something" isn't an argument at all. If you use that for anything that requires more than an inch of depth, nothing would ever be explored or shown because someone, somewhere, is going to miss the point.

It's like saying Blazing Saddles shouldn't be consumed for it's theme of criticizing Hollywood for the extreme white-washing they did with the entire Wild West film genera, because a bunch of white people are just gonna laugh and miss the entire point of the film cause they get to hear the N-word dropped every minute.

Part of my personal conflict is this is a case where non-binary is being represented in a world where it should be extremely prevalent and normalized, and to a degree part of the common hyper-sexualization that is rampant in the games world. Is it "ground breaking insight" into the topic and issue. Well it's one advert within a game so no, but then again how often is that same exact comment used to gate-keep LGBTQ characters from breaking through into media? Where the only justification for someone in the LGBTQ community to be presented within something is to have "significant" impact on the story?

The comment and explanation from the member of CDPR for a simple poster in their game world tells me someone has a clue in that studio and can hopefully expand on this topic more than just being sexualized adverts within the game world. If it turns out the only topic of trans/non-binary examination in a world where body alteration is available to basically everyone goes as far as "hyper-sexualized adverts are bad!", then yea, they are idiots and deserve all the shit that gets thrown at them for such a lazy and offensive look into a topic that is

1) So easily examined and explored within the context of their world
2) Extremely topical in contemporary times, which is the entire point of cyberpunk and dystopia fiction.

I don't fault anyone who doesn't give them the benefit of the doubt with their horrible track record. They failed multiple times to easily correct their image, so the shit they get thrown their way for something like this is 100% self inflicted and self caused. Anyone who tells people they are "too sensitive" are dipshits, CDPR has caused this clusterfuck due to their past actions and failure to take proper accountability.

I'm hopeful that there is some type of exploration in Cyberpunk of this topic, only because anyone with a functioning brainstem could so easily explore it. If they prove me wrong then obviously I'll eat the crow.
 
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Kitsunelaine

My favorite cake is pie
The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
4,817
Thoughts on this particular quote from the trans folk in this thread?

I'm interested, aside from track records, if you think this type of commentary is warranted. While I understand the notion of depicting offensive and awful things to prove a point in a story, I wonder if depictions like this are necessary in minds of people who are essentially being represented in the poster.
In lieu of representation it says that "Your existance is offensive".

The poster, showcasing the erect penis as something the player is supposed to be disgusted by, highlights this. No ammount of "worldbuilding" justifies this, and anybody appealing to that is making an excuse to justify something that exists not solely in the context of their game world, but in the modern world as well. You cannot make something okay if you pretend the real world doesn't exist. Anybody who tries is spitting in the faces of every trans person.

CDPR can go take a long walk off of a short pier.
 
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4cute

Member
Oct 25, 2017
733
"We did this on purpose" doesn't mean much in the context of a company/game that's been fumbling the ball so far, so I'm not going to call it a day on this issue...

Wake me up when we have some clear examples/explanations/hints on how this game world makes clear that the bad stuff is properly criticized, instead of "bad stuff is bad".
 

trashtabby

Member
Oct 25, 2017
545
I'm getting a slightly different read on this: It was meant to offend, not because it was a trans person, but because of its exploitative nature, and that this theme was intended to expand beyond the realm of that single add or group represented.

I'm also lost on the transphobia a bit because a world where trans people are a group that can be publicly/openly exploited in the mainstream by corporate entities would seem like a world far less transphobic than the one we're currently in.
The thing is though: if that's the case, why is this exploitative ad the first and only indication of trans people being commonly accepted in this game's world? Wouldn't that have been a highlight in any of the trailers or the 48 minute long gameplay video they put out? Wouldn't they have thought earlier to put that sort of stuff in the game's character creator, which doesn't appear to have trans or genderqueer options as of last year's demo?
 

