Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

May 14, 2012 -

In a lengthy interview with Eurogamer, Frogster's Lucile Le Merle tries to explain why European publisher censored the scantily clad Elin race in TERA. In South Korea the game features this female race in skimpy outfits revealing their panties, but in Europe and the U.S. versions of the game panties are replaced with less revealing "shorties." Last month European publisher Frogster said that the change was put in place to keep "unsavory users" (they didn't say it but they meant "pedophiles") from playing the game.

Frogster has had to deal with a lot of complaints about the game lately - the most recent being the censorship of blood. Having rectified that problem, the company now has to deal with a fan base angry at them again over subtle changes to the MMO. Frogster's Lucile Le Merle tries addressing the latest controversy in an interview with Eurogamer. Here's the most important part from the interview:

In late April you issued a statement saying these changes were made because the Elin could have attracted to the game unsavoury users. What exactly does that mean?

Lucile Le Merle: It's a matter of point of view. We did not want to implement the Elins as they were in the original version because if you look at the forums and how users usually react to this race, it's either people offended by the way they look, or it's people trolling, saying, hey, I'm "pedobear". This is the kind of behaviour we want to avoid at all costs.

We know unless we removed the race entirely from the game, which would have caused an even bigger uproar, we could not avoid having such comments. But we wanted to reduce the amount of comments because some people are offended or some people have a different opinion.

Le Merle goes on to say that even though some players have changed out the textures for the Elin race using Korean files and in doing so have violated the game's Terms of Service, Frogster has no plans to go after them.

You can read the rest of the interview here.


Comments

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

Wait what? pretty much what I got out of that is he is saying only USA and UK has pedophiles which is really insulting! 

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

Lol!  I totally agree with you Haunted.  I probably would have said the same exact thing too.  I have read pretty much the whole back and forth between Haunted and Andrew, and I have to say, both have valid arguments, but I'm going to side with Haunted.  Andrew, I can understand where you are coming from.  It's the fact that it's being censored that bothers you.  It is sort of on the lines of "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" quoted from Evelyn Beatrice Hall.  In some cases I think it is necessary to uphold free speech and what not no matter what it's defending.  But everything is not black and white.  Not all forms of censorship are necessarily bad.  Nor or all forms of speech and expression necessarily good.  In this case I think you are going to far into the extreme, Andrew.  Yes, there could have been other ways to get around those skimpy outfits, but like Haunted said, you aren't going to die from this.  It in no way changes anything.  You can't say that the developers showing more skins on their character models is a form of expression.  And if so, what are they expressing?  They think it's OK to depict children that way?  And the quote from GrimCW about "to boot, its another RACE.. not human. Just because they LOOK like young girls DOES NOT young children make them. This mindset is simply stupid when regarding fictional characters and far to common."  That's a joke.  No matter how you look at it, you can call that race anything you want, that still looks like a little kid and I, as well as other people including GrimCW, will see them as such.  You cannot deny that that race was made in the image of a human.

In all honesty, I would be on Andrew's side on probably most issues, but this is just too much and too extreme.  This is blind zeal.  For those of you who are opposed to this censorship, you need to take a step back and look at what you are really fighting for.  I think a lot of people forget that when they oppose something, they are also fighting for something.  And as Haunted says, when it comes down to it, you are fighting for little children panties.  Going back to the Evelyn Beatrice Hall quote, if we have a bunch of people fighting for the right to depict children that way, then the gaming culture truly is fucked.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

it still doesn't change the facts that A. they aren't human and human age/appearance do not apply, and B. the supposed censorship doesn't fix the issue they claim it was made for.

as i also said, fantasy/mythical and religious lore have all used creatures that are commonly depicted as child like, almost perfectly human, minus some small differences. Often enough also nude and PUBLICLY displayed.

So ignoring histories creations and picking on modern ones is a seriously hypocritical fight.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

I can see the logic you are going with when you say they aren't human.  You are trying to say that they are a race whose adults look like children, so they aren't really children.  So yeah, age doesn't apply here, but appearance still does.  They are a humanoid race that look like children.  The description of them even admits so: "Older and wiser than they appear".  It doesn't directly say they look like children, but I can't imagine anyone saying, "Oh she's 100?  Dang, I thought she was 40!"  You can't deny at the very least that they look like kids.

