Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Heroes of Newerth Flamboyant Pack

A couple days ago, Luke told me about an article he saw on Queerty about some game introducing a super gay announcer as downloadable content. I lulz at it, and figured it was not really a big deal since Queerty is a really bitchy gay news site full of the type of people who think Shirley Q Liquor is actually racist.  I had assumed that they were just blowing the whole thing out of proportion. Yesterday, I stumbled upon the article posted on a different website and decided to read up on it.

Basically, the PC Strategy/RPG, Heroes of Newerth, decided it was going to release two new announcers for the game as downloadable content.  The announcer packs are entitled the Pudding Pack and the Flamboyant Pack. The Pudding Pack is just a female announcer who says the exact same things as the original announcer. The Flamboyant Pack is basically a gay stereotype saying sassy things full of sexual innuendo. Now normally I wouldn't have much of a problem with this, but as I learned more and more of the context behind the inclusion of the Flamboyant Pack, I actually started to get a bit outraged. For reference, here is a video of the controversy (relevant section starts at the 5 min mark):

Again, normally I wouldn't have such a problem with things like this, but let's look at the context. First off, I encourage everyone to head over to this link and read the responses from two developers. One is from a current employee at the Studio defending the inclusion of the announcer pack, and the other is from an ex-employee who also worked on the game. Its pretty interesting. TL;DR: The announcer pack was the idea of the head of S2 Games and he threw a temper tantrum to get it into the game. He said he wanted the voice over to be faggoty and queer.

Obviously, the first thing you have to do is call into question the motivations of the jilted ex-employee. Was he actually speaking the truth there or is he just out for revenge against the company? Honestly, I think its the former. I've been in the industry long enough to know its views regarding homosexuality. For instance, there is a reason Augustin worked away from the rest of the QA department at EA as an embedded tester on Boom Blox, and it wasn't because the development team actually needed an embedded tester. A few years ago, Microsoft got a lot of flack for having a hostile workplace for gay developers. These are just two examples of the relatively abysmal attitudes towards homosexuality in the game industry.

Upon further research, it turns out that the head of S2 Games is just a terrible person. This forum post from an administrator at sums up everything pretty well: "It's pretty much a known fact in their community that their boss, Marc "Maliken" DeForest, is pretty, errr... outspoken. There are screencaps of him saying nigger/etc. floating around and stories of him smashing computer equipment when he loses a game. I doubt its really a surprise to anyone that he wanted the pack to be 'faggoty'." When you take all of this into consideration, it becomes clear that the intent of the Flamboyant pack wasn't to try and make funny downloadable content for people to download, it was just another avenue for the head of S2 Games to be an asshole.

I truly don't understand how the company didn't stop and think that maybe this was a bad idea. I really can't even fathom how any executive can be that irresponsible. I just want to be clear that I don't find this pack super offensive or anything, nor do I think this is the worse thing to ever happen to the gay rights movement. Its just troubling to see gay portrayal in video games take such a huge step back after finally being treated with respect for a change (as they have been recently with games like Dragon Age and Fallout: New Vegas). Its stuff like this which affirms my decision to get my MBA and go back into the industry.


  1. But Heroes is superrrrrrrrrrr faaaabulous!

    Seriously. It makes me need penis.

  2. HoN sucks, and this makes it suck even more. Just play League of Legends instead, like all the relevant people.

  3. I like how rage nerds becomes head of developing entities and still retain all their rage nerdness.