EVIL

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Oct 27, 2017
566
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Going to take a wild guess and say that it'll fly over the heads of 35 year old cis het gamers as well. Also, you're giving CDPR a whole lot of benefit of the doubt by assuming they'll explain well enough what the intent is, if it's actually their intent at all.
Its kind of natural to give them the benefit of the doubt since there is a whole game around this to provide context that you are simply missing.
The image IS taken out of context. you cannot deny that. Only after you play the game and with intended context if its still a problem, only then you can criticize it properly.
 

trashtabby

Member
Oct 25, 2017
545
Its kind of natural to give them the benefit of the doubt since there is a whole game around this to provide context that you are simply missing.
The image IS taken out of context. you cannot deny that. Only after you play the game and with intended context if its still a problem, only then you can criticize it properly.
It's natural to give a studio with a history of transphobia the benefit of the doubt for handling trans stuff in their game?
 

Triscuitable

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,863
I have seen people in various threads talk about CD Projects historiy of transphobia and bad LGBTQ reprensetation in a way that makes it seem like they have done it multiple times, but I only remember the transphobic tweet. What other stuff have they done? The only LGBTQ content in their games that I can remember is the homosexual huntsman and the cross-dressing merchant from The Witcher 3 and from my outsider perspective (correct me if I am wrong) both of those seemed like solid/positive portrayals.
They've also made a mockery of #WontBeErased.
Its kind of natural to give them the benefit of the doubt since there is a whole game around this to provide context that you are simply missing.
The image IS taken out of context. you cannot deny that. Only after you play the game and with intended context if its still a problem, only then you can criticize it properly.
No, friend, that's not how it works. If the studio's got a prior track record of being shitty, and their PR excuse is "actually, it's supposed to be shitty, because consumerism in cyberpunk is bad!", but they haven't spoken thoughtfully of trans people before or in relation to the game. On top of that, given they've mostly focused on the spectacle of a cyberpunk world and why it's gritty and cool, rather than why it's horrifically dehumanizing and sucks (high tech, low life), I'm not going to give them the benefit of the doubt when a mean-spirited ad like this appears in the game, and they brush it off by saying "that was deliberately designed to be critical of consumerism!"
 

Icemonk191

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,407
Its kind of natural to give them the benefit of the doubt since there is a whole game around this to provide context that you are simply missing.
The image IS taken out of context. you cannot deny that. Only after you play the game and with intended context if its still a problem, only then you can criticize it properly.
Dude get out of here with this bs. There's enough context along with CDPR transphobic history to make judgement.
 

Hobbes

Freelance Games Journalist
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
1,515
United States
In lieu of representation it says that "Your existance is offensive".

The poster, showcasing the erect penis as something the player is supposed to be disgusted by, highlights this. No ammount of "worldbuilding" justifies this, and anybody appealing to that is making an excuse to justify something that exists not solely in the context of their game world, but in the modern world as well. You cannot make something okay if you pretend the real world doesn't exist. Anybody who tries is spitting in the faces of every trans person.

CDPR can go take a long walk off of a short pier.
Based on the designers comments, she says that model isn’t intended to be depicted as something you should be disgusted by, she even says that they are sexy.

With that said then, do you still think it’s meant to be offensive for the sake of being offensive and trans exclusionary?

Additionally, what would you do differently to depict what they are trying to do if you had to depict?
 

Kyuuji

Member
Nov 8, 2017
5,038
UK
I'm getting a slightly different read on this: It was meant to offend, not because it was a trans person, but because of its exploitative nature, and that this theme was intended to expand beyond the realm of that single add or group represented.
I don't think the two are necessarily separable within the context of an advert on a wall - keeping in mind we're looking at this singular image for chunks of time.

It's not something I expect most would ruminate on when going through the level beyond a quick glance and maybe a response to it being a woman with a large cock. Even though I think it's trash, I think a single digit percentage of players would even read the 'Chromanticore' can and remember the name.

So it feels less like it's a space primed to explore the complexities of trans and non binary exploitation and more a flashy sign for a quick chuckle.

