Quantic Dream says skin tone concerns in Beyond are ‘absurd’ and ‘upsetting’

The developer of PlayStation title Beyond: Two Souls has strongly denied accusations the some dark-skinned characters have had their skin tone deliberately lightened in the game’s PS4 version.

Eurogamer yesterday noted that some of the characters featured in a level set in a Saudi Arabian embassy appeared to have notably lighter skin than in the original PS3 release. Quantic Dream, however, has argued that any changes are solely down to a change in the lighting engine and some character designs.

The lighting has changed as well as the skin shader we use, leading to slightly lighter skins in general (which can also be seen on Jodie’s white skin), although some black skins are a little bit darker (which has not been reported…),” Quantic boss David Cage told the site.

All characters have been upgraded on the PS4 version compared to the PS3, which sometimes led to creating a new face that can be different from the previous one (as well as different clothes or accessories). The skin tone or type of few characters may have changed in the process.

The scene takes place in what is obviously a middle-eastern embassy, with characters who are obviously from the middle-east, wearing obviously Arabic clothes and speaking obviously Arabic.”

Cage also stressed that his studio has been a champion of character diversity and any suggestion to the contrary is insulting.

Talking about the skin colour of two guards in the context of a game like Beyond is absurd, and for me personally, upsetting,” he added. Quantic Dream has been actively promoting cultural, gender and racial diversity in all of its past and present games, as well as in our own company.

We sadly regret that we have to justify ourselves when the skin colour of a passer-by has slightly changed for technical reasons, but we would like to reassure our fans and tell them that Quantic Dream will continue to promote racial and gender diversity in games, as well as positive human emotions and values.”

Here’s an example of what Eurogamer spotted.

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