Now going on to your religious lore.  I have three points to make.  First and foremost, it's religion, and for some reason they get a free pass that others don't get, but that's a whole other argument that I won't get into.  Second, they aren't being depicted in a sexualized manner.  You can't deny that that's what's happening with the Elin and the other females (and males even) of other races in the game.  It's what people would call "fanservice."  And third, all those depictions of fantasy/mythical and religious lore are for just that: lore and storytelling.  The purpose for the appearance of the characters is mostly aesthetical.

 

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

i'm not for censorship of the arts in any way shape or form, and tbh  thats all this is.. censorship against what the new NYS law says is allowed to be viewed.. yes, that should be banned because that does harm people by upping demand for the images and thus making a supply needed through the harm of others. but of fictional creations... not so much. especially when theres no pornographic in the purpose of the concept.

people would make the pedo-bear jokes regardless of clothing style, so they aren't doing a thing to change that. And IMO altering the clothing is just a stupid way to avoid anything anyways.  people make pedo bear jokes over spongebob for crying out loud.

to boot, its another RACE.. not human. Just because they LOOK like young girls DOES NOT young children make them. This mindset is simply stupid when regarding fictional characters and far to common.

fictional races have long been depicted across the board as anything from anthropomorphic to child like variations of species, all the way down to hybrid abominations. but the physical appearance has rarely depicted a creatures age or purpose when set to human standards.  many ficitonal creatures, and creations are often viewed as being very young physically, yet retain long lasting lives into the hundreds of thousands of years.

fine couple of examples are cupid (often depicted in the nude and with the physical appearance of an infant) and the Faun (often depicted as half human half goat, and  as a young boy for the human half despite aging somewhere in the hundreds of years.)

 

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

Well, to be fair, Cupid is supposedly a Cherub, which are some bad-asses:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherub

Anyway,  I agree with most of what you said. Even fantasy settings are ripped with examples (just look at anything considered of the Faye folks.)

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

It'll take more than a pair of shorts to get away from the aesthetic the Elin present. Even fully-clothed, their postures and sexualised curves trigger the 'um . . .' mental response for me.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

"Or it could be that the designers changed their mind."

Could be, but probably not or Lucile Le Merle most definitely would have said as much in the interview.  No, she was pretty clear as to the reasons behind the alterations.

"People have said a lot about censorship, but where is the actual censoring?"

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

"Could be, but probably not or Lucile Le Merle most definitely would have said as much in the interview.  No, she was pretty clear as to the reasons behind the alterations."

Your gut feeling has no basis behind it, anymore than my hunch that they wanted to change it does. They said they changed it because of forum problems. This could mean the creators were forced or it could mean they went 'ew, we do not want'. Either way, neither of us has a goddamn clue.

 

I asked for proof of censorship, not a screenshot. You have successfully proven that they made minor changes to the costume. Where is the censorship?

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

"Your gut feeling has no basis behind it..."

I never said it did but I did back it up with some pretty compelling evidence.

"They said they changed it because of forum problems."

Partially, yes (although... were there even forums for US and European gamers to have problems on back when this decision was made?).  And again, censorship is the wrong response.  Someone being a dick on the forums?  Moderate 'em.

"This could mean the creators were forced..."

It's pretty clear from the interview that it was the publisher's decision.

"Where is the censorship?"

Come on man, you're not blind or stupid.  It's in the screenshot.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

"I never said it did but I did back it up with some pretty compelling evidence."

From our earlier conversation:

'"I see no evidence that the creative folks have any issue with this being done..."

Nor have I, it's just a gut feeling.  I imagined the Elin were designed that way on purpose.'

You did not present compelling evidence. You said ' if the creators had wanted to change it, they would have said so'. Problem is, the creators have said sod all. You have an unsubstantiated theory which you are claiming is more than pure supposition. I can't prove it wrong because it is unsubstantiated. There is absolutely nothing to prove it wrong or right. I can't prove that the creators haven't been replaced with Skrull, but I have some pretty compelling evidence and a gut feeling.

And now to address the picture thing. Nope, I see a costume change. I wouldn't call that censorship. Removing a gay couple would be censorship, giving one of them a new hairstyle is not. If it helps, I don't consider the difference between late-stage concept art and the finished game to be censorship either.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

"You said ' if the creators had wanted to change it, they would have said so'."

