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OpiumHerz avatar 9:34 AM on 06.19.2013  (server time)
Dear Jim Sterling...

Dear Jim Sterling,
first of all, let's get the slime out of the way, shall we? Big time fan, love Jimquisition, love PodToid, yadda yadda yadda. See, you are essentially what brought me to this site - to this community. A community I liked so far a good bit. But today you posted an article. Namely this one.

(if the picture isn't displayed I'm sorry - it IS displayed in the editor just fine, it is simply a screenshot of the article itself)

After reading this, it was the first time I felt you could be rightfully accussed of bad journalism. For more than one reason. See, I know you like to ride things beyond the past, where they are dead for most people. It's something I actually don't find bad, seeing how quick the carpet was lift over the desaster that was Aliens: Colonial Marines. And while I find the fight you fight for female characters in gaming one that is only between you and enemies you yourself make up (but that's not the point here - that would be a topic for a whole different evening), I enjoy those pieces too. I often disagree with you, I would even dare to say: most of the times I disagree with you. But I enjoy your works nonetheless, since it offers me another point of view. One I might have not considered yet. One that makes me think. You actually inspire me sometimes to ponder over my point of view.

This article however was something I didn't see coming. The first thing that made me raise my eyebrows was the fact that you withheld the covers that were offered for voting, only presenting the shopped picture. You didn't even MENTION the fact that one of the four covers to vote for was another The Last Of Us picutre - one with Ellie in the foreground. It was a user, CommanderZx2, who had to reveal that little fact in the comments. This fact alone gives the thing pretty much a new perspective, doesn't it? Because maybe it has nothing to do with "women are shunted off promotional materials and deemed unworthy to act as playable characters", but more with the fact that a magazine wanted to give their readers some kind of choice for a popular game? 2 out of 4 covers to choose from were from The Last Of Us, one of it had Ellie in it, the other didn't. One went for the typical, as you coined it, "Gun Bro"-cover, the other one for the cover the artists wanted. But it's a 1 on 1 thing here. This sounds like a pretty fair quota to me.
Now you can argue that removing Ellie in the first place is a questionable act - I agree with that. As a writer I don't think too highly of retouching other people's artwork, especially not without their consent. However, apparently it was within the rights given to the magazine and going for two directions in a user based vote is something I can't blame them for.

The second thing is the tone of it. The retouched picture was used in a vote for the readers and the reader chose the one without Ellie (I would simply assume because the other artwork, which is also the cover artwork, has been seen to death and has become boring over the time - but that's just my guess). You know, I'm pretty sure of that thing here, NOTHING about the motives of those who voted. You don't know if the readers knew Ellie was removed from the one picture or not, you don't know what the backgrounds for the votes were.
Because, there is a simple little fact: it might have won because the readers simply liked it more. Without any prejudice or negative feelings against Ellie, or female characters, or women in general. And this it what REALLY rubs me the wrong way here. That you put off the result of the vote as a "compound of sadness", without knowing ANYTHING about the voters. You simply imply with this text, especially considering your previous works, that the people who voted for that are some assholes who have something against women in their videogames. And this is where you are absolutely out of place, without any room for "but"s or "if"s. I also read a comment that Ellie was, apparently, removed because the editor in chief of Gamereactor found her simply looking "pasted in" in the artwork.

I bet there will some more fact bubble up, maybe they already did while I was writing this, but I wanted to get this off my chest. Dear Jim Sterling, I am used to read better things from you. And while I know I can't [u]DEMAND[/u] better, I do [u]ASK[/u] for it.

a reader

EDIT: Jim went and edited the article in regards two the second part. Thank you.

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