Yeah… I don’t see how simply having (e.g.) female heroes is akin to making a statement about how women in general are powerful. By a logical extension, games like Call of Duty which don’t feature any female characters are trying to tell everyone that women are useless and can’t do anything. Which doesn’t seem to be the case either.
Speaking in general, having seen a lot of these kind of complaints, it often seems like the critics who complain about there being too much politics in a game are the ones trying to make sure we read it in the most political way possible.
This has been a relatively common thread topic since I joined these forums. It is always the same critique on the writing of Borderlands 3, and from my perspective, one of the two fair critiques of the writing of this game.
The OP (@stamboulidis), is trying to point out something that frustrates many members of the community (and critics of the writing of Borderlands 3): There is a credible argument to be made that the writers of this game had a left wing agenda in their creative process.
Some of items that critics, like the OP, would consider evidence would be the following (cherry picking the easy and obvious ones):
All Female Leadership (Lilith, Tannis, Ava, and Ellie)
The fact that the sexuality of a large number of characters is specified in the game, and made known to not be “straight”
The complete lack of any cis-gendered, able-bodied, straight male that displays masculine traits anywhere near the leadership roles in the game.
You don’t have to agree with the critique, or each individual point of “evidence”, but if you truly are “seeking to understand”, with your questions, this is the point, and the conversation that the OP is trying to have.
I appreciate that you have cited features of the game, but they don’t lead to an argument in themselves. Nor, sadly, do many of the comments about this issue that I’ve seen (not picking on you at all here).
I actually have tried to engage in this on a lot of threads, and sadly many of those trying to claim that there’s some sort of left-wing political agenda haven’t engaged back with me, just restated the same features or bashed the mods. It gets kinda dispiriting actually.
You can find dozens, just scroll through these forums, this is a common theme. You may see it a different way, and my not agree with the posts, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.
I added to this argument in meaningful way on a separate thread. I don’t necessarily agree with all critics, of the writing, but I can definitely see their point. I’m just trying to help you see what you might be missing. Each of the bullet points that I made ARE divisive issues in western societies, right now, and it would seem to some, that the writers “took a side”.
Its easy to find elements that goes toward your arguments when the creators of those points never commented on anything, beside Fl4k non binary orientation.
I could yay Devil May Cry is a National Socialist Game because my character is white and I Kill a black demon. Is it the case?
I could Say Zelda Ocarina of Time is anti-green movement because we kill plants and burn trees.
there might be a hidden agenda… or not. I truly couldnt care less, doest make the game less good IMHO.
Its like heavy metal in the 80’s and political groups trying to blame everything on them, prime example is Ozzy Suicie Solution, they said its a song that made young people kill themselves. The song is about alchool abuse and how bad it is for you.
Cant you just enjoy the game for what it is, a game.
What point? Could you express it in clearer detail, without falling back on rather nebulous terms? (“left wing” can mean an awful lot and doesn’t have any clear relationship to, for instance, the existence of a female leader… there are some bloody awesome female leaders out there representing right-wing causes).
This is a massively generalised statement and I don’t really see how it relates to the game. It may do, I just don’t think you’ve established that yet, and I’d be intrigued to see how.
Please don’t mistake me, I want to hear alternate perspectives, but I also want to see coherent arguments if I’m gonna be persuaded by them.
You might not be aware that the pronoun issue is one that remains divisive in many western countries, Canada actually passed a law requiring the use of gender pronouns, and some have lost their jobs for mis-gendering. Can we at least agree that Fl4k using they/them pronouns is at least Gearbox taking a side?
I’m not sure if you are familiar, but the ratio of female to male leadership is a divisive issue in the USA. Many women are upset over the lack of “representation” in government roles (along with CEOs and board seats), which was highlighted along with the Bret Kavanaugh debate last fall. Some may see this as Gearbox taking a side on this debate as well.
This, again, remains a divisive issue in the world around us, recently in the UK, schools had to stop teaching LGBT lessons following protests from parents. Can we agree that the way this is written is at least indicative that Gearbox has taken a side on the LGBT debate?
The more I think about it, I think that it is possible that Gearbox made an effort to intentionally exclude the cis-gendered, able-bodied, straight males that display masculine traits from leadership roles in this game. After hearing both sides of the argument, I think that the writers may have wanted the player base to have this type of conversation. If they were purposeful on this point there would be two “benefits”:
The video game community would be able to better understand how others feel when they state that people like them were excluded.
The left wing media outlets that review the game might have positive things to say (this is true for all 4 points).
I hope that some of this helps. Note that I borrowed most of the text from my own previous posts on the topic.
