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Jurre
14th Dec 2013, 00:41
So I wanna talk a little about the nationalities of characters in games and Tomb Raider in perticular...

I don't think I'm saying anything shocking when I say that certain kinds of nationalities are somewhat overrepresented in popular culture. You'll only have to take a brief look around to see that the hero of the story is usually an American whereas the villain is either Arabic, Russian (if they want the villains to be white), or Mexican (if drugs and organized crime is involved).

Now Tomb Raider doesn't follow these stereotypes all that much; I myself am mighty glad that Lara is not an American, though I must admit that British people are probably the second most overrepresented nationality in the hero section. Nine out of ten times though the writer goes for an Irish or Scottish protagonist so at least I'll give some points for Lara being a proper Englishwoman.

The Russian crooks in TR9 did raise my eyebrow a little; but at least it makes sense from a geographical point of view; if they were sailors or airplane personal from Vladivostok it is logical that they would have come across Yamatai (it is certainly more logical than having Russian villains in 19th century Africa, as was the case in a rather silly Indiana Jones wannabe movie that I had the displeasure to watch). Though I think many of us still had a little feeling like: 'Russians... Really?' did we not?

But at the end of the day: even the heroes of TR9 were all either American or British, with the exception of Jonah of course, and points for that and for the fact that Jonah is an alround good character i.m.o.

If an alien race was to learn about Earth just from video games they would probably conclude that Earth was made up only of the US, the UK, Russia, Arabia, Mexico and maybe Germany. How hard it is to have a more international cast? It's not inappropriate for a game that involves traveling around the world, after all, having people from around the world being shoehorned into a story just for the sake of having national diversity should be avoided, but it would help to change the tone of the usual nationality stereotypes in video games. What was the last time you came across a character form Portugal, Sweden, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Bolivia? - just some countries from the top of my head. They're practically non-existent in the videogame world.

To sum things up:
- Does it bother you to have these stereotypical choices of nationalities like American heroes and Russian villains in most videogames and indeed most of popular culture?
- What do you think of the chosen nationalities of the heroes and baddies in TR9?
- Would you like to see more national diversity in (TR) games (or just Americans and Russians )?

Comment below, let me know.

larafan25
14th Dec 2013, 00:56
Make the characters diverse, and make em good.

That's all I can think of.

It tends to be that protagonists are American, and thus the only route for injecting diversity into the world is through the villains. So, really it starts with the protagonist.

In our case, Lara isn't going to change nationality, and I am not looking for her to travel with groupies, so ... yes, diverse villains and rats.

kadosho
14th Dec 2013, 05:59
Hmm fair point, there is so much of a world to explore, it wouldn't be right to not included other nationalities on a worldwide quest.

Driber
14th Dec 2013, 11:41
TBH, I don't see why we're having this discussion in the first place. TR has no problem with diversity whatsoever. Just look at the history of TR and see how varied Lara's enemies and the location of the games have been.

The fact that there were Russian baddies in TR9 doesn't bother me at all, because there was plenty of other diversity among the characters (American, African American, Polynesian Hawaiian, Scottish, British, Irish, etc) and due to said history I see no danger of future TR games to suddenly fall into the pit of repetitive stereotyping.

Lara is a world-wide explorer and it was already stated that she'll be globe-trotting in the next game, so we'll undoubtedly see again a varied set of nationalities.

:)

VaBanes
14th Dec 2013, 11:44
I like the way you're thinking, Jurre.

Jurre
14th Dec 2013, 12:09
I like the way you're thinking, Jurre.

You sound like I'm your henchman and you're a criminal mastermind :D

But thanks all the same.

kiadaw
14th Dec 2013, 15:57
Lara has a good reason to be British, she was created by a U.K Studio.

Starring White guy as villain is the political safe choice, games & movies. If you starred another culture as baddies, the political way to do it, is also to have some good guys from that culture to balance things. Also some cultures are more sensitive than others, & best to just be on the safe side.

Worst than lack of diversity is cultural sterotyping, lack of understanding, outdated impression, & worst. Just look at Fighter within.

larafan25
14th Dec 2013, 20:03
TBH, I don't see why we're having this discussion in the first place. TR has no problem with diversity whatsoever. Just look at the history of TR and see how varied Lara's enemies and the location of the games have been.

The fact that there were Russian baddies in TR9 doesn't bother me at all, because there was plenty of other diversity among the characters (American, African American, Polynesian Hawaiian, Scottish, British, Irish, etc) and due to said history I see no danger of future TR games to suddenly fall into the pit of repetitive stereotyping.

Lara is a world-wide explorer and it was already stated that she'll be globe-trotting in the next game, so we'll undoubtedly see again a varied set of nationalities.

:)

Has this really been said about the game? D: Or just about the comics?

Rai
14th Dec 2013, 22:24
^It's also been said about the film. I'd like it confirmed if it's been said about the game too.

I feel Tomb Raider as a franchise has done well in representing different nationalities. Lara is, of course English, she originated in the UK after all. But we've seen characters from Italy, Germany, France, Ireland, Scotland, Russia, Japan, America, Africa (jungle tribesmen), New Zealand. Fair enough, some of them have been stereotypes, but it still goes to show that diversity in characters have been thought of.

VaBanes
14th Dec 2013, 22:31
Yeah, I also think TR does a great job regarding this. Although I'm kind of tired always seeing Russians being the enemies... ^^

a_big_house
14th Dec 2013, 23:16
Not all of the enemies were Russian though. Samurai, Oni, Himiko, Mathias, random english speaking enemies...

There must have been like 4 Russian guys...

kadosho
15th Dec 2013, 06:51
On the plus side it doesn't feel stereotyped, they all have power behind them. Whether hero or villain, I am really surprised by how many obstacles Lara comes across vs those left behind.

Driber
15th Dec 2013, 16:20
Has this really been said about the game? D: Or just about the comics?

I thought it was mentioned in one of the Q&A's. But I could be mistaken. I don't have time to look for it right now, so forget I said that part for now, sorry.


Fair enough, some of them have been stereotypes, but it still goes to show that diversity in characters have been thought of.

Which ones do you think were stereotypes?


Yeah, I also think TR does a great job regarding this. Although I'm kind of tired always seeing Russians being the enemies... ^^

That's probably Hollywood's fault. I don't think CD has been using it in the typical cliché way you see in like a gazillion Hollywood action movies.

As ABH said, the enemies in TR9 weren't exclusively Russian. Nor were they in TR5, the other TR game that had Russian enemies in it.

CakeLuv
21st Dec 2013, 04:16
Wasn't Lara meant to be Latina (YEEEES) when she was being created but somehow ended up being British? ;o

larafan25
21st Dec 2013, 04:37
Psh. She still is Latina in my world.

But gneeeee:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184988_414560491930771_101202746_n.jpg

I always loved that sketch. This, and another early sketch of Lara remind me of reboot Lara in some ways. The pants. The earrings. The necklace.

Elliot Kane
24th Dec 2013, 13:20
TBH, I don't see why we're having this discussion in the first place. TR has no problem with diversity whatsoever. Just look at the history of TR and see how varied Lara's enemies and the location of the games have been.

The fact that there were Russian baddies in TR9 doesn't bother me at all, because there was plenty of other diversity among the characters (American, African American, Polynesian Hawaiian, Scottish, British, Irish, etc) and due to said history I see no danger of future TR games to suddenly fall into the pit of repetitive stereotyping.

Lara is a world-wide explorer and it was already stated that she'll be globe-trotting in the next game, so we'll undoubtedly see again a varied set of nationalities.

:)

Completely agree with Driber.

Lara tends to shoot whoever she comes up against, whatever their nationality, and make friends in the same way (Only without the shooting. Mostly! :D).

I can't think of a game series with a greater diversity of friends & foes alike.

***

Anyone looking for hugely diverse casts should look at some of the fighting games, like Tekken (How many Monegasques are there in games? One I know of...). Koei's various massive battle games also tend to feature a wide variety of historical figures from ancient China & Japan, though I'm pretty sure they didn't have those moves in real life! :D

The real problem with wanting national diversity in games is simply that the vast majority of games are not set on our Earth at all, so the characters represent no real Earth culture or nation.

Greater ethnic and gender representation is a whole other matter - I would honestly like to see both. I suspect we will see a greater variety of ethnic origins as more countries gear up their own games industries in the future, which will be a good thing.

Gender diversity is something else, but as the success of Tomb Raider proves the only thing preventing more female main characters is industry folly. Hopefully they will get over it.

