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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Today in things that make us scream incoherently

Remember When Deep Silver Apologized For Selling A Woman’s Dismembered Body With Dead Island? They’re Still Selling It.


Back in January we were made aware of a special edition of Deep Silver’s Dead Island: Riptide which came with a headless, armless torso of a woman in a bikini along with the game. We were not amused. Deep Silver then issued an apology for offending so many people but decided, “What the heck? We’re going to continue selling it anyway.” Also, boobs.

So yeah, apparently Deep Silver never actually pulled the special edition set. To be fair, they didn’t say they were going to in their apology but considering the backlash they received we assumed they would. This is how that apology read:

We deeply apologize for any offense caused by the Dead Island Riptide “Zombie Bait Edition”, the collector’s edition announced for Europe and Australia. Like many gaming companies, Deep Silver has many offices in different countries, which is why sometimes different versions of Collector’s Editions come into being for North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

For the limited run of the Zombie Bait Edition for Europe and Australia, a decision was made to include a gruesome statue of a zombie torso, which was cut up like many of our fans had done to the undead enemies in the original Dead Island.

We sincerely regret this choice. We are collecting feedback continuously from the Dead Island community, as well as the international gaming community at large, for ongoing internal meetings with Deep Silver’s entire international team today. For now, we want to reiterate to the community, fans and industry how deeply sorry we are, and that we are committed to making sure this will never happen again.

We had to note they didn’t use the word “woman” in their apology at all (because, you know, it’s not actually a woman it’s a ZOMBIE so NBD) and while they said they wanted to make sure this never happened again, they didn’t say they’d replace the piece from the special edition. In case you were wondering, the company originally claimed the statue, part of their “Zombie Bait Edition,” was a “grotesque take on an iconic Roman marble torso sculpture.” Which, give me a break.

Kotaku says Amazon UK still has the set listed and that they are set to arrive on Friday but some have already gotten theirs in the mail. As proof, here’s an image one gamer posted on Twitter of its arrival.

Owen Good from Kotaku writes, “Yesterday, I emailed a representative of Koch Media, parent company of Deep Silver, with questions as to why the publisher went forward with this premium despite its professed embarrassment and the public ridicule the statuette caused. I received no answers.”

Not surprising. But he mentioned CNET was able to get a small statement from Koch: “The Australian and New Zealand special editions of Dead Island Riptide are the Survivor Edition available through EB Games, and the Pre-Order Edition available through JB Hi-Fi. An extremely limited quantity of the Zombie Bait edition has been made available to some retailers for those customers who wish to purchase it.”

So basically, some people still thought this was awesome so we figured we might as well let them give us money for it. Or perhaps they just wanted some more free press for their game which reviewers have stated contain the same bugs and glitches as the first.

(via Kotaku)

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  • Anonymous

    I should really learn to be offended by more menial things in life. This shouldn’t be seen as any different than the Walking Dead S2 Blu-ray box with the male zombie head with a screwdriver in it. Violent imagery? Sure. Depiction of violence towards a specific gender, race, creed, etc? Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe.

  • http://twitter.com/thegaf The Gaf

    Those boobs are so fake. Ugh.

  • Laszlo

    It doesn’t sound the same thing to me, and not because it’s a woman. The main problem is that I don’t think it’s supposed to be a zombie, even though they say that in the apology, that’s not what the name “Zombie Bait Edition” implies. It’s also sexualized, which might not be so bad on its own, but together with being zombie bait, it’s quite fucked up. Mixing sexy with a headless torso being used literally as a piece of meat is just not cool.

  • http://twitter.com/Alonzo2469 Saul Silver

    I don’t buy the it’s a zombie corpse spin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshua.kegler Joshua Kegler

    Nothing is wrong with it. Art isn’t supposed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy (not all the time anyway). Someone somewhere designed this for a ZOMBIE game. Ya know, where you rip people apart, and violence is really the name of the game?
    Kudos to them for making this “head” Piece for their game. It gets the point across, it works for what they intended it to do, and now people are going to get butt hurt because it uses a female body, and now ALL of a sudden it has to do directly with the mistreating of females.
    Firstly, anything female sells better.
    This in general for the media/magazine/television can be wrong, but a fact is a fact. It sells better.
    Secondly, It’s a cameo of a Roman statue. For anyone who knows art would know is the statue called “Venere di Cirene” which is literally “Venus” the god.
    That’s just a smart move.
    Thirdly, It’s for a video game ffs. more than 90% of the people who play zombie video games will take a look at this and think “Damn, I really want that for my zombie collection”
    Just a few thoughts from me.