If it is led into a wider nuanced theme and does include well written trans and non-binary characters is left to be seen, but there's nothing to suggest that's the case at the moment and they've earned the critical eye of the community over these issues.
 

OutofMana

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,521
California
I’m glad they responded. I know it might not be enough for some people. I totally get that. Wonder how well they will execute all the stuff they are trying to tell.
 

HotHamBoy

Member
Oct 27, 2017
11,644
Interesting.

So the content of the ad was intended to be offensive. People who were saying that the ad was cool and empowering etc. completely missed CDPR's point. And, in fact, showed themselves to be part of the problem.

It would be if the ad had featured blatant misogyny and objectification, and women said it was offensive, and then dudebros answered "no that chick is hot, what's the problem? it's empowering!", then CDPR said "actually that ad is intended to be offensive".

It's encouraging that the CDPR artist fully understands that and is presenting this as social commentary, too.
So i've thought about this even before this company response in the OP was presented.

I'm not sure you can tastefully explore these themes with this imagery on a mass-media level before transgender people have become a more accepted part of society.

But I dunno. i think it's incredibly risky and not necessarily helpful. I can't help but think this is ultimately just set-dressing, which is even worse.
 

Kitsunelaine

My favorite cake is pie
The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
4,817
Based on the designers comments, she says that model isn’t intended to be depicted as something you should be disgusted by, she even says that they are sexy.

With that said then, do you still think it’s meant to be offensive for the sake of being offensive and trans exclusionary?

Additionally, what would you do differently to depict what they are trying to do if you had to depict?
they could not use trans people as a cudgel, as a shorthand for "you're supposed to feel uncomfortable by this" (which is literally what she said, don't fuckin' try to pretend otherwise. no ammount of excuse makes that okay when it comes to trans people and hoenstly fuck anyone who pretends otherwise)

You can't say "Trans people are things and that's bad" and then just have "Trans people as things" being your sole depiction of trans people; because in lieu of any positive avenues of narrative exploration at ALL regarding the existance of trans people, that's endorsement. I literally could not give a single iota of a shit about your worldbuilding.
 
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Harlequin

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,227
The stuff about the character creator sounds good. Did we previously know that you can mix voice/body type options like that? Generally, I honestly think she's coming from a genuine, positive place in these interviews. Whether the game as a whole is going to reflect the kind of attitude she's presenting in these interviews is a different question (and one we can't answer right now) but I certainly don't doubt that she's being genuine here and that she actually cares about the issue.
 

Triscuitable

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,863
Based on the designers comments, she says that model isn’t intended to be depicted as something you should be disgusted by, she even says that they are sexy.
My trans friends and myself are disgusted with how it's fetishizing and sexually exploitative, in addition to how it generalizes trans people with phrases like "mix it up" and the fact that the drink is called "Chromanticore", alluding to chromosomes (which is a common argument made by biotruthers).
With that said then, do you still think it’s meant to be offensive for the sake of being offensive and trans exclusionary?
Yeah.
Additionally, what would you do differently to depict what they are trying to do if you had to depict?
Trans rights are a hot-button issue right now, and especially considering CDPR's past history with sensitive topics like this, I wouldn't allow it at all. This in-game ad doesn't need to exist.
 

Gattsu25

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,461
Have you played the game?
I'm pretty sure they're judging the game's marketing by what the game's marketing have shown so for.

When discussing the game's marketing regarding trans and non-binary people.. before today the only things they have to show for it is a transphobic tweet (with yet another transphobic tweet on the GOG account) and this ad/poster.

That's all we have to go by.

So people will look at what we have seen and make their judgements from there. If CD Projekt RED wanted us to have a more complete view of their intentions then that should have been part of their marketing strategy.
 

Trn25

Member
May 23, 2019
21
Cyberpunk has been on my cancel list a long time anyway, shame as it looks like a good game, bar all the transphobia from this company.
 

