Veteran Game Dev Deconstructs Tropes Vs Women In Games Falsehoods
Tropes vs Women in Games

A veteran game developer has finally done a video series pointing out the inconsistencies, falsehoods and general misinformation that has done irreparable damage to the gaming industry from the Tropes vs Women in Games series by Jonathan McIntosh and Anita Sarkeesian (even though McIntosh is no longer involved with the production).

With 20 years of experience under his belt working at some of the largest game studios out there, including Disney Interactive and Avalanche Studios, developer Troy Leavitt does a multi-part series addressing many of the issues that people with common sense brought up about Feminist Frequency’s Tropes vs Women in Video Games series. You can check out the first part below.

All the other major sites out there have been pushing this false narrative about the gaming industry being a den of misogyny, along with promoting Sarkeesian as some sort of equality-driven savior; but the only thing the series has done is create turmoil within the community, division at studios and a lot of games being designed with shooed-in sociopolitical talking points to meet token standards.

According to Troy Leavitt, his first issue with Feminist Frequency is that…

“Feminist Frequency is not performing valuable research. It is engaging in ideological propaganda.”

He points to several examples of Sarkeesian noting that only men can be sexist, and that everything in the world is sexist, racist and/or homophobic, you just have to point it out. He explains that in the case of Tropes vs Women In Games, the series starts with the presupposition that games are sexist and attempts to find fringe examples to suit this narrative. It’s why classics like Tetris, Laura Bow or Day of the Tentacle were never featured in the series, or why games like Dex, Oni and Meat Puppet were conveniently ignored.

Bringing up games where women were background objects (even though every NPC is a background object and thus makes that claim an oxymoron) or where a scantily clad woman was featured in the game at some point is usually the focus of the series, just as optional violence against women in open-world games is oftentimes used erroneously to satiate the points made in the Tropes vs Women In Games videos.

He even points to Sarkeesian’s cherry-picked assertion about butt coverings – that men butts are always covered and female butts are always highlighted. Leavitt points to Crafty Ape’s video playlist that inversely shows a bunch of games highlighting the male posterior.

The second part of Leavitt’s series really puts into perspective what Sarkeesian’s beef is with the industry regarding sexism. In fact, he uses Wikipedia’s list of games released between 2012 and 2016 (the dates in which she’s been doing the Tropes vs Women in Games series) and figured that there have been 2716 games released over that four year span. So how many games (including the ‘E’ rated titles) make Sarkeesian’s list? 99. What percentage of these games constitute the overall industry (no matter how big or small the offense)? 3.7%.

One could argue that the industry needs to wipe out that 3.7%, but then the question becomes: why would a small percentage of games that people like Sarkeesian find offensive need to go away if the audience who buys that 3.7% enjoy those games? It’s a little like getting rid of Jason Statham movies because they’re too violent, even though they make up a tiny fraction of overall movies on the market.

But that’s even working on the assumption that those 99 games are actually “problematic”. The reality is that the ones called out for allowing violence against women usually have equal opportunity violence (such as Saints Row and Hitman) or optional sexually explicit content to engage in (such as Thief or Dishonored).

If you removed games where any form of encountering sexual content is optional (meaning the player has to actually go out of their way to engage in it), you would have to remove Just Cause 2, Sleeping Dogs, Assassin’s Creed, Fallout, Hitman, Dishonored, Metro, GTA IV and Far Cry from the list, and that’s just a cursory rundown of the games. The list shrinks a lot more when you can’t even harm the female characters or there is no sexually explicit content.

In fact, Leavitt does the opposite… only pointing out the “problematic” games rated ‘Mature’. Between 2012 and 2016 they only make up for 1.6% of all the games released during those years for home consoles and PC.

Essentially, these games don’t even make up for a fraction of the amount of content released onto the market between those years. And it’s actually quite a testament that Mature-rated content that Sarkeesian finds problematic only make up for 1.6% of games released within a four year span.

In other words, if you decided to go out and buy any video game blindly from a random list of games made between 2012 and 2016, there’s less than a 2% chance you might land on one of the Mature rated titles Sarkeesian finds objectionable. It definitely helps put things into perspective.

The last video points out something that most gamers have been asking over the last four years “WTF is up with the silence from developers and not addressing all this misinformation and propaganda?” Well, Leavitt points out something that another former Disney Interactive developer told us in an interview: Disney doesn’t do controversy. In fact, I’m sure a lot of publishers don’t like engaging in public controversy and that’s why they were dead silent about this subject (some of them, anyway).