  • http://twitter.com/sara_smile Sara

    Normally I wouldnt take offense to something zombie like….besides the fact that I hate zombies and they freak me out. But the statue in question looks nothing like a zombie but rather a victim of a zombie attack. To me it would have been better if it had some sort of decomposition or something to indicate that it is suppose to be a zombie and not an eaten body.

  • http://twitter.com/MaryKateClark Marykate Clark

    If it’s a zombie, it ought to be discolored like EVERY ZOMBIE EVER. But no, it’s a corpse, something arguably eaten by zombies; that’s as close as it gets where zombies are concerned. So, it simply comes back to the fact that it’s a headless, dismembered woman’s corpse. And it nonetheless manages to be posing, shoulder up and chest out, despite being dead.
    The Venus de Milo has a head and is a proud, sophisticated representation. This torso corpse is cheap trash art. It’s a tease of spotless, bulging tits sandwiched in a horrific mess of carnage and misogynistic objectification.

  • TKS

    Ha….”thoughts.”

  • TKS

    I see this stuff, and I get angry. Then I start to calm down a bit. Then people start to mansplain it. Whenever I get out they pull me back in.

    Sexual objectification is where a woman’s identity is removed, taking away that person’s humanity in order to turn them into a sexual object. This is often done by obscuring the person’s face. Sexualizing deadly violence? Even worse.

    Comparing it to the screwdriver head from Walking dead doesn’t really work. It’s violent, yes. But the head is not a “sexual” part of the body. No one looks at the statue and thinks “sexy.”

    Comparing it to Venus di Millo doesn’t really work either. Venus was a goddess. She was worshiped. The character here doesn’t have power. Hell, she doesn’t even have a name. She has no identity. She doesn’t need one, she’s a sexual object.

  • Brian

    The more comparable thing would be a “sexy” dismembered male torso. And even not then, because male torsos aren’t sexualized in the way women’s are. But it’s hardly the same as a gross, rotting head.

  • Anonymous

    No, that would be “literally” “Venus of Cyrene.”

    From a business standpoint, the Venus of Cyrene is vastly, vastly less famous than THE Venus (de Milo … which is, of course, a Greek statue, so I guess the reference is not to her) to a general audience. The link seems weak because it’s a very obscure reference to make, and so, would not capitalize on its apparent cleverness.

    Although I freely admit I am not the most learned scholar or student of art in ANY room, I do have an undergraduate degree in art history. I would seriously contest the idea that “anyone who knows art” would know this particular Venus. The aforementioned Milo or copies of the Knidos are far more iconic.

    Not only that, Venus of Cyrene isn’t JUST A TORSO. She has legs and feet. As far as I know as somebody “who knows art”, the majority of surviving Aphrodite statues are not just torsos. The most famous Roman torso fragment I can think of is the Belvedere torso, which is male.

  • Anonymous

    I think this is kind of gross and I don’t really understand why someone would want it, but I don’t think it’s a big deal that they continued to sell them. Is it in poor taste? Yeah. Is this the worst thing a company’s ever done? No. Does it hurt anyone? No. I’m not saying you’re wrong if you’re offended and think they shouldn’t have sold it, but I personally don’t see the big deal.
    As for the argument that it’s not discolored and therefore is a corpse instead of zombie parts, not all zombies are discolored, especially if they’re freshly zombified. Although I’ve never played the Dead Island games so I don’t know if this holds true for the game.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, player.

  • Anonymous

    Yay, you don’t get it either!! How many logical fallacies is that, now?

  • http://twitter.com/MaliceDaFirenze Alice Ruppert

    Honestly: I don’t find this so terrible.

    Yes, it is a dismembered torso, but we aren’t usually complaining about Zombie violence, right? I mean, we (and by we I mean most of the gaming community, even if that is a very out-stretched term) cut people/zombies in half all the time when we play games.

    So the zombie and blood part of this ‘sculpture’ isn’t actually the problem. I agree: it doesn’t make sense for a dead/zombified body to pose like this. But had the same thing been done with a male torso, it would also have its chest out, because that’s how you pose anything for a sculpture.

    No, I wouldn’t buy this or want this thing in my shelf.

    And no, I don’t think this is an ideal way of merchandise.

    But I somehow think being this shocked seems a bit hypocritical after all the times we’ve watched zombies being dismembered, beheaded and cut in half – and did it ourselves in video games.

  • Octochan

    Actually, it does hurt people. It helps reinforce the idea that this kind of shit is okay, and by extension, hurts how everyone perceives women. The fact that you said it’s not a ‘big deal’ that people are offended by this shows how ingrained these beliefs are. You can’t see how this thing objectifies women, and you don’t care. This is only one of hundreds of thousands of products all saying “Objectifying women isn’t a thing; look everyone’s doing it and it hasn’t hurt anyone!”