Mewshuji

Member
Nov 11, 2017
3,053
Skimmed thread while formulating my response. It's been mentioned in this thread that the explanation, particularly the "there's a spectrum of people in this world" comment, rings really fuckin' hollow when there's a lack of genderfluidity in the character creator. And I agree. The fact there's significant noticeable sexual dimporhism on the gender select screen doesn't do favors either.

So, what, you can use trans people as objects for the sake of satire, but won't even let us play a nonbinary person or, presumably based on said dimorphism, someone who is gender non-conforming?

This is also notable wrt how this is the first definite LGBT character we've seen in game... A non-character. Lol

It's just... Disappointing.

If any trans person feels I'm off base here, say so, but it just feels so hollow.
 

EVIL

Senior Concept Artist
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
566
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
how about you stop dismissing blatant transphobia
I see one tweet and they apologized for it. Its really hard to navigate this space correctly, mistakes get made, but I wont vilify a developer just because they made one mistake before when handling a complex issue like this in a game where its really easy to pull things out of context. Its a brave thing to tackle these subjects and I think they deserve some slack, especially when positioning them in complex narrative political situations they are building in this world
 
Trans writer weighs in on CDPR response

Heartimecia

Member
Oct 27, 2017
73
A friend and one of the most prominent trans voices in journalism (especially games journalism) just posted this piece, and it's a highly recommended read because she is super fab at dissecting these kinds of issues, exploring their nuances, and just generally at her job as a writer:

Some great quotes from the article are:
-"In other words, the ad isn’t jarring because of its capitalist ideals. It’s because of its trans model’s penis."
-"So for players who read the model as a trans woman, it’s as if she’s visibly thrusting one of her most stigmatized body parts onto others, like she wants the viewer to recognize her penis in its entire length and girth. It makes the model, not the society they live in, seem predatory."
-"Even if the ad is supposed to depict a trans woman or a trans femme in good faith, it’s terribly inaccurate in a way that furthers harmful stereotypes already existing in our society."
"But it’s unlikely that Cyberpunk 2077 will bring about the change Cole or Baker-Whitelaw want, because its own creator seems happy with capitalism as it stands today."
-"So before CD Projekt starts playing with gender in hamfisted ways, perhaps the company should look to itself, and question whether it’s perpetuating the very same capitalist dystopian fantasy Cyberpunk 2077 is, on the surface, trying to critique."
 

DerpHause

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,727
I don't think the two are necessarily separable within the context of an advert on a wall - keeping in mind we're looking at this singular image for chunks of time.

It's not something I expect most would ruminate on when going through the level beyond a quick glance and maybe a response to it being a woman with a large cock. Even though I think it's trash, I think a single digit percentage of players would even read the 'Chromanticore' can and remember the name.

So it feels less like it's a space primed to explore the complexities of trans and non binary exploitation and more a flashy sign for a quick chuckle.
It genuinely isn't a space for prolonged exploration of these themes more than any other single art asset in the game regardless of who it features. It's a part of a world, and one which clearly views trans people differently on some level than out own as per the latter part of the same post this is something that wouldn't happen in our current world for actually and blatantly homophobic reasons.

The thing is though: if that's the case, why is this exploitative ad the first and only indication of trans people being commonly accepted in this game's world? Wouldn't that have been a highlight in any of the trailers or the 48 minute long gameplay video they put out? Wouldn't they have thought earlier to put that sort of stuff in the game's character creator, which doesn't appear to have trans or genderqueer options as of last year's demo?
Not sure how to answer this given that life doesn't directly mirror of the blatant exaggerations things brands think we want or want to be now. I typically don't too closely follow games I'm interested in too closely because I want as much as possible to be revealed by the final product but in the reality portrayed by the game I'd expect that trans people don't just go around wearing bright neon badges advertizing anything more than anyone else.

Maybe that's an odd expectation on my part.
 
Jan 28, 2019
13
NYC-Miami
User Banned (permanent): Dismissing Concerns of Transphobia; Account in Junior Phase
Makes sense and is fitting for the setting.

