Beyond: Two Souls developer Quantic Dream has admitted it was asked to depict the game’s female star holding a gun on the cover of the game.
Such a depiction would betray the game’s real content, the studio felt, and as a result it rebutted the request and fortunately emerged triumphant.
"Yes, and we categorically refused it," executive producer Guillaume de Fondaumire told GameSpot when asked if a gun-themed pitch for the game was ever made to him. "It’s kind of natural for agencies, you know, who are far away from the project, to pitch you different things.
‘It’s a video game? Okay, it needs to have a gun otherwise it’s not even a game’. But our job, with David [Cage], is to make sure that everyone understands what is specific about this game and to make sure that we have the right pack shot, and the right imagery supporting the project, and the right image is being communicated to the public.
"Indeed, there is some action in Beyond. But if we, for instance, put a pack art that’s solely featuring action, first of all it’s not going to be truthful to what the game is and then, your wife for instance, is not going to feel attracted to this. She’ll say ‘ok, well that’s not unique, it’s one of your video games’."
It’s not the first time that a games developer has come under pressure from the marketing team when planning to depict a female character on the cover of a game.
In December the creative director of fellow Sony title The Last Of Us admitted that he had been asked to relegate female star Ellie to the background of the game’s cover. And credit to Sony – the developer won out in that debate, too.
This is not always the case, however. The bulk of the marketing for BioShock Infinite has featured female character Elizabeth but she does not appear on the cover – instead, that spot is reserved for the more traditional ‘man ‘n’ gun’ image.
I wanted the uninformed to pick up the box and say, okay, this looks kind of cool, let me turn it over,” Levine said of the decision. Oh, a flying city. Look at this girl, Elizabeth on the back. Look at that creature. And start to read about it, start to think about it.
I think the cover is a small price for the hardcore gamer to pay. We had to make that trade-off in terms of where we were spending our marketing dollars. By the time you get to the store, or see an ad, the BioShock fan knows about the game. The money we’re spending on PR, the conversations with games journalists — that’s for the fans. For the people who aren’t informed, that’s who the box art is for.”