And then there will finally be more Cate Archer games, which would be a good thing!

Psychomorph
24th Dec 2013, 23:59
Make U.S. Americans the bad guys this time around. Keep Russians being bad-ass.

pirate1802
25th Dec 2013, 02:44
Where was Mathias from?

Marylinfill
25th Dec 2013, 10:35
I'm just gonna say that I am Russian and I am so freaking tired of this :mad2: WHY do the always make us bad guys? This is just stupid, Yamatai is a Japanese island, for God's sake! Make the Japanese guy a bad guy already, that would be at least truthful. Did you notice any Japanese villain in the game? I mean the real character, not a crazy corpse thing? But no-no-no, Japanese developers are always right, so Sammy the Japanese is gooooody poooor baaaaaby :( And who tries to rape Lara? Oh, it's a dumb, brainless Russian pig! He sleeps with his own sister! Die, you freaking pervert Russian pig!!!
As always.
Russia has unique culture, amazing music, theaters, museums and very good people. And no goddam bears on the street of Moscow. And we don't drink as much as you've been told. We work, we learn, we try to survive. Yes, our life is hard, we swear a lot, but it doesn't make us villains.
Do you know that that guy from TR9 didn't even speak Russian? That was most humiliating. CD didn't even care to make his speech proper, I'm not even talking about his Harlem accent. Instead of "do you like to play hide and seek, young lady?" he like "do you like to caviar hide and seek, young mitten". What the hell. We didn't get a half of it.
At least CD speak of us as "the most devoted fans of miss Croft", they even thanked our community in the credits of the game. Maybe they will create Russian sub-heroine next time. Or a good character, like Admiral Yarofev from TR Chronicles.
I don't want to offend anybody guys, I treat every race as equal, we are all children of Earth, but seriously, who do you think Russians are, some monster bums with atom bomb? We are very tired of this policy. Let's change something already. For now - Happy Holidays everyone :flowers:
From Russia with Love, Natalya

Jurre
25th Dec 2013, 10:49
You're quite right to speak out against this Marylinfill; anyone who's nationality is getting absurdly demonised would. It is to be expected from shooter games who's main target demographic is paranoid redneck gun nuts in the American red states to whom the cold war never ended (I am looking at you, Call of Duty) but I expect Tomb Raider to be a little more classy than that.

As has been argued here that it's only three of the villains that are Russian, yes, but those happen to be Mathias' lieutenants and the ones who have a face so to speak instead of being random cannon fodder. So why could it not have been for example one Russian, one Chinese and one American or other western guy?



Why, Predators had a more favourable view on their Russian character, and that was a movie that's about as brainless as it gets...

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSBEFM8Pr-W3EtTOzI6n0au5PGeOcWAm6eYzQOrsFO1lpK92Yiszw

Marylinfill
25th Dec 2013, 11:09
Jurre, thanks so much for support =) I highly recommend you to watch "K-19 the widowmaker" movie with Harrison Ford (he is Russian too, by the way). Great movie about real men made by Kathryn Bigelow. I'm not trying to be aggressive in this point of view, I love Japan, it's history and stuff, I'm just very, very disappointed they put the same racist standard to a adventure game about different countries, cultures and archaeology. Tomb Raider must be more tolerant than any other game, cuz Lara has friends in every port =)
P.S. wanna see some real Russians? That's me with my buddy actor in a theater. =)))
http://marylinfill.deviantart.com/art/Herbert-and-me-417176776

Jurre
25th Dec 2013, 11:22
Jurre, thanks so much for support =)
By all means. I haven't seen that film but I have seen 9 Рота - The 9th Company, and I thought it was pretty good.

Nice picture :thumb: The only time I met Russians and Belorussians in real life was in Venezuela, they were rather shy and didn't speak English very well. But contrary to the usual stereotypes it was my group of Netherlanders and Belgians who had been drinking excessively and we were playing cards rather noisily whilst they had already gone to bed. So I am afraid we've kept those poor fellows out of their sleep for some hours... :o

Marylinfill
25th Dec 2013, 11:57
Thanks =) Btw, Lara should meet more native people, IMO that would be fresh and interesting. Like true African tribe, Indians, North Mongolia natives. Shamans, shepherds, hunters. You know, to bring more Discovery Channel to Tomb Raider. I wish I could play that...

a_big_house
25th Dec 2013, 12:04
Wow, it's like you two didn't even read the rest of the posts...

Jurre
25th Dec 2013, 13:10
^If you've got something to say then speak clearly, I don't appreciate wise-assery.

kiadaw
25th Dec 2013, 14:14
Consider Russia have some of the most beautiful girls, I am surprise they are feature so less. When they do they are either spy or KGB or something.

The same can be said about every German in World world 2 like some mindless, brainwash killer.

Some culture are more tolerable to being portrayed as bad guys, or at least resign.

Its well known, that if a Hollywood film have Chinese as bad guy, even small time character, the film will be banned. Why do you think they have a British actor as Mandarin in Ironman 3?

If there is a Japanese main baddy, in Tomb Raider, sadly, some people may call it a Western propaganda, portraying a Western person as hero, & Eastern people as bad people.

Unless people can be more open minded, Western person, will mostly be portryed as main villain in a popular media.

a_big_house
25th Dec 2013, 14:38
^If you've got something to say then speak clearly, I don't appreciate wise-assery.

I think my point was perfectly clear in my original post, actually :rolleyes:

Jurre
25th Dec 2013, 14:49
I think my point was perfectly clear in my original post, actually :rolleyes:

Okay, then don't call it 'the rest of the posts' because I am not clairvoyant enough to understand what that means with all the things that have been discussed in there.

And I replied to that point in the second paragraph of post #20. I trusts that you read that, or you surely wouldn't be accusing people of not reading through the thread well enough...

Driber
27th Dec 2013, 13:22
@Marylinfill, I understand where you're coming from, especially since you're Russian, yourself, but I do think you're taking it a bit too serious and obviously you're exaggerating with some of your caricaturisation comments.

Of course CD do not think of all Russians in the way you described it. Nor do most of the people who play TR, I'm willing to bet. If you seriously think so, then you're not giving people enough credit. Not everyone are ignorant rednecks who think the cold war is still on.

While it's certainly nice to see a photo of you (how about posting it in the forum members photo thread (http://forums.eidosgames.com/showthread.php?t=6596)? :)) but you don't honestly believe TR players need to see a photo of you and your friend in order for them to realize that the Russian characters in TR9 are NOT representative of average Russian people, do you? :rolleyes:

And to address your point regarding the bad translation of the Russian character - that sort of thing is inevitable with the budget CD/SE had to work with, I'd argue. If that kind of thing happened in, let's say, Shindler's List, for example, I would be fully behind you, but we're talking about a TR videogame here. My language is being butchered in popular media, too. Do I get angry about it? Not one bit :cool:

And hey... at least it's not as bad as in AoD where Parisian guards were speaking Czech :nut: :D :lol:


At least CD speak of us as "the most devoted fans of miss Croft", they even thanked our community in the credits of the game.

I think you must be mistaken. Did CD single out a specific country fanbase? That really doesn't sound like them. Aren't you confused with the name of a specific TR fansite?


As has been argued here that it's only three of the villains that are Russian, yes, but those happen to be Mathias' lieutenants and the ones who have a face so to speak instead of being random cannon fodder. So why could it not have been for example one Russian, one Chinese and one American or other western guy?

Yes and why wasn't TR9 MP better. And why didn't we get TRDE Lara's face in the standard edition. And why couldn't Walmart customers get the same pre-order bonuses as Target customers. Etc etc...

The answer to this question I think is quite simple: next game(s).


Thanks =) Btw, Lara should meet more native people, IMO that would be fresh and interesting. Like true African tribe, Indians, North Mongolia natives. Shamans, shepherds, hunters. You know, to bring more Discovery Channel to Tomb Raider. I wish I could play that...

Did you even play the other TR games....? :scratch:


Wow, it's like you two didn't even read the rest of the posts...


^If you've got something to say then speak clearly, I don't appreciate wise-assery.

Well, I managed to see ABH's point quite clearly. And I kind of agree. I am not saying that I do, but one can indeed easily come to the conclusion from the recent posts between yourself and Marylinfill that you guys have not read (or at least completely dismiss) the points made in the rest of the thread.

Especially post #19 and comments like these...

