Tekken director Katsuhiro Harada has said that criticism of the depiction of female characters in his games is unfair and does not take cultural variances into account.
Harada has previously reacted angrily to unease at the sexually provocative way Tekken’s females are presented. Now the developer has told Eurogamer that such complaints stem from an ignorance of Japanese culture.
A lot of these criticisms are very ill-informed,” he argued. The problem is that people who are Tekken fans, they say something about the game that’s critical and it’s not that bad because they know the context of it.
"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 sexualise the female characters at all. But they don’t go and look for that info before they criticise. So, that is pretty frustrating."
Harada added that the increased international reach of previously quite niche games has imposed new boundaries on his development practises.
"Recently there are lines, I guess more than in the past,” he explained. Before, it was a niche crowd, people who liked video games as a whole, but at the time when they were still largely created in Japan it was pretty much anything goes, made by the Japanese and their sensibilities.
"But now it’s enjoyed by a much wider audience, it’s easier for outsiders to say that game’s content is not good for a particular group or ethnicity or country or religion or anything. So, in that regard there are a lot more lines that we can’t cross any more, I guess you could say."