Tekken 7 producer and director Katsuhiro Harada is getting fed up of people hassling him over sexism in the franchise’s costume designs, calling critics “ill-informed.”
This is all started with a minor scandal on (where else?) Twitter. Asked by a fan if Tekken 7‘s swimsuit content would ever make it to the west, Harada joked: “Ask your country’s SJWs. HAHAHAHAHA.” That drew a complaint from fan (and games journo) Jen Simpkins, prompting an apology from Harada, who deleted the original tweet.
@itsJenSim this message is not for females.
But I'm sorry if you are sad.
I'll delete that.
— Katsuhiro Harada (@Harada_TEKKEN) July 8, 2016
Eurogamer‘s Aoife Wilson decided to follow up on the exchange to ask if he really does feel that western sensibilities (and ‘SJWs’) are getting in the way of Tekken‘s content plans. He admitted that it is “more difficult creating the game for a mass market” (as opposed to just Japan), complaining that “a lot of these criticisms are very ill-informed.”
“A lot of times – the swimsuits was a good example – people who don’t even play the game, they maybe just hear that there are swimsuits in it and then they say, ‘Woah, you have these girls in sexy swimwear, what’s wrong with you? You’re such male chauvinists etc.’ But, what they don’t know is that it started off in the arcade and it’s a season line, like you do for Christmas, Halloween or whatever. And it’s not just the women. Robots have them, Kuma, Panda, the male characters have swimwear. It’s not like we’re trying to sexualize the female characters at all. But they don’t go and look for that info before they criticise. So, that is pretty frustrating.”
Which would all be totally fine if the game didn’t also feature characters like newcomer Lucky Chloe:
What do you think, Katsuhiro? Did you maybe try to sexualize her? Just a little bit? I won’t be angry or anything — just own it. You wanted a sexy lady. You made one. Do you really need to dress it up any more than that?
Complicating it all, he also showed that he sort of misses the point by raising one of the series’ more scantily clad men: Ganryu. Yeah, the Sumo wrestler one you can see scowling at you from the top of the page.
“Someone who doesn’t know Sumo, they might just say, ‘There’s a guy in his underwear, that’s inappropriate,'” Harada argued, perhaps not realizing that the Sumo wrestler isn’t quite in danger of being over-sexualized in mainstream media just yet. “But it’s a very important part of Japanese culture. Without knowing that, to so easily make criticisms, is maybe a dangerous direction. Part of the internet, I guess you could say!”
Look, whatever you think about fighting games and their sexy, sexy ladies, hopefully we can all agree on a few things: no-one actually thinks Ganryu is part of the problem, the swimsuits are far from the only sexualized costumes in the games, and it’d all be better if those involved just owned up to creating sexy ladies because they like sexy ladies and want to see sexy ladies in their games and then we can all go from there.