You're quite right to speak out against this Marylinfill; anyone who's nationality is getting absurdly demonised would. It is to be expected from shooter games who's main target demographic is paranoid redneck gun nuts in the American red states to whom the cold war never ended (I am looking at you, Call of Duty) but I expect Tomb Raider to be a little more classy than that.

...are just completely missing the mark.

Russians are not "absurdly demonised" by the TR devs, as you are implying here. Nor can TR be even begin to be compared to games like COD.

What you guys seem to be doing is cherry picking one single TR game and portraying as if it is representative for the entire series for god's sakes.


Consider Russia have some of the most beautiful girls, I am surprise they are feature so less. When they do they are either spy or KGB or something.

The same can be said about every German in World world 2 like some mindless, brainwash killer.

Some culture are more tolerable to being portrayed as bad guys, or at least resign.

Its well known, that if a Hollywood film have Chinese as bad guy, even small time character, the film will be banned. Why do you think they have a British actor as Mandarin in Ironman 3?

If there is a Japanese main baddy, in Tomb Raider, sadly, some people may call it a Western propaganda, portraying a Western person as hero, & Eastern people as bad people.

Unless people can be more open minded, Western person, will mostly be portryed as main villain in a popular media.

Good point about the possible politically correct aspect of it, kiadaw.

Can you back that up with actual news articles, though? I'm interested to learn if this is really that wise-spread :)

Elliot Kane
27th Dec 2013, 16:46
Let's make a list:

Tomb Raider: Significant Enemies By Game:

TR1: Jacqueline Natla (Atlantean), Larson Conway (American), Pierre Dupont (French)
TR2: Marco Bartoli (Italian)
TR3: Sophia Leigh (English), Dr Willard (Also English, IIRC)
TR4: Werner Von Croy (German), Set (Egyptian god)
TR Chron: Conway & Dupont (Again), Mikhailov (Russian)
TR AoD: Pieter van Eckhardt (Not sure, but guessing Dutch)
Legend: James Rutland & Amanda Evert (Both American). Takamoto (Japanese)
Underworld: Amanda Evert & Jacqueline Natla.

I may be mistaken on a couple of these, and I'm sure I've left out a few minor opponents here and there, but over the course of the series it's pretty easy to see that there's no real bias in TR against any nation. Lara's trotted across half the world, killing mercenaries & thugs by the score in every nation she's visited, but her named enemies are a really mixed bag.

Before the recent TR9, Russians appear in two TR games, IIRS: Chronicles, where one of the missions is set on a Russian submarine, and Legend, where one of the sections is set in Russia - but the opposition are Amanda's mercenaries, not Russians.

I'm not seeing a whole lot of bias against any nation in that list.

kiadaw
27th Dec 2013, 17:52
Good point about the possible politically correct aspect of it, kiadaw.

Can you back that up with actual news articles, though? I'm interested to learn if this is really that wise-spread :)

You can check under film. If you are too lazy to read, the Chinese government banned any movie that put the Chinese, especially the Chinese government in bad light, as well as any media that show people rising against the government/authority or similar.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/BannedInChina/China

But I paste it here.

China automatically "bans" (or, more accurately, puts a quota on) all non-Chinese movies, only giving special permits for a fixed number of foreign films to be shown per year. In theory, this protects their film industry from bigger-budget foreign competition. In practice, it has spawned a massive and well established market for pirated foreign movies.

The movie Temptress Moon was promoted in the United States as "A Seductive New Film So Provocative It Was Banned In Its Own Country." As a writer to Roger Ebert's Movie Answer Man column pointed out, "Considering that its own country is China, that's not such a big deal."

Any form of discussion about the oppression of the Tibetans or the Tiananmen Square massacre (if it is in media or not) will get you arrested and scrutinized by the Chinese government. The government-approved history textbooks will never mention these atrocities.

Not only is Seven Years In Tibet banned, so are the two stars, Brad Pitt and David Thewlis. Director Jean-Jacques Arnaud was banned as well, but has since been invited to make a movie on the Inner Mongolian culture, The Wolf Totem.

The Harry Potter films have been released in China so apparently images of David Thewlis are allowed in the country even while the actual actor isn't.
The good news: China celebrated Ang Lee's winning of an Oscar for Brokeback Mountain as a triumph for Chinese people. The bad news: Brokeback Mountain is banned in China for its depictions of homosexuality. Also, Ang Lee's from Taiwan, but that's another discussion.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End can only be shown in China if all the scenes with Sao Feng in them are edited/modified so that way he's not in the shot. Apparently, he is a "negative portrayal" of the Chinese (although honestly, it would not make that much of a difference on the film's plot).
Warner Bros. had refused to screen The Dark Knight in China for its portrayal of the Chinese criminal accountant Lau (who was played by Singaporean Chin Han) and implying that Hong Kong police are corrupt, for fear that it would offend the Chinese. However, it is apparently one of the most popular bootleg DVD titles in China.

Going with the number-title aversion theme, 2012 made huge bucks in China because in the end China basically saves the world. The Tibetan tidal wave posters probably helped too.
Fan Dumb to some degree, as official government stance on Tibet is not quite as a lot of activist groups made it out to be. Destruction in Tibet is likely viewed as a tragedy rather than something that is praised on official and public scale. For the most part the poster probably worked against the movie's favor in the eyes of officials.
The second Tomb Raider film was banned for depicting China as having "secret societies".

Martin Scorsese was already banned from entering China after making Kundun, a biography of the Dalai Lama. And then The Departed was banned for having a scene with Chinese authorities buying advanced computer chip technology.
Mission: Impossible 3 gave the government some cause for concern, as it depicts the Chinese police as incompetent and shows poor living conditions in Chinese villages. There is also one scene where graffiti advertising a document forgery service (which is apparently a big business in China) can be glimpsed.
Raise the Red Lantern was banned in China... until it helped raise their tourism.
The Red Dawn 2012 remake was considered likely to face legal or financial problems in China due to its portrayal of a Chinese invasion of the US, leading to a change of the villians to North Korean.

A rough translation of a statement by authorities in 2011 suggested that they had banned movies about time travel; it turns out, this was merely a guideline: its based on the immense respect that Chinese culture has to its ancestors. The Chinese believe that a work of fiction that depicts the ancestors (or other historical figures) will be necessarily different from what actually happened, which is considered extremely disrespectful. The same statement also recommended that filmmakers don't make any more adaptations of the Four Great Classical Novels. Still...

This whole affair is allegedly the end result of a dual-suicide that involved one of the girls mentioning time-travel in her suicide note. However, this website contradicts this statement by pointing out the correct translation. This must be something of a relief.

Avatar was released in China, but its 2D version was pulled from cinemas very quickly afterwards despite the film being the most popular shown in China ever. It is likely a large part of this was its message, which could be seen as being potentially inspirational to oppressed people within China (and the film was eating into the profit margin of a state-sanctioned biopic on Confucius that was running concurrently). Oddly enough, China still allowed the 3D version to be shown even afterwards.

Surprisingly averted with The Hunger Games. Possibly due to being able to interpret it as a parable against Western decadence.

21 And Over wasn't banned in China but it was heavily altered. The original is a pretty straightforward college comedy about an Asian-American student and his antics during his 21st birthday. The movie also explicitly states that his family has lived in America for five generations. The Chinese version turns him into a Chinese exchange student in America and becomes a cautionary tale about "the perils of a hedonistic West and the importance of embracing one’s roots." They even shot extra scenes at a Chinese college for the second version.

A scene from Men in Black 3 where Agent J neuralyzes a bunch of Asian-American tourists in Chinatown was cut from the Chinese version. The Chinese government viewed the scene as a criticism of internet censorship.

Forty minutes were cut from Cloud Atlas. This included a same-sex romance and a straight sex scene. The censors also wished to make Cloud Atlas into more of a "popcorn movie" to appeal to audiences.

Skyfall was censored to remove a scene in which James Bond kills a Chinese security guard. The subtitles also remove a mention of Severine's time as a child prostitute in Macau.

In the 3D version of Titanic, Kate Winslet is framed from the neck up in the famous scene in which she is drawn nude by Leonardo DiCaprio.

For Iron Man 2, all mentions of "Russia" or the "Russian" language are removed. For example, Justin Hammer's line of "I don't speak Russian" is changed to "I don't speak your mother language." The comments section contains a few theories on what motivated this change.

The Mandarin is played by Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3 precisely for this reason, since the comic incarnation of the character is a classic Yellow Peril villain. The Chinese government also cooperated with Marvel to produce the film, and well known actors Fan Bingbing and Wang Xuquei were added to the cast in supporting roles.
The Chinese trailer plays up their importance, showing the two actors' characters alongside Rhodey and Pepper.

