Resident Evil 5's producer speaks

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When it was first shown, Capcom’s Resident Evil 5 was accused of racism. Featuring a white-as-snow lead character gunning down lots of obviously black zombies, the R word hit the roof, sending Capcom scuttling and even claiming that the game is not set in Africa, but Haiti (how that makes a difference escapes me, but this seemed to content most of the complainers).

Now the tiny ember on the fuse is being fanned again, this time by Newsweek’s game journo N’Gai Croal, who told MTV Multiplayer:

“Wow, clearly no one black worked on this game. It’s like when you engage that kind of imagery you have to be careful with it. It would be like saying you were going to do some sort of zombie movie that appeared to be set in Europe in the 1940s with skinny, emaciated, Hasidic-looking people.”

He was talking about the E3 trailer that stirred all the drama in the first place. But if you scroll down below, you can watch a lengthy interview with RE5’s producer Jun Tekeuchi, who creates quite a different picture. I can think of several reasons why N’Gai’s comments aren’t really correct, but the video does a much better job. Even though it doesn’t counter any of the ‘racism’ allegations, it gives a good idea of what RE5 is about and why it will be awesome. It’s a must-watch for fans.

So, in the mean time, I offer this counter to N’Gai’s comment: considering that the RE5 dev team is largely Japanese, I suspect very few if any white people worked on it either. The team certainly doesn’t consist out of white-supremist klan members with Swastikas branded on their thighs. Besides, isn’t it nice that Africa is finally being used as a staging area for games?

Last Updated: April 14, 2008

James

A total movie glutton, nothing is too bad or too obscure to watch, unless it’s something like The Human Centipede. If you enjoyed that, there is something wrong with you. But bless you anyway – even video nasties need love…

  • RossIRSA

    Am I the only one that thinks that this is being called racist because it’s a bunch of black dudes getting shot up. But when it’s a bunch of koriens, whites or afgani’s nobody says a word? And quite frankly I prefer that they don’t.

    I wish people would grow up a little.

  • Yes, well, if a game is set in Europe, there are generally a lot of whites, when it is set in Africa… or Haiti for that matter… What do they expect?

    Jinja’s last blog post..Kobe Car Jump First Attempt

  • PillsburyDeeBoy

    Well, James, to counter your counter, did you read the whole article? If you did, N’Gai explains himself at length and he makes a ton of sense to boot. His core argument is not: “why are they shooting up all these black people?” but rath “at face level, the way in which they’ve dealt with this decidedly difficult material is concerning.”

    His paralleling of the scars of colonialism to the scars of Jewish hurt due to Nazi Germany is very legitimate and valid. One white guy shooting up a whole bunch of black people? Or, one blonde-haired blue-eyed Gestapo shooting up a whole bunch of dark-haired, dark-eyed Jewish people? N’Gai isn’t dumb, nor is his argument, quite frankly.

  • LazySAGamer

    [re=11384]PillsburyDeeBoy[/re]: I haven’t read the argument and I am not going to either. I here enough about racism everywhere else.

    HOWEVER I have to say that I have a lot of respect for N’Gai and if he isn’t happy about it then I do think there must be something in it.

    He has always been level headed in my view

  • I think for the first time in my life I agree with PDB. Latent racism is not something your average white guy (or Japanese guy for that matter) is going to understand I’m afraid. You can explain away the situation with plot and situation as much as you like, but the fact that is every cracker on the planet is going to buy the game to “kill n****rs”!

    As Croal says, the biggest issue is that, in the trailer, “All Black people are bad”. Even the non “zombies” are threatening waving guns around, women, children they all need to be purged by the heroes whiteousness.

    doobiwan’s last blog post..Breaking BS: Microsoft to buy EA?

  • If you watch other gameplay vids. The hero walks past 80% of the locals, and then the virus starts spreading, then he has to blast holes in them.

    Jinja’s last blog post..Kobe Car Jump First Attempt

  • James Francis

    [re=11384]PillsburyDeeBoy[/re]: I did read the piece and he does make a good argument. Unfortunately it’s the wrong argument – if you watch the RE5 video, racism was not intended. So, if racism wasn’t intended and isn’t a motivating factor for the game’s location (as opposed to the producer’s argument that it is staged in Africa because Africa is the origin of humankind and RE5 discusses the T-virus’ origins), is it still racist because third parties choose to see racism in it?

    No, it’s not. And if it is, then let’s find racism elsewhere. How come most of the black cast in Lost are either villains or come from very dark pasts? All the lead males are white! Does that make Lost racist? You can say it is, but was that the intention of the producers? Of course not.

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