Leavitt avoided speaking up while he worked under Disney Interactive, but decided that since he was out from under the iron umbrella of a major publisher, he would take this time to debunk some of the nonsense that “culture critics” and “video game journalists” have been negatively perpetuating over the last four years. This is the first thing he highlights in the third part of his video series.

Leavitt uses the third part to celebrate games, egalitarianism and various titles that put men and women on equal footing.

This has never really been in dispute… it’s just something the games media and culture critics like Sarkeesian conveniently ignore.

Games like XCOM (or heck the original Micropose X-Com trilogy from back in the 1990s) are never brought up because it destroys the argument.

The reality is that games that do target the genders (male or female specific titles) sell very differently to each demographic. You’ll see more of one thing or another depending on how the free market responds. We get a bunch of Call of Duty clones because Call of Duty sells. We get a bunch of MOBA clones these days (which have a wide assortment of diverse characters) because Dota 2 and League of Legends are two of the most played games in the world today.

Publishers go where the money is; and if the money is in catering $60 titles to young males thinking with the lower part of their head… then that’s where publishers will go. Heck, the same thing applies to the world of comic books and movies. Mockingbird didn’t die off due to some patriarchal conspiracy theory, it ended because it didn’t sell that great. The Ghostbusters reboot isn’t getting a sequel because of some secret organization of white male oppressors… it just didn’t turn a profit for Sony.

Facts and reality aren’t strong points for SJWs, though. It’s the reason why SJW media outlets have to close off comment sections, ban users and disable discussion threads to push their points across. And in the case of Feminist Frequency and the Tropes vs Women in Games series… once you start bringing up sales data, market penetration and demographic engagement, none of the arguments made by these “culture critics” appear to hold up under such scrutiny.

About

Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • Mike Campbell

    Really another video on sarkeesian , isn’t getting very old and she pretty much irrelevant right now so we should let her go

    • Well this is the first time that a major developer has stepped up to debunk these issues. Also, for the people who said she was irrelevant back in 2012, look at what happened when people were told to “just ignore her”. She got the dang U.N., involved.

      • Mike Campbell

        But was pretty unknown before tvw in video games and people harassed her and that’s one of thing got her popular and people should ignore her because tbh she’s not doing anything wrong just criticizing tropes in video games that’s it

        • tbh she’s not doing anything wrong just criticizing tropes in video games that’s it

          Uh, no… she’s trying to lead a revolution in getting games censored that don’t fit in line with her ideology. As well as leading media witch hunts against devs who don’t adopt third-wave feminism. Did you not see the examples that Leavitt used in his videos? Or how games like Summer Lesson won’t be coming to America due to SJWs like Sarkeesian?

          • Mike Campbell

            Criticism is not censorship and that’s Harada’s decision to not release summer lesson to the west and it’s a stupid reason, just because some people don’t like it a give an opinion on it doesn’t mean you should exclude people in the west without having to import it, they should take notes from keichiro takaki with the senran kagura games or rockstar, they need to get off this houiler than thou attitude because they are not above criticism they came take it

          • Criticism is not censorship

            It’s not criticism when Australia removed GTA from Target and Kmart, it’s censorship. They did so due to petitions from feminists saying the game was misogynistic after Sarkeesian targeted the game for *ding ding ding* sexism and misogyny.

            Criticism becomes censorship when there’s a call to action. In the case of Fem Freq, there’s oftentimes a call to action. As I mentioned, she went to the United Nations about sexism in games, and the United Nations went after Japan to try to get them to *ding ding ding* censor their games and anime:
            http://nichegamer.com/2016/03/01/japanese-representative-refutes-un-suggestion-to-ban-media-depicting-sexual-violence/

            hey need to get off this houiler than thou attitude because they are not above criticism they came take it

            It’s not just a holier than thou attitude. Dude, Koei Tecmo and Bandai Namco specifically mentioned that they did not want negative attention from the media regarding sexism and SJW sociopolitical controversies. If you didn’t know, a lot of times media representation of a company CAN affect the stock portfolio. Koei Tecmo likely did not want investors wondering why a concentrated effort of headlines would start appearing saying the company is sexists and misogynists for releasing Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 in the West.

            Companies like Rockstar feed on that kind of propaganda because that’s how they got big and sold millions of copies of GTA. But not every company knows how to turn media controversy into sales. Also, way to move the goalposts of Sarkeesians misinformation and witch hunting against devs into a problem of developers not having thick enough skin to deal with falsehoods and media propaganda campaigns.