Exactly, it is nothing but a artistic design of dev team which is a fictional world. They do the hell they want to do..who are you or dare to question their view, creativity or artistic design approach. It's a sci fy future created FICTIONAL world, period. It's like stopping J. Cameron or Spielberg mid shooting and telling them how do their magic by some bystanders or public.

It's a dark, gritty, ..nobody gives a @#$% MATURE themed world..deal with it.
 

Apollo

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,188
A friend and one of the most prominent trans voices in journalism (especially games journalism) just posted this piece, and it's a highly recommended read because she is super fab at dissecting these kinds of issues, exploring their nuances, and just generally at her job as a writer:
I just got finished reading this actually, and it’s really comprehensive. Brilliant, arguably required reading for this thread.
 

Kyuuji

Member
Nov 8, 2017
5,038
UK
I see one tweet and they apologized for it. Its really hard to navigate this space correctly, mistakes get made, but I wont vilify a developer just because they made one mistake before when handling a complex issue like this in a game where its really easy to pull things out of context. Its a brave thing to tackle these subjects and I think they deserve some slack, especially when positioning them in complex narrative political situations they are building in this world
If you're genuinely interested in how it's more than a single tweet then I wrote a post that would help provide context. It's pretty long but there's subheadings to make it easier to read.

 

entrydenied

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
1,994
I'm not sure that making an offensvie advertisement in a game actually does make any meaningful commentary on the subject beyond just spreading the narrative around further. She says that her intention is to show that "Hypersexualization in advertisements is just terrible" while at the same she is talking about how sexy she finds the person in the ad. I fail to see how an advertisment with "Mix it up" "Chromanticure" and a bulge that is not represented when men are sexualized are really making the statement that she thinks that it is.

The constant sexualization and fetishization that trans people have faced throughout society should probably be handled with a bit more nuance than whatever kind of reasoning this is as contributing to the problem does not increase empathy in any way and only further alienates us.
Yup the answer doesn't inspire confidence.
 

Triscuitable

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,863
A friend and one of the most prominent trans voices in journalism (especially games journalism) just posted this piece, and it's a highly recommended read because she is super fab at dissecting these kinds of issues, exploring their nuances, and just generally at her job as a writer:
There's one thing she missed, and frankly, that I missed as well until I read this article. And frankly, once I made the realization, the in-game ad only became worse. On the drink in the ad, it's the first C and M that are larger than the rest of the logo, not both Cs. In other words, the drink isn't "ChromantiCure", it's "ChroManticore", as in, "chromosomes" (a favorite argument of biotruthers) and "manticore". You know, the mythological monster that's a whole bunch of different animals collected into one abominable creature.

In other words, the drink is likening gender-non-conforming people to manticores, and directly acknowledges the concept of chromosomes.
 

EVIL

Senior Concept Artist
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
566
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Stop lying. Or maybe you're gullible enough to think that what they posted is a genuine "apology". I think the lying accusation is more favourable to your intelligence though.
I am genuinely not lying, I don't follow every developer to the teeth or envelop my life following 100% of all game news. I only know about that one tweet, but cool to attack me personally assuming my intelligence.
 

Kitsunelaine

My favorite cake is pie
The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
4,817
A friend and one of the most prominent trans voices in journalism (especially games journalism) just posted this piece, and it's a highly recommended read because she is super fab at dissecting these kinds of issues, exploring their nuances, and just generally at her job as a writer:

Some great quotes from the article are:
-"In other words, the ad isn’t jarring because of its capitalist ideals. It’s because of its trans model’s penis."
-"So for players who read the model as a trans woman, it’s as if she’s visibly thrusting one of her most stigmatized body parts onto others, like she wants the viewer to recognize her penis in its entire length and girth. It makes the model, not the society they live in, seem predatory."
-"Even if the ad is supposed to depict a trans woman or a trans femme in good faith, it’s terribly inaccurate in a way that furthers harmful stereotypes already existing in our society."
"But it’s unlikely that Cyberpunk 2077 will bring about the change Cole or Baker-Whitelaw want, because its own creator seems happy with capitalism as it stands today."
-"So before CD Projekt starts playing with gender in hamfisted ways, perhaps the company should look to itself, and question whether it’s perpetuating the very same capitalist dystopian fantasy Cyberpunk 2077 is, on the surface, trying to critique."
that's some good shit right there

