Capcom US admits lessons learned from RE5 racism claims

Wednesday, 25th August 2010 07:07 GMT By Patrick Garratt


Remember when everyone went mental over Resident Evil 5 featuring a buff white man murdering black men in grass skirts? Capcom does too.

Melody Pfeiffer, senior PR manager for Capcom US, has told Gamasutra that the company’s western arm is now involved in the creative process from the get-go. So it can, you know, spot anything overtly racist before it gets put into Capcom games by the Japanese kids.

“Since the RE5 controversy, we have become much more aware of how important it is that we are part of the asset creation process early on so that we are able to have a say in the end product,” she said.

“We are also designing a lot of our own assets from this side of the pond so that we are able to make strategic pieces of content that make sense for our market. We are working really closely with our producers in Japan to construct these materials for the West and they are open more then ever to hearing our thoughts and ideas for assets.”

“Classic racist imagery”

The Resident Evil 5 race probe kicked off when black journalist N’Gai Croal, then working at Newsweek, told MTV that an RE5 trailer contained content that “dovetailed with classic racist imagery.”

“I looked at the Resident Evil 5 trailer and I was like, ‘Wow, clearly no one black worked on this game,’” he said, speaking in April 2008.

“Because I wonder, and I haven’t sort of really dug into it that much, but I wonder what sort of advice Capcom gave them. The point isn’t that you can’t have black zombies. There was a lot of imagery in that trailer that dovetailed with classic racist imagery.

“What was not funny, but sort of interesting, was that there were so many gamers who could not at all see it. Like literally couldn’t see it. So how could you have a conversation with people who don’t understand what you’re talking about and think that you’re sort of seeing race where nothing exists?”

Resident Evil 5 producer Jun Takeuchi quickly claimed that the intention had never been to make a racist product, and that there were “black members in the development team,” but the issues dogged the game right through to launch in March 2009.

It was claimed that Capcom specifically requested reviewers not make mention of an island section in which the player encountered spear-wielding Africans; the company later denied this had anything to do with race issues.



  1. Hunam

    More PR and Marketing people in the creative process = death of Capcom as we know it.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. osric90

    There is more black people in Africa, so what the hell… Spanish people never complained about them getting killed in RE4 and even telling anything about the famous town being located close to Madrid (in the game’s map shown in the intro, hahaha). There is no racism here but for people like those extremist groups there is ALWAYS racism, satanism and others everywhere.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Blerk

    “We learned our lesson good, we won’t do something like Resi 5 again!”, said a Capcom rep, “Resident Evil 6 will feature an over-muscled protagonist and scantily clad lady rotating slowly on the spot before blowing away evil gay Jews.”

    #3 4 years ago
  4. OrphanageExplosion

    It was certainly a bit odd that the African townships in the final build of RE5 boasted a remarkably multi-cultural array of citizens.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. lamashtu

    “What was not funny, but sort of interesting, was that there were so many gamers who could not at all see it. Like literally couldn’t see it. So how could you have a conversation with people who don’t understand what you’re talking about and think that you’re sort of seeing race where nothing exists?”

    That’s simply because not everyone is as retarted as you.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. LOLshock94

    this seriously annoys me when there is ever a game or any other shit where theres black people its slated as rascism no wonder people are fucking racist because stupid shit like this happen and everyones like “omg theres a whiteman killing black thats racist” why dont russians ever complain when its always america kicking there arses its just fucking stupid

    #6 4 years ago
  7. 2plus2equals5

    It’ obvious that Croal & co are the real racists. Killing white(and every other color) people in thousands way is a good and right thing, killing black zombie(in Africa!) is racism.
    I really hate when some racist/sexist/other black/gay/other people accuse whites to be racist/sexist/other.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Blerk

    I’m not touching this thread with a bargepole.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. evilashchris

    Are you saying black people have large penises, Blerk?

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Anders

    I actually played some RE5 last night. Shot a whole bunch of africans, caucasians, asians and middle easterners. Never knew Africa was so multicultural.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Uncontested

    The only people who cared about it being ‘black’ people getting killed were people who wouldn’t have played it in the first fucking place and need to just keep their fucking mouths shut

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Tonka

    I like how VG24 feels that it’s necessary to point out that N’Gai is black.

    He’s not just a journalist. No he’s a BLACK journalist.

    VG247, where the colour of your skin matters.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Phoenixblight

    Oh but its not racism when its in America and you’re killing white people but its not ok when its in AFRICA and you are killing black people. Get over yourselves seriously.Double standard. Only reason why racism continues to exist is because of people still being sensitive to race.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Michael O’Connor


    *headdesk* People are so stupid.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Blerk

    N’Gai’s not actually a journalist any more. He is still black, though.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. freedoms_stain

    Why is this shit still being blown out of proportion?

    They chose a setting and populated it with appropriate characters and used an existing hero who happened to be from a different setting. Deal.

    If the character shouted “HA HA! take that nigger-faggot!” every time he took down a black enemy THAT would be racism.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Michael O’Connor

    Of course, when a black guy with giant wads of jewellery hanging off his gargantuan neck (50 Cent) runs around shooting up loads of foreigners in a video game while cursing derogatory expletives, nobody bats an eyelids.

    I’d say characters like *that* are more racist to black people than anything else is, painting them in an image they don’t particularly want to be associated it.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Tonka

    I want to know what skin colour Melody Pfeiffer has. Or can I safely assume that everyone is white as long as nothing else is specified?

    #18 4 years ago

    Maybe someone should make a game about a big German guy who goes to Tel Aviv and kills loads of Jews.

    Or maybe one about an Arab air force pilot who goes to New York and shoots Americans out of skyscrapers.

