Sony tries to pull Beyond nude shower scene reports

PS3 maker asking sites to unpublish stories about hidden debug option in Quantic Dream's latest

David Cage has been vocal about trying to push the envelope of emotional storytelling in games, but the Quantic Dream developer's latest work may be pushing a different sort of envelope. As reported by Kotaku, a Reddit poster claimed to have discovered a debug menu in Beyond: Two Souls that allows users to choose alternate camera angles, including one for the game's shower scene that reveals a detailed nude version of the game's main character, who was based on Ellen Page.

That doesn't sit well with Sony, which has asked multiple sites to pull down their coverage of the incident. Cinema Blend reportedly received a pulldown request from Sony Computer Entertainment America, while Eskimo Press received a similar message from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

As a representative explained to Cinema Blend, "The images are from an illegally hacked console and is very damaging for Ellen Page. It's not actually her body. I would really appreciate if you can take the story down to end the cycle of discussion around this."

While the game's overt nudity isn't accessible through the course of normal gameplay, such distinctions haven't meant much to the Entertainment Software Rating Board ever since the hidden "Hot Coffee" sex minigame in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was discovered by hackers in 2005. That was enough reason for the ESRB to rescind the game's M for Mature rating and assign it an AO for Adults Only, prompting Take-Two to stop selling that version of the game. At the time, Take-Two trimmed its full-year sales forecast by more than $1.25 billion, attributing the hit specifically to the game's re-rating.

Take-Two ran afoul of the ESRB again the next year with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. When a third-party PC mod for the original game allowed users to play with topless women using art assets already in the code, the ESRB bumped that game's rating from a T for Teen to an M for Mature . The ESRB said that re-rating was made partly because of that nude skin, and partly because the title was more violent than it had originally considered. Take-Two insisted that it had made a full disclosure of the objectionable violent content in the game during the ratings process.

In both the San Andreas and Oblivion situations, the BBFC (whose game ratings have since been replaced by PEGI) stood by its original ratings of the game. Currently, Beyond: Two Souls carries a PEGI 16 rating, and an ESRB M for Mature rating. GamesIndustry International has reached out to Sony, the ESRB, and PEGI regarding the issue.

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Latest comments (29)

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd8 years ago
Sony is trying to avoid a lawsuit, nothing more. Idiotic of the developers to hide this in the code.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development8 years ago
Put TotalBiscuit on it!
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Philipp Nassau Student - Business Administration (M. Sc.) 8 years ago
Sony has to try, they know just as well as anybody that they won't succeed (and trigger the Streisand effect for that matter).

The real problem here are rating agencies re-rating games based on 3rd party involvement and the liability this poses to multi million dollar productions. Somebody hacks your game, changes it and suddenly you're responsible. Ridiculous.
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Show all comments (29)
Paul Jace Merchandiser 8 years ago
So I guess this incident will soon be known as the infamous "cold coffee" scandal. Atleast they'll save on advertising dollars over the next few weeks/months.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 8 years ago
not coffee, it will be known as The Cold Shower.
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Tim Ogul Illustrator 8 years ago
This really is stupid. If they had no intention of showing a nude scene, then why in heaven's name would they actually texture in nipples? I mean, even inf Hollywood movie scenes they often wear pasties when they aren't planning to actually show nudity, it would be effortless to make the model either have no nipples or some "safe" substitute. I haven't seen the intended scene in the game, but there had to have been a way to use a less than anatomically correct version to render it.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 8 years ago
@Tom--I like that even better. The "cold shower" scandal, coming soon in 3D and on 4K tv's.
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Paul Smith Dev 8 years ago
@Tim Ogul

Im guessing it went something like this "Shall I texture the nipples?" "Might as well just incase we have a nude scene" or there was a nude scene and it got canned.
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William Usher Assistant Editor, Cinema Blend8 years ago
Paul, I think it was more like a 3D body scan of a model that closely resembled Ellen Page's body type; I imagine it was Similar to 3D scanning procedures that Infinite Realities uses to create life-like 3D models (you can Google up the now popular video demo to see what I mean).