  • StolenEyes

    The thing to remember with Sarkeesian is that all of her videos are highly subjective opinion painted as objective fact. She then used the criticism she received to prove that she was “right”, and deliberately inserted herself into Gamergate to capitalise on it. And I don’t think her supposed influence within certain quarters is as far-reaching as she would like us to believe, or as much as she would like it to be – her priceless response to the Trump victory should be proof enough. As others have said, many within the gaming industry and the media have been afraid to criticise her for fear of being branded sexist or misogynistic. The mere fact that she is willing to use her gender as some sort of shield should be enough of a warning, because if what she has been saying all along has been correct, she wouldn’t need to, nor would she need to censor comments and likes/dislikes on her videos. I agree with Billy the damage has been done. Hopefully now the tide is finally turning! I thank Troy for being the first dev to come forward; I certainly hope he isn’t the last.

  • Clayton Weaver

    Feminist Frequency has been debunked repeatedly by gamers and anonymous game devs, but this is the first veteran game developer that is open about who he is that is debunking her with facts. Anonymity comes with a greater ease of disregard while keeping the person safe, but it is difficult to disregard a veteran where you can see his credentials and know he isn’t just an alleged “butt hurt gamer using a sock puppet account to justify their woman hating”.

    Anonymity is awesome, but it is a personal choice and to that end I’ve decided not to be anonymous. Unlike SJWs though, I respect those who chose anonymity as I can disagree or agree without knowing with whom I’m discussing with.

  • Alistair

    I too believe Regression SJW has finally lost even Antia said they lost the election of Clinton and now is the time to regroup and fight back.

    They are desperate and even more dangerous now, that we must keep plugging away they bullshit.

    I like watching the salt vids of Regression crying, I have no sympathy for them. As they have no sympathy for me.

    • C G Saturation

      I’ve been wondering if there’s a correlation between spoiled rich people and Hillary supporters. They’re so well-off that they don’t notice the world infrastructure collapsing around them. To them, it’s more important that they have a female president for historic precedent.

      Ironically, the history of the United States could end very soon, thanks to their intentional ignorance of the facts and lack of basic survival knowledge/priorities.

      If they continue down this path of destruction, in a century or two, the United States could end up being remembered as “the country that foolishly destroyed itself for the sake of a single vagina”.

  • Alistair

    “Stop liking what I don’t like”. Should be a criminal offence.

    They bitch and whine about harassment, well I’m saying they harassment Devs, me, you for the things we like.

    Let’s report her and her sexist views.

    It is not illegal to called someone a thick ugly tart. The same tar it not illegal to call some some sexist misogyny but it should be.

    That was just a example when Regression cherry pick in they own interest.

    Take my above comment they will go after the one who said thick ugly tart and not the ones like regression who says we are sexist and misogyny.

    It really a fresh of fresh air that a dev counter vid with his own.

    Antia is not a dev, like Zoe Quinn she not even a fucking critic she a con artist that get paid whining about games.

    • C G Saturation

      That’s why JP people see feminists/SJWs as insanely selfish people. Their entire behavior is about forcing themselves onto everyone else.

  • Nanya

    1: “Saint” Anita’s been debunked by the entire Skeptic community
    2: He should have come out with this years ago.
    3: It’s not telling us anything we didn’t already know.
    4: “Saint” Anita’s already done a ton of damage to gaming, this is too little, too late.
    5: It’s not like he’ll get on any major networks to be able to debunk this and no way Kotaku, Vice, Gamasutra, etc., are going to go ‘well, we were wrong’.

    • And the thing is, Anita Sarkeesian’s complaints should not even have to be de-constructed.

      The fact that video game female characters are fucking FICTIONAL and NOT real human beings should be all that’s needed to send this maggot squirming back down to the hole where she belongs.

  • giygas
    • C G Saturation

      Ugh. It’s so painful to look at.

  • LMGamer.

    As usual when the real actual facts and numbers come out it shows what a whole lot of bollocks this was. Draw your own conclusions to other such tripe out there.

    And thank you Troy Leavitt for this. We could have nipped this in the bud if publishers etc weren’t running scared every two seconds about these stupid claims.

  • Raiden

    Don’t call the damage ‘irreparable’ that’s a word for defeatists.

    • The damage is irreparable, though. Some games have already been censored, banned or pulled from the market. Others have been denied ratings in regions so they can’t be sold there, and others simply won’t be sold in some regions at all. Unless each of those scenarios are reversed… then yeah, the damage has been done.

