I haven’t heard much about Heavy Rain since its release. I wrote earlier about my distaste for Quantic Dream’s focus on a female character’s sexual assault in the game’s marketing, and hoped that the scene might be handled more sensitively in-game than promotional materials suggested.
Last night, I stumbled across this on the website of “lad’s mag” Zoo. If you don’t care to click through and give a pageview to rape-appreciating misogynists, I’ve got you covered. The piece in question is a slideshow preview of Heavy Rain titled “The List: PS3 Goes X-Rated!” It focuses entirely on Madison Paige’s storyline, and includes several nude screen captures of her. It also includes this quote, which realizes my worst speculations about players finding Paige’s sexual assault at gunpoint “sexy”:
“What you’re supposed to do next [to avoid being forced to strip and save the female character's life] is obvious fairly early on (hit him with a lamp, so that you can tie him up and interrogate him), but clearly we wanted to play the scene out for as long as possible. You know, for research.
We’re pretty sure that you would do the same.”
This text appears under a screenshot of Madison Paige naked in a shower. Her head hangs dejectedly, and the water is running down her hair into her face.
I am utterly and thoroughly disgusted. I realize this vile attitude comes from Zoo, a publication that exists to objectify topless women. Unfortunately, Zoo has many real, live, human readers who presumably share and support the views expressed in its pages and on its website. I originally found the idea of a simulation of a woman’s sexual assault being used as some sort of proxy for male players to experience a shadow of the degradation inherent in such an experience distasteful, but I found it far preferable to the thought of players being titillated by a woman’s violation. The appearance of the latter point of view on a popular magazine’s website forces me to revise my notion that only a few sickos might take pleasure in the scene.
There isn’t an adjective powerful enough to express how much this horrifies me.