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Mira vs Wit - Really, really uncool (Spoilers & Anger)


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#1 Loerwyn

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 08:17

Really?

Really?

 

Really?

 

Red Thread Games? I love what you've done with DFC, I'm a big fan of TLJ and DF, but wow. You guys really done goofed. One of the appeals of the TLJ/DF games is that they're pretty accepting, and we see this with two non-white protagonists in Dreamfall, the lesbian couple in TLJ, and even in DFC I've seen punks cuddling women in hijabs, and I think that's something I've always loved.

 

So then we get to this scene towards the end of Chapter 2. It... gets pretty awful towards the end. Moving past what sounds like Mira's awful stereotypical accent (I would be very surprised if her actress had that accent naturally), and the constant stream of swearing, when we get to 2:05 the real problems start.

 

1. 'Retard'? Really? Are we in a school ground or the YouTube comments here? That's not a cool word to use. I don't care if it goes with the tone of the character, because this is the first time we meet her and there's no context to her relationship with Wit. Insulting someone based on their mental facilities is just gross.

2. Autism denial. "I bet you've been faking your autism since we first met". I'm... not even going to pick that apart because if you can't think of an issue with it then... yeah. That's just out of line.

 

Combine this with earlier comments where she insults his inability/reluctance to speak ('dumb' - yes, that's what it means), etc., it comes across as a few minutes of non-contextual hate against an implied disabled character. I expect this to happen in the comments sections of websites. I don't expect a studio working on a game with a history of being somewhat progressive or at least positive in its displays of people to come out with something like this.

 

Really regretting my $75 pledge now. Honestly can't believe RTG did this and think it's acceptable to ship. Please, if you have any sense, you'll rewrite that section and remove those vile, inappropriate comments. I honestly don't care if it fits her tone - someone wrote her script. Someone edited it. Someone recorded it. And no-one thought it was unacceptable? That's shocking.



#2 TheDreamer

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 08:48

Im sorry you feel offended, but I see nothing offensive about those two examples and they dont need rewriting at all IMO.

Again, sorry you feel outraged and hurt but not everyone finds the same things offensive obviously and theres no logical reason to go changing things at this time.

I didnt feel she ridiculed or said autism doesnt exist, she just jokingly said that and its obvious theres context there which can be read if you just want to.
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#3 khh

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 08:54

I did not find this offensive either. Mira is of the Flipper Burns school of thought, and she has a filthy mouth and a filthier temper. This is intentional.

You may also notice that it's heavily hinted that Wit is a wonderful person, and if you dig a little you'll notice they've been friends since they were children. Speaking from experience, a sufficiently familiar relationship can often sound like this, without any of the parties getting offended. If you have Zoë speak with (at) Wit after Mira is done berating him, she will also explain.


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#4 Eveolene

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 08:58

I don't even know how to react to you regretting your pledge over a few lines of dialogue. Imagine if the entire game shipped rather than just one book. You'd have forgotten those lines by the time you reached the end of the game...


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#5 TheDreamer

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 09:00

To be quite honest, even if it was meant as offensive to Wit... So what? Isnt art allowed to highlight hateful and offensive speech? What if she apologizes later? What if we see her grow as a person? What if she comes to regret those words?

Art imitates life and what we see around us, so naturally oftensive (still not offensive IMO) things will be said to game characters by other game characters. Just like in real life. It was very well done and It didnt feel "glued on" and tacky at all, thats her personality and frankly I would be horrified if RTG started modifying every little detail because of something like this.

Did you ever consider that maybe youre not supposed to like every single character right away or maybe at all? She also apologized to zoe that she had to witness her anger, again, maybe this "offensive" comment will be apologized for later etc.
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#6 Ragnar

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 09:02

*
POPULAR

Really?

Really?

 

Really?

 

Red Thread Games? I love what you've done with DFC, I'm a big fan of TLJ and DF, but wow. You guys really done goofed. One of the appeals of the TLJ/DF games is that they're pretty accepting, and we see this with two non-white protagonists in Dreamfall, the lesbian couple in TLJ, and even in DFC I've seen punks cuddling women in hijabs, and I think that's something I've always loved.

 

So then we get to this scene towards the end of Chapter 2. It... gets pretty awful towards the end. Moving past what sounds like Mira's awful stereotypical accent (I would be very surprised if her actress had that accent naturally), and the constant stream of swearing, when we get to 2:05 the real problems start.

 

1. 'Retard'? Really? Are we in a school ground or the YouTube comments here? That's not a cool word to use. I don't care if it goes with the tone of the character, because this is the first time we meet her and there's no context to her relationship with Wit. Insulting someone based on their mental facilities is just gross.

2. Autism denial. "I bet you've been faking your autism since we first met". I'm... not even going to pick that apart because if you can't think of an issue with it then... yeah. That's just out of line.

