Kotaku Denounces “Racist” G4 Review Of ‘Baten Kaitos Origins,’ Social Media Calls Out Their Own Hypocrisy And Treatment Of The JRPG Genre

Clive Rosfield (Yuma Uchida) backed by flames via Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix
Clive Rosfield (Yuma Uchida) backed by flames via Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

Kotaku’s denouncement of G4’s infamous JRPG review has only exposed their prior hypocrisy with how they treated the genre as a whole.

Cloud Strife and Sephiroth face off via Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade (2021), Square Enix

RELATED: Datamining Suggests Amazon Games Plans To Censor Western Release Of Bandai Namco MMO ‘Blue Protocol’

In a recent interview, Square Enix producer Naoki Yoshida revealed that he and other Japanese developers hated the term ‘JRPG.’ Despite it meaning Japanese RPG on the surface, Yoshida felt it was a “discriminatory term […] As though we were being made fun of for creating these games.”

Discussion only increased when an insulting G4 review Monolith Soft’s JRPG Baten Kaitos Origins resurfaced — leading to former host Adam Sessler throwing a tantrum and refusing to apologize. Discussions of how critics and gaming press have been handling Japanese games have since rumbled on.

Guillo (Terrence 'T.C.' Carson) leads the charge in Baten Katos: Origins (2006), Bandai Namco

Guillo (Terrence ‘T.C.’ Carson) leads the charge via Baten Katos: Origins (2006), Bandai Namco

Some outlets somewhat reflected on their industry. A piece by Kotaku’s Sisi Jiang — titled “Old G4 review is forcing gaming to reckon with its racist JRPG past” — condemned it for being racist (such as mocking Japanese names). The author also noted it would’ve been preferable if the critique over the game’s jiggle physics featured”a feminist critique without being forced to endure the racism.”

Jiang was also aghast Morgan Webb had introduced the segment with a joke about Indians or Chinese replacing the US population. “I’m all for people growing into a better version of themselves,” Jiang clarified. “But let’s take a moment and recognize that what’s racist right now was still racist back in 2006. There’s no such thing as ‘it was a different time.'”

Sagi (Crawford Wilson) finds himself on the ropes in Baten Kaitos: Origins (2006), Bandai Namco

Sagi (Crawford Wilson) finds himself on the ropes via Baten Kaitos: Origins (2006), Bandai Namco

“Jokes about the great replacement theory were always dehumanizing, and they made Asian Americans feel like dogs—t. The main difference now is that public figures who make racist comments might have to read some mean tweets about it,” Jiang defies.

Despite Kotaku’s denouncement, others had taken issue with Kotaku being hypocritical. Many took it as Kotaku attempting to point the finger at G4’s racism while distancing themselves from their prior actions.

Jade performs the Sexy Beam skill in a bunny girl outfit via Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (2017), Square Enix.

RELATED: Japanese ‘OMORI’ Fan Artist Issues Warning About Western Shippers After Being Harassed Over Relationship Headcanons: “The Word Pro-Shipper Has Been Weaponized By Racists To Target Artists Whose Main Language Is Not English”

“Gamers were the ones buying those JRPG’s and defending them it was your ilk that were calling them weird and icky, in need of some good ole westernization for years,” @LavenderGhast derided, “hell you guys still do.”

@LavenderGhast calls out Kotaku’s hypocrisy via Twitter

“Forcing gaming? You mean the international hobby that arguably got it’s modern day start in Japan? Since WHEN did ANY iteration of G4/XPlay speak for all of Gaming and Gamers?” @JeanGen09181213 defied. “My American ass was practically raised on JRPGS and Japanese videogames in general.”

@JeanGen09181213 calls out Kotaku’s hypocrisy via Twitter

“This you?” rhetorically inquired @OhNoItsAlexx, sharing a screenshot of an article by Kotaku UK’s Laura Kate Dale, who baselessly claimed that the lyrics in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate‘s Persona 5 DLC included a disability slur.

@OhNoItsAlexx calls out Kotaku’s hypocrisy via Twitter

RELATED: Kotaku UK Accused of Racism After Trying to Accuse Nintendo, Super Smash Bros., and Persona 5 of Insulting Disabled People

Bringing up the same Kotaku UK article claiming Atlus had included a disability slur in the Persona 5 DLC, @TheHatalwayswin pointed out, “Remember when someone got paid for writing an article cause then mis heard a lyric.

@TheHatalwayswin calls out Kotaku’s hypocrisy via Twitter

“This is rich coming from Kotaku,” mocked YouTuber LegacyKillaHD, singling out author Sisi Jiang, who wrote a piece condemning Final Fantasy series producer Naoki Yoshida for his response regarding Final Fantasy XVI‘s lack of diversity

He went on, “Especially the author of this piece, Sisi Jiang, which months ago wrote up a racist article attacking Japanese Culture because they were upset with the lack of inclusivity in FFXVI.”