I am genuinely not lying, I don't follow every developer to the teeth or envelop my life following 100% of all game news. I only know about that one tweet, but cool to attack me personally assuming my intelligence.
You're telling a trans woman to her face that she should just lie down and accept what this company is doing and I'm having none of it. No, I don't give a shit if you didn't know I was trans before. This site is supposed to be friendly to those issues as a default, and you are exceptionally unfriendly to them. I'm tried of people like you who think they've got it all figured out and are content to say "Hey, this is okay with me, therefore this should be okay for everybody".

Don't want to be caught out? Don't comment on shit you know nothing about as if you're an authority.
 

Harlequin

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,227
My trans friends and myself are disgusted with how it's fetishizing and sexually exploitative, in addition to how it generalizes trans people with phrases like "mix it up" and the fact that the drink is called "Chromanticore", alluding to chromosomes (which is a common argument made by biotruthers).
But that's exactly her point. She says that it's meant to be sexually exploitative and that it's meant to be viewed critically. Of course, it's impossible for us to say at this point whether the game will actually succeed at presenting it in a critical light (and after the tweets and stuff, I don't blame anyone for thinking it won't, I've got my doubts about it, too) but if we take her at her word, then at least the intention here is to criticise the very thing you're disgusted by.
 

EVIL

Senior Concept Artist
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
566
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
If you're genuinely interested in how it's more than a single tweet then I wrote a post that would help provide context. It's pretty long but there's subheadings to make it easier to read.

Thank you, I will have a look!
 

Heartimecia

Member
Oct 27, 2017
73
I just got finished reading this actually, and it’s really comprehensive. Brilliant, arguably required reading for this thread.
/Definitely/ required reading imo. I won't make the mistake of discounting dissenting trans voices/opinions as a cis person, and it isn't my place to dictate whether the issue at hand is fine or not, but I do really agree with her. I recommend following her work if you don't already--she's incredible.

There's one thing she missed, and frankly, that I missed as well until I read this article. And frankly, once I made the realization, the in-game ad only became worse.

The drink isn't "ChromantiCure", it's "ChroManticore", as in, "chromosomes" (a favorite argument of biotruthers) and "manticore". You know, the mythological monster that's a whole bunch of different animals collected into one abominable creature.

In other words, the drink is likening gender-non-conforming people to manticores, and directly acknowledges the concept of chromosomes.
Oh, now that you point it out, I can see you're right. BIG YIKES. I'll DM her about this right now.
 

Triscuitable

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,863
But that's exactly her point. She says that it's meant to be sexually exploitative and that it's meant to be viewed critically. Of course, it's impossible for us to say at this point whether the game will actually succeed at presenting it in a critical light (and after the tweets and stuff, I don't blame anyone for thinking it won't, I've got my doubts about it, too) but if we take her at her word, then at least the intention here is to criticise the very thing you're disgusted by.
I advise you read all my other posts in this thread, because I already addressed that PR excuse earlier, and I'm not keen on repeating myself for yet another person who wants to brush my grievances away.
 

Kyuuji

Member
Nov 8, 2017
5,038
UK
It genuinely isn't a space for prolonged exploration of these themes more than any other single art asset in the game regardless of who it features. It's a part of a world, and one which clearly views trans people differently on some level than out own as per the latter part of the same post this is something that wouldn't happen in our current world for actually and blatantly homophobic reasons.
I edited my post afterward to address the world, not in time to catch the reply though!
Whether it does lead into a wider nuanced theme and includes well written trans and non-binary characters is left to be seen, but there's nothing to suggest that's the case at the moment and they've earned the critical eye of the community over these issues.