There you go putting words in my mouth again.

No, I did not say that.  I said, "probably not or Lucile Le Merle most definitely would have said as much in the interview" then pointed out that she was clear about the reasoning behind the game's alteration.  I'd say a publisher rep saying it was the two publishers' idea and not mentioning the devs at all is pretty compelling evidence that the costume alteration was not driven by a change of heart on the part of the developer.  Proof?  Certainly not and I never claimed it was.

My gut feeling, as you can see from your direct quote, was regarding "the creative folks [having] any issue with this being done."  My response to your suggestion that the costume alterations "could be that the designers changed their mind" was not a gut feeling, it was a hypothesis based on the facts of the interview: namely that the reasons behind the change were revealed and they had nothing to do with the developers.

"Nope, I see a costume change. I wouldn't call that censorship."

And you'd be wrong.

To censor is to "suppress or delete as objectionable."  The amount of skin the Elin's are showing was deemed potentially objectionable ("it's either people offended by the way they look...") and therefore suppressed with the addition of more clothing.  That's censorship.

"If it helps, I don't consider the difference between late-stage concept art and the finished game to be censorship either."

Nor should you.  But this isn't concept art vs. the final product.  This is the final product vs the US and European version of the final product. 

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

Andrew, this guy obviously thinks censorship is only bad in select circumstances (probably when it's something he wants to see), and I'll wager he also considers anything short of an official government ban to not count as censorship.  I don't know if he's genuine or just a troll, but either way, I don't think you're going to make much headway.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

And you don't think pedos are going to play that race anyway? I'm sorry, but, they'll play that race or stare at it no matter what.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

Andrew has the right idea I think. Its not that the option was offensive or not to some people, its that they chose to remove it rather then offer other options to deal with the concerns, such as different clothing options and so forth. Censored should never be your first response.
"My name is Lenerd Church, and you will fear my LASER FACE"

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

Because clearly the world would fucking end if you couldn't sit and look at near-naked schoolgirls your MMOs.

This is why Gamer culture is fucked.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

Decided to reply to the whole article.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

I prefer not to just emptyquote people on what passes for serious discussions on the interwebs, but there's really nothing substantive I can add to that, so not-quite-emptyquote it is.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

Of course the world would keep on spinning but that's beside the point.  Censorship is not the answer.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

But seriously, why is the hill you want to die on 'twelve year-olds knickers'? Why do you want to see this?

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

Me personally?  I don't care; I'm not playing TERA.  I just can't brook censorship.  I don't care what it is that's being censored.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

Right, so you've taken a sensible political position and blindly applied it to the world with neither nuance nor consideration.

There are some things which are no longer shown on TV and things for which they refuse to issue DVDs because they are just flat-out offensive.

Yes, you can claim that this will lead to mass censorship, but that's the slippery slope fallacy which allows people to argue that gay marriage will result in legalised guy-on-turtle action.

Besides, lets not get away from what this is about. Yes, you can talk about censorship but why do people need to see this? Why do we need the knickers of pre-pubescent girls?

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

We don't need it.  But that's still no reason to censor it.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

Ok, so your all for flashing children's knickers. Up-skirt shots of tots.

Just checkin' I got your argument here.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

So how does it feel to be a participant in a moral panic?

Did you know killers train on video games, and GTA turns teenage boys into copy killing manchurian candidates?  But I guess if games are important to you, you must be in favor of shooting cops.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

He's already stated he's not interested in the game.

Not being funny, I see your point, but when you resort to implying that 'If you don't agree with me then you must be one of the pedophiles they are afraid of!' you sort of undermine your own argument about the slippery slope concern being just a fallacy.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

To be honest, I just wanted to hear him say 'kid's knickers are a matter of free speech'.

Partly because I find it really funny, and partly because, at the end of the day, this is what the argument is over. It can be switched to talking about censorship, but this is the censorship of kid's knickers. It's not really worth defending.

It's adding short shorts onto a character. That's it. That's what's being railed against as 'censorship'. I'd find this equally ridiculous if these were shorts on a 45-year-old.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

You've got me pegged.  I'm honestly not bothered by the animated undies of a fictional race in a video game.

