Some guys can’t catch a break. It seems like each and every time Kratos brings us a new God of War chapter in his apparent never-ending quest for revenge, someone has to butt in and accuse him of being a violent cretin who belongs inside a cave chiseling his last will and testament on a wall.
The latest instance of town crying has stemmed from, of all things, a fucking trophy name. Awarded after beating the ever-loving shit out of a mythological female creature (something new and novel about a God of War game, for sure), a silver trophy formerly named “Bros Before Hos” is awarded and displayed on your profile. Just as this name surfaced, Sony Santa Monica was on the defensive and forced to change the name via a patch.
I can’t believe I am writing about such a goddamned trivial issue.
Since Kratos first stormed a ship and fought a hydra in 2005, God of War has never once shied away from sex or violence. Immediately after the fight, Kratos is given the option of engaging two women in bed at the same time. Is this a prototypical male fantasy? Of course! Now that you are about forty-five minutes into the game and have been given a taste of combat, you can form an opinion and decide if this is what you want to play, right? You can make an informed decision on whether or not something is for you, correct?
David Jaffe, who I have mentioned on multiple occasions here and here at NSFW Gamer, is not out to change the world. He is not here to make games that explore political ramifications, analyze human decision-making or weigh moral conundrums. Put simply, Jaffe likes to see shit blowing up. On occasion, so do I. My game collection, along with my books, comics and movies, is diverse and encompasses all genres. At no point, however, am I above a simple smattering of smut. How do you think John Waters built a career?
Kratos never ended a game by eating a steaming pile of dog shit, but he also never went out of his way to be some kind of Neanderthal. After absent-absentmindedly slaughtering his wife and daughter in the midst of a rage-infused skirmish, the walking action figure eliminated any obstacle that got in his way regardless of species, never mind gender. Aside from a legitimate gripe over a publicity event in 2007, I have not once seen PETA come after Sony and their Santa Monica developers for Kratos’ continued punting of puppies and other creatures that can, at times, resemble domesticated pets.
Can someone explain to me, then, why the biggest name in animal rights publicity has been silent for half a decade while game reviewers, the ones whose jobs are to simply give an opinion on whether or not a given game is fun, are suddenly having the biggest asshole attack since Dead Space 3 allowed you to use a credit card inside the game? Are you so starved for relevancy that you have resorted to the same kind of name-calling you are accusing Sony of doing? Was it not enough to just let what was a lame joke in a long history of lame jokes in God of War trophy names slide and be done with it?
“Bros before hos” is a phrase that some Coors Light-swilling douchebag coined to remind his buddies that they will always come before the lady at the other end of the bar who may or may not be willing to swap various bodily fluids in exchange for horrendously overpriced hard liquor. They look like the second figure from the left on an evolutionary chart and probably enjoy games like God of War that feature copious amounts of blood, easy controls and tits the size of yeti heads. Upon earning this trophy, another prize for curb-stomping a mythological creature with breasts, and recognizing a phrase often bellowed before last call, one can high-five their friend in the room and go back to playing the rest of the game without further incident.
That should be the end of the discussion about this. My scalp itches from the hypersensitivity that has overtaken all forms of media, whether it be mainstream press or some creep on Youtube with a webcam and a half-eaten bag of Cheetos. Not only are they overreacting, they seem to have missed a few gems along the way. Heavy Rain features a trophy called “Pride Saved,” earned if you only remove one piece of clothing as Madison Paige while a gun is pointed at you. I can’t seem to remember any opinion pieces written about the implication that Madison and you as a player are a trashy slut if you had the audacity to do what the lecherous club owner demanded of you. Should I even begin to describe the trophy in God of War: Ghost of Sparta named “The Puppy Mill?”
Once again, I will admit to not being in the proper female mindset and body to give a compelling argument of this kind from that camp, but the ones who would be most victimized by it will likely never even be aware of its existence. Indeed, a woman who takes issue with a phrase that uses the word “ho” will likely never come across it in God of War, being the complete antithesis of David Jaffe and Sony Santa Monica’s target demographic. Furthermore, the ladies who do enjoy the tales of Kratos have already been playing for so long that one simple trophy label is not going to cause a boycott.
If these journalists and commentators are as passionate about women’s issues as they claim to be, they should put down the controller and/or webcam and fucking do something about it. Stop targeting harmless developers and give some of the money you make spewing bullshit to a women’s shelter, or send it to one of the countries in Africa where females are used as sex slaves on a daily basis.
We are in the business of having fun, which is what video games were supposed to be about in the first place. In 2013, games are being made for a multitude of different reasons. In the latest print issue of Game Informer, a quote from David Cage reads “Anything you know in real life, and that you see in movies or TV series, should be used in a game. Could we make games that deal with human relationships, that deal with feelings and emotion, that talk about politics or homosexuality? Why not? We need to put games at the center of our society and our lives.”
Cage is right, but it doesn’t have to be like this all the time. We can also make games that are simply a reason to forget about the rest of the bullshit, a distraction from your shitty job and horrible marriage. God of War is never going to answer any deep philosophical quandaries, and I highly doubt Kratos will ever share a bed with another man. It’s fine that way. Fueling the archetype of a man’s dream is not hurting anyone, and the only harm caused by a trophy called “Bros Before Hos” happens when bloggers refuse to shut the fuck up about it.
Hence the reason this article ends now.