Players losing in Heroes of Newerth 2.0 may find that they've had their "cherry popped" or taken part in a "three way" if the person they're playing against purchased the PC game's "flamboyant" audio pack. [Updated with comment.]
The pack replaces the regular announcer's voice with a lisping effete man's voice. The phrases used in the game change the audio from things like "Blood Lust" to "Cherry Popper" and from "Hat Trick" to "It's a three way." The words also fly out across the screen in rainbow-colored letters.
The audio packs will be heard by the opponent of the person who purchased the pack, not the owner. So if I were to purchase the pack and play the game with you, you would be the one hearing those sound files.
Website Gay-Nerds.Com calls the pack puerile and insensitive, a misfired joke.
"The whole announcer schtick was meant to humiliate and taunt the other player and then they also decided to use an effeminate male voice, rainbows, glitter and an oversexualized gay stereotype," writer Paranoia says in his story. "Why not just call it the 'faggot' pack instead of the flamboyant pack? It's pretty clear what you're trying to make fun of. Calling it flamboyant doesn't hide anything."
Contacted for comment this morning, the developers had this to say:
"The flamboyant pack is one of many voice pack options that will be available for HoN 2.0 players. The intention of offering a wider range of voice packs, including the flamboyant pack, is to bring a broad representation of personalities to HoN that let gamers express and differentiate themselves."
Check out the audio pack for yourself at 4 minutes and 50 seconds into this Giant Bomb video above and decide for yourself if this audio pack goes too far.
Update: Pu Liu, S2 Games senior game designer, says on the Gay-Nerds website that the Flamboyant Pack was not meant as a way to target the gay community or anyone else.
"I'd like to start off with myself. I'm a straight guy, and I use DivA as my game handle, because well, I'm a freaking diva. I'm loud to the border of obnoxious, and I like to sing- poorly, but often and boisterously- anything and everything from Shania to Disney. I guess I'm an example of the "flamboyant straight guy" that some of you have mentioned throughout your discussion. I find the Flamboyant pack to be hilarious, and I select it for use because when I get a "Legendary" streak (5 kills in a row) and it says "DIIIIIVA!" I can go, "YES I AM!" I guess what I'm trying to say is that I have never perceived of the pack as "gay," but rather an awesome, fun, and flamboyant alternative to the really dark and hardcore classic announcer sounds. I'm totally okay with being called flamboyant; I'm a happy, optimistic, loud person, and I'm proud of it and I like to show it off. I am not alone on this at S2; a lot of my fellow employees are almost as awesome as I am, although they aren't as loud as I am. We do not take ourselves too seriously, and the flamboyant pack is a testament to our willingness to have fun with things.
We're a fun loving bunch- we thought this would be fun, and that- and ONLY that- is the reason why the Flamboyant pack will be a part of Heroes of Newerth. We are not in a smoke-filled room going on about how awesome and "manly" we are, and the Flamboyant pack is certainly not a jab at a stereotype that we feel is "below" us- if anything, Flamboyant IS us."
Really Heroes of Newerth? Really? [Gay-Nerds]