When Fan and Wang were cast, it prompted widespread speculation that they would be playing prominent Chinese Marvel characters such as Collective Man or Radioactive Man. They turned out to be Advertised Extras. Wang's character is the Chinese Dr. Wu who appears briefly during the New Year's Party and later gets the shrapnel out of Tony's heart. Fan plays an unnamed nurse with a single line who helps Wu (By "help", we mean telling Wu that "[Stark] is here"). Chinese audiences were not impressed.

Django Unchained was initially banned in China. However, it may get a release after scenes involving nudity, excessive violence, and "politically sensitive" topics are edited out.

So basically they'd be cutting out the entire movie.
Now they've banned Despicable Me 2 with no given explanation on why they did it.

Subverted, incredibly, by V for Vendetta, which was aired on TV in December 2012.

Psychomorph
27th Dec 2013, 20:28
Why China not ban the world, because the world is not Chinese (yet)? Moon is not banned, moon is Chinese now.

Rai
28th Dec 2013, 01:41
Let's make a list:

Tomb Raider: Significant Enemies By Game:

TR1: Jacqueline Natla (Atlantean), Larson Conway (American), Pierre Dupont (French)
TR2: Marco Bartoli (Italian)
TR3: Sophia Leigh (English), Dr Willard (Also English, IIRC)
TR4: Werner Von Croy (German), Set (Egyptian god)
TR Chron: Conway & Dupont (Again), Mikhailov (Russian)
TR AoD: Pieter van Eckhardt (Not sure, but guessing Dutch)
Legend: James Rutland & Amanda Evert (Both American). Takamoto (Japanese)
Underworld: Amanda Evert & Jacqueline Natla.

I may be mistaken on a couple of these, and I'm sure I've left out a few minor opponents here and there, but over the course of the series it's pretty easy to see that there's no real bias in TR against any nation. Lara's trotted across half the world, killing mercenaries & thugs by the score in every nation she's visited, but her named enemies are a really mixed bag.

Before the recent TR9, Russians appear in two TR games, IIRS: Chronicles, where one of the missions is set on a Russian submarine, and Legend, where one of the sections is set in Russia - but the opposition are Amanda's mercenaries, not Russians.

I'm not seeing a whole lot of bias against any nation in that list.



Exactly :tmb:


I don't believe for one minute we're meant to think the enemies in any Tomb Raider game are true representatives of their home countries. Is Marco Bartolli a typical Italian? Is Amanda an all American girl? (maybe she once was but she sure changed) Does Shogo Takamoto represent all Japanese businessmen? Is Sophia Leigh a real English Rose? (was she British or American, I can't remember). Were Vladimir, Nikolai and Dmitri true to Russian form? Or were all these character just bad/evil characters who happened to have the nationalities written for them?

Take Vlad for example. What do know from the game about him? He's Russian. He was shipwrecked on the island at some point. Has he, Nikolai and Dmitri always known each other or only since meeting as Solarii on Yamatai? We know little to nothing about him. What was he like as regular Russian back in his home country? He doesn't seem like a nice character, there seems to be something off about his relationship with his sister, something almost sinister (going by translations I've read, if I hadn't read any transcripts, I wouldn't know this at all). And now he's trapped on the island, for xx amount of time and recruited as a Solarii where he witnesses all sorts of weird scary crap. If he was messed up before, he's more so now. I doubt being Russian specifically is meant to have any significance to his personality. The situation on Yamatai is far from normal...it's supernatural. Some of these men may even have lost some of their humanity having been on the island for so long. Why did CD choose to make these three Russian? Only they know. Mathias is American, just like a lot of the other Solarii. I doubt it was their intention to single out Russians as bad or for anyone to believe this was their choice of characters as representative of regular people from Russia. If you believe that, it seems a bit naive. If you watch a film with bad guys, who happen to be Russian, there may be a reason why that is, but the audience aren't meant to think they represent a whole nation. Same with books or video games. Did Crystal make a mistake in the script with the Russian language? If so, that's a shame and perhaps they need to hire proper translators next time, but it's a mistake.

As shown, CD have continued to show characters, both enemies and otherwise of varied nationalities as has been the case throughout the franchise. As pointed out, the Russians in Legend weren't the mercs Lara was fighting, they're victims of Amanda and Rutland's scheming. Lara saves two Russian men during the fight which started before Lara got there. The Russians only got shown in one short scene, but in that game they're not bad.

Driber
28th Dec 2013, 11:52
You can check under film. If you are too lazy to read, the Chinese government banned any movie that put the Chinese, especially the Chinese government in bad light, as well as any media that show people rising against the government/authority or similar.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/BannedInChina/China

But I paste it here.

{snip}

Thanks, but it appears I misunderstood your post. I thought you were saying that it's wide-spread in Western countries. That China censors like crazy I knew already, heh.


Let's make a list:

Tomb Raider: Significant Enemies By Game:

TR1: Jacqueline Natla (Atlantean), Larson Conway (American), Pierre Dupont (French)
TR2: Marco Bartoli (Italian)
TR3: Sophia Leigh (English), Dr Willard (Also English, IIRC)
TR4: Werner Von Croy (German), Set (Egyptian god)
TR Chron: Conway & Dupont (Again), Mikhailov (Russian)
TR AoD: Pieter van Eckhardt (Not sure, but guessing Dutch)
Legend: James Rutland & Amanda Evert (Both American). Takamoto (Japanese)
Underworld: Amanda Evert & Jacqueline Natla.

I may be mistaken on a couple of these, and I'm sure I've left out a few minor opponents here and there, but over the course of the series it's pretty easy to see that there's no real bias in TR against any nation. Lara's trotted across half the world, killing mercenaries & thugs by the score in every nation she's visited, but her named enemies are a really mixed bag.

Before the recent TR9, Russians appear in two TR games, IIRS: Chronicles, where one of the missions is set on a Russian submarine, and Legend, where one of the sections is set in Russia - but the opposition are Amanda's mercenaries, not Russians.

I'm not seeing a whole lot of bias against any nation in that list.

Good summary :thumb:


I don't believe for one minute we're meant to think the enemies in any Tomb Raider game are true representatives of their home countries. Is Marco Bartolli a typical Italian? Is Amanda an all American girl? (maybe she once was but she sure changed) Does Shogo Takamoto represent all Japanese businessmen? Is Sophia Leigh a real English Rose? (was she British or American, I can't remember). Were Vladimir, Nikolai and Dmitri true to Russian form? Or were all these character just bad/evil characters who happened to have the nationalities written for them?

Take Vlad for example. What do know from the game about him? He's Russian. He was shipwrecked on the island at some point. Has he, Nikolai and Dmitri always known each other or only since meeting as Solarii on Yamatai? We know little to nothing about him. What was he like as regular Russian back in his home country? He doesn't seem like a nice character, there seems to be something off about his relationship with his sister, something almost sinister (going by translations I've read, if I hadn't read any transcripts, I wouldn't know this at all). And now he's trapped on the island, for xx amount of time and recruited as a Solarii where he witnesses all sorts of weird scary crap. If he was messed up before, he's more so now. I doubt being Russian specifically is meant to have any significance to his personality. The situation on Yamatai is far from normal...it's supernatural. Some of these men may even have lost some of their humanity having been on the island for so long. Why did CD choose to make these three Russian? Only they know. Mathias is American, just like a lot of the other Solarii. I doubt it was their intention to single out Russians as bad or for anyone to believe this was their choice of characters as representative of regular people from Russia. If you believe that, it seems a bit naive. If you watch a film with bad guys, who happen to be Russian, there may be a reason why that is, but the audience aren't meant to think they represent a whole nation. Same with books or video games.

Exactly :thumb:

Well, apart from the bit where you're claiming that Matthias is American, though. Where are you getting that from? :scratch:

Jurre
28th Dec 2013, 13:20
Exactly... Exactly... Let me remind people that I didn't think the amount national diversity in TR9 was all that bad. Just that it could be better. It's all there in the OP.

Now concerning the Russians: true: there's only three of them but they are the only ones besides Mathias who have any kind of personality: Vlad is the only one who attacks Lara in a sexual way and Russian is the only foreign language that is spoken besides Japanese.

That in of itself would be no cause for alarm, but unfortunately we live in a world were western media has spend decades of demonising Russians in multiple James Bond films and countless Red Dawn clones, and even in post-cold war films like Indy4 and gravity.