It's likely that instead of actually "texturing" anything on they just left most of the scan the same. Konami is using a similar technique with the Fox Engine for the upcoming Metal Gear game, where instead of texturing/modeling many of the actors they're just directly scanning in a lot of the props/assets.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany8 years ago
"Is very damaging for Ellen Page. It's not actually her body."

Then somebody please give me some light here: Why is it damaging then?
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Zbigniew Lebkowski 3D Artist & Animator 8 years ago
"Is very damaging for Ellen Page. It's not actually her body."

Then somebody please give me some light here: Why is it damaging then?
You know it and I know it but your average John Doe may think its hers.
Imagine someone recorded your speech and them put it online but reordered each word so that it seems you said something you actually didn't.
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Emily Knox Associate Designer, CCP Games8 years ago
This is embarrassing. I don't know why web sites want to write about this under any kind of guise of sympathy towards Ellen Page's body, or disapproval at how shower scene cameras have been accessed (regardless of authenticity, as Zbigniew points out, it's likeness, I'd compare this to taking someone's photograph and trying to compromise them by photoshopping them onto someone else's body, it may be false but it's still hurtful especially when it's attempted to be realistic). And now we are writing about that writing being requested to be removed. If we had more respect or sensitivity we'd all be looking the other way, not pointing it out.

And now I am commenting on it. I hate myself.
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It poses an interesting question, should it come to a lawsuit. Is a bodyscan an artistic interpretation of a person's likeness, or is it supposed to be judged like an unaltered photograph, depicting reality through technical means?
The part of it not actually being her body sounds more like a legal excuse. I'm pretty sure they did a full body scan, so it is, for all intents and purposes, her body. She may have been wearing underwear or some other concealer, but it's not like they scanned someone else's body and propped her head on it. It wouldn't make sense since they need her exact proportions and measurements to have a good result of the mocap/performance capturing.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 8 years ago
Well I guess the Last of Us isn't the biggest issue for Ellen now!
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Kenneth Bruton Producer 8 years ago
The best way to have avoided this is to not have it there in the first place...Beyond: Two Souls is not really immersive, from what I have played, it really is a long cutscene (Like Dragon's Lair) where you choose a path.
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James Ingrams Writer 8 years ago
I's this attitude by Sony that means video gaming will never be mainstream like books and movies!
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 8 years ago
@Felix Leyendecker - yeah, when you consider how distressed people are at things like TSA bodyscans, it's not hard to see how upsetting this must be for her even if it's just a rumour and she doesn't know for sure if it's true or not (and worse if the debug mode really exists).

According to "Mass Media Law", by Don R. Pember, privacy is the expectation that confidential personal information disclosed in a private place will not be disclosed to third parties when that disclosure would cause either embarrassment or emotional distress to a person of reasonable sensitivities. Information is interpreted broadly to include facts, images, photographs, videotapes, and disparaging opinions.

Sony should have made bloody sure there was nothing like that left in the game.

Plus the odds are fairly good, this being the age of the internet and all, that people are going to be seriously... There is no word I can use that isn't a profanity here. And profanity doesn't cover it.
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Henry Durrant Programmer, SUMO Digital8 years ago
With the Last Of Us thing and this, way to go giving movie actors confidence in the Gaming industry...
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David Serrano Freelancer 8 years ago
Why Sony would be concerned about this given that GTA V contains 2 sex scenes, gameplay containing nudity and in the wake of multiple articles about the misogynist nature of the game, the ESA hasn't said boo about changing GTA V's M rating to AO?

