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Saints Row dev denounces THQ porn star marketing focus

Monday, 5th August 2013 23:18 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Although she is full of praise for Saints Row’s inclusivity, associate producer Kate Nelson has publicly criticised THQ’s use of porn stars in marketing the franchise.

“I did not always love how much THQ put an emphasis on porn stars,” Nelson told EDGE.

“In Saints Row 2 and Saints Row 3 there was an emphasis on the penthouse girls, and earlier Tera Patrick. I think it’s important in marketing games to make sure that the essence of the game is what’s being marketed, and I think the porn star angle didn’t really fit in with what Saints Row is at heart, which is a parody. We like to poke fun.”

Nelson said some Volition staffers “didn’t appreciate” THQ’s marketing suggestion that Patrick was a “special producer” on Saints Row 2.

“Saying that someone who had no industry experience was in a role that is sexualised as a producer of our project, or saying the penthouse girls are our QA staff,” she explained.

“I can see the humour in that angle of promotion but for me that’s the line where it gets into reality.”

It’s an interesting point – if marketing leverages sexist tropes, it does rather undermine the parodic nature of the product it’s selling. Which is a bit of a shame, as Nelson argued that whatever other faults it might have the Saints Row series has at least one inarguably progressive piece of female representation – its robust character customisation suite.

“You can be an important female character – you don’t have to have a D cup either. You can be large woman, a small woman – you can be blue,” she said.

“You can be who you want to be in the game and you have powerful female characters written into the narrative. I think our game actually does represent women in a positive way, but the press will focus on, oh hey, there are strippers, or there’s a dildo bat – it’s unfortunate from my perspective that that doesn’t come through.

“Because I hear women talk on panels and they’re like ‘there are no people that look like me in games’. Well, actually in my game [the main character] can look like you as our customisation system is so extensive. We don’t get that across in our marketing or in the press because it’s difficult – we only have 30 seconds to explain.”

The next Saints Row game is due on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 at the end of the month.

Thanks, OXM.

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13 Comments

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  1. Hirmetrium

    Wow, so basically massive buzzkill?

    It’s also a bit discriminatory, no? I mean, porn stars are people too. Whats wrong with them using their profession? I mean, sportsmen go on question of sport… why shouldn’t pornstars appear promoting a game about ridiculous sexual encounters?

    #1 9 months ago
  2. YoungZer0

    Mhm, Mezzo-Mezzo. I agree that they focused too much on that, but I think Porn fits into the universe just fine. A lot of porn is also parody and you shouldn’t take it too serious.

    I did not like the inclusion of Sasha Grey in Saints Row 3 though. The worst thing about Sasha Grey is her voice.

    “Well, actually in my game [the main character] can look like you as our customisation system is so extensive.”

    Well actually no, I could do that in Saints Row 2, but you guys limited the options in 3.

    #2 9 months ago
  3. DSB

    Who is she kidding? Porn is as much a part of pop culture as Lady Gaga. Pornstars are in prime time shows (Game of Thrones is practically headhunting them) Hollywood movies, and popstars regularly style themselves to look like them.

    This just looks like neo-puritan bandwagoneering.

    #3 9 months ago
  4. xino

    @1
    what are you on about?
    it’s like saying porn star are people too so why shouldn’t they put their appeal on Dora the Explorer or Thomas the Tank Engine.

    what nonsense is this?
    let Adult video belong to adult video and video game belong to video game!

    if you love porn that much go watch it.
    what does porn do to people (as in side effect)
    makes you crave for more disgusting sexuality, that leads to child porn and other perversion, it destroys marriage and relationship.

    So women who do these pornography are in the wrong. The thing that makes it so SHAMEFUL are the women who have ego, boastful, vanity upon their body selling, that their name is so popular amongst the adult industry, they feel no shame at all.

    Ariel Castrol admitted to porn addiction. These pornography is destroying people’s lives, exactly the same as drugs! And pornography is a weapon of the devil.

    And this has nothing to do with discriminatory. It’s like saying, let the racist and fascist have the right to burn crosses across streets with freedom.

    I’m so glad I have no more craving for watching porn.
    All thanks to the blood of Jesus Christ!

    #4 9 months ago
  5. DSB

    You worship someone elses blood, and yet internet porn is what supposedly makes you a sick pervert? Hokay.

    #5 9 months ago
  6. Armitage Shanks

    @4 not sure if trolling or serious…

    #6 9 months ago
  7. NeoSquall

    She also forgot Sasha Grey in SRTT

    #7 9 months ago
  8. YoungZer0

    @3: What Pornactor was in Game of Thrones?

    @4: Lawl, never took you for the funny type.

    #8 9 months ago
  9. DSB

    @9 Sibel Kekilli (Tyrions love interest) Maisee Dee (Joffreys plaything) and Sahara Knite (Random whore?). I’m sure there are more. There’s quite a bit of flesh there.

    #9 9 months ago
  10. YoungZer0

    Oh right, Sibel. I remember her more as a german actress, but you’re right she was in some rather kinky stuff, the other I don’t remember.

    #10 9 months ago
  11. Dave Cook

    Truefact: At E3 in 2011 THQ held a Saints Row 3-themed bikini-girl car wash across the street from the LA Convention Centre. Young college girls jumping around with signs and wiping down cars while guys took pictures and passing cards honked all day.

    Fucking pathetic.

    #11 8 months ago
  12. Kyle Jackson

    Deleting comments again hey Dave? trust me when I say, last time on this site, laters.

    #12 8 months ago
  13. sh4dow

    “Because I hear women talk on panels and they’re like ‘there are no people that look like me in games’.”

    Yeah yeah, as always… as if there would be a lot of chubby nerds as heroes in video games. But of course when women complain, it is heard all around the web.

    Alright, it’s not like men would complain in the first place. Probably mostly because they just don’t care. Personally, I don’t mind playing as a hunk like Geralt in The Witcher or Captain Shepard in Mass Effect. Because guess what? It’s fantasy.
    And chances are that IF you are a guy (or girl) who saves the world, you’re probably not going to be sitting on your couch all day, stuffing Doritos into your face. So of COURSE they would have a better physique than you!
    I’m guessing that men probably understand that. And as such are comfortable with action heroes and studly guys all around. They know what the ideal man looks like and they know that they could be that if they would only work out every day, get contact lenses, a decent haircut, etc.. But they say “Fuck that, I don’t have the time/money/motivation”. And that’s fine. What wouldn’t be fine, however, would be if they started to complain about how you should really be able to play as some fat dude with glasses, oiled up and with his gut hanging down to his knees, stumbling across the battle field, dragging a two-handed sword behind him because he’s too weak to lift it.

    Yes, it’s a humorous exaggeration but I think any reasonable person hopefully gets my point about why I think it is unreasonable to complain about the portrayal of “ideal people”. I think it would be much worse to plaster everything with images of “average people” and with that say “Meh, who needs exercise or healthy diets. Fuck it. You’re the pinnacle of humanity just as you are”.
    Maybe women want to be able to imagine that they are the ones EVERY man wants or they actually think they are just that and want to have that in games/movies/etc. as well but guess what… just like most men, most women should face the reality of them NOT being THE heroines, THE hot shit everybody wants.

    #13 8 months ago