@LegacyKillaHD calls out Kotaku’s hypocrisy via Twitter

Kotaku have certainly taken swipes at JPRGs, and pretty recently to boot. Yoshida was once again defending Japanese games, as some of the gaming press were upset Final Fantasy XVI had a lack of ethnically diverse characters.

Apart from the setting being inspired by medieval Europe and set on a single landmass, Yoshida explained, “we simply want the focus to be less on the outward appearance of our characters and more on who they are as people — people who are complex and diverse in their natures, backgrounds, beliefs, personalities, and motivations.”

Barnabas Tharmr (Gotaro Tsunashima) via Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

As mentioned above, Yoshida’s response did not satisfy neither Kotaku nor Jiang, who deemed it a “terrible answer.” Alleged harassment would inspire an editorial titled “We Need To Start Holding Japanese RPGs To Higher Standards” — wherein Jiang argued that “respecting Japanese video games means not treating them with kid gloves.”

Jiang essentially argues that it is incomprehensible and indefensible that a Japanese developer, especially one with the resources of Square Enix and with a franchise as popular as Final Fantasy, wouldn’t want or be able to have diverse characters. The author also defies claims that developers wouldn’t understand or empathize “about representation for Black and brown people.”

“When I write about wanting Japanese games to be less socially embarrassing, there’s almost always a backlash,” Jiang bemoans.

Dion Lesage (Yūichi Nakamura/Stewart Clarke) via Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

Jiang later argued that Yoshida being a producer on such a monumental franchise meant “It’s his job to keep up with popular media and culture trends. Racial diversity is definitely one of them.” The Kotaku writer also noted that inclusivity was as important to “artistic achievement” as technical elements such as graphics or cinematography. 

The argument further extends to, despite the genre previously suffering mockery and lambasting, JRPGs popularity and mainstream acceptance in the west meaning that the urge to snap to its defense is “not necessary anymore” and “feels even more dated to me.”

Genshin Impact will survive the criticisms of how it represents Southwest Asian people. FFXVI will sell millions of copies no matter how bad the representation is on launch.”

Joshua Rosfield (Natsumi Fujiwara) struggles with the power of the Phoenix Dominant in Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

Joshua Rosfield (Natsumi Fujiwara) struggles with the power of the Phoenix Dominant via Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

RELATED: Square Enix Announces Merger With Luminous Productions Amid ‘Forspoken’ Flop

Jiang further condemned critics, noting those who defended Japanese games’ portrayal of women or LGBT people with “aggressive rebuttal” were usually American.

“How predictable. Here’s why: White conservatives are terrified that they’re losing hold on popular media. They’re looking for their own utopia—a place that excludes women and minorities,” Jiang speculates.

“For some white people, Japan is seen as an eternally unchanging, conformist, and traditional society where marginalized people know their place. Obviously, countries don’t work like that. But gamer chuds want Japan to be a safe space from all that SJW nonsense. Regardless of what’s good for JRPGs as a genre or what actually makes good business sense,” Jiang claims.

Clive Rosfield (Yuma Uchida) unleashes his might in Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

Clive Rosfield (Yuma Uchida) unleashes his might via Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

“Expecting these games to have good representation isn’t ignorant—it’s a sign that we’re finally taking Japanese games seriously.” Jiang had also previously defended China’s restrictions on youth playing for just one hour a day on weekends and public holidays.

“It’s important to consider that the gaming landscape in China is very different than in North America and Europe,” Jiang justified. It should be noted the flak Kotaku is getting is not purely over Jiang’s one editorial.

Like some Twitter users above pointed out, the outlet had previously mistaken a Japanese singer performing Persona 5′s opening theme as saying “retarded” due to their accent (later publishing an apology and deleting both), hated the game handling gay relationships different from the west (featuring a stereotype fr comic relief, and a male character only having a friendship with the main male character). 

Ryuji Sakamoto and Makoto Nijimia get ready for a Showtime attack via Persona 5 Royal (2022), Atlus

Kotaku’s general stance against fan service has also seen them often come to loggerheads with fans of Japanese media — be it games or anime. One editorial whining about living in Tokyo attempted to claim each point applied to video games — from disliking then-modern anime and Japanese comedy to how often people smoke, drink, and attend work parties.

YouTuber Cult Classic Cage also felt Kotaku’s report on G4 was disingenuous. “They’re no better than the individuals that they themselves criticize, let’s be real now, because they double-down on their garbage nonsense — just like Adam Sessler does!”

Cage felt Kotaku’s motivation was purely to jump on a popular story, and write a “stink piece for clicks,” and that it was obvious even without having to dig into Kotaku’s history or prior articles. “I don’t understand why Kotaku continuously makes articles about gaming, when it’s clearly hate gaming, and they show it at every point possible!”

She also admitted gaming had moments where “things were nasty,” and Japanese media has portrayed racist stereotypes in the past, noting as all nations had.

NEXT: ‘Final Fantasy XIV’ Modder Purposely Injects Malware Into GShade, Prompting User Backlash

Mentioned This Article:

More About: