A misogyny controversy that started in an outsourced studio has swept the gaming world. Game companies arequickly responding.
On the 25th, it was revealed online that a leader of the animation team at Studio Ppuri, a well-known outsourced animation company, had posted radically misogynistic comments on social media in the past.
In addition, it was found that some posts mentioned that they would secretly continue misogyny. It was pointed out that a promotional video produced by the company released on the 23rd of this month included a scene with suspected misogynistic hand gestures. This was a promotional video for MapleStory's “Angelic Buster”.
In particular, when it was discovered that the Angelic Buster videos, as well as the original artwork, contained the hand gestures, other videos made by the company began to be reviewed. As a result, related cases have been confirmed in the games “MapleStory”, “MapleStory M”, “Dungeon & Fighter”, “Blue Archive” and more.
In addition, similar cases have been confirmed in the promotional videos for games such as Nimble Neuron's "Eternal Return," Smilegate's "Epic Seven," Neowiz's "Browndust 2," and HoYoverse's "Genshin Impact" and "Honkai Impact 3rd".
The game companies were quick to respond. When the issue first arose, the companies immediately removed the controversial videos, followed by an announcement that they would investigate the matter further and take necessary actions. Notably, the announcements were made in the wee hours of the morning on weekends, while some games, such as “Dungeons & Fighter”, “Blue Archive”, and “Epic Seven”, even had the directors apologizing in their own posts.
Studio Ppuri posted an apology on the afternoon of the 26th, at the height of the controversy. "The hand gesture was a connecting motion, not an intentional one," Root said. They added, "We will take responsibility and fix the suspicious scenes, and the staff member in question will be removed from all work. What they are currently working on will be taken back, destroyed, and reworked. We will train our team internally, to prevent this from happening in the future, and will make sure we don't cause any inconvenience."
Once this statement was made public, the mood worsened. There was no explanation of how the problem occurred, and users have been pointing out that some of the words and phrases in the apology are not quite right, adding fuel to the fire.
Among the many victims, Nexon is taking a very strong stance. This is because they have published the most relevant videos. MapleStory Director Kim Changseob held an emergency live broadcast on the night of the 26th, to inform the public about the situation.
"We are adamantly opposed to a culture that blindly encourages hatred of others and has no sense of shame in displaying that hatred, or to people who take pleasure in secretly displaying such things," Director Kim said. "We will never allow people who enjoy that culture to destroy MapleStory."
"In the case of Angelic Buster, we were hoping that the in-game and marketing content would be synergized, but we have made the decision to stop all of them." He added, "We are reviewing what steps we can take at the company level based on the results of the fact-finding investigation against the outsourcing companies, including Ppuri." He also hinted that legal action could be taken.
According to Studio Ppuri's main revenue share, as of last year, Nexon Korea accounted for 58%, followed by Easter C&I with 14%, and Neople with 9%. All of them are related to Nexon, and together they make up a whopping 81%.
VAGAMES, the developer of “Outerplane”, and Studio Beside, the developer of “Counter: Side”, account for 6% of the revenue each. In fact, 93% of their revenue comes from the gaming industry, so this issue is going to hurt them severely.
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