Well, I suppose this was inevitable, really. Here’s Capcom’s latest attempt to alienate their fanbase: having the 12 DLC characters for Street Fighter x Tekken seemingly complete on the disc but with no legal way of accessing them until after the PS Vita launch, in which case they will (presumably) charge you for the magic words to open the sesame to play as Elena, Sakura, Guy, Cody, Blanka, Dudley, Alisa, Lars, Christie, Jack-X, Lei and Bryan without modding. Fun times.
This kind of bullshit is inexcusable. It really is. I thought ULTIMATE Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 was a terrible way to strip away additional funds from the fighting game fan base (see here and here for more on that), but at the very least it was an honest “the content on this disc is exclusive to ULTIMATE” sort of thing. By hiding away 12 of the SFxT’s cast behind a shroud of DLC with no explicable reason beyond “let’s charge you more for all of the content on this disc – $60 isn’t enough for what we’re giving you!”, is highway robbery, and Capcom ought to be disgusted with themselves. Jason pretty much sums up any further griping I had with his post, so I’ll move on to the other, thornier topic I want to discuss, which is the game being a massive part of one of the worst promotional disasters I’ve seen in recent memory (beyond this, anyway).
Their Cross Counter reality show was a neat premise at least; it was designed to put Tekken and Street Fighter competitors into two teams and the two would challenge each other to rounds to win prizes and such. Witness the teams work out strategies and practice with each other to get better, the thrill of the battles with their rivals. Novel idea. Alas, this intriguing notion was quickly sullied thanks to a large dose of misogynistic behavior that is unacceptable. Miranda “Super_Yan” Pakodzi, a member of Team Tekken, suffered multiple cases of sexual harassment, mostly from the Team Tekken coach Aris Bakhtanians, which led to her forfeiting her spot and departing the show. Here’s a link with Super_Yan explaining her reasoning for her leaving.
There’s two major problems here. One is easy to spot – Bakhtanians had no right to be such a jerk to Super_Yan, and stating that his rudeness is because “sexual harassment and the fighting game community are “’one and the same thing’” (Penny Arcade) is both ridiculous and insulting to the majority of fighting game community. As a casual fighting game fan, I certainly do not want to be lumped in with sexist pigs. I also know a few others more passionate than me that would be offended as well. But Bakhtanians’ atrocious behavior is seemingly okay with Capcom due to the absolute lack of …well, any sort of reprimanding for this sickening behavior. To my knowledge Capcom hasn’t even said ANYTHING about this beyond a canned PR piece:
“The views and opinions expressed by cast members in the live internet program “Cross Assault” do not reflect those of Capcom. As a company, Capcom believes that everyone should be treated with respect,” a Capcom representative said. “This particular issue was brought to our attention and has been addressed. We sincerely apologize to anyone that was offended by any comments expressed during the show.” (Penny Arcade)
We don’t know what this “addressing” means, and as far as I’m aware Bakhtanians remained a part of the show to its conclusion.
Super_Yan’s exit, especially in the wake of her being noticeably distressed in her last fight, should have been a clear indicator something was amiss, and there’s no shortage of evidence of Bakhtanians’ sexist remarks, which “included speculation on her bra size, suggestions that he was going to ‘smell’ her, and a proposal that she mud-wrestle another female gamer, with the winner going on to fight him” (Forbes [yes, it has gotten THAT much traction]), thanks to the nature of this being…a TV reality show.
Alas, even with all of the gaming press putting a well-lit spotlight on the skeletons that lurk in the fighting game closet, it wasn’t enough. A Level Up Wednesday Night Fights event, recorded a day after this all went down, featured Marn and Christian “poking fun at the whole situation and talking about what NOS girl they would hit.” (Shoryuken) First of all, when one person is being an ass, it doesn’t excuse you to join in the asshatery. Second of all, it cast a further cloud over the community as a bunch of misogynist dicks, and, again, as a casual member of this group, I don’t want that association AT ALL. It makes all male gamers, fighting game fans or not, look like moronic douches who can only think with their penis. And it alienates the potential female fan base that would love to be a part of the scene, but can’t escape the overbearing and archaic chauvinism that some of the male sex believe is necessary to be a gamer. It absolutely is not, but it takes much more than me typing it to make a change in the overall atmosphere of the gaming populace.
What’s truly disheartening about all this is the wonderful being that is the Internet. While there have been several people who have taken Bakhtanians to task for his sexism (me included), there’s been nearly as many who have defended him. Many commentators on the Web, thanks to the delightful anonymity of the Internet, have showcased the same bigoted behavior as Bakhtanians, if not more. It’s appalling to know that many immature males have enough conviction (or lack of forethought) to throw their online weight into the sexism arena. In that light, I must applaud inkblot of SRK who has a made a strong statement following the WNF fiasco:
Neither SRK nor Evo in any way condones the behavior from last night. To make this perfectly clear, we are pulling the Evo seeding points for WNF’s first season in 2012, as well as SRK’s sponsorship of WNF. I personally have a lot of confidence in the Level | Up team to set a new standard for themselves and hope to work with them in the future. For now though, that’s not possible.
That was a bold stand to take, and I wish Capcom would have done the same with their show. Banning Bakhtanians from competing and/or stripping away his coach title would have been appropriate for his lewd and unjust behavior, and if it was done in a quicker fashion, perhaps Super_Yan would still have been an active participant. What’s done is done. We need to progress, men, and evolve beyond these inhibiting, horrific stereotypes that some males feel the need to propagate.
So, to come back to you, Capcom, in light of your audacious behavior that has yet to cease since last year, I’m saddened to tell you that I’m through. Until I see a distinct change in your company’s PR, I refuse to provide you with any further money. I will buy your games used. Between screwing with your customers via DLC magic lamps to letting such a unfair and sexist environment permeate your sanctioned marketing ploy, I see no reason to maintain a business relationship with you until you show me more professionalism and good will towards your fan base. Your link from LVLs. is removed, and I will make much less noise about your upcoming titles because I just don’t care anymore. Resident Evil 6 was a game I was really getting excited about, and I’m sure that I’ll continue to keep an eye on it, but I have to tell you I’m afraid Leon’s chapter will be DLC and that it’s actually on the disc waiting for me to pay out additional money to enable its playability. You’ll find a way to disappoint me. I hate typing that, but I just know. I will remember you for all of the good memories and great games of your past, and nothing you do now can ever take that away from me, but the way your company currently is run has tried my patience too far.
UPDATE – Holy fucking shit – there’s PRESET COMBOS LOCKED ON THE DISC THAT REQUIRE DLC. So not only are we not receiving the full amount of characters at launch, we’re also not receiving the full potential of ANY SINGLE CHARACTER at launch. Just when I thought I may have been a bit extreme last night composing my conclusion here, you’ve complete gone and justified my anger. For fuck’s sake, Capcom, this is more than highway robbery, it’s outright implicit deceit.