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Skullgirls got review-bombed on Steam after some art changes

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Skullgirls 2nd Encore from Hidden Variable Studios and Autumn Games is having some community issues lately, with it getting review-bombed after a recent update.

What's going on exactly? Skullgirls now has a Mostly Negative recent user review rating on Steam, and you can clearly see the masses that have been flocking to the Steam page to let their feelings be known:

The why: on June 26th the developers announced some changes to existing content in the game and the Digital Art Compendium. The full list of changes can be seen here and it's not a long list so it's an easy overview. The developers made a longer post a few days before to explain why.

Reading through the updates were done "in the spirit of better reflecting our values and our broad vision for Skullgirls moving forward" which include removing Nazi-like depictions including armbands and symbols, adjusting some character artwork to remove sexualization of younger characters and racial stereotype issues they believed to be in poor taste.

Overall, the tweaks they've made seem quite small but this hasn't stopped the wave of negativity with user reviews complaining about "censorship" and going "woke". It's not entirely negative though, as a few hundred have also come along to leave a positive review but not enough to stop the overall recent review score looking really bad.

This YouTube video does a good look at some of the changes. Some are really a blink and you'll miss it type of deal and most players probably wouldn't even notice:

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Since the update around 3,449 negative reviews have been posted against 868 positive reviews, and it looks like the initial reaction is now dying off.

It does also bring up the interesting topic of how in the age of the internet and the likes of Steam, even games 10 years old can suddenly have changes you really might not like. Even when they're not technically some online-only "live service" type of thing.

Skullgirls certainly hasn't had the best history, with the original studio Lab Zero collapsing after a bunch of developers quit accusing the owner Mike Zaimont of various counts of inappropriate behaviour. After this Lab Zero laid off everyone else who hadn't quit.

You can buy a copy of Skullgirls from Humble Store and Steam.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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106 comments
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elmapul Jul 4, 2023
Quoting: PatrickHogan
Quoting: elmapulimagine having bad people being portrayed as bad people...
that was a stupid move too.

It is where it's a hard part to judge, I mean I fully agree it's obviously a huge difference to make bad guys nazi's vs having nazi's that aren't immediately vilified. Though I suppose I also see the reason is the difference in timeline context. IE when people viewed Nazi's as a distant past evil, versus possibly triggering PTSD in people who are still alive and have been harrased by present day Nazi's.


I never will diss someone for just including nazi's as a bad guy, but it is worth noting there's a completely different result when a game uses fictional big bad organizations, versus using ones that are actually real and may in fact be a large part of the current players lives.
can't we simply put an "tigger warning" and an OPTION to not display such simbols? then we have both versions of the game avaliable, local multiplayer will prioritize the most sensitive person playing, online multiplayer each player see they own settings.
comeptitions like EVO might simply use the "safe version" the only issue would be streamers, but still there are countless hours of school girls content already uploaded over the internet so changing that now wont do much about it.

the same goes for people who dont like to see sexy outfits, instead of completely removing then, why not add an option to turn off fanservice?
even better, if the game feature sexual "fanservice" for both male and female characters, we might give the player the option to enable/disable this for each gender.
so straight man can have their sexy woman, gay man their sexy man, straight woman their sexy man, lesbians their sexy woman, bisexual or people who dont bother both.
hell there are a lot of straight woman who like to play with sexy female characters.
Metallinatus Jul 4, 2023
Quoting: elmapul
Quoting: hardpenguin
Quoteremoving Nazi-like depictions including armbands and symbols, adjusting some character artwork to remove sexualization of younger characters and racial stereotype issues
Good. To hell with nazis. Although I wouldn't say they did good job to remove sexualization of any characters.

imagine having bad people being portrayed as bad people...
that was a stupid move too.

Except the people in question were kind of good guys. They are the "good guys with questionable methods" trope.

So I will disagree with both of you; the devs did good on taking the Nazi references from them, AND on taking sexualization of minors out of the game, and I don't think it should be a polemic move at all.
melkemind Jul 4, 2023
The reality is that people who are actually upset enough about this to actually review bomb are likely white supremacists themselves, even if they're too cowardly to admit it.

Also, it's telling that they'd get upset over the removal of sexual exploitation of young characters. It's not like they removed all sexy outfits or anything, only predatory depictions of young characters. Why would that bother someone unless they get off on exploiting young girls?