It's like having the black guy die first in a horror film - it would be no big deal if that happened once or twice, and if there wasn't a painful history of white supremacists being happy to see black people die... but there is.

So with Crystal D having the choice of more than 300 nationalities for their villains they went precisely for the one that already has a history of villainy in American fiction: it is totaly reasonable for Russian people, and for people who are against demonisation in general, to object to this.

I am not saying that Crystal Dynamics is evil or Russophobe, but this descision was clumsy and probably -I say probably!- made to tap into the anti-Russian feelings that are stil alive in the US. And if that is the case I expect TR to be more classy than that, more classy than a Call of Duty game who I think does cater to American xenophobic feelings. Even though it's far less worse in TR then in COD but that makes no difference - I can kill three people on the street but I can't say that that wouldn't be bad because Mao Zedong was far worse...

Also notice that the Russian speaking guys in Legend were Kazakhs, Lara specifically mentiones this.

Rai
28th Dec 2013, 13:45
^I understand why peeps must be frustrated with the representation of Russians being portrayed as the bad guys regularly across all media. I plead ignorance whereby I don't actually play a lot of games and the films I watch don't really have bad guys in them (in the traditional villain sense, like James Bond as an example). I can't really speak for Crystal as to why they chose their 3 head Solarii to be Russian, except to assume it may have been a stereotypical bad guy thing, that they went with. It does seem a bit thoughtless if that's the case, but my main point was, it wasn't (necessarily) the fact that Vlad and his 'Brothers' were Russian that made them bad.

@Driber, It's an assumption on my part, as his accent sounds American.

Jurre
28th Dec 2013, 14:32
I plead ignorance whereby I don't actually play a lot of games and the films I watch don't really have bad guys in them
I understand...



It does seem a bit thoughtless if that's the case, but my main point was, it wasn't (necessarily) the fact that Vlad and his 'Brothers' were Russian that made them bad.

I'm glad you understand the thoughtlessness of it. Of course Vlad & co weren't any more evil than all the other villains -safe for the sexual assault perhaps- but it's just odd that their nationality was the only one that was outlined amongst all the nationalities that should be on the Island.
Sometimes though, an entire nationality is villainized for the sole reason of being the hero's opponents, like the British in The Patriot or the Mexicans in The Alamo. Like I said: TR9 is not at those levels but that doesn't make it totaly okay in my book.

kiadaw
28th Dec 2013, 15:12
Thanks, but it appears I misunderstood your post. I thought you were saying that it's wide-spread in Western countries. That China censors like crazy I knew already, heh.



Most Western Countries are not as offended, when they are being portray as bad, or lousy, hence its political safe to use them as main Villains.

In Indonesia, or Malaysia, if an entertainer wanted to have concert there, are not allow to wear short shorts, or have physical contact with the female dancers.
In certain nations, you can be jailed for kissing or hugging in public.

We just cannot impose our ideas, thinking, to the world at large, and think 'whats the big deal'. What maybe consider ok in our culture maybe taboo or even offensive in other cultures. So unless the world at large are more open minded, like I mention before, its always safe to have a Western Villain, even safer if he is White, especially if you want a worldwide audiences.

Marylinfill
28th Dec 2013, 15:17
Friends, thank you again for your support and understanding! To make things clear I'll just explain my point of view for the last time =) I have nothing against Russian anti-heroes, cuz every race has villains and it's cool for show business, but I am sick and tired of this cliche overall in films and games. When you live in Russia you feel it all the time. I am sure that German people felt the same pressure after World War Two.
As for TR series, the only good Russian guy they've made was admiral Yarofev from TR Chronicles. At the same time there are two bad Russian in the same game - Sergei Mikhailov, the mafia king, and Vladimir Kalita, the most strange and unbelievable ghost from the scary island (what??? how did he get there?!)
Also there were some guys from Kazakhstan in TR Legend, but it was a part of USSR, not Russia. BTW, there were speaking like Ukraine people, oh dear Lord. =(
But that's okay by me, TR is a videogame and I am sure that all the other races were shown as unbelievable and pitiful as mine. I am concerned about new policy CD has after Square Enix bought it. If adventure takes place in Japan, why there were no Japanese bosses there? Why all the baddies are Russian? Let Lara visit Murmansk then, that would be at least logical. Did you know that in the early story Vlad tortured some American family in the center of the island? Maybe I am a paranoiac, but... Japanese hate us so much because of some territory problems. When Fukushima collapsed, I've donated my money to the Red Cross. Please, CD, don't make it worse than it is. I believe in your tolerance and honesty. And I believe that's enough talking about bad Russians already, otherwise I may look too annoying =)

Jurre
28th Dec 2013, 15:40
Most Western Countries are not as offended, when they are being portray as bad, or lousy, hence its political safe to use them as main Villains.
I wouldn't say that. Have you seen the outrage in American media (Fox News I mean) at the Turkish movie Valley of the Wolves (which is about a Turkish action hero shooting US soldiers in Iraq)? The TV hosts went balistic over this. But none of them had enough self-criticism to point out that this was basicly a Turkish Rambo film and what they were getting was a taste of their own medicine...
I have also seen British people complain about several Mel Gibson films and even Netherlanders complained about the film Alatriste which is about a Spanish hero in the Eighty Years' War.
But if you're talking about westeners being not as easily offended as the people who yell 'racist!' at everything and everybody, then you're right...


So unless the world at large are more open minded, like I mention before, its always safe to have a Western Villain, even safer if he is White, especially if you want a worldwide audiences.

I think it all depends on context. I remember a story about Far Cry 2, which is set in Africa. Some guy, I don't remember whether it was a developer or a gamer, made a very passionate plea to include black people in this game... Because in the original plan they were absent... In their game that was set in Africa. The developers felt that they had to have white heroes because otherwise white people wouldn't play it, but couldn't let them shoot black villains so it became a game about white people shooting other white people.
If your game is set in Africa then the natural thing to do is to have black heroes and black villains... White villains are as out of place in my opinion as white heroes in that situation...

Elliot Kane
28th Dec 2013, 15:48
Sorry, Jurre, but I think you have a very false idea of how the West as a whole regards Russia and Russians.

I grew up in England during the Cold War. I watched on TV as the Berlin Wall came down. I grew up reading Fleming, amongst many other authors.

The idea I always got, growing up, was that the poor Russian people were held down by the yoke of an evil government, not that Russians were bad. An idea, believe it or not, that things like the James Bond novels actually reinforced. It's very clear throughout (And usually carries over into the films) that neither Bond nor Britain has anything against Russia or the Russian people at all. The Russian villains are variously KGB or SMERSH and they aren't sold to the reader as 'Evil Russians' but rather as 'Evil servants of an evil government'.

The Yanks went through their crazy period, sure, but then they grew out of it. The ludicrous insanity of McCarthyism was over and done long before Reagan called on Gorbachev to 'tear down that wall' - and Gorbachev responded.

Even the Yanks at their worst, though, were not truly anti-Russian, but rather anti-Communist. There is a huge difference in those things.

The people who have been most demonised since the end of WW2 are not Russians, but Germans. Even a quick glance through film, literature and games will show you that. Russia was, after all, an ally turned ideological enemy. There was always a hesitancy to outright condemn Russia, as it would mean condemning ourselves, too, for allying with them.

Germans had no such protection. The appetite for WW2 games where you are killing 'Evil Germans' - pretty much interchangeable with 'Nazis' to most game makers - is seemingly without end. As with films. And novels. And on, and on.

As for Hollywood, well, they always get Brits to play the villains these days, don't they? Probably because we are so good at it! :D But despite overwhelmingly being portrayed as the bad guys, I can't say it bothers me. I don't feel our cousins across the Pond hate us. I don't think they hate you, either.

Maybe I am just an ignorant Brit, who can only speak for my own country, but you'd be very hard pressed to find Brits who are anti-Russian, and I suspect the same is true for most of the West. Anti-Americanism is probably greater in most Western nations (Certainly in most EU nations).

Personally - and JUST speaking for myself! - I don't see why people can't just accept that we are all human, together. Every nation has its good people and its bad people, and that's the way it is.

But back to TR. I think it's a really major stretch to go from 'there are a couple of Russian villains in TR history' to 'TR is biased against Russians'.

Especially when the main villain of the game you are talking about most is Mathias, who is clearly not Russian.

