‘God of War: Ascension’: Sony to alter offensive trophy in patch

March 11, 2013 | 6:35 p.m.

Sony Santa Monica will release a patch that alters a controversial trophy in the upcoming “God of War: Ascension” game after critics claimed it was misogynist and condoned violence against women.

The questionable trophy is awarded after a scene in which the game’s antihero protagonist Kratos is compelled to brutally attack a female villain, one of three Furies. After the attack, the player receives a trophy titled “Bros Before Hos.”

The patch, which will be pushed out alongside the PlayStation exclusive game when it is released Tuesday, changes the trophy’s title to “Bros Before Foes,” Sony Santa Monica told the gaming blog Joystiq. Players will be prompted to download the patch when the game is inserted into an Internet-connected PS3.

“We have created and will soon push out a patch for ‘God of War: Ascension’ that alters the title of one of the game Trophies,” Sony Santa Monica Studio told Hero Complex in an email statement. “The text was offensive to some members of our community and impacted their enjoyment of the game. We are endlessly committed to ensuring that our community can fully enjoy the experiences the team has created. As such, we’ve addressed the feedback and amended the Trophy in question.”

Though the trophy will be altered, Sony has not commented on the scene in which Kratos kicks a female villain’s face in.

The trophy first came under fire last week when several game reviewers complained that the award and the preceding scene promoted violence against women.

“‘God of War’s’ unsettling streak of violence against women also continues in ‘Ascension,’ with its three primary antagonists taking the form of human-looking female characters,” Joystiq game reviewer Xav de Matos wrote. “Kratos has of course killed all manner of men, women and monsters throughout the series, but one gruesome scene in particular sees you essentially curb-stomp a woman and impale her after a series of quick-time events and minigames. Evil entity or not, the sequence is jarring.”

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Popular YouTube game critic Adam Sessler called the scene “one of the most violent things I’ve ever seen in a video game.”

“While the image of a woman’s face being kicked in is borderline, the overall dark nastiness of the franchise and its lack of gender roles (outside of the famous sex scenes) kept it just inside a tonal context,” Sessler said in his review. “But following the conclusion of the cut scene, you get [the Bros Before Hos trophy.] This gut-punch of misogyny irredeemably sours this game. And it’s shocking that such a talented developer would traffic in such a contemptible attitude. I have always liked the adult fantasy of the ‘God of War’ games … and in this moment, it’s all reduced to some frat-house joke, making me ashamed that I ever thought it was more than that in the first place.”

Some, including PlayStationLifeStyle.net blogger Dan Oravasaari, argued that the controversy was overblown.

“The inclusion of the trophy, which can be seen as a dig against women is simply that, it is a dig at women, but it is not meant to be a hateful act,” Oravasaari wrote.” While, possibly in bad taste, it is in a game calledGod of War where you play as a [jerk], so get over it.”

But gaming blog Polygon’s critic Arthur Gies said the scene is beyond the pale.

“Yes, this character is an antagonist, and yes, you kill other female characters throughout ‘God of War: Ascension,'” Gies wrote in his review of the game. “But there’s an almost pornographic level of intimacy to the violence here that pushed things too far for me. The brutal, bone-shattering assault on a realistic female avatar was horrific regardless of its context, the imagery too loaded for me to shrug it off as just another God of War Moment TM. And then the assault was robbed of any narrative impact whatsoever by a throwaway story device. It didn’t matter. I had to watch it happen and then it didn’t mean anything. And then approximately 45 seconds later, I unlocked a trophy called ‘Bros before Hos.’ If I wasn’t reviewing the game, this would have been where I stopped.”

In an industry oft-criticized for its treatment of women, does Sony Santa Monica’s trophy-altering patch go far enough to rectify the offense? Or should the controversial scene be cut altogether? Let us know what you think in the comments.

– Noelene Clark


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8 Responses to ‘God of War: Ascension’: Sony to alter offensive trophy in patch

  1. Kingdom says:

    Its a shame that reporters don't bother to verify facts for themselves and just use other quotes to avoid that apparently difficult task. If they had they would have known about the cut scene that follows where Orkos betrays the female god (and his mother) to help Kratos. Hence the title of "bros before hos". When you remove the context of the cut scene, then yeah sure the anger might make sense. Oh wait even then the reviewer hypocrites would have to forget about the previous 5 games when Kratos is murdering multiple female god characters. So the lesson of Sessler and others is violence is ok in the name of entertainment…just don't call them hos after. Then a line has been crossed.

    • noelenecy says:

      Hi there, thanks for reading! Many of the game critics were upset by the violent scene preceding the award, in addition to the derogatory term in the name of the trophy. The controversy comes at an interesting time, with the recent spotlight on violence in video games. Thanks for weighing in.

  2. Like to hear some comment about that! Oh n my wife just brought up the fact of all the rape scenes in movies! I don’t c anyone cutting those scenes out n that’shorrible to people who have had that happen to them. But wife just huffs turns her head n tells me to tell her when its finished! The movie couldbe awesome besides those scenes but it happens in life. These games n movies state” for mature people” b mature n get over it! No one is saying let ur children watch n play that’s why there r parental locks for TV n games!

    • nessy111 says:

      You sound like a child, yet you claim to have a wife…interesting.

      • Nessy111 exactly how do I sound like a child? I served in the US Army n fought in open desert saber! 4 yrs I served for the freedom we all have. I’m almost 40 n have 3 children n awifeof 10 yrs! If anone sounds like a child its u. U don’t even give an explation u just bash someone else’s freedom of speech n opinion???!!! Grow up! How’d u like if u stated ur opinion n I just got on here n just childishly bashed u with no explanation whatsoever go climb back up on ur high horse!!

  3. Greg C. says:

    Leave everything in there. Its a mature game for mature audiences. if you dont like it dont play it. simple. very simple. this is a free country and we are trying to stop sodas over 16 ounces. give me a freaking break. but we can still have abortions. Gees. Lets focus on whats important. We all have choices, and if you dont like something, great move on to something you do and dont trash or obstrcu other peoples talents and views for what we all enjoy in a fantasy game. These guys are awesome and create one of the best game franchises of all time. its epic, legendary, and one of my favorites because of what they do. God of War forever. You guys rock. Keep doing what you do and forget the haters. Bros before hos all day. Love it.

  4. Jim Marquez says:

    My girlfriend plays God of War and she loves it! Not really my taste, but I know that she is excited for the new release and has never been offended. People just need to lighten up a little and quit trying to be so overly politically correct. If you are offended, then don’t play the game. Seems like the logical choice to me.

  5. gennevie ashcraft says:

    Why is it okay to beat the hell out of a guy character and then rip his head off (Helios), or bash one own's father's head in (Zeus) but it is a travasty to have an intimately violent scene with a woman-like creature? Was Kratos being a mysogonist before with these scenes? Nope! Kratos is just an all-around violent sort of guy. Has oine forgotten the whole premise of the series? Have we forgotten that Kratos is irrevocably broken over the deaths of his wife and daughter? I think so. Have we forgotten that the nature of the literature on which this franchise is built (Greek and Roman Mythology) is inherently violent and shocking. I mean we have gods that change into swans and impregnate women

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