Deep Silver is dealing with some serious shit right now. The company announced a collector’s edition of the next installment of Dead Island titled Dead Island Zombie Bait Edition. If you get the game for the Xbox 360, you will receive a bust (in more ways than one) of a woman’s body in a bikini of the UK flag, but with no arms, bottom, or head and covered in blood. Take a look at it above.
Oh man…where to begin with this marketing strategy. First off, is the bust really necessary? It measures at 31cm tall by 18.5cm wide, which is roughly a foot tall and half a foot wide. That’s kinda big and where is that thing going to fit? It is quite the conversation starter, but not for any good reason one can imagine. Second: why a woman’s torso? It is not a surprise that the video game community is, for the most part, a boy’s club and many of the marketing tools are geared towards that demographic. So to have a woman’s torso being dismembered and decapitated sends a deeper message. Also, this addition was only if you get the Xbox 360 version of Dead Island: Zombie Bait Edition, leading many people to see that perhaps the Xbox is only for boys. We know that there are females out there who own and play on an Xbox 360, but it may deter those females who do not own an Xbox to stay clear of it because of the messages it is sending. There are many factors involved for appealing to a different demographic, but I’m sure that this severed woman bust does not help Deep Silver attract the ladies.
Let’s talk more about this woman’s bust in detail. We see that her head and arms are cut off with blood everywhere. We also notice (and it’s hard not to) that she is quite gifted in the breast area and her skimpy bikini of the UK flag just shows them off even more. Anyone who has spent time with a lot of breasts as well as seen many different types in their time (like me) can tell that this bust is fake (as in if they were to be on an actual woman, they would be made of silicone). Taking all of that into account, this addition to the Zombie Bait Edition is further supporting the notion that a woman’s body is to be sexualized…even without a head or arms. Not only that, but just consider the title of the game: Zombie Bait Edition. Is that to imply that the female body is needed in order to ward off zombies so you can escape and survive? Sacrifice the woman in order to save yourself? Is that how she became a zombie in the first place and now you have to kill her by decapitation and dismemberment?
The only thing I could see this meriting any sort of praise is the artistic value. It is hand-painted and from the looks of the picture, relatively detailed. She even has some defined abs. If they wanted to add some realism they should have added nipples to the breasts, but aside from that it looks halfway decent. A closer look at the bust would determine if it is worthy of being called artistic.
Deep Silver made an announcement on their Twitter apologizing for the distasteful severed woman bust:
A statement on the Zombie Bait Edition:
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.
While they made a formal, public apology, that still does not wash out the taste of a bloodied woman’s bust in our mouths. Is there a deeper message between video games and their portrayal of the female form or the woman in general? What do you think? Let us know your opinions in the comments below!
For more articles on gender in video games, check out The Gamer Girl every other Sunday and keep your eyes on Velocity Gamer for more controversial news!