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Ubisoft apologizes for and will remove genitalia from Watch Dogs 2

Publisher also working with Sony and Microsoft so that players can safely share content from the game

Over the weekend, a player in Ubisoft's Watch Dogs 2 discovered that a female NPC was rendered with an explicitly detailed vagina. To make matters worse, the character in question is dead (as you can see here: warning NSFW). While the game is rated M for Mature, mixing themes of sex with violence against women could certainly raise eyebrows. Furthermore, the user who had discovered the exposed genitalia shared it via PlayStation 4's built-in sharing function, which then led to the user's account initially being banned by Sony for a week for violating PlayStation's code of conduct - more recently, that ban was increased to a month. For its part, Ubisoft is now trying to resolve the situation by removing the genitalia from the character model.

"We're aware that one of the NPC models in Watch Dogs 2 is rendered in a way that is particularly explicit," Ubisoft said in a statement to Polygon. "While Watch Dogs 2 is a mature-rated game, we apologize and will update this NPC model to make it more consistent with other NPC models in the game in a patch to be released this week. We also are working with our first-party partners to ensure that players can continue to play and share all content from the game within the bounds of the first parties' respective codes of conduct."

This is certainly not the first time that male or female genitalia have been included in video game characters, and in fact, it's not even the first Ubisoft title to have exposed genitalia as Far Cry: Primal did show private parts as well. It would seem that communication between third parties and platform holders on sensitive subject matter needs to be improved to prevent situations like this from happening in the future.

There's also some debate around whether a user should be banned for simply sharing what Ubisoft put in its game. "I'm glad that news outlets are picking this up and questioning Sony's policies," said the banned player on Twitter. "I'm not looking for justice or a lifting of the ban really. I'd just like to spark a convo about how platform holders should handle community content as games push boundaries of what's acceptable. They're happy to sell these products and use sharing for free promotion."

Update: Sony has apparently listened and removed the ban on the player who tweeted the explicit screenshot. "Sony have undone the suspension. We won! I think? They never admitted fault of course. I want to thank everyone for their support today," the user tweeted.

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Latest comments (6)

Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios4 years ago
Oh no a vaguely realistic depiction of the outer vagina! Batten down the hatches guys society is at risk. How F*cking depressing :-(
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises4 years ago
That's pretty bad that Sony increased his ban from a week to a month after he tweeted about the banning.
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James Prendergast Process Specialist 4 years ago
Given all the system level controls available, how does his ban even make sense? I hope the media are taking Sony to task over this because extending the ban when talking about it on a different platform is egregious!
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Show all comments (6)
Marty Greenwell Senior Software Developer 4 years ago
Sony rescinded the ban.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Marty Greenwell on 16th November 2016 8:33am

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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 4 years ago

Because everyone knows, no matter how many studies show the average age of the player, that games are for children, and that should parents buy them games without looking at the prominent, ugly ratings and then find they're offended by something clearly labeled on the box that the clerk likely warns them about, it's the game developer that needs to pay with weeks of uncomfortable news stories

I recommend you review the conservative blowup over Mass Effect's PG-rated sex scene. Then multiply by 10 because it gives them much naughtier feelings.
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James Prendergast Process Specialist 4 years ago
Hi Jeff,

Yes, I remember that - and hot coffee. You're right in that parents do not adhere to ratings but that's not the complete problem.

SONY is at fault here for 1) having a certification process that apparently relies somewhat on checkboxes filled in by developers/publishers 2) having an unquestionable banning process 3) banning on PSN for activity outside of PSN 4) only rescinding a ban when reporters get involved. 5) applying a ratings system that is apparently meaningless

Ubisoft is at fault here for 1) not detailing exactly what is in there game to SONY (otherwise there would have been no bans for content on the disc, right?) 2) not coming out in defence of the game as 'art' or even just the legal product they put on the market 3) not coming out in defence of the player who was banned.

I know many companies (even outside of gaming) are just like this but it doesn't make it right.

@Marty - Yes, the ban has been overturned. None of the news sites I read have reported it though and it's just a tiny comment on the NeoGAF thread (link below). I also think it's ridiculous that they overturned the ban, didn't accept any wrongdoing and still blamed him for his actions. Their ToS, as quoted in the email, are incompatible with a 15 and 18 rating. How is sharing a picture of decapitated game characters not obscene (dictionary definition of vulgar) but this is?

This whole thing is inconsistent and just brings up an air of uncertainty for both players and developers...
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