Rai
28th Dec 2013, 15:53
Also there were some guys from Kazakhstan in TR Legend, but it was a part of USSR, not Russia. BTW, there were speaking like Ukraine people, oh dear Lord. =(
But that's okay by me, TR is a videogame and I am sure that all the other races were shown as unbelievable and pitiful as mine. I am concerned about new policy CD has after Square Enix bought it. If adventure takes place in Japan, why there were no Japanese bosses there? Why all the baddies are Russian? Let Lara visit Murmansk then, that would be at least logical. Did you know that in the early story Vlad tortured some American family in the center of the island?

Those guys and Lara were speaking Ukrainian? Really, I would never have known that as I know nothing on these languages. It's a shame then that CD got that wrong, unless they were meant to be Ukrainian.

I just want to point things out here. First Yamatai is off the coast of Japan, it's not part of Japan's mainland. There are Japanese influences, but I think the idea is this is a separate culture on Yamatai. The original island inhabitants were all gone. Apart from the Samurai Warriors guarding Himiko which were supernaturally kept alive somehow by Himiko's powers, and the Oni which are supernatural beings/demons, there were no Japanese/Yamtai survivors. The Stormguard are Japanese enemies, though I think you're referring to live humans. The island's inhabitants are made of a variety of nationalities that have been ship/plane wrecked. I agree it does seem odd there doesn't appear to be any from Japan, in fact most are either English or American, it seems...or Russian, and yes, it seems odd that other than Mathias (who isn't Russian, but possibly American), his top guys are Russian. I didn't know about that missing scene with Vlad. I don't think CD's choices had anything much or at all to do with SE. AFAIK CD work mainly with the US branch not SE Japan.

Marylinfill
28th Dec 2013, 16:01
Elliot Kane, I agree with you and thanks for your opinion! Also British actors are the best IMO and it's so great to watch them playing bad or good guys. Again, I am not saying TR is against us, I am saying that it is illogical to make all 4- that's more than a couple - main bad guys Russian (Vladimir, Nicolay, Boris and Dmitri) when the plot takes place in Japan. For me it's a bit weird. Well...I guess nobody understands my point of view anyway...
Rai, they were speaking kinda Russian in Legend, but the accent was Ukrainian =) I don't want to offend you guys but we were laughing our faces off listening to Lara's "Russian" language =)

Elliot Kane
28th Dec 2013, 16:07
Elliot Kane, I agree with you and thanks for your opinion! Also British actors are the best IMO and it's so great to watch them playing bad or good guys. Again, I am not saying TR is against us, I am saying that it is illogical to make all 4 bad Russian (Vladimir, Nicolay, Boris and Dmitri) when the plot takes place in Japan. I guess nobody understands my point of view anyway...

I get what you are saying, Mary, but the game is not in Japan as such. It's set on a lost island nearby, with a castaway community who have a habit of burning every Japanese they catch, in case they are the 'chosen one', unless I misunderstood. That would kind of limit the number of Japanese on the island, IMO :) If I got that part wrong then there should definitely be more Japanese, yes.

The one section of a TR game that DOES take place in Japan (Actually one of my favourite levels in Legend, because of the variety & challenge) features exclusively Japanese villains - an entire branch of the Yakuza that Lara pretty much exterminates to the last man.

Jurre
28th Dec 2013, 16:10
Sorry, Jurre, but I think you have a very false idea of how the West as a whole regards Russia and Russians.
Irrelevant, I am talking about the portrayal of them in popular media. And whilst this doesn't mean that it shows the exact sentiments of the people to whom that media is catered to it does show what a majority of them likes to see. It can also indoctrinate them to a certain level so that they'll like it even more.

As for the cold war,... well it depends on how you look at it. Like with terrorism today it doesn't really bother people every moment of the day, but after the 9/11 attacks there was an explosion of anti-muslim sentiments in the whole western world. Just like many people in the western world were shellshocked when the Sovjets were the first to sent a man to space - and yet he was invited to have dinner with the queen of England...


But back to TR. I think it's a really major stretch to go from 'there are a couple of Russian villains in TR history' to 'TR is biased against Russians'.
I never said such a thing: I'll quote myself from post #35:



I am not saying that Crystal Dynamics is evil or Russophobe, but this descision was clumsy

Elliot Kane
28th Dec 2013, 16:14
Jurre,

Why is a decision to have a handful of Russian thugs 'clumsy', as opposed to thugs from any other nation?

Rai
28th Dec 2013, 16:15
Marry, I agree with you, it is odd that those characters, the ones having a speaking role and Mathias' head Solarii are Russian. Why couldn't CD have had an Italian, a Greek, a Swedish and a English guy as the baddies? I get your point. There are too many Russians placed in a negative light.

You don't appear to have gotten mine though. 1, it is not set in Japan, but on an island off the coast of Japan. It has its own culture that has Japanese influences. All the current inhabitants bar the Samurai Stormguards (Japanese) are people that have been ship/plane wrecked on the island, so that is why they're not Japanese. Though, I do find it odd that there isn't at least one Japanese Solari/survivor. And 2, the bad guys are not bad because they're Russian, but because of personality traits they may already possess coupled with all they've experienced on the island. If you really want to know why CD chose to make these characters Russian, ask them in the Q&A.

And yes, as Elliot points out, when Lara does visit Japan in a game, it is in Legend and here all the enemies were Japanese: Takamoto and his henchmen.

Jurre
28th Dec 2013, 16:16
@Elliot Kane:

I explained that in post 35:


Now concerning the Russians: true: there's only three of them but they are the only ones besides Mathias who have any kind of personality: Vlad is the only one who attacks Lara in a sexual way and Russian is the only foreign language that is spoken besides Japanese.

That in of itself would be no cause for alarm, but unfortunately we live in a world were western media has spend decades of demonising Russians in multiple James Bond films and countless Red Dawn clones, and even in post-cold war films like Indy4 and gravity.

It's like having the black guy die first in a horror film - it would be no big deal if that happened once or twice, and if there wasn't a painful history of white supremacists being happy to see black people die... but there is.

So with Crystal D having the choice of more than 300 nationalities for their villains they went precisely for the one that already has a history of villainy in American fiction: it is totaly reasonable for Russian people, and for people who are against demonisation in general, to object to this.

I am not saying that Crystal Dynamics is evil or Russophobe, but this descision was clumsy and probably -I say probably!- made to tap into the anti-Russian feelings that are stil alive in the US. And if that is the case I expect TR to be more classy than that, more classy than a Call of Duty game who I think does cater to American xenophobic feelings. Even though it's far less worse in TR then in COD but that makes no difference - I can kill three people on the street but I can't say that that wouldn't be bad because Mao Zedong was far worse...




Why couldn't CD have had an Italian, a Greek, a Swedish and a English guys as the baddies?
Yeah! That's exactly what I said in post #20...

Marylinfill
28th Dec 2013, 16:16
Elliot Kane, I am concerned only about TR9 so far, I have nothing against another TR projects. In fact, I love both Japan and Kazakhstan levels... I like whole Legend, to me it's the best Lara game that CD has made. As for the cult of Yamatai, they burned only women - all of them despite their age, race etc. They even killed two little American girls and Boris took a toy bunny as a trophy lol =)
Rai, thanks.
I get it, we will ask Meagan Mary about their decision once again =) We could not get a clear answer during our meeting in Moscow last year =)

Jurre
28th Dec 2013, 16:32
^ you asked her about that?

Elliot Kane
28th Dec 2013, 16:33
Jurre,

And I explained why you are wrong about James Bond, etc. Western culture just does not make the connections you think are being made.

If you look at the main villains of the last three games, Mathias is probably American, and both James Rutland and Amanda Evert are definitely American. That looks to me like Crystal are actually trying to play safe and NOT offend people of other nationalities.

I don't honestly see that the nationality of three thugs is a major thing. If it becomes a continuing trend then sure, you'd have a point.

***

Mary,

Thank you for the correction. I clearly misunderstood that bit :) Have to admit, Legend is my favourite TR to just pick up & play, too. Nearly pulled my hair out speed running Kazakhstan! Love it, though! :D

***

Jurre & Mary,

I wonder if, perhaps, it's the new darker edge to the rebooted series that's really causing problems, here? The first 'darker' thugs are Russian, and you can't help wondering if that was a reflex choice?

Perhaps it might be better to wait for the next game and see if there is any kind of continuing trend. If we start seeing 'all thugs are Russian' rather than one isolated group (Who would logically stick together due to shared language/culture, anyway), then I will emphatically agree that there is a problem.