  • Octochan

    A mutilated, bloody, anatomically correct penis WITH A HUGE STIFFY. Sexy enough for you guys?

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    There’s a difference between “zombies being dismembered, beheaded and cut in half” and a female zombie being dismembered, beheaded and cut in half with the distinct purpose of being set on a pedestal to ogle at.

  • Mina

    It’s the fact that it’s a scantily clad female torso presented rather like a trophy. It makes the violence sexualized in a slasher porn kind of way, which to me is about ten times more creepy because it means that someone out there thinks this is awesome. It just feels gross. The message I get from this is not “Destroying zombies is awesome fun times!” It’s “Chopping up half naked women is awesome fun times!”

  • http://twitter.com/sephirothii Daniel E. Jacobs

    it seems to be that again gaming companies are missing the point. It is the sad closed minded misogynistic moves by gaming companies that then cycle into the gaming community that then pushed out onto the women gamers. There was no need for this to be offered in the first place save to make guys want to buy the game. It comes off as a sexist move on the companies part. From the box art on Bioshock infinite to this, Gaming companies are missing that there are women and girls that game and their are just as hard core as men. they are missing the point and pushing them out of the market or it seem trying to for some reason I can’t understand!

  • Anonymous

    I said this in January, and I stick by it today: If I go to your pad or house and I see this thing displayed on your desk, that’s it. We’re done and not hanging out anymore, and I’m denying to everyone that I knew you in the first place :

  • Anonymous

    C’mon, I’d rather let a five-year old play GTA games than witness this piece of shit.

  • Anonymous

    But why isn’t it a man’s torso?

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    …if someone looks at this thing and thinks “sexy” there should be a button you can press that drops therapists on them.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    lol

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Where do the discs go?

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    It is, isn’t it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1123680216 Martha Watts

    You could use that argument for every person that is somewhat titilated by naked or sexualized female victims in horror or slasher movies. More people are than you know or would like to admit, which is why movie makers keep using that trope.

  • http://twitter.com/diefrankenmaus Kate

    This. If the torso had been more zombie-ish like being actually discolored, having rotting flesh, clear bite marks, a head it MIGHT have been marginally less offensive. The way it is now just looks like a crazed serial killer’s trophy.

  • http://twitter.com/Loerwyn Kathryn

    With the Infinite boxart, from what I know, they were completely aware that it misrepresented the game. But they ‘had’ to in order to maximise the marketing potential of the game (the developers are not the people marketing the game in most cases), and this was complimented by the rather poor CGI trailer in which Elizabeth is almost hung and Booker rescues her (note: this NEVER happens in the game).

  • Laszlo

    That’s exactly the problem, that it’s just misguided. I understand making a “manly” cover, but I have no idea what they were thinking they accomplished by removing any women from it. I’m not even sure that the type of person they’re doing this for exists or would care about the game in the first place, and for everyone else it’s just offensive, for men because the marketers apparently think they’re stupid, for women because they’d like to pretend they don’t even exist. If this was for any lesser game, I’m pretty sure it would have even hurt the sales.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Eugh, alright, I see that. You’ve got the whole voyeuristic stalker thing going on in horror movies, generally speaking, and the dominance fantasy, sure, but this is a torso. You get these after jumping on grenades or playing too close to the chainsaw jugglers next door. The same people that went this thing lying around their house probably have to hide their arousal in supermarkets or while watching Rocky movies. It’s disgusting. And if you can actually look at this thing and say to yourself, this is all that a woman is or all of a woman that I need, god, I don’t know what to do with you.

    Edited to add: I mean the general you, not you, Martha. Sometimes I seem to not come off very clear, so…

  • http://twitter.com/MaliceDaFirenze Alice Ruppert

    I see what you are getting at, I do. But I don’t agree 100%.
    Would it have been better if it had been a male zombie? I don’t think so.
    I know you are right when saying a dismembered torso shouldn’t be viewed as something sexual and I agree with that.

  • Arakiba

    I bet if it was a man’s torso with a half-severed c*ck it would be pulled off the market immediately.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KozmikPariah Ryan Colson

    So apparently the general overall consensus on the gaming community is “this is a take on classical busts and the media is just going muy loco because it is a woman, but really, it’s just a dumb thing to pack in for more moneys”.

    I think it’s just as dumb as the Dead Island series, myself. I don’t see anything wrong with it past it’s freakin’ retarded, but I can see why some people are taking offense to it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashe.samuels Ashe P. Samuels

    “Firstly, anything female sells better.”

