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Japanese game developer Atlus accused of transphobia in their new game, Catherine: Full Body

'I'm not holding my breath that this new romance will be handled tastefully'

Japanese game developer Atlus accused of transphobia in their new game, Catherine: Full Body
A still from the Catherine: Full Body trailer

Japanese game developer Atlus recently released the trailer for the upcoming game, Catherine: Full Body.

The game, a remake of the adventure puzzle-platformer Catherine, introduces a new character who many fans are claiming is transphobic.

The original game, according to The Daily Dot, ‘deals with Vincent Brooks, a 32-year-old bachelor who keeps pushing off marriage with his long-time girlfriend, Katherine McBride.’

‘After Vincent cheats on Katherine with a mysterious woman called Catherine, he begins having nightmares where he must climb enormous towers while being chased by monsters. The game does this by blending narrative-driven gameplay with puzzle-platforming levels, allowing for multiple endings through different romance options.’

Still, even upon the 2011 release of Catherine, many deemed the game to be transphobic. This is due to the fact the game uses Erica Anderson, a transgender waitress at the game’s Stray Sheep bar, as a punchline for numerous jokes about gender identity. In fact, Erica is also dead named in the game’s manual.

Because of this, Atlus has left many LGBTI gaming fans skeptical. And in the Catherine: Full Body trailer, a new romance route with a pink-haired woman named Rin is teased. For trans gamer Laura Kate Dale, this has the potential to be problematic.

‘We also get hints at Rin likely being a transgender character, as implied by the repeated use of a transgender symbol on the Full Body Teaser Website, as well as Vincent’s horror when face to face with her crotch. This is a trailer and not the final game, but considering the original Catherine’s poor track record with trans representation, using a pre-transition name for a character in their credits and manual and giving male-only nightmares to a trans woman character, I’m not holding my breath that this new romance will be handled tastefully. I’d love to be proven wrong, but their track record doesn’t fill me with hope,’ Dale writes for Kotaku.

More reactions

Other LGBTI gaming fans share Dale’s concern.

Catherine: Full Body is set for a winter 2018 release in Japan. The game’s Western launch has yet to be announced.

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