Right now the video game industry is fighting back against being seen as needlessly violent and misogynistic. Hoping to be part of the solution, the marketing team behind Dead Island Riptide have decided to include a limbless, decapitated female bust with the special edition of that particular game. Wait a second, did I say part of the solution? What I meant was ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME?
I was actually a fan of Dead Island and wasn’t as insulted as others were at its trailer’s completely inaccurate representation of the actual game. You gotta stand out somehow right, especially when you’re a zombie FPS?
The bloody torso, however, just proves that what we may have interpreted as an outside-the-box style of marketing is actually an awkward clamor for attention that’s clearly gone wrong. Sure, a bloody torso with big boobs is going to turn heads, just like a slow motion video featuring a zombie child being thrown out of a window did. What the torso is missing, however, is context, and frankly, tact. I understand that Deep Silver has since apologized, but the fact that it took an outcry from fans for the team to rethink the torso is beyond me (and its yet to be determined whether any rethinking will actually be done).
Aside from the fact that the piece is just senseless gore, there is a metaphor staring at us right in the face with this bust, and it’s the way in which people view women as being nothing but a pair of breasts. Why not a man’s chest with an exaggerated bulge covered in blood? Whoops sorry, I forgot how sacred the wiener is. To go a bit further, the idea that the torso is seen as bait is parallel to the way in which women are seen as less important than men and thus acceptable to use and abuse in order for their “superior” counterparts to succeed. I’m sure that’s not the intent (or at least I hope not), but for the person in charge of this marketing effort to miss such a comparison is beyond me. I’m a freaking immature man child and that was the first thing I thought when I saw it!
If video games weren’t being so misrepresented by the media and frankly, gamers themselves, then perhaps this might possibly have been seen as an interesting maneuver. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, there’s a two front war going on right now and this little “art piece” does little but to exacerbate the situation, regardless of apologies. Does it represent all of video games as a whole? No, but rarely do the opponents of the industry look at the big picture and I guarantee no one outside the video game industry will see the apologetic tweet from Deep Silver.
I’m sure people will defend the bloody torso and within that defense concepts like freedom of speech and anti-censorship will pop up. The thing is, I’m not asking for an outside entity to come on scene and take the bloody torso away because that’s the responsibility of the publisher, developer and everyone involved with the process of promoting this game. What disturbs me is that the bust isn’t fan art created in the basement of a troubled individual and paraded around the internet for shock value, it was part of a marketing campaign that was dreamed up and implemented by a group of professionals who should be somewhat aware of the impact such a move could have. Do they know what’s going on in the real world? If they don’t, they’ll find out here very soon.