And since Sony Pictures Entertainment, like all Hollywood studios uses body and stunt doubles in practically all productions, I don't understand the claim from Sony that this is very damaging for Ellen Page because it's not actually her body.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Serrano on 23rd October 2013 5:38pm

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Doug McFarlane Co-Owner, KodeSource8 years ago
I think her biggest issue is the number of facial piercings she now has (see photo)!
Wow, they sure capture quite a few points to recreate detailed facial expressions these days.
This is just the start. Wait until technology improves, you'll get much more controversial celebrity model 'hacks', and they will make them do and say anything - to the point you can't really tell if it is computer generated or not. Although it may come in handy for celebs to create fake alibis.
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Roman Margold Rendering Software Engineer, Sucker Punch Productions8 years ago
@ Henry: Just what I was thinking. I guess we won't be hearing or seeing Page in any other game any time soon.

@ Bonnie: I don't think there's much Sony could have done about this - there is no way QA can spot things like that. It took a while to surface up, and it's not entirely unlikely the debug menu accessibility leaked from the source in the first place. This is all on Quantic Dream - their programmers shouldn't have left a debug menu in the game (to avoid any troubles), and, quite obviously, their art department shouldn't have let something like this sneak into the game in the first place. Scan or not (and I *know* many people [would] draw the nipples just for fun), it only takes 10 seconds to fudge a texture. No excuses.

@ Emily: As for covering the story, I for one am glad this gets covered here. We are all adults and, while I don't read any kotaku or reddit, I do want to know what's going on in the industry. It's unfortunate that this affects Ms. Page, but the monster is out anyway.

@ Philip: I like your sentiment about agencies re-rating games based on illegal modifications to a game, but this is clearly Quantic Dream's fault - the content shouldn't be there. Period. Since it's there, it gotta be rated.
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 8 years ago
Oh my god, who really cares about this.. ohhhh there are some nipples textured.. ohhh there is a nude person in the game (which isn't completely visible to anyone).. People can be such hypocrites.. Some semi nude image isn't ok, but killing everything you see in games like Battlefield or Call of duty is OK? WTF.... Get a life...
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Tim Ogul Illustrator 8 years ago
I highly doubt they did a fully nude body scan of her, there'd be no reason for that, much less one where they took photographic texture maps of her. Much more likely she was in a full black body suit when they took the scan, or at least some tasteful underwear. The body proportions likely are hers, but the skin textures were almost certainly hand painted, so the question is "why?" and at the very least "why weren't they edited out?"
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
Zzzzzz. Wake me when we get to the holiday "scandals", someone. When I'm awake now I'm busy laughing at Microsoft's current and unnecessary truth squad apology tour of sorts on facebook that's some of the worst PR I've ever seen. It's as if they're trolling themselves with badly self-tagged images until the Xbox One launch...
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany8 years ago

Good point. But it's as easy as saying "it's a virtual body, not a real one" Anyway I'm sure Ellen Page did read the script of the game when she agreed? she knew there would be a shower scene. (Although they provably told her "no nudity here, no worry")
The question still remains: if the didn't want to show nudity why did they add nipples in the body textures? this is what it is about after all... (reminds me the issue with oblivion.

I personally don't see the big problem: she is an actress and she is acting. What worries me is that, as always, sex seems to be more terrible and taboo than violence. A naked scene is damaging for her, but (SPOILER STARTS) impaling a guy's neck with a stake is not? (SPOILER ENDS)

It's just acting...
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Tim Ogul Illustrator 8 years ago
Btw, the nude scene/debug mode thing totally exists. There are places screenshots of these things can be found. Not that this is the sort of thing that a respectable person would seek out.
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee8 years ago
Why Sony would be concerned about this
Perhaps because they are the ones who funded and published the production.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany8 years ago
It confuses me how Sony has that tendency of censoring their own products when they come to Europe. Is it because of Germany only? Let's put Twisted Metal on PS3. It already got a PEGI 18 rating and still they did all those cuts? Makes no sense to me. A lot of more violent third party products don't have problems here, not even in Germany.
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Michael Vandendriessche Studying Computer Science, K.U. Leuven8 years ago
I was thinking the same as Henry Durrant.
The actors performances in Heavenly Sword really elevated the experience. I hope stories like this won't discourage actors.
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