Marylinfill
28th Dec 2013, 16:42
^ you asked her about that?
Well, we were talking with Karl Stewart for a while, asking about Vlad and why does he speak Russian so badly. But it was before TR came out so they were like "wait and see", "we don't wanna spoil anything" and "we will remake his bad Russian, don't worry". And they did not. :scratch:

Elliot, you are right, we will wait. I hope next TR will be more... global and diverse :D Anyway I am glad that people here are so calm and tolerant. I've heard that Chinese has some real racist problem in Battelfield 4...

Elliot Kane
28th Dec 2013, 16:45
Mary,

I just want them to get rid of the Steam exclusivity! Anything past that is a bonus :D

But I will totally agree that I'd like to see villains & supporting cast alike from places TR hasn't drawn them from before. It's a big ol' world. I like when Lara explores all of it :)

(Can't comment on BF4, as I've heard nothing about it. I don't ever approve of racism, though)

Jurre
28th Dec 2013, 16:50
And I explained why you are wrong about James Bond, etc. Western culture just does not make the connections you think are being made.
You explained that in James Bond novels the blame is laid at the Sovjet government and not at the people. But there is no Sovjet government on Yamatai. It's the people themselves. I also don't think that in every Rambo-style film the Russians are evil solely because their government tells them to.


If you look at the main villains of the last three games, Mathias is probably American, and both James Rutland and Amanda Evert are definitely American. That looks to me like Crystal are actually trying to play safe and NOT offend people of other nationalities.

I don't honestly see that the nationality of three thugs is a major thing. If it becomes a continuing trend then sure, you'd have a point.

Why the problem with three thugs? I say it again: because out of all possible nationalities on the Island the Russians are the only ones who's nationality is outlined. The same nationality that is demonised for over 50 years in popular media. That is no coincidence.

Legend and other previous TR games didn't fall into those stereotypes, yes that is correct and I applaud Crystal D and Core D for that. But outside the TR series the continuing trend has been there for over half a century and I am sad to see TR9 tap into that, even though it is so small compared to Rambo, COD and whatnot.

Let me stipulate that my judgement towards Crystal Dynamics in this matter is no harsher than 'clumsy'.



I wonder if, perhaps, it's the new darker edge to the rebooted series that's really causing problems, here? The first 'darker' thugs are Russian, and you can't help wondering if that was a reflex choice?
Makes no difference to me.

Marylinfill
28th Dec 2013, 16:53
It's a big ol' world. I like when Lara explores all of it :)


Me too, I heard a rumor about Kroaton or Turkey, that would be great :rolleyes:
Battlefield 4 was banned in China, the story tells us about evil captain Chan who joins Russia and starts World War 3 against USA... bla-bla-bla... :confused: here we go again... :)

Elliot Kane
28th Dec 2013, 16:55
Jurre,

It's obvious our perspectives are simply too different on this, and we will find no common ground. My perception of the demonisation of Russians (As opposed to 'Soviets' and 'Communists') is clearly completely different to yours.

As such, I propose we agree to disagree :)


Me too, I heard a rumor about Kroaton or Turkey, that would be great :rolleyes:
Battlefield 4 was banned in China, the story tells us about evil captain Chan who joins Russia and starts World War 3 against USA... bla-bla-bla... :confused: here we go again... :)

The one that always makes me laugh is 'Homefront'. What kind of childish mind calls a game set in America 'Homefront' then tries to sell it to the world? :D

There's no doubt that Americans love to see themselves as heroes. Probably why Brits make so much money playing villains! :D

Jurre
28th Dec 2013, 17:01
I know all too well how tiresome endless and pointless discussions can be.

Very well, worthy discussion partner, I salute you :D

Oh gosh, Homefront. The US is invaded by North Korea... What's next? Andorra invades Brazil?

Elliot Kane
28th Dec 2013, 17:01
Likewise! :D

Marylinfill
28th Dec 2013, 17:11
Let's just go and play Dead Space. All dead, one space. :group_hug: No hard feelings! =)

Jurre
28th Dec 2013, 17:21
Hehehe... You know what? I wouldn't be surprised if in 50 years or so Russians are heroes in every piece of fiction; because that is what happened with the American indians, blacks and Irish people: after centuries of demonisation people turn around and portray them extravagantly positive to make up for that...

Elliot Kane
28th Dec 2013, 17:30
More bad guy roles for my fellow Brits, as no-one else can be evil for fear of offending someone? Sounds great for our entertainment industry! :D

Bampire
28th Jan 2014, 05:51
To be frank, I never really cared about this kind of issue until around 2011, realizing that diversity is an actual social issue and needs to be incorporated into our media. Yes, Lara has had some minor friends come into the picture who were of different nationality from her, through out the franchise years. She's had fantastic allies, especially the typical stereotypes.

There's also been the usual badguy which were like stated in the OP were the Russian baddies, they were also in Chronicles. We've also had a wonky handful of Aussies in TR3 on the South Pacific Islands, then the national people of the land but they were almost always out to take Lara out of the picture--inevitably making them to be terrible people without reason. Not entirely giving good light to most villains of color.

It would be interesting to see a take on Lara not being the actual hero, and just having her allies save her ass. or in a situation where they dont know shes there and they kind of had enough of the B.S. thrown their way with whatever the plot is at the time and take over. Granted it would not take the attention completely away from her. like if she were in a situation where she was in the crossfire and had to escape from where she is currently located from the two parties fighting. in the end she could take the item that would cause such catastrophe and get rid of it completely, take it with her, or give it back. she really doesnt always need to make herself out to be the 100% hero, despite her past or her intentions. But i'm kind of driving clear off the trails of what point i was trying to make.

POC should not always be made out to be the villains. diversity should be there. it should also work. It is realistic to have POC in the game, especially in Lara's case. It is also realistic to have the other party to be negative toward a person of her nationality, as well.

Driber
28th Jan 2014, 13:57
Exactly... Exactly... Let me remind people that I didn't think the amount national diversity in TR9 was all that bad. Just that it could be better. It's all there in the OP.

The discussion isn't just about what you think and what you wrote in the OP.

There are obviously people here in this discussion who have views more strong than yours (i.e. they DO view TR9 was bad at portraying national diversity).

Discussions evolve. Often times it is no longer about what exactly the OP states.


Now concerning the Russians: true: there's only three of them but they are the only ones besides Mathias who have any kind of personality: Vlad is the only one who attacks Lara in a sexual way and Russian is the only foreign language that is spoken besides Japanese.

That in of itself would be no cause for alarm, but unfortunately we live in a world were western media has spend decades of demonising Russians in multiple James Bond films and countless Red Dawn clones, and even in post-cold war films like Indy4 and gravity.

It's like having the black guy die first in a horror film - it would be no big deal if that happened once or twice, and if there wasn't a painful history of white supremacists being happy to see black people die... but there is.

So let me ask you this - are you now suddenly against Black Pete?

Because the argumentation you're using right now is the exact same one as the black people use in Holland who want to see Black Pete abolished. They don't want to see white people dressed up as stereotypical black people because of the painful history.


So with Crystal D having the choice of more than 300 nationalities for their villains they went precisely for the one that already has a history of villainy in American fiction: it is totaly reasonable for Russian people, and for people who are against demonisation in general, to object to this.

Exactly, and the opponents to Black Pete object to the portrayal of "their people" that way because of the history with slavery. It is the same argument. So should we get rid of everything that could possibly offend someone? Never ever have a Russian baddy anymore? Never ever have a fictional black character die in a movie anymore?


I am not saying that Crystal Dynamics is evil or Russophobe, but this descision was clumsy and probably -I say probably!- made to tap into the anti-Russian feelings that are stil alive in the US.

You're reaching right now. This really isn't fair to the devs at all to make such an accusation though implication.


Most Western Countries are not as offended, when they are being portray as bad, or lousy, hence its political safe to use them as main Villains.

In Indonesia, or Malaysia, if an entertainer wanted to have concert there, are not allow to wear short shorts, or have physical contact with the female dancers.
In certain nations, you can be jailed for kissing or hugging in public.

We just cannot impose our ideas, thinking, to the world at large, and think 'whats the big deal'. What maybe consider ok in our culture maybe taboo or even offensive in other cultures. So unless the world at large are more open minded, like I mention before, its always safe to have a Western Villain, even safer if he is White, especially if you want a worldwide audiences.

I do not agree with this line of OTT PC kind of thinking.

Works of fiction like TR are not responsible to be politically correct or sensitive to every custom in every country. If you want to make games like that, then you'll be left with pretty much nothing except for games like these:

nFMzyDF_5O0

The only things that get hurt here are cakes and hearts.