 

Real Indian actress, real accent. We made very sure of that.

 

You know, when we create and write characters, those characters are not always pleasant and they don't necessarily reflect our own point of view. Mira is an unpleasant person. She's offensive and rude and controversial. Have you never watched a film, a TV series or read a book where a character has expressed racist, misogynist, ableist views? Those people exist in real life, and so they must exist in fiction. Games should not be exempted from this, and we stand by Mira 100%. Do we think she is nice? Of course not. She's horrible. And she's supposed to be. She's a character in a world we've created. That world isn't always pleasant, and that's the point.

 

We're sorry to hear you regret your purchase, but this is part of our mission to bring more maturity, diversity and soul to storytelling in games. Some things will be controversial and offensive, and we always welcome discussion and disagreement, but we also stand by our choices and we accept the consequences.


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#7 Loerwyn

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 09:17

Real Indian actress, real accent. We made very sure of that.

 

You know, when we create and write characters, those characters are not always pleasant and they don't necessarily reflect our own point of view. Mira is an unpleasant person. She's offensive and rude and controversial. Have you never watched a film, a TV series or read a book where a character has expressed racist, misogynist, ableist views? Those people exist in real life, and so they must exist in fiction. Games should not be exempted from this, and we stand by Mira 100%. Do we think she is nice? Of course not. She's horrible. And she's supposed to be. She's a character in a world we've created. That world isn't always pleasant, and that's the point.

 

We're sorry to hear you regret your purchase, but this is part of our mission to bring more maturity, diversity and soul to storytelling in games. Some things will be controversial and offensive, and we always welcome discussion and disagreement, but we also stand by our choices and we accept the consequences.

Okay, the voice point is now moot, and I'll put my hands up and say I was perhaps a bit strong and hasty in my convictions on that front.

 

But yes, Mira is intended to be an unpleasant person, but someone had to write those lines. Someone had to direct them, someone had to voice them. It's not that I'm saying she can't be unpleasant, but there are ways to convey that without - especially with the autism line - going to such extremes. What does that line bring to the game, except to further drive home the fact this character is extremely unpleasant? When one removes the Hindi insults (and based on my rudimentary understanding of Indian culture, they're pretty strong), all that's left is a constant scree of Mira attacking Wit's mental facilities and abilities. Pretty much nothing else.

 

You can represent the vileness of people without making such specific and loaded comments. She's not just saying he's stupid, she's specifically making an attack on this character's implied autism. Those two lines combine to create a really vile bit of dialogue, and it stands out all the more because no character in the TLJ/Dreamfall franchise has spoken like that. Writing one character so that she calls another (disabled) character a 'retard' is not bringing maturity to gaming. At all.

 

I do agree with the thrust of your post, Ragnar, but I disagree on these specific examples. I think the script was way too specific and intense in that section. It wasn't spread out. It was almost 2-3 straight minutes of one character insulting another. Not an off-hand line, but a rant. A rant that used very specific and loaded words and ideas.



#8 TheDreamer

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 09:20

Okay, the voice point is now moot, and I'll put my hands up and say I was perhaps a bit strong and hasty in my convictions on that front.

But yes, Mira is intended to be an unpleasant person, but someone had to write those lines. Someone had to direct them, someone had to voice them. It's not that I'm saying she can't be unpleasant, but there are ways to convey that without - especially with the autism line - going to such extremes. What does that line bring to the game, except to further drive home the fact this character is extremely unpleasant? When one removes the Hindi insults (and based on my rudimentary understanding of Indian culture, they're pretty strong), all that's left is a constant scree of Mira attacking Wit's mental facilities and abilities. Pretty much nothing else.

You can represent the vileness of people without making such specific and loaded comments. She's not just saying he's stupid, she's specifically making an attack on this character's implied autism. Those two lines combine to create a really vile bit of dialogue, and it stands out all the more because no character in the TLJ/Dreamfall franchise has spoken like that. Writing one character so that she calls another (disabled) character a 'retard' is not bringing maturity to gaming. At all.

I do agree with the thrust of your post, Ragnar, but I disagree on these specific examples. I think the script was way too specific and intense in that section. It wasn't spread out. It was almost 2-3 straight minutes of one character insulting another. Not an off-hand line, but a rant. A rant that used very specific and loaded words and ideas.


So what? I still dont get your point? Why cant she rant and be "vile"? Because YOU dont like it?

#9 CosmicD

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 09:21

also what makes it funny to me that she says "retard" is the whole idea of this stereotype of "what do you learn first when you learn another language... yes?" lol. You might just answer to her "she doesn't master the english language very well" :P



#10 Eveolene

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 09:23

Eh, there are plenty of other potentially offensive lines in all three games (so far in DFC's case). Some people were offended that Fiona was a lesbian, or that Burns Flipper swore every 5 seconds. Some people may have found comparisons in Kian's opinion of non-humans to the real world and been offended by them. It's all subjective, and without meaning to be rude, if you don't want to ever be offended, don't read, watch movies or play games. Artistic license, baby.

