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Heroes of Newerth: Flamboyant Announcer

The logo for Heroes of Newerth.

There was an issue that popped up last week regarding the new announcer pack for Heroes of Newerth, among the games that launched out of the style of Defense of the Ancients. Gay-Nerds pointed it out, examining how the announcer pack used very stereotypical imagery and voice-bits in what S2 had labeled its 'Flamboyant' pack. They themselves were split on the issue, with paranoia taking umbrage with the pack and its stereotypes, and Raiden not really seeing an issue. We've certainly discussed this often enough, and you all seem split on such issues yourself.

Now, to be clear, this announcer pack is bought in their shop, and then is something your opponent hears. Therefore, the flamboyant pack is an overly flamboyant male taunting your opponent.

With the first post, they did receive this response from S2 Games directly:

The flamboyant pack is one of many voice pack options that will be available for HoN 2.0 players. The intention of offering a wider range of voice packs is to bring a broad representation of personalities to HoN that let gamers express and differentiate themselves.

As the issue picked up a bit of steam, and was posted on Kotaku, there was an even further response from Pu Liu, a senior game designer there, in the Gay-Nerds forums. He explained he was straight and considered himself a diva, even going by DivA online. Therefore, this fit his personality and what he wanted to get across when he gamed. He wanted to rub it in his opponents' faces. As such, it was supposed to be an alternative to the constantly serious, dark, and overbearing tone the rest of the game could have at times. I would likely point out that the inherent joke still comes at the expense of the feminine being seen as an insult--in this case being taunted by an ultra-feminine male is supposed to be a further insult somehow.

Then...

Jason Morales, a former employee of S2 Games explained differently, once again to Gay-Nerds.

Apparently the issue was more one of the developers wishing to directly confront the vision of the owner of the company. To quote:

I can say that the intent of the "flamboyant" announcer was absolutely unambiguous. The terms "faggoty" and "queer" were used to describe what he wanted the announcer to sound like. Expectedly, this was met with varying degrees of discomfort, but unfortunately nobody was feeling ready to jump on that grenade at the time. The shop was still a long way from actually being implemented, so I personally wrote it off as a battle for another day.

Morales himself is no longer with the company, so that other day never particularly came up with him. In such a scenario, it would also likely be an issue where I see a lot of people just shrugging and going on to pick different battles at different days, something I believe a lot of us do in varying degrees.

In the realm of e-sports, and competitive gaming, it is hardly a surprise that the most base and superficial insults are made, or are used to insult others. Listening to my former roommate get fed up with people in CoD:MW2 was enough to confirm my suspicions that I was glad I rarely participate in such.

My own thoughts tend toward the realm that I do not see flamboyant as a negative, but it is when it's the go-to representation for gay persons out there, or used as a way to theoretically heighten an insult. Unfortunately, since this was just to be an announcer, there was no way for them to telegraph that other than going by media stereotypes that are quite old at this point. NaviFairy had the same concerns earlier over Monday Night Combat's use of its mascot, who could be seen as such.

However, the entire thing seems a bit suspect once we get Liu's statements trying to explain how it was not meant as such, versus Morales's that state they were unambiguously meant as such. Again, the use of the flamboyant pack will have us gay gamers and supporters on both sides of the fence, but the handling of this issue seems to be rather poor.

Many thanks to the folk at Gay-Nerds for staying on top of this issue.

7 Comments

Branovices said:

While the intent behind the pack is probably important... it would be fun to use, what with the rainbow-y sparkles and stars n' such.

I admit to liking to use Bridget in Guilty Gear to embarrass my opponents. Does that mean I hate trans-gendered people?

Of course, Bridget is also adorable and awesome.

NaviFairy said:

Last night in an online game one player was using profanity and another player began yelling at him. It took a strange turn when the second player finally reached the point of saying "don't use those gay words, you f*g." At that point I stepped in and told him to watch his own language (while simultaneously going into the game's menu and reporting him) and he seemed genuinely shocked that someone took issue with his own language usage, so he started yelling at me.

Here's where the heartwarming part comes in. Once he lashed out at me just about everyone else in the game came down on him with the universal message of, essentially, grow up (I'm paraphrasing and leaving out some salty language). It just takes one person to speak up and like-minded individuals will join you.

Gamescook said:

Those competitive gamers, especially on the PC, are just a bunch of man-children anyway. We can't expect them to think about other people when they're so obsessed with spending an extra $300 on a game machine for that TOTALLY NECESSARY performance boost.

g_whiz said:

The youtube clip actually helped me make up my mind here, as I'm unfamiliar with the product and the company in question. The spin about the "flamboyant" pack being a simple embracing of their inner diva is completley disingenuous, so much so that I'd think it was clever if it wasn't an attempt to cover up the inherent biases involved with openly mocking their perception what it is to be openly gay.

"Cherry popper", "Its a threeway"? Seriously? This skips past ambiguous parody being in on the joke and borders downright incindiary. Ha ha, stereotypically gay men are swishy and hilarious and not to be taken seriously. I can only wonder what theyd call the pack that had the broken english of a mexican migrant worker... or a urban african american male announcer pack...

And typically, it speaks to the privilege of those in the majority that aren't negativley impacted by such stereotypes or jokes that they don't have to think about how their white heterosexualness makes them suspect, amusing or conspicuous for others. The "flamboyant pack" could just as easily be called the "faggot" pack because really, its not a celebration of gayness, its a lampooning. Its taking a stereotypical idea "worthy" of mocking and running with it all the way to the bank. Whats more annoying about all of this is if it wasn't for the cool coming forward of the former employee, we'd have to buy the bullshit positive spin they tried to put forward. Not so classy.

Pete said:

I love it. I want it. Sassiness and all. It's so delightful!

Keith said:

This is so stupid. What do they honestly think they'll accomplish by putting out such a product? It may all be an elaborate scheme to divert attention to the game in some sort of weird advertising tactic.

And g_whiz, you had me with you all the way up until the first sentence of the third paragraph of your comment. Race is not an issue involved in this particular situation.

Limeade said:

As I have said in other threads about this topic, I find it extremely stupid and insulting. When you get a larger picture of the issue than just the 'flamboyant' pack itself, with the people behing the scenes saying what they said above, it just reeks of offal.

This is nothing positive. Being a 'diva' or feminine has nothing to be with Cherry Poppers, Three Ways, and acting overly promiscuous with sexual innuendos. Insulting.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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Limeade on Heroes of Newerth: Flamboyant Announcer: As I have said in other threads about this topic, I find it extremely stupid and insulting. When you get...

Keith on Heroes of Newerth: Flamboyant Announcer: This is so stupid. What do they honestly think they'll accomplish by putting out such a product? It may all...

Pete on Heroes of Newerth: Flamboyant Announcer: I love it. I want it. Sassiness and all. It's so delightful!...

g_whiz on Heroes of Newerth: Flamboyant Announcer: The youtube clip actually helped me make up my mind here, as I'm unfamiliar with the product and the company...

Gamescook on Heroes of Newerth: Flamboyant Announcer: Those competitive gamers, especially on the PC, are just a bunch of man-children anyway. We can't expect them to think...

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