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.”
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 called ‘God 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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