 

Edit: Also, it could have been worse. My husband, who works with autistic adults, was given a list of things not to call them (basically anything but "service user"). "Window licker" was explicitly mentioned. Are you writing this down, Ragnar? You should be writing this down.


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"This story, like all good stories, begins where it ends, in a tower, in a realm that is no more." - Lady Alvane

 

"I will stop doing this thing that I love and makes me feel happy and fulfilled to follow you to the next stop on our pointless, depressing journey." - Shitbot

 

Dreamfall Chapters Transcript | Twitch Stream


#11 TheDreamer

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 09:25

Eh, there are plenty of other potentially offensive lines in all three games (so far in DFC's case). Some people were offended that Fiona was a lesbian, or that Burns Flipper swore every 5 seconds. Some people may have found comparisons in Kian's opinion of non-humans to the real world and been offended by them. It's all subjective, and without meaning to be rude, if you don't want to ever be offended, don't read, watch movies or play games. Artistic license, baby.


Or leave the house/live.
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#12 Ragnar

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 09:40

Okay, the voice point is now moot, and I'll put my hands up and say I was perhaps a bit strong and hasty in my convictions on that front.

 

But yes, Mira is intended to be an unpleasant person, but someone had to write those lines. Someone had to direct them, someone had to voice them. It's not that I'm saying she can't be unpleasant, but there are ways to convey that without - especially with the autism line - going to such extremes. What does that line bring to the game, except to further drive home the fact this character is extremely unpleasant? When one removes the Hindi insults (and based on my rudimentary understanding of Indian culture, they're pretty strong), all that's left is a constant scree of Mira attacking Wit's mental facilities and abilities. Pretty much nothing else.

 

 

Who decides what's too far and what's too extreme? Who decides how we decide to represent a character's point of view?

 

There are no guidelines in fiction…thank god.

 

And her abuse of Wit is integral to her character. This is who she is: you don't have to like her, but it's important to separate the character from the creators. They are not one and the same.

 

Thanks for your feedback! We will continue to stand by our writing, characters and storytelling, but we do encourage and appreciate disagreement and debates!


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#13 Ragnar

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 09:46

To be quite honest, even if it was meant as offensive to Wit... So what? Isnt art allowed to highlight hateful and offensive speech?

 

 

This, exactly. If we want games to be art, we have to accept that the art may offend us. Mira is supposed to be offensive; not just to Wit and Zoë, but also to the player.

 

That said, you'll see a lot more of Mira & Wit's relationship going forward, and you'll understand how they interact and get along. Despite the insults, there's lots of love there.


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#14 khh

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 09:49

no character in the TLJ/Dreamfall franchise has spoken like that. Writing one character so that she calls another (disabled) character a 'retard' is not bringing maturity to gaming. At all.

Flipper Burns was a misogynist pig.

 

Besides, we don't even know if Wit is "disabled". He might just be shy and quiet, an introvert, or "a man of few words". If you look at what he creates, he seems to be a wonderful, talented person.

You are of course entitled to your opinion, but I think you're blowing this all completely out of proportions.


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#15 blaster

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 10:54

DFC is a much darker story so get used to it.  

And there will be plenty of filth, death and sorrow along the way. :)


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#16 Suro

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 11:04

I think the hate or anger hits the wrong target.
Yes RTG wrote those characters, but as was said multiple times in here, the world of DFC is a reflection of what we can find in our world. And this goes for all the bad stuff in our world as well.
 
However, instead of being angry towards RTG, one should be angry with the characters! You, as the player, have the possibility to interact with those characters how you see fit. I don't think you are forced to be friendly with them (I know I prolly wouldn't be).

There are other situations, where characters kind of annoy me, but thanks to RTG I was able to respond in a way I saw fit (the inner monologe also helped to see what the character is seeing in that choice).

 

If we blame the authors for bad/evil characters (not bad writing, different topic) we might end up with having no antagonist. No "evil" to fight. Or simply no bad characters!


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#17 somnolentsurfer

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 12:08

Yeah, I also was deeply uncomfortable with those lines. I think it kind of came from an impression forming that Mira was playing the foul language for laughs, Malcom Tucker style, and then going, well, there...

 

To be honest though, I'm more concerned by the people here who would dismiss this as funny rather than unpleasant. I agree that we don't have enough context of Mira and Wit's relationship for the game to get away with that kind of language, but the game gets so much else right in this regard that I trust RTG to handle it well as the story progresses. I'm thinking of the man as background decoration, me as a straight white man being made to feel uncomfortable getting cat called as I walk through the market, the ambiguity of Kian having had a change of heart while still clearly being a massive racist. And art should be able to make you feel uncomfortable. Its what its for.