Note that I used the word ‘divisive’ to mean that the topic has two sides debating and can’t seem to agree on the right path forward.
I’m glad you’ve gone into more specific detail here because this helps get things on a level that can be debated.
I’m not sure I can. Taking a side on what? On whether or not Canada’s law is correct? Or whether or not people should be fired for misgendering? Nobody in the game is involved in any debate about non-binary issues like this. It just refers to them as ‘they’ on the skill description.
I’m not trying to be disingenuous here, and I apologise if it seems so. My point is: the fact that there’s a game feature which is also a feature in unrelated debates about specific political issues does not equate to Gearbox taking a side on those political issues.
I think you may be interpreting the significance of Fl4k’s gender more broadly than the game itself offers evidence for.
Again… no. The mere presence of LGBT characters does not translate into evidence of a wider political commentary on how society should deal with issues like how to teach LGBT rights. It doesn’t even really change debates on this in the real world. In Northern Ireland, for instance, the mainstream politicians arguing against gay marriage aren’t doing so on the basis that gay people don’t exist. They acknowledge gay people, and go on to make secondary arguments about legal issues.
I’m not sure Gearbox is making any of the secondary arguments that constitute political discourse… they may be. I think it would help your case if you dug a bit deeper into the text and quoted some examples, because otherwise we’re just skating on the surface, and it’s easy to force/imagine links that may not be there.
What is a “masculine trait”?
Thanks, this is helpful, although one of my frustrations with this argument - which motivates my comment above - is that these are all very general terms, which typically denote a lot of things not even whispered about in the Borderlands universe.
I don’t see it as political. If you know someone prefers to be refereed to as them and not he or she and you refuse, well that seems like you are harassing that person. I don’t see that as political, I see that as a kindness vs being a bully issue.
This is one where I want to be careful with. But before I get into that, this game has a ton of male leadership like I listed above, but ill bullet point it
Lilith leader of crimson raiders
Tyreen leader of COV
Hammerlock and Wainwright leaders of jakobs
Katagawa leader of Maliwan
Rhys leader of Atlus
Vaughn leader of bandits sun something, I forget the names
Clay leader of the rogues
There are way more male leaders. Ava and Ellie were not leaders of anything, Tannis stepped in with a moment of weakness by lilith.
Now on the issue of women leadership, and I want to be clear I am asking this not trying to put words in your mouth?
Is there an issue with female leadership?
They don’t make any statements on it, they have gay characters, they have strait characters. How is showing both taking a side?
Is one side that gay people should not exist? I honestly don’t get it? Is showing gay people bad?
Again very specific, but I listed a bunch. Do they not count and why? What does able bodied even have to do with leadership? I didn’t know fitness and leadership were linked.
I don’t get how this is divisive, women are sometimes leaders, gay people are real. The only way I can see it divisive if you think gay people should not exist and women should not lead. I don’t get it really. Why are these issues?
"Some facts. Flak was written as a non-binary character to enhance representation of non-binary people in Borderlands. Gearbox are requesting that forum users use the appropriate pronouns (they/them) for Flak- and other non-binary folk, either real or fictional- on this forum.
Gearbox Community Managers’ official statement:
"FL4K’s pronouns are ‘they/them’. You are not forced change your beliefs or viewpoint, but we’re clarifying and confirming that that is how the character is written. Please remember that this forum’s rules include not attacking others for their beliefs. No one has been banned thus far. That said, as per our longstanding rules, any hate speech will not be tolerated and will result in a ban.
Again, for clarity, someone accidentally using he/she instead of they/them is not deemed as hate speech.""
Critics of this decision would argue that this was Gearbox “taking a side”. You may not agree, but I’m trying to help you understand the “other side’s” argument and frustration.
I’m glad that you stated this, and I’m happy to be patient.
That definitely could be, but remember, that I’m trying to “steel man” the critique of the writing here.
“They may be”, some will argue no, others will argue yes. But the OP was arguing “Yes”.
For sure we could, which would help us to definitively prove (or disprove the point). My goal is more simple: I want to help you to see why some members of the community are bothered… which hopefully, my points have helped (at least a little).
This one does feel a bit disingenuous… but here is from wikipedia:
" Traits traditionally viewed as masculine in Western society include strength, courage, independence, leadership, and assertiveness. Machismo is a form of masculinity that emphasizes power and is often associated with a disregard for consequences and responsibility."
We could deep dive all of them, but we’d get caught splitting about 1000 hairs :). I hope that I’ve helped you, at least a little, to understand where the OP was coming from.