David Cage Issues Response to Alleged “White-Washing” in Beyond Two Souls PS4

Quantic Dream founder David Cage has addressed the allegations that the studio had been guilty of “white-washing” the PS4 remaster of Beyond Two Souls, saying that the development studio making some of its characters have lighter skin was due to technical reasons, and that he and his team “regret that [they] have to justify when the skin color of a passer-by has slightly changed for technical reasons.”

We reported upon the skin color of some of Beyond Two Souls‘ Arabic characters having been altered yesterday, pointing out how background characters in the game’s The Embassy mission appeared to have been altered and made whiter in the process. This report was made after Twitter user @Pleasure__Kevin pointed out these inconsistencies between the two versions of the game.

Cage’s statement notes how “all characters have been upgraded on the PS4 version compared to the PS3, which sometimes led to creating a new face that can be different from the previous one.” This still doesn’t particularly explain why these “upgrades” have therefore led to the Arabic characters becoming much whiter, though Cage partially attributes this to a lighting change along with a change to the skin shader that Quantic Dream uses. Cage also claims that “some black skins are a little bit darker,” adding: “which has not been reported…”

While it is understandable that Cage would be saddened by the response to this perceived issue if he did not consciously choose to alter the skin colors of the Arabic characters in The Embassy mission, the fact remains that a large amount of Arabic characters had their skin lightened after the game made the leap to the PS4. Cage revealing that the reasoning behind this was technical does not automatically negate criticisms made by those who have questioned Quantic Dream’s reasoning in regards to making the characters’ skin tones lighter, because Quantic Dream were the ones who made these technical decisions in the first place.

Read through the full statement below:

It has been brought to our attention that someone on Twitter published screenshots from BEYOND: TWO SOULS PS4 with comments mentioning that some characters in the Embassy scene would have been “white-washed” compared to the original PS3 version. Some internet sites also echoed this tweet.

So here is the explanation:

Beyond is a game featuring 300+ unique characters. The cast features many different races, including some Arab characters in the scene called THE EMBASSY. The scene takes place in what is obviously a middle-eastern embassy, with characters who are obviously from the middle-east, wearing obviously Arabic clothes and speaking obviously Arabic.
What was reported is that a couple of guards and passers-by in the Embassy appear to have a lighter skin compared to the original game.

This is due to two reasons:

1. the lighting has changed as well as the skin shader we use, leading to slightly lighter skins in general (which can also be seen on Jodie’s white skin), although some black skins are a little bit darker (which has not been reported…).

2. All characters have been upgraded on the PS4 version compared to the PS3, which sometimes led to creating a new face that can be different from the previous one (as well as different clothes or accessories). The skin tone or type of few characters may have changed in the process, although only a couple of characters out of 300 have seen their skin getting slightly lighter (without changing their racial type to keep the consistency of the characterisation).

Talking about the skin colour of two guards in the context of a game like Beyond is absurd, and for me personally, upsetting. Quantic Dream has been actively promoting cultural, gender and racial diversity in all of its past and present games, as well as in our own company. Quantic Dream is a studio in which people from around the globe, of all races and religions work together and share the same passion for crafting meaningful emotional experiences.

We sadly regret that we have to justify ourselves when the skin color of a passer-by has slightly changed for technical reasons, but we would like to reassure our fans and tell them that Quantic Dream will continue to promote racial and gender diversity in games, as well as positive human emotions and values.

– Quantic Dream

[Via Eurogamer]