    I wonder how many people would’nt feel offended then.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. LordCancer

    #20 4 years ago
  21. LordCancer

    #21 4 years ago
  22. Kerplunk

    I would expect a zombie game set in africa would naturally feature zombified africans with stereotypical characteristics – the predominant one happening to be skin colour. In that regard, I don’t think RE5 has anything to apologise for.

    As for portrayal of black stereotypes in other game such as 50-cent. I agree that is a huge contradiction. The same can be said of Gears of War’s Cole Train character who is a celebration of a hollywood black stereotype (and remarked upon by N’gai Croal also).

    Perhaps it just boils down to which end of the boomstick the ethnic minority is on.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. DSB

    Given the rest of the hypersensitive rant Croal released, I couldn’t take it seriously one bit.

    @19 That’s hardly the same as killing African zombies, even if that location was picked to play on white peoples general fear of black people.

    If you want some real borderline racism, check out the depiction of southeast asians in Just Cause 2. I can’t remember seeing a game that degraded an entire people to that extent.

    #23 4 years ago
  24. spiderLAW

    @19 That wouldnt bother me at all.
    “Maybe someone should make a game about a big German guy who goes to Tel Aviv and kills loads of Jews.”

    Are the Jews in that specified game zombies? Monsters? Subjects to alterations by an evil corporation using them as mindless puppets? Are those Jewish people part of an evil corporation trying to Dominate the world through terrorist acts or anything similar? If so, then yes, that would be fine by me. Same thing goes for the other ideas you stated. If a game came out that depicted Arabs gunning down New Yorkers then i would play it IF it was like how i mentioned above. It’s a whole different story when it’s killing other races just for the hell of it or for terrorism and racism (i wouldnt play those kinds of games).

    #24 4 years ago
  25. Michael O’Connor

    Almost every single game succumbs to this kind of racial imagery.

    Resident Evil 5 only got the slack because it was so visually in your face.

    #25 4 years ago
  26. DarkElfa

    The thing to remember is that you can only show races other than whites in a good light, otherwise you are a racist.

    #26 4 years ago
  27. Michael O’Connor

    @26 Tell that to most of the rappers and hip-hop artists out there.

    #27 4 years ago
  28. The Hindle

    Lol rappers and hip hop is the main cause of racism, people like 2pac or Fifty cent give black dudes a bad name.

    #28 4 years ago
  29. Happy Hardon Harry

    I bet N’Gai Croal didn’t have a problem blowing away the Spanish in RE4. He’s a fucking hypocrite.

    Anyway, black people should get over themselves.

    #29 4 years ago
  30. The Hindle

    Oh didnt you know Happy, racism is accepted if its against white people.

    #30 4 years ago
  31. LOLshock94

    and the lesson they learnt to stop a game from being racist ohh just add someone black to kill other blacks

    #31 4 years ago
  32. Dynamo8

    @28: 50 cent yes, 2pac not entirely.

    I assume ALMOST everyone on this board here is white? I’m not being racist here but unless you one day experience to be a colored person then you might know how it feels to be a minority feeling discriminated. I know most people claim they’re not racist or say things that are “Double Standard” and the black journalist claim this game is racist , but that was just his “blackness” kicking in, a passive trait, though I admit that guy did took it too far and it was ridiculous to boot…. and like why do white people like organic food so much, and watching the show called Mad Men? I don’t know…this article is full of satire to me.

    #32 4 years ago
  33. LOLshock94

    “2pac’s” of “Eminems” cost “50 Cent” thats “Ludacris” & can i have my “nickleback” ?

    #33 4 years ago
  34. Michael O’Connor

    @32 Agreed on Tupac. Man is a legend. So is B.I.G.. Most modern hip hop and rap artists can not claim the same credibility as those men deserved though.

    I can’t agree with the rest though. Black people are not a minority. They’re just as common as any other ethnicity.

    Nor are they the only people who are discriminate against. Gay people, Jewish people, women (simply being born female causes them to be discrimanated again), foreigners living in different countries to their birth-place, people who connect with alternative cultures. You name it. The list is very, very long.

    Bigotry is bigotry, no matter the target. Anyone who has been discriminated against understands the feeling just as well as any negro does.

    #34 4 years ago
  35. Isaaclarke37

    I never felt or even had the thought it was racist.

    #35 4 years ago
  36. xino

    @2 osric90:

    that’s exactly the point! You don’t know what most people are complaining why the game is racist, you just think it’s all about skin colours:/

    @5 lamashtu:
    and I guess you know about Black History don’t you?

    @7 2plus2equals5:
    maybe it’s because white people are the most racist!? they think they are superior race, they even gave every culture and ethnics racist names. So yea son.

    #36 4 years ago
  37. IL DUCE

    “What was not funny, but sort of interesting, was that there were so many gamers who could not at all see it. Like literally couldn’t see it. So how could you have a conversation with people who don’t understand what you’re talking about and think that you’re sort of seeing race where nothing exists?”

    That’s juts because the first thing on their mind is not racism…what is the need to even see race? if it was a bunch of amazonian zombies, no one would give two shits but since this dude is black and the zombies were wielding spears in tribal get up its racist since a white dude is shooting them…i mean its a zombie game taking place in fucking africa…what do you expect? obviously you are gonna see infecting tribal people doing what they do…thats why this world is fucked up, the people that just need to see racism and make everything about racism are the real racists…

    #37 4 years ago
  38. moosedtosteel

    @36 and i guess you know about ethnic history don’t you? If you believe that “whites” were the only ones to make up “racist names” for other ethnic cultures/nationalities then you’re retaahhhhded.

    #38 4 years ago

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