Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Assassin's Creed dev accuses game journalists of racism

10:00 AM on 08.17.2012 // Jim Sterling

Assassin's Creed III creative director Alex Hutchinson has accused game journalists of "subtle racism" thanks to the way they treat Japanese games. Apparently, enjoying the narrative of Japanese games is condescending and racist, because Hutchinson thinks they're crap. 

"I think there’s a subtle racism in the business, especially on the journalists' side, where Japanese developers are forgiven for doing what they do. I think it’s condescending to do this," he told CVG. "Just think about how many Japanese games are released where their stories are literally gibberish. Literally gibberish. There’s no way you could write it with a straight face, and the journalists say ‘oh it is brilliant.'

"Then Gears of War comes out and apparently it’s the worst written narrative in a game ever. I’ll take Gears of War over Bayonetta any time. It’s patronising to say, 'oh those Japanese stories, they don’t really mean what they’re doing.'"

Uh ... wow.

First of all, I think Bayonetta's plot was its most maligned feature, while Gears of War received criticism mostly because it plays to tried and tested Western tropes that many people have grown tired of. Not to mention it was a developer that attacked Gears! It's natural that Western audiences will be more critical of Western writing, because it's something we're more familiar with -- we recognize cliches more readily, we have greater ability to compare with other works, and we better understand where the writer is coming from. That's not racism of any sort -- familiarity breeds contempt, after all. 

I don't think it's condescending to understand that Japanese storytelling comes from a totally different culture, and therefore is going to resonate in very different ways. What may be "gibberish" to Hutchinson makes perfect sense to Japanese gamers. Humor, in particular, is not always universal -- what makes an audience laugh in one country may utterly confuse an audience in another. Meanwhile, those who know enough about both cultures may know why it's funny, and won't write it off as sub-standard nonsense.

If we're going to toss around accusations of racism, I'd say Hutchinson's statements are up for scrutiny. After all, he's the one suggesting that the only way you could like some of these games is if you're patronizing those wacky-talking Japanese studios. That sounds more condescending than anything else.

That said. there's a lot about storytelling in Japanese games that could do with a shakeup. There are Eastern tropes I'm getting just as sick of as Western ones, and I think they deserve to be called out a lot more, because there are some folks who do believe JRPGs in particular can do no wrong. As far as the press goes, however, I still remember most of my peers calling Heavy Rain one of the greatest stories of all time ... so I don't think the love of gibberish begins and ends with Japan. 

In any case, while Hutchinson may be right in suggesting that some Japanese storytelling could be given harsher criticism, he's oversimplifying the issue. There's plenty of Western narrative that gets a free pass just because it pretends to be "emotional" and there's a lot more to praising Japanese narrative than condescending racism. 

Still, at least this chap and Phil Fish would have plenty to talk about.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What youtubers y'all watch? I need more.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Playing For Glory earlier today, some guy beat me and changed his name to "ifukdu_up". I won next round and he changed it to "ILETUWIN". I then 2-0ed the little sucker, and he left the lobby. I took great pride from this incident.
Dalek Sex avatarDalek Sex
Henshin into a person with a larger disposable income.
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Why the hell are we suddenly accepting micro transactions in fully priced games? It used to be only acceptable in free-to-play games but its sickening that even AAA developers like microsoft are on the bandwagon.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
If you're ever writing about something from the heart, and you stop and think "I don't know how people will react to me if I write this" then you absolutely should go ahead. Passionate conviction is often the only voice you'll have.
VeryImportantQuestion avatarVeryImportantQuestion
Wait a second...has the blog editor been changed with the idea being that the formatting be done in Word or something and then pasted in? Have I been using it wrong these last few posts?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
guys I'm standing in a Target looking at a Xenoblade X special edition what do I do
Zer0t0nin avatarZer0t0nin
Dear Dortmund Zoo: how's it possible for people to steal 3 monkeys, 3 squirrels and 2 penguins while killing a manatee and another penguin since April and you still have no clue how to stop this?
WryGuy avatarWryGuy
We got Xbone! We got Xbone! We got Xbone! We got Xbone! We got Xbone! [img][/img]
Flegma avatarFlegma
Two more reasons not to preorder: the game might appear in stores before release day (Hello, Xenoblade Chronicles X for 60EUR at my local mall) or the mail workers may be on strike (well, they were until Monday).
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
ModDb's MOTY (Mod of the Year) votes are up, there's quite a TON of interesting mods this year, give it a look and vote for your favorite! ---
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Hey, US Pokemon fans! Apparently if you just rename your SSID to Mcdonalds Free Wifi, you don't even need to go anywhere to get your Hoopas. Seems like they could've just made this one a normal download.
Archelon avatarArchelon
It may have been a war of attrition, but I just took out a Snowspeeder on foot in Battlefront. Aww, yeah.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Last night, for one reason or another I watched the endings of bloodborne via vaatividya, and in so doing made myself sad that I will never get to play it. Still cool that they seem to have really nailed that lovecraftian exestential horror and despair.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] やらないか?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
If I were a rhino, I'd be horny.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I don't want DOAX, but it does make me realize... There aren't actually a lot of volleyball games out there, are there? Or tennis, even? At least golf has a little competition, but still. That's golf.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Well, everyone is throwing in their opinion on women and games, and here I am... writing a blog about being aroused by female characters in games as a kid... Perhaps I should hold off, I have a feeling it may just be taken the wrong way.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Thinking about getting my sister yokai watch or animal crossing Happy Home designer(comes with nfc reader). I already got a copy of Tales of xillia for her ps3, this is just a bonus for when she's on the road or at someones house. any suggestions?
Dalek Sex avatarDalek Sex
Dark Souls 2. Dem builds.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -