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.