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GamesRadar's Stellar Blade 'Intentional Censorship' Story Blindly Pushes Narrative

The Biased Take on Stellar Blade: A Critique of GamesRadar's Coverage

In recent years, the gaming industry has become a battleground for debates on creative freedom, censorship, and artistic expression.

Photo comparison credit/thx: FreeStellarBlade.com


One recent example is the coverage of the upcoming game Stellar Blade by GamesRadar, particularly in their article "Stellar Blade studio head says outfit redesigns were intentional, not censorship: 'Just because the costumes are vulgar doesn't necessarily mean they're good.'" Written by Jasmine Gould-Wilson and published May 15th 2024... (yes, GamesRadar, the same outlet that employs this guy).

The article attempts to address allegations of censorship in the game's design changes. However, a closer look reveals a biased, one-sided perspective that fails to consider the nuances of game development and the intentions of the creators.


...Remember this tweet?


The Premise: Intentional Redesigns

The article begins by discussing comments from Kim Hyeong-tae, CEO of Stellar Blade developer Shift Up. Kim clarifies that the changes to protagonist Eve's outfits were always intended as part of a day-one patch and not a result of external pressure from publisher Sony. This assertion directly challenges the narrative that Sony imposed censorship on the game's original design.


Kim states:

"I don't think that just because the costumes are vulgar doesn't necessarily mean they're good, so this is something that was modified for quality,"
“As a result, there are parts where eroticism is lessened or emphasized. This is the final product that we want to show as the intended result."

In short: Eve's outfits are fashion-first, not sexy-first.



GamesRadar's Narrative: Oversimplification and Bias

Despite this clear statement, 2 things come up that I take issue with:


1 - GamesRadar's coverage of this quote oversimplifies and dismisses the legitimate concerns of fans. By emphasizing Kim's comments that the changes were for "quality" and not censorship, the article fails to engage with the broader context of why fans were concerned in the first place. The piece glosses over the passionate discussions within the gaming community about artistic freedom and the impact of corporate influence on creative expression.


and...


2 - It also attempts to force the hand of the reader to trust there are no shenanigans or political agendas behind the scenes to make this look good for Sony throughout what has devolved into an absolute PR nightmare of a situation thanks to the #FreeStellarBlade petition (now approaching 100,000 signatures) by @Grummz and the movement formed on Twitter.


Timing and Development: The Real Issue

One of the most glaring omissions in the article is the lack of discussion about the timing of these changes. The alterations to Eve's outfits were made in the weeks leading up to the game's release, rather than being a gradual evolution over the years of development. This last-minute redesign raises questions about the true motivations behind the changes. Were these modifications genuinely part of the developer's vision, or were they a reaction to potential backlash or marketing considerations?


Fashion vs. Function: A Flawed Argument

Kim's argument that the changes were made for "fashion" rather than "sexy" appeal is another point that deserves even more scrutiny. While it is valid for a developer to prioritize aesthetic coherence and character design, the abrupt shift in Eve's appearance suggests that these decisions may not have been purely artistic.

The article's failure to critically examine this rationale contributes to a one-sided portrayal of the situation. Just blindly believe and not question anything.


Ignoring Fan Perspectives

GamesRadar's coverage also disregards the voices of the fans who initially raised concerns about potential censorship. These fans are not merely upset about the reduction of "eroticism" but are worried about the broader implications for creative freedom in the industry. By painting these concerns as simply a desire for more revealing outfits, the article undermines the legitimate discourse surrounding the balance between creative vision and external influence.



A Call for Balanced Coverage

In the end, the GamesRadar article on Stellar Blade's costume redesigns exemplifies the pitfalls of biased and one-sided reporting. By failing to critically engage with the timing of the changes, the developer's rationale, and the perspectives of concerned fans, the piece does a disservice to its readers and the broader gaming community. As consumers and enthusiasts, we deserve a more balanced and thoughtful exploration of the issues at hand, one that respects the complexity of game development and the diverse opinions within the gaming world.

As the industry continues to evolve, it is crucial for media outlets to provide comprehensive and unbiased coverage that encourages informed discussion rather than oversimplifying or dismissing valid concerns. Only then can we foster a more inclusive and understanding gaming community that values both artistic integrity and open dialogue.


~Smash

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