Skullgirls Review Bombed Over Censorship

Reviews for the game drop to "Mostly Negative" from "Very Positive" on Steam.

Skullgirls, the highly-praised fighting game, is currently under fire for a recent update to the game (thanks, PCGamer), sparking yet another debate in the gaming community about evolving social norms and how cultural sensitivities affect the development of gaming titles. 

Fans of fighting games have probably heard of Skullgirls, typically praised for its snappy gameplay and good net code. The recent reviews, however, are not rooted in displeasure with the gameplay mechanics but are instead centered around censorship. 

According to a forum post by the game director, 

While Skullgirls is no stranger to characters that confidently express their sexuality, there are instances in the game where characters are fetishized and/or have sexualization imposed upon them. This includes a few depictions of unwanted predatory behavior, particularly towards younger characters.

While alluding to some of this can be narratively meaningful, we have made a number of small adjustments throughout the game to ensure that this content is less exploitative (e.g. the opening of Filia’s Story Mode).

In reference to racism and cultural insensitivity, the post goes on to state: 

While there are numerous playful references to pulpy themes that we feel respectfully allude to certain stereotypes (e.g. the Saxploitation VO pack), we have made adjustments to some content that we believed to be in poor taste (e.g. references to racial violence in Big Band’s Story Mode).

Though many of these changes are minor and alter the title in very minimal ways in terms of gameplay, the community has been up in arms, sparking what feels like a debate on culture rather than a conversation about a video game. 

Comments on the game’s official Steam page include, “Censorship sucks!” and “Where can I get a refund? This isn’t the game I paid for way back when.” Many of the negative comments even touch on the fact that it’s still a great game, just not the game they remember and enjoy. 

The main focus of this controversy will likely revolve around the women characters in the game and the sometimes over-the-top sexualization that fans have become accustomed to. In a world divided by differing cultural beliefs, hopefully, this will not tarnish the reputation of what is otherwise a great fighting game.

Whether this hurts the longevity of Skullgirls is yet to be seen, but we’ll be following along in our news section