Designer Apologizes for Reply to Question About Oversexed Characters

The game director for Blizzard Entertainment's upcoming Heroes of the Storm has apologized for his treatment of a question about how characters are designed—specifically how multiplayer online battle arena games, of which Heroes is one, tend to hyper-sexualize female avatars.

Dustin Browder took to Heroes of the Storm's official blog to offer his regrets for his response in this interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun. "I responded poorly to a statement the interviewer made about over-sexualized character designs in games, and I want to apologize for that," Browder wrote.

"This is a serious topic, and I don't want anyone to think that I, or anyone else at Blizzard, is insensitive about how we portray our characters," he added.

In the interview, RPS' Nathan Grayson broached the subject, asking how Heroes planned to approach its design given MOBAs "tend to hyper-sexualize female characters to a generally preposterous degree."

Browder replied that "We're not sending a message to anybody. We're just making characters who look cool." He added that "I'll take the feedback. I think it's very fair feedback," and said the design sensibility behind Heroes "is more comic book than anything else."

When Grayson remarked that "it's a medium that's notorious – often in a not-good way – for sexing up female characters and putting them in some fairly gross situations," Browder replied, "We're not running for President. We're not sending a message. No one should look to our game for that." Grayson pressed the issue further, with Browder replying "Uh-huh. Cool. Totally," before a public relations handler declared the interview over (the PR handler had said time was running short before Grayson brought up this subject.)

Following the posting of the interview, Grayson editorialized at length about Browder's response, apparently giving rise to Browder's apology.

"It takes work to make compelling characters, but it's important to take a step back to ensure that we're not alienating our players," Browder wrote. "We have an amazing roster of heroes and we will always strive to make sure that everyone can have a hero that they identify with and feel powerful using.

"I would like to thank Rock, Paper, Shotgun as well as our players for their feedback on this important issue," he added. "We want to do better, so keep the feedback coming and thanks for the continued support."

On Character Design [Heroes of the Storm]

To contact the author of this post, write to owen@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @owengood.