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Missing Translation
An open letter to the community #2
April 16, 2015 - Ludipe

Hi everyone!

I'm here today in a new "letter to the community" to talk about something that I consider important, I'll also make a quick but cool announcement. But before going into more details I'd like to say that "Missing Translation" has been chosen as a finalist for the 3 Headed Monkey Awards; we've been having a lot of work lately, but we can't tell you all about it yet.

Well, let's move on!

Perhaps you keep up with the gaming news or perhaps you don't really care about them at all. Lately everyone has been talking a lot about misoginy and feminism in games, which brought up some important issues. We even went through this thing thing called "Gamergate"(well, it's still kinda going on) which has probably been one of the worst things the gaming community has experienced in many years, it created too much hate between consumers, devs and journalists.



The important thing is that many developers, including myself, have realized that we need to work on a few things, break some stereotypes and improve the way we conceive most female characters in our games. Most of my games have a neutral protagonist, who isn't a male or a female; I've made some male characters, but so far I haven't created a single female character. That's completely on me, and I kept telling myself that I'd make a female character on my next "big" game and that she would be awesome.

I've been doing this for a while now, until a few weeks ago it hit me. I shouldn't wait for the next game, "Missing Translation" needs an alternative character, a female protagonist that the player may choose if that's what he/she wishes. How could I ask other devs to add a female character if I wasn't able to do the same on "Missing Translation"? Sure, we need to design a new character, re-draw every animation, implement them and search for bugs,etc; but including a new character is even harder in most projects(and takes more time). We knew we had to stop and work on this issue.

So we stopped for a second, talked about it and Gustavo came up with a design for the female character. We're not done with it yet, there's more work to be done before she is fully playable, but we're working on that. Some people might argue that the design has flaws that could be improved, that might be the case, as this kind of things tend to get criticized a lot; but I believe Gustavo did a wonderful job with the art and that we're doing something positive, perhaps most of you think we're just wasting our time or perhaps we're inspiring more people to think about this issue.



At least I know that, with this new character, the game will be more enjoyable for a lot of people, which has always been one of our goals. When it comes to "Missing Translation" all we wanted is to create a cool game that we could share with everyone and that could be enjoyed in any possible way.

And I guess that's all for now, feel free to drop us your thoughts on the comments

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4 Comments
Tryyton Apr 20, 2015 @ 1:30pm 
thanks for the background info. interessting game. :zombiethumbsup:
Wiesler Apr 17, 2015 @ 8:21am 
I understand how non-white characters might be tough in this game, but I'm glad you are keeping this in mind in future games!
Ludipe Apr 17, 2015 @ 2:34am 
Hi Jean-Luc:

I understand your concern, it's perfectly reasonable. I've already talked with the team about adding non-white characters, apart from drawing and implementing a new characters there's another issue.

"Missing Translation" is a game in black and white, which means sometimes it's really hard to make sure your character doesn't blend with the stage. We use grey and darker colors for the stage and lighter colors for the characters to create that contrast. We've done some art tests and, so far, we haven't been able to come up with a design for a non-white character which looks good with the rest of the art. We're not giving up 100% on this, but as for now, I'm sorry to say that we won't be including non-white characters.

However, we'll take all this into account and try to come up with a system that makes it easier to implement diverse characters in our future projects.

Best regards
Wiesler Apr 16, 2015 @ 8:32pm 
That sounds great! I'm glad you guys are taking initiative. I would not be opposed to seeing non-white characters too. As someone who isn't white, it is a bummer after awhile because you only see a bunch of white guys everywhere. It's not impossible to be immersed in or identify with these characters, but it's just a strange default.

Anyway, I appreciate that you guys are doing this and taking the time to talk to us about it. Looking forward to the game!