The 5 most underwhelming apologies of 2013

We all make mistakes. In the technologically superior Aquarian Age, off-handed comments, criticisms, and throes of inappropriateness go viral faster than the UPS delivers your mail. Marketing online is like trying to feed a pack of wild hyenas; we’re hungry, maniacal, and ready to laugh at your bleeding carcass.

When something is said, or done, that angers the hive mind, it takes a certain amount of class and ownership to mend the fallacy. Here are the top five apologies (and non-apologies) of 2013 that only pour salt on their respective wounds.

5. EA offers you games you’ve probably already played in response to an unforgivingly difficult Sim City 4 launch.

The highly anticipated reboot of Sim City ended up a hot mess at launch, granting users massive server errors and dropped connections in a structured, always-online environment. A game that doesn’t work is no fun. And, it happens. EA also refused to give gamers refunds. Life is hard in the first world, I know.

As a consolation, they offered players a free download from a pool of top tier franchises like Call of Duty, Mass Effect, and Plants vs. Zombies. Unfortunately, most of the games were already crossed off own our lists, and at that point, a broken Sim City is a broken Sim City. Giving us a free game only distracts us from the bigger problems at hand.

These days, videogames can fall into the uncomfortable niche of social media opportunity, and need to be online-only so developers can track statistics, incentives, how often you breath, and other important info. Hail Origin.

An acceptable alternative:

Take the game offline.

4. Dead Island offers sincere apologies for a misogynistic “bust” included the collector’s edition of Dead Island: Riptide; proceeds to sell said collector’s edition.

Zombie games need something to stand out from the horde of other undead games. Deep Silver’s approach for the Dead Island: Riptide “Zombie Bait Edition” was to include a mutilated, bikini-clad torso of an anonymous woman.

The announcement struck a chord of controversy and immediately trended on Twitter, leading Deep Silver to issue a statement the following day. In the apology, Deep Silver used adjectives like “deeply,” “sincerely,” and “deeply” to describe how sorry they were, and claimed that “…we are committed to making sure this will never happen again.”

Take the apology for what you will; the “Zombie Bait Edition” continued to be sold in the UK and Australia.

An acceptable alternative:

Recall the arbitrary bust, replace with arbitrary DLC pass.

3. Hideo Kojima wants his characters to be “more erotic—no, sexy,” tells us “we’ll be sorry.”

The Metal Gear franchise has never been shy about showing cleavage, but one of MGSV’s newest scantily-clad characters, Quiet, takes the proverbial cake. As a sniper in the 1980’s, her field uniform consists of a slim bikini, utility belt, and ripped pantyhose. She looks more prepared for Burning Man than a special ops mission.

She looks more prepared for Burning Man than a special ops mission. 

Kojima explained he wants his characters to be “more erotic,” therefore cosplayable, later clarifying that by “erotic” he meant “sexy.” Yeah, we got it. He assures us that Quiet was created “… as an antithesis to the women characters … who are excessively exposed.”

Kojima concluded his defense by smiting us with a warning: “But once you recognize the secret reason for her exposure, you will feel ashamed of your words and deeds.” Biblical!

An acceptable alternative:

Maybe just admit that you’re doing this for the same reason that an unlockable bikini show exists in Peace Walker.

2. Microsoft reveals the Xbox One, then proceeds to retract key features after Internet backlash.

When Microsoft revealed certain features of the Xbox One, including an always-online OS with daily check-in, pre-owned game restrictions, and the pack-in NSA spy camera dubbed “Kinect,” the Internet surged in retort.

Ironically, those complaining about these features weren’t sending post with ink and quill, purporting, “You mustn’t! I have no ye olde Internette and yet wish to partake in the Halo brigade!”—they were online, as they always are, on Reddit or 4chan, stomping their feet like spoiled teenagers that’ve been told to finish their homework and to not give us that attitude, mister.

Last June, our own Jon Irwin put into words why moving forward would’ve been good for Microsoft, even though change is hard, while it might seem confusing, and that Mom and Dad still love you no matter what.

Now, the future is going to happen and Microsoft will say, “See, I told you!” And we will still criticize them. 

Like scared parents, Microsoft receded, removing the features that would’ve made the Xbox One stand out as a forward-thinking console to satiate the mob. Now, the future is going to happen and Microsoft will say, “See, I told you!” And we will still criticize them.

An acceptable alternative:

Stand your ground. Bend the Internet over the knee, intone, “This hurts me more than it hurts you,” and give us the whooping we deserve, because, you know, it builds character.

1. George Kamitani obscenely exaggerates the female body in Dragon’s Crown, then tells an offended male journalist, “It’s because you’re gay, isn’t it?”

Kamitani has been known for his remarkable art style in past games such as Muramasa and Odin Sphere, and Dragon’s Crown is his most ambitiously drawn to date. Dragon’s Crown, however, featured a downright pornographic obsession with heaving-chested women, particularly in the form of the Sorceress character. (Note the subtle pan-out in her closing cutscene.)

The creator claims that he exaggerated both masculine and feminine features in an effort to “stand out amongst the many fantasy designs” that have been established by Tolkien-esque lore. Ironically, Kamitani had no problem standing out in Odin Sphere, a game inspired by Nordic mythology, from which Tolkien likewise drew to create his iconic characters.

When his art style was challenged by a Kotaku writer—because, seriously—Kamitani retorted by posting a picture of three shirtless dwarves on the offender’s Facebook page, writing “It seems that Mr. Jason Schreier of Kotaku is pleased also with neither sorceress nor amazon. The art direction which he likes was prepared.”

Not only had Kamitani proven his somewhat juvenile nature by objectifying his female characters, but resorted to a romping gay joke in response to a public critique.

Afterward, in a formal non-apology to Jason and Kotaku, he admitted “it is not my intention to cause problems,” and concluded with “…please don’t let my action cause [Jason] to shy away from Vanillaware products…”

See, Kamitani just wants Jason to buy his videogames! That transcends cultural barriers.

An acceptable alternative:

Handle critique with understanding and grace. Also, stop exclusively drawing women as sex objects.

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