Earlier this week, CDPR banned a mod for “Cyberpunk 2077” that allows players to call game resources to simulate sex with Johnny Silverhand played by Keanu Reeves. The reason why the studio issued the ban is that they believe that it is inappropriate to create explicit erotic content between a real character without permission (although the character originally has a lot of erotic images in the game).
Around the previously reported controversy and similar instances involving real-life characters in other games, people have triggered further discussions. In my career, as long as I talk about mods, the ethical debate between fiction and reality has always been an issue with two clearly opposed views. But in order to understand the “mod controversy”, we need to take a closer look at the ongoing debate in the community.
What is Rule 34?
First, let’s talk about the ubiquitous Rule 34.
Rule 34 is not an actual rule and system. It is just a term commonly used on the Internet. It means that everything in the world can be pornographic through mods and fan creations. This is especially true for the part of the entertainment industry that has nothing to do with sex, and any attempt to prevent sex will add power to this network law. Therefore, in the comment section of the news that the “Cyberpunk 2077” mod was blocked, some people mentioned Rule 34. But it is only part of the eternal debate over the ethical issues of restricted mods.
What is the contradiction?
So what is the focus of controversy? Mod topics are mainly divided into two categories: the first category is “this is just a game”, and the second category often involves a deeper connection with the real world. In addition to protecting Keanu Reeves himself, this dispute also involves other dimensions. In fact, another mod about “Cyberpunk 2077” has also triggered a “deeper connection with the real world.” This mod allows the male protagonist V to develop a romantic plot with the lesbian character Judy.
In the case of Keanu Reeves’ porn mod, the center of the controversy is “licensing.” Although Johnny Silverhand is not a living person, Reeves is, and as an actor, he only allowed those scenes that he signed. As the players themselves replaced Keanu’s appearance with the sex puppet, the long-standing dispute of “suitability or inappropriateness” was once again brought to the table: Is it Silverhand or Reeves? Do I need my permission, or should I look at reality and fiction differently?
The deeper meaning of romantic plot
When discussing the mod of “Male V Overthrows Judy”, many people mentioned the ethical standards of forcibly tampering with the character’s sexual orientation and romantic plot line. The reason for opposing this part of the mod is that in the game, the characters that can develop same-sex intimacy are usually much less than heterosexual characters, so it is inappropriate to change the sexual orientation of such characters at will.
From the perspective of this part of the opposition, this can be seen as a moral issue that goes beyond “purely fiction.” When a popular Dorian mod was released in “Dragon Age: Trial”, this issue ushered in change. Style outbreak. Although Dorian’s entire plot line is a gripping “coming out” story, he lives in a society that wants to put him to death because he likes men, but the folk mod still wants to break him up.
As far as Dorian is concerned, homosexuality is part of his personal plot, and it is also the most fundamental reason why this character is portrayed so wary. His father would hurt him in order to force him to associate with the opposite sex, hoping to force him to enter a period. Loveless marriage, so that the family can be passed on. These contents are clearly recorded in his story, occupying the vast majority of his character creation, and the mods that allow him to talk to female characters instead are beyond the boundaries of “games only”.
why? Because Dorian’s story is the painful experience of many people in reality, such as being rejected by their parents and loved ones just because they show their true self. Art comes from life. It is these stories in reality that inspired Dorian and other similar characters to create. Therefore, changing his nature seems to be projecting the notion that forcibly changing the wishes of others in real life is not a problem.
The core focus of this debate is: in a fictional world, especially in games that aim to provide players with an ideal personal experience, what is ethical and what is unethical.
Generally speaking, on the issue of romantic plots, it is not just the star characters that cause controversy. The characters with a clear orientation are modified to be able to develop intimacy with other sexual orientations. The ethical acceptance issues involved usually lead to extremely fierce disputes. , Involves two completely different viewpoints. On the one hand, some people don’t understand why this is controversial at all. In more extreme cases, this view often ends up with speeches like “want to start” or “just a game.”
Another part of people is not concerned about the game itself, but the influence of a game and why modifying the depiction of certain aspects may harm certain groups in our society intentionally or unintentionally. This is especially true in the face of gay and transgender group representatives in the game, not to mention considering the development history of European and American countries in recent years. For example, the United States did not legalize gay marriage until 2015, and transgender groups still work for themselves today. Fight against their lives and human rights.
“It’s just a game”
That is correct. In the final analysis, if players want to use mods to modify the plot and have romantic relationships with specific characters, this is their right. In an argument, it is necessary to properly accept the views of both parties. It does not mean to accept silently, but to listen to the starting point of others. It is important to understand each other so that people can share their opinions more effectively and are more likely to draw satisfactory conclusions. For example, I don’t know whether the porn mod of “Cyberpunk 2077” will offend Keanu Reeves, because “I don’t know” means I can’t assume that he doesn’t mind.
Similarly, if you never have to “come out” to your friends and family, and you do not have to be blamed for confessing your sexual orientation and identity, then you will never know how influential these representative characters are in the game . For those people, seeing their shadow in characters like Dorian and similar plots is what makes sense. And watching the character being forcibly stripped of his own settings will evoke a lot of feelings in people’s hearts, if it is not for the person in it, they can’t understand it. But through this debate, if the arduous communication process does not evolve into mutual hatred and prevention, people can reach understanding.
The premise of most games is to let players feel the best of themselves in the game world, or simply to provide them with an experience that cannot be obtained in reality, especially RPG. So many female players like to play male characters, and male players also prefer to play female characters. Using the power of mods to change the rules of intimacy in the game and change the original settings of the game characters is also a reflection of the players doing their best to create a “perfect experience”.
Which is right and wrong?
There are two extremes in the ongoing ethical dispute and the mod production community. We have seen mods that change people of color to whites, and we have seen mods that change minor characters to “legal” for some purposes. In some cases, it can be said that this is “just a game,” and there is nothing wrong with the player creating the experience he wants. However, in other cases, this will involve deeper controversy. They are rooted in extremely real and extremely common practical issues, such as social identification with people of color or marginalized groups, or the reality of minors. Protection of rights and other issues.
In the real world, nothing can be 100% approved by everyone, which is not realistic. But what we can do is to listen to the opinions of others instead of succumbing to the subconscious reaction of “I am right and you wrong.” In this ongoing debate, when someone opens up and talks about the deeper meaning of our position, we should all be well listen.
Translation: Night Cat
Source: Bonfire Camp