      • Raiden

        Just because it’s been done, doesn’t it can’t be fixed or repaired. This whole website should be against Quitter talk like that.

        • This whole website should be against Quitter talk like that.

          http://i.imgur.com/VLUNHyM.png

        • C G Saturation

          I don’t see how acknowledging damage being irreparable means “quitting”. That’s quite a jump. Very ironic for a thread about Sarquasar. I see what you did thar.

    • C G Saturation

      It’s irreparable as long as assholes refuse to admit their stupidity. I get the impression Billy prioritizes reporting facts than trying to sound anti-defeatist.

      If you really want to solve a problem, you need to acknowledge where damage is irreparable and work around that, instead of trying to change what you can’t.

    • DDD-kun

      It’s not defeatist, it’s pragmatic. The fight isn’t over just because the word is used.

      Likewise, the ripples of the lake have cleared but the stone that caused the ripples is now sitting at the lake bottom, altering the flow of water all around it. Make no mistake, Anita and Josh have had a serious social, economical, and even educational impact on the state of the industry as well as even influence in higher educational pursuits (recall that FemFreq was angling to actively sell their presentation to schools as a course venue for high school and college level courses…and some schools bought it).

      What makes the descriptor pragmatic is that you don’t immediately give up because of that. You assess the damage, check your wounds, and continue your campaign. You keep fighting.

  • Reaper of Salt

    Where was this guy 7 years ago?

    • I imagine he reached a point in his career where taking an activist stance wouldn’t hurt him if there was a resulting backlash.

  • C G Saturation

    What is that grotesque bloodied and bloated skunk next to Lara Croft? Yuck!!

  • NeoTechni

    I love that he works for Avalanche. Which means he worked on Disney Infinity. A game I use in my examples to prove Anita is full of shit

  • Feminist Frequency’s claims of “sexism in gaming” has been debunked hundreds of times over the last 2-3 years.

    Unfortunately as always with a society like this, it’s not about facts. Instead it’s about feelings and who has the loudest megaphone. In this case, it’s Anita Sarkeesian with the mainstream media, news media, academia, education, tech media, games media, politicians and government on her side.

    • C G Saturation

      About as long as milennial lifespan is.

      • The push-back is happening, and it’s been happening for a while. With or without Donald Trump.

        The constant disgusting behaviour of these SJW leftist feminist/BLM/LGBTQ millienials have all but sped up the process of their own demise.

        The SJW’s stronghold by far is the mainstream media and academia. If we can somehow kick these professors out of academia and get MSM to be less biased, that’s a massive part of their power gone. Alternative media is already gaining more and more steam and popularity.

        But of course, this will take years. But I don’t think it will be a millennial lifespan.

        And I say this being a pessimist realist.

        • C G Saturation

          It still depresses me that so many people are so stupid. They eagerly let themselves be literally soulless and mindless puppets of Soros.

          I think a lot of those people will remain stubborn until the day they die. They’ve been brainwashed to be that way from a young age. Even if the world around them is the opposite, they will try to stick to their echo chambers and insist everyone else is wrong. Never before has there been such a deeply brainwashed population, I think.

    • Fear Me I Am Free

      But remember, all criticism is just harassment in SJW eyes.

    • CRES

      True, but this is the first time, at least as far as I have seen, that a video game developer has put his name and career on the line to fight back against this threat. Feminists like Anita gain power through fear and many developers are falling in line not because they agree with the position, but rather because they are afraid of being called a “Sexist,” “Misogynist,” or “Racist” and losing their job over it.

      By attaching his name and career to his video series, Troy Leavitt can have a powerful effect on the industry by giving other developers the courage to stand up against this. Now I would have LOVED to see this happen 2 years ago, maybe then we wouldn’t see games get absolutely butchered by shitty localization (I’m looking at you Fire Emblem Fates and Tokyo Mirage Sessions), but at least we can still salvage what’s left of the industry.

      • Yeah, Troy Leavitt has some guts to come out with what he has said. He’ll have the MSGM, Twitter SJWs and the Tumblrtards after him now.

        BUT unlike 2-3 years ago, he’ll get massive support from GG/Pepe/Alt-Right/Anti-SJWs/Alt-Media/etc. That is a big difference.

        “Now I would have LOVED to see this happen 2 years ago”

        If he did this 2 years ago, it would’ve been immediate life/career suicide for him. He was wise to keep quiet back then.

        “By attaching his name and career to his video series, Troy Leavitt can have a powerful effect on the industry by giving other developers the courage to stand up against this.”