If it did bother me, I'd simply put pants on my Elin.  Or pick one of the other five races.  Or play something else that I found more aesthetically palatable.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

Well, you keep on fighting the good fight against the oppressive regime and their hatred for sexualised children.

Seriously, dude, this is not Lolita you're defending. This is Kodomo No Jikan, and if Kaworu Watashiya decided that his fans were just too skeevy, he'd be welcome to ask his publisher to withdraw the series.

The developers found that there was a lot of creepy behavior on their forum resulting from it, and they decided they didn't want that. Frankly, I don't blame them.

 

Also, censorship is something applied from without. This is the creators deciding they do not like the fan reaction to an element of their work. It isn't even an important element: they are not cutting storylines, they are not removing characters, they are not re-designing races. They're adding 8 inches of fabric. I think free speech can weather that storm.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

"Well, you keep on fighting the good fight against the oppressive regime and their hatred for sexualised children."

Don't put words in my mouth.  That's seriously uncool.

"Seriously, dude, this is not Lolita you're defending."

Doesn't matter.

"The developers found that there was a lot of creepy behavior on their forum resulting from it, and they decided they didn't want that. Frankly, I don't blame them."

Censoring the game isn't the proper course of action.

"Also, censorship is something applied from without."

Or within.

"It isn't even an important element:"

Doesn't matter.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

"Don't put words in my mouth.  That's seriously uncool."

I didn't. You've gone on a lot about how this is censorship and subsequently terrible, but what you are defending is sexualised children.

Alright, you just keep on waving your 'censorship is evil' talisman and the rest of the world will get on with having actual nuanced conversations about the subject.

Christ, this is what makes me embarrassed to call myself a gamer. The community has never really matured beyond the political and social complexity of a 15-year-old.

You say "Censoring the game isn't the proper course of action." Why? Why is this a bad thing? And no, just saying 'because censorship' doesn't count as an argument. That's dodging and retreating behind a buzzword rather than backing up your specific argument here. What is it about this particular situation that is so terrible?

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

Mmkay, where is your evidence that the game race in question are children?

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

"Why? Why is this a bad thing?"

Simple.  Because there are gamers (and doubtless many if not all of the creative folks behind the game) out there who like it just the way it is.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

I see no evidence that the creative folks have any issue with this being done and besides, if you want it you just have to go 10 minutes out of your way to get it. They have said they won't chase people down for replacing the textures.

What about the people who are much happier with the addition of shorts? If we're going to base this purely on 'this made some people happy' then the argument is applicable from both sides.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

"I see no evidence that the creative folks have any issue with this being done..."

Nor have I, it's just a gut feeling.  I imagined the Elin were designed that way on purpose.

"What about the people who are much happier with the addition of shorts? If we're going to base this purely on 'this made some people happy' then the argument is applicable from both sides."

Absolutely, that's why censorship isn't the answer.  As I said in another post: "...add "shorties" as a costume option.  That way, those who are offended can put some pants on their Elin and those who aren't can have them run around in their underwear.  Problem solved."

But here's the kicker: no one complained about the Elin outfits (far as I've seen anyway).  The decision to change them for US and UK was made years ago.  In fact, all the complaints have been about the censorship.  So as far as making people happy goes, the publishers should have just released the game as the developers intended it and let consumers decide for themselves whether they want to play it or not.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

Bad Andrew, feeding the troll...  ;)

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

"Nor have I, it's just a gut feeling.  I imagined the Elin were designed that way on purpose."

Your gut feeling could be right. Or it could be that the designers changed their mind. It's really not uncommon to look back on your own work and think 'damn, I wish I hadn't done that' over very benign things.

Also, I just realised I've been arguing this as 'censorship' because that is how the argument was first framed but it makes no sense. Why 'censorship'? The Elim aren't being removed, their lore isn't being changed, their characterisation has stayed the same. The only thing that has actually happened is a truly tiny costume tweak.

People have said a lot about censorship, but where is the actual censoring?

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

We're running out of room.  I'm starting a new thread.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

...because all the worlds pedophiles live in Europe and the US, I'm sure there are none in South Korea at all.

Re: Frogster Tries to Address Elin Race Censorship Controversy

Here's a thought: add "shorties" as a costume option.  That way, those who are offended can put some pants on their Elin and those who aren't can have them run around in their underwear.  Problem solved.

Not that hard folks.

 

Andrew Eisen

 
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