    And now they’re barely selling this at all because people made a very big stir about how fucking creepy it is and how they don’t want it. But I thought facts were facts???????////

  • http://twitter.com/Taste_is_Sweet Aundrea Singer

    Well, I’m just so glad that they left off the head or arms, or really anything that could remove attention from its solely relevant bits–those being naturally the crotch area and of course the boobs. The gore is just added dehumanization because it’s so much harder to objectify someone/thing with a face.

  • http://twitter.com/Taste_is_Sweet Aundrea Singer

    There would never, ever, ever be a male version of this torso, which is exactly the problem. I can barely even imagine such a thing, because the marketers who thought a woman’s dismembered torso wouldn’t dream of it–it’d be seen as GAY (and therefore bad, of course!), because *what other reason would there be for having just the attractive, posed torso with nothing else of a human body than sexual objectification?* Which is why it’s a female torso in the first place. Because the game is only supposed to be marketed to men; screw the women. Or really, their dismembered torsos.

    And around and around we go.

  • http://twitter.com/MaliceDaFirenze Alice Ruppert

    This comparison lacks accuracy. The woman’s primary sexual organs are not visible.

  • http://twitter.com/MaliceDaFirenze Alice Ruppert

    Yes, I see your point, I truly do. But for the sake of argument: would it be better IF people made a male version of this?
    I get that it probably would have never been made with a male torso, but if it were, would we still be complaining about it? And if that were so, isn’t that sexist in its own way, that we would be fine with a male torso being dismembered and used as a trophy but not a female one?
    (Again, I’m not saying I find this respectful or anything, I’m just wondering)

  • http://twitter.com/MisfitsTamara Tamara Brooks

    It would still be disturbing but the problem with playing devil’s advocate in this case is that you’re positing about something that would just plain never happen. Sometimes that helps to expand on the issues at hand but, in this case, all it does is reinforce the core issues here. If a male “zombie bait” statue existed, it’d be gory but not sexualized because the people responsible for this are men marketing towards a very specific, unsavory type of dude. And that dude isn’t going to put a sexualized, dismembered torso of a ripped male wearing a banana hammock sporting a stiffy proudly on his shelf between two cans of whatever new energy drinks the douche-bros are drinking right now.

  • http://twitter.com/MaliceDaFirenze Alice Ruppert

    I guess you’re right about that…
    (also, I’d just like to add that I very much enjoy this site being a place where I can discuss such a thing without getting hate from either side of the argument. That is not the norm, as we all know too well ^^)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sarah-Nuckolls/623068949 Sarah Nuckolls

    So… I feel like the COULD have made a cool zombie woman torso that was a kind of Roman statue reference thing-a-ma-gig and that would have been at least interesting. This though, is not that. I’d really have to question those people that want to display this… hunk of tacky plastic? I feel a little like plastering your walls with maxim covers would be more classy, and more attractive cuz let’s be honest here there are much better representations of mostly naked women and zombies out there you could ‘class up’ your life with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sarah-Nuckolls/623068949 Sarah Nuckolls

    With Infinite, I REALLY don’t get it. Did anyone honestly think Elizabeth being on the cover would make a Bioshock sequel less likely to sell? Who are the cave men they think are their target audience? It’s insulting to EVERYONE that buys games.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sarah-Nuckolls/623068949 Sarah Nuckolls

    Right? You’re going to make an object that is essentially only boobs make them half decent.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sarah-Nuckolls/623068949 Sarah Nuckolls

    I like art, I like zombies… this is a piece of shit plastic that I would be embarrassed to display. It’s not a zombie, art or a woman, it’s a trophy of tits.

  • http://anna.balasi.com/ AnnaB

    Well, you know, in almost every female superhero comic, they might as well do away with the arms, legs, and head, if it didn’t make it even more obvious that anything other than a woman’s boobs, waist, and butt are all that really matters.

  • http://twitter.com/Taste_is_Sweet Aundrea Singer

    I certainly appreciate you wanting to discuss, as opposed to rant. :)

    To answer your question–in the very, very unlikely event that one could buy a dismembered and sexualized male torso and it wasn’t immediately panned as being gay and therefore anathema, I expect that the initial response would be humor. Why? Because this kind of objectification of men is so rare that when it happens it seems unbelievably strange, as opposed to normal when it’s a woman. (The Hawkeye Initiative, which this site has blogged about, is a perfect example of this–a man wearing the equivalent of typical female costumes, standing in typical female ‘hero’ poses just looks ridiculous, because it’s completely contrary to expectations.) I know that my first reaction would be disgust at the gore, then pleased surprise that it was a man for once.