        You are correct.

        But as for the developers, personally I’m still highly critical of them, because for the last 3-4 years, they themselves have been licking the crust off Sarkeesian’s anal ring-piece whilst completely shitting on the gamers by censoring, self-censoring, butchering and pandering to SJWs/feminists by injecting SJW garbage into their games. If gamers spoke up against it, they got censored or banned. This really is some detestable behaviour.

        I hope what Leavitt has said inspires developers to unite as a whole, speak out against SJWs and reject their crap. But personally I don’t think this will happen yet because if it did, the mainstream games media will immediately label them as “sexists” and “misogynists”. And we all know how company bosses/CEO love that company PR.

        • CRES

          Yeah, It is “safer” to speak out now since SJW’s power is starting to wane, but if he had spoken out earlier we might not have the large force we need to push back against. As for Developers being largely bending over backwards in order to be eye level with Anita’s cunt, there are some that are like that I’m sure. But I’m more talking about the silent majority who are just keeping their head down so that it’s not on the chopping block.

          I remember reading an interview from I think it was Techraptor, who was talking to a developer (who I believe remained anonymous) who said that the SJW climate that was created caused most of his colleges to just remain quiet even though they agree with #GamerGate. I believe that the people who truly agree with Anita are a very VERY small percentile of the industry, and that the vast majority just doesn’t have the courage to risk their livelihood turning back this regressive tide.

          I guess what I’m ultimately saying is that I agree with you, I’m just a little more optimistic about ultimate outcome this video series will have. But only if it becomes well known enough.

          • “I believe that the people who truly agree with Anita are a very VERY small percentile of the industry”

            No matter how small a percentage, that’s still a problem though.

            It doesn’t matter what a person truly believes in, if that person is staying quiet then it means they’ll be considered as agreeing to Anita. To SJWs/feminists and most normies, they consider silence to be acceptance/compliance.

            It’s the same deal with people who truly believe in something but the words they speak contradict what they believe in. For example, if a person truly believes in Atheism in his heart – but speaks by saying he believes in God, then as far as I’m considered, he is religious.

            Because people will not see nor hear his heart.

          • C G Saturation

            Don’t underestimate the crayzies by having too much faith in humanity. Can’t let your guard down. I keep hearing that Silicon Valley is full of ultra SJWs who would give their lives for Sarkeesian without a second thought.

    • Also, “Culture Critics” need to die via a slow and painful death.

    • TheOnceAndFutureKing

      Its like the wage gap myth, despite taking only minutes to debunk, feminists and cucks will still dredge it back up from the dead.

      It all boils down to rhetoric being louder than objective facts.

      • Exactly. That’s why it’s time for us to get down from the moral high-horse and stop being the nice guys.

        Time to hit back aggressively with facts, reason and logic.

        • TheOnceAndFutureKing

          They will never be able to destroy free market capitalism. As long as gamers have the freedom to choose whatever game they want and express their opinions, then SJWs have no power, which is why they push tyranny in the first place.

          Even if mainstream games get overtaken and fully compromised, there is always the mountain load of retro games, and the independent market.

          • C G Saturation

            Lots of businesses are being stupid and censoring themselves, bending over to boycotts by assholes who aren’t even potential customers.

            Why should companies remove stock or content just because one person finds it offensive? If they don’t like it, then they shouldn’t buy it. Only a sociopathic selfish shit would try to prevent everyone else from having the option.

            And then you have these morons who create hugboxes and launch hate campaigns because someone famous or a friend told them it’s bad/wrong, and they don’t even really know why themselves.

          • TheOnceAndFutureKing

            They just repeat hearsay. Its funny how they would call people like us the authoritarians, but theoretically I have no problem with them in the industry.

            However, the majority of gamers passively or actively reject their products, and this is a consequence they can’t deal with.

          • C G Saturation

            It’s totally bizarre how liberal and authoritarian labels have completely reversed. It’s the liberals constantly forcing everyone to obey them now.

      • C G Saturation

        I think a big part of why people are so difficult to deal with is that most people don’t want to admit to themselves that they were tricked into believing falsehoods. They prefer to feel secure in the belief that they are smarter than everyone else, and that’s such a high priority to them that they’ll quickly end 10-30+ year friendships.

        • TheOnceAndFutureKing

          thats the power of cognitive dissonance

  • webkilla

    Beautiful

  • Mr. Saturn

    Better late than never.

    • AceOfAces_Mod

      Indeed.