Lastly, there really is no justification for hating the removal of racist imagery unless you're racist yourself. People these days are really good at telling on themselves.
Purple Library Guy Jul 4, 2023
I watched most of that video . . . people on the internet will get worked up about the most trivial things. Half the altered pictures I literally could not tell there was a difference, at least with a brief look. They got all that energy they should go join a demonstration or a strike or something--try to get Julian Assange freed or whatever.
kit89 Jul 4, 2023
The removal of armbands seems exceptionally pointless considering they kept the soldiers pointy helmets (WWI German Soldier).

The de-sexualisation also appears utterly pointless as the sexualised ethos is still firmly in place. It's like putting socks on while being bare butt naked.
neffo Jul 4, 2023
Quoting: kit89The removal of armbands seems exceptionally pointless considering they kept the soldiers pointy helmets (WWI German Soldier).

WWI there were no Nazis though yeah. So, what's your point? Nobody is suggesting representation of Germans is a bad thing.
Ehvis Jul 4, 2023
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Quoting: melkemindLastly, there really is no justification for hating the removal of racist imagery unless you're racist yourself. People these days are really good at telling on themselves.

There's really no justification for hating the removal of violence unless you're violent yourself.

If we start with that attitude, we can continue until nothing is left.
Eike Jul 4, 2023
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Quoting: melkemindThe reality is that people who are actually upset enough about this to actually review bomb are likely white supremacists themselves, even if they're too cowardly to admit it.

Also, it's telling that they'd get upset over the removal of sexual exploitation of young characters. It's not like they removed all sexy outfits or anything, only predatory depictions of young characters. Why would that bother someone unless they get off on exploiting young girls?

Lastly, there really is no justification for hating the removal of racist imagery unless you're racist yourself. People these days are really good at telling on themselves.

I always got this little hope that some people will scream at anything taken away, because, you know, free speech/art (without realizing that these rights absolutely include the right of the developers to change their art). But, yes, probably it's culture wars again.
elmapul Jul 4, 2023
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: melkemindThe reality is that people who are actually upset enough about this to actually review bomb are likely white supremacists themselves, even if they're too cowardly to admit it.

Also, it's telling that they'd get upset over the removal of sexual exploitation of young characters. It's not like they removed all sexy outfits or anything, only predatory depictions of young characters. Why would that bother someone unless they get off on exploiting young girls?

Lastly, there really is no justification for hating the removal of racist imagery unless you're racist yourself. People these days are really good at telling on themselves.

I always got this little hope that some people will scream at anything taken away, because, you know, free speech/art (without realizing that these rights absolutely include the right of the developers to change their art). But, yes, probably it's culture wars again.
if you paid for a piece of art, you want that piece of art, not something else.
whats next? you will purchase halo and microsoft will give you forza instead but you cant complain?

the artist can do whatever he want with new pieces of art, its his art afterall, but for things you already purchased?
what if companies start makting their games pay to win? oh wait, they are already doing it, and we should acept because its their art according to your logic.

what if an company decide to change an story you like into something else you dont, and you cant access the original anymore?
or an music? movie?


Last edited by elmapul on 4 July 2023 at 3:52 pm UTC
Metallinatus Jul 4, 2023
Quoting: elmapul
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: melkemindThe reality is that people who are actually upset enough about this to actually review bomb are likely white supremacists themselves, even if they're too cowardly to admit it.

Also, it's telling that they'd get upset over the removal of sexual exploitation of young characters. It's not like they removed all sexy outfits or anything, only predatory depictions of young characters. Why would that bother someone unless they get off on exploiting young girls?

Lastly, there really is no justification for hating the removal of racist imagery unless you're racist yourself. People these days are really good at telling on themselves.

I always got this little hope that some people will scream at anything taken away, because, you know, free speech/art (without realizing that these rights absolutely include the right of the developers to change their art). But, yes, probably it's culture wars again.
if you paid for a piece of art, you want that piece of art, not something else.
whats next? you will purchase halo and microsoft will give you forza instead but you cant complain?

the artist can do whatever he want with new pieces of art, its his art afterall, but for things you already purchased?
what if companies start makting their games pay to win? oh wait, they are already doing it, and we should acept because its their art according to your logic.

what if an company decide to change an story you like into something else you dont, and you cant access the original anymore?
or an music? movie?

Yeah, people who bought Cyberpunk 2077 at release should just keep that version without a single patch, and if they want a new version they should just buy again, amirite?
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