So never mind the national diversity aspect, even the core essentials of TR - stealing and killing - are going to be offensive to some people. There exists no "safe" TR game, no matter how much you sugercoat it.


But that's okay by me, TR is a videogame and I am sure that all the other races were shown as unbelievable and pitiful as mine.

Mary, Russians are not a "race" on their own. "Native" Russians either belong to the white or the Asian race.

But I understand how you meant it. But still, that is NOT was CD has done. They didn't portray the entire Russian population as bad.

Sure, Russian bad guys have been done a lot. But you don't think that TR fans are going to look at a character like Vlad and think that that is how Russians are like, do you?

Every single enemy in TR9 except for Himiko was male. Do I worry that the game is vilifying my gender and that the fans are going to look bad at me for being a man after playing the game? Not at all!

Driber
28th Jan 2014, 15:17
Another massive reply coming up!. Apologies for the double post and long read, folks. It's been a while since I set foot in this thread and it seems to have moved a lot since my last post here, hehe :D


Sorry, Jurre, but I think you have a very false idea of how the West as a whole regards Russia and Russians.

I grew up in England during the Cold War. I watched on TV as the Berlin Wall came down. I grew up reading Fleming, amongst many other authors.

The idea I always got, growing up, was that the poor Russian people were held down by the yoke of an evil government, not that Russians were bad. An idea, believe it or not, that things like the James Bond novels actually reinforced. It's very clear throughout (And usually carries over into the films) that neither Bond nor Britain has anything against Russia or the Russian people at all. The Russian villains are variously KGB or SMERSH and they aren't sold to the reader as 'Evil Russians' but rather as 'Evil servants of an evil government'.

The Yanks went through their crazy period, sure, but then they grew out of it. The ludicrous insanity of McCarthyism was over and done long before Reagan called on Gorbachev to 'tear down that wall' - and Gorbachev responded.

Even the Yanks at their worst, though, were not truly anti-Russian, but rather anti-Communist. There is a huge difference in those things.

The people who have been most demonised since the end of WW2 are not Russians, but Germans. Even a quick glance through film, literature and games will show you that. Russia was, after all, an ally turned ideological enemy. There was always a hesitancy to outright condemn Russia, as it would mean condemning ourselves, too, for allying with them.

Germans had no such protection. The appetite for WW2 games where you are killing 'Evil Germans' - pretty much interchangeable with 'Nazis' to most game makers - is seemingly without end. As with films. And novels. And on, and on.

As for Hollywood, well, they always get Brits to play the villains these days, don't they? Probably because we are so good at it! :D But despite overwhelmingly being portrayed as the bad guys, I can't say it bothers me. I don't feel our cousins across the Pond hate us. I don't think they hate you, either.

Maybe I am just an ignorant Brit, who can only speak for my own country, but you'd be very hard pressed to find Brits who are anti-Russian, and I suspect the same is true for most of the West. Anti-Americanism is probably greater in most Western nations (Certainly in most EU nations).

Personally - and JUST speaking for myself! - I don't see why people can't just accept that we are all human, together. Every nation has its good people and its bad people, and that's the way it is.

But back to TR. I think it's a really major stretch to go from 'there are a couple of Russian villains in TR history' to 'TR is biased against Russians'.

Especially when the main villain of the game you are talking about most is Mathias, who is clearly not Russian.

Excellent post, EK. Makes perfect sense to me.

Especially the point about the main bad guy being NOT Russian, but presumably, a white English/American character.


I agree it does seem odd there doesn't appear to be any from Japan, in fact most are either English or American, it seems...or Russian, and yes, it seems odd that other than Mathias (who isn't Russian, but possibly American), his top guys are Russian.

I think none of us are in disagreement that it's stereotypical, but why is it odd, though?

If they were not Russian, but, let's say, Nigerians, would that have made more sense?

Let's not forget that Russia is really close to Japan. The countries even fought a war in the past over territory in the region between Russia and Japan - Manchuria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchuria).

So a Russian ship coming across Yamatai by accident and being stranded there isn't that far-fetched, is it?

It sure would make a lot more sense than said Nigerians...


Elliot Kane, I agree with you and thanks for your opinion! Also British actors are the best IMO and it's so great to watch them playing bad or good guys. Again, I am not saying TR is against us, I am saying that it is illogical to make all 4- that's more than a couple - main bad guys Russian (Vladimir, Nicolay, Boris and Dmitri) when the plot takes place in Japan.

Japan is, as I just pointed out, very close to Russia. It really isn't all that weird IMO that a Russian ship would end up crashing in Yamatai.


For me it's a bit weird. Well...I guess nobody understands my point of view anyway...

I'm sure many understand your POV, Mary. I certainly do. But you can still disagree with someone's POV even though you understand said POV :)


If you really want to know why CD chose to make these characters Russian, ask them in the Q&A.

Good point. How about if one of us does that, so to end this long chain of speculation about it? :)


Why couldn't CD have had an Italian, a Greek, a Swedish and a English guy as the baddies?


Yeah! That's exactly what I said in post #20...

...which was debunked by EK in post #30:

Tomb Raider: Significant Enemies By Game:

TR1: Jacqueline Natla (Atlantean), Larson Conway (American), Pierre Dupont (French)
TR2: Marco Bartoli (Italian)
TR3: Sophia Leigh (English), Dr Willard (Also English, IIRC)
TR4: Werner Von Croy (German), Set (Egyptian god)
TR Chron: Conway & Dupont (Again), Mikhailov (Russian)
TR AoD: Pieter van Eckhardt (Not sure, but guessing Dutch)
Legend: James Rutland & Amanda Evert (Both American). Takamoto (Japanese)
Underworld: Amanda Evert & Jacqueline Natla.


Perhaps it might be better to wait for the next game and see if there is any kind of continuing trend. If we start seeing 'all thugs are Russian' rather than one isolated group (Who would logically stick together due to shared language/culture, anyway), then I will emphatically agree that there is a problem.

:thumb:

Exactly the point I was making earlier.


Why the problem with three thugs? I say it again: because out of all possible nationalities on the Island the Russians are the only ones who's nationality is outlined.

How exactly are the Russians their nationality "outlined"?

Matthias was the main baddy and he was presumably English/American. There have been loads and LOADS of English and American baddies in popular culture. I can name so many movies where the Brits and Yanks were vilified, mocked, ridiculed, and so on.

Yet with Russians you get all sensitive. Despite the points you were trying to make (and I do understand them) I still do not really see the logic behind it.


Legend and other previous TR games didn't fall into those stereotypes, yes that is correct and I applaud Crystal D and Core D for that. But outside the TR series the continuing trend has been there for over half a century and I am sad to see TR9 tap into that

You don't know if CD tapped into that. That is entirely an assumption on your behalf. Maybe also you can think about actually asking CD why they went for Russian baddies in TR9, instead of being cynical about it and making up your mind without a solid foundation for your assumptions?


It would be interesting to see a take on Lara not being the actual hero, and just having her allies save her ass. or in a situation where they dont know shes there and they kind of had enough of the B.S. thrown their way with whatever the plot is at the time and take over. Granted it would not take the attention completely away from her. like if she were in a situation where she was in the crossfire and had to escape from where she is currently located from the two parties fighting. in the end she could take the item that would cause such catastrophe and get rid of it completely, take it with her, or give it back. she really doesnt always need to make herself out to be the 100% hero, despite her past or her intentions. But i'm kind of driving clear off the trails of what point i was trying to make.


Hmm, not sure how well that would really work, Lara being not the hero. I admit it sounds intriguing, but does a game such as TR really lend itself well to such a plot device?

What you're proposing is something that worked wonders in Breaking Bad. But could it really work in TR? Food for thought, for sure. How about creating a new, dedicated discussion thread for it? :)


POC should not always be made out to be the villains. diversity should be there. it should also work. It is realistic to have POC in the game, especially in Lara's case. It is also realistic to have the other party to be negative toward a person of her nationality, as well.

Wasn't Sam a POC and an ally instead of an enemy? Wasn't Jonah? And Reyes?

If anything, it looks to me that the devs went out of they way to include POC!

Thetford
28th Jan 2014, 16:31
Every single enemy in TR9 except for Himiko was male. Do I worry that the game is vilifying my gender and that the fans are going to look bad at me for being a man after playing the game? Not at all!

Wait, Driber is a man?

Driber
28th Jan 2014, 16:40
Maybe I lied just to make a point.

http://driber.net/os/barney-mind-blown.gif