An article on the African-American news site the Grio takes issue with the subject matter of the recently released Namco Bandai Games title Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, labeling the game "hurtful."
The game is set 150 years in the future, during a time when a war has destroyed much of the Earth and civilization, leaving robots more or less in charge.
The game’s main character, named Monkey (pictured), awakens aboard a slave ship as it is about to wreck. Monkey escapes with a woman named Trip, but loses consciousness.
When Monkey awakes he finds that Trip has applied a slave headband to his noggin, which forces him to follow her orders.
The Grio columnist called Enslaved “culturally insensitive,” adding:
The protagonist is not decisively black (Monkey is more of a tan complexion), but does it matter? The premise alone raises enough eyebrows to warrant a serious debate. I went on to a few video game message boards to see if I was alone in my discomfort. Unsurprisingly, I was not. Walking in the shoes of the oppressed has been done before but not quite like this.
The video game fan in me may choose to play Enslaved, but the black man that I am can't overlook the thinly veiled racial undertones.
The author continues, wondering if the game would have been published at all if “the main character's skin were a few shades darker.”