 

In many places, ableism is the acceptable prejudice. Based on RTG's previous work, and Ragnar's comments here, I'm pleased they're brave enough to try and tackle it. I hope they can do it well.



#18 Eveolene

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 13:01

Other than one post, which I didn't really understand, I didn't see anyone dismissing this as funny. The dismissal, from me, at least, is coming from Loerwyn's misdirected anger. I would rather the writers of this amazing game didn't censor themselves just to avoid offending people. RTG have amazing writers, who know how to write characters and make them hateful, if they wish to. Regardless, the point is that as an audience, we have to take what we're given. It was clearly not coming from a place of malicious intent, nor does it reflect the views and opinions of RTG. They are the statements of fictional characters in a fictional world, aimed at another fictional character in that same fictional world. Mira was clearly intended to make people feel uncomfortable, so if it worked, that's really an indication of very good writing.

 

I'm glad Ragnar is defending his stance on this. He has absolutely nothing to apologise for here.


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"This story, like all good stories, begins where it ends, in a tower, in a realm that is no more." - Lady Alvane

 

"I will stop doing this thing that I love and makes me feel happy and fulfilled to follow you to the next stop on our pointless, depressing journey." - Shitbot

 

Dreamfall Chapters Transcript | Twitch Stream


#19 TheDreamer

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 13:12

Yeah, I also was deeply uncomfortable with those lines. I think it kind of came from an impression forming that Mira was playing the foul language for laughs, Malcom Tucker style, and then going, well, there...

 

To be honest though, I'm more concerned by the people here who would dismiss this as funny rather than unpleasant. I agree that we don't have enough context of Mira and Wit's relationship for the game to get away with that kind of language, but the game gets so much else right in this regard that I trust RTG to handle it well as the story progresses. I'm thinking of the man as background decoration, me as a straight white man being made to feel uncomfortable getting cat called as I walk through the market, the ambiguity of Kian having had a change of heart while still clearly being a massive racist. And art should be able to make you feel uncomfortable. Its what its for.

 

In many places, ableism is the acceptable prejudice. Based on RTG's previous work, and Ragnar's comments here, I'm pleased they're brave enough to try and tackle it. I hope they can do it well.

 

 

I dont see anyone here dismissing it like what you describe. Youre free to feel uncomfortable, isnt it wonderful that a game can evoke such emotions too? We can explore, feel and live in these alternate dimensions that make us uncomfortable, comfortable, laugh out loud and cry, even angry! Art imitates life around us and its important we dont censor art.

 

As to your statement about it not being funny. I didnt laugh at it and didnt feel it was intended as funny either, but if someone finds it funny, so what? Comedy is subjective and everyone finds different things funny. Comedy isnt something to censor either.

 

This being a game about choices, Im sure you will get a choice to influence something or other about Mira / Wit and there, you can direct your uncomfortable feelings and possible anger at her.



#20 somnolentsurfer

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 13:34

Other than one post, which I didn't really understand, I didn't see anyone dismissing this as funny.

Yeah, having just reread the thread, maybe I over generalised there. Sorry.

 

 

the point is that as an audience, we have to take what we're given. It was clearly not coming from a place of malicious intent,

 

I guess my point is that we just don't have enough information in the story itself to know that yet. Obviously what Ragnar's said here is great, we know enough about RTG to trust their handling of it, and there's plenty more progressive stuff in the game that I think is some of the best handled I've ever seen. But taking the text alone, and as it currently stands, this scene is not unproblematic.

 

Not being created with malicious intent isn't enough to stop something being offensive. Ignorance of how unpleasant those words and sentiments are doesn't make them any less unpleasant. Of course, I believe Ragnar and the team were fully aware of how unpleasant they are and deliberately chose to go with them anyway.

 

But you don't get to just use disabled people as the butt of a joke to make your other characters look more evil. That's not OK. You have to earn the right to have a character talk like that through careful handling of the issues. I know RTG are perfectly capable of doing that from, amongst other things, the brilliant subversions of Anita Sarkeesian's 'women as background decoration' trope that I mentioned earlier. But on this issue, with these characters, they haven't done that yet.

 

It this was the full game, I'd be deeply critical. As it stands, I think the feeling of it being problematic stems from the characters of Mira and Wit not being that fleshed out yet. Hopefully we'll see something a lot more positive come from it over the next few books.

 

Oh, and obviously, even if RTG were being that transparently ableist (and I don't think they are), I wound't be saying they shouldn't be allowed to do that. Just that I would share Loerwyn's anger, would have just as much a right to criticise it as RTG would to write it, and that I would also be feeling uncomfortable not just with the portrayal but with having funded the game.

 

Um, nuance is good? I guess that's what I'm trying to say.  :)


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