The latest PUBG Mobile character release has the community more upset than the recent addition of spray paint and graffiti in paid loot boxes. Patch 0.15.5, which released today, includes data for Sara, the game’s second upcoming character. Unlike PUBG on PC, PUBG Mobile began introducing named characters who serve specific purposes in its Arcade modes, with Victor being the first a few months back.
Sara isn’t set to release until a later date, but fans across the PUBG Mobile subreddit are already up in arms about the stereotypical nature of the character’s quick-chat options: default text lines that allow players to quickly issue personalized instructions to teammates without taking their eyes off the action.
Unlike Victor, whose quick-chat commands like “I’ll go around, wait for my call!” and “Ambush! But don’t panic!” paint a macho persona, Sara does nothing but encourage negative gender stereotypes. Victor comes across as a reliable, brave leader, with lines that can actually serve a purpose in-game, while Sara just flirts with whoever happens to be on the squad… There’s nothing quite like being told you “don’t like half bad” when you’re about to get hit by a car.
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“You look so cute when you blush” is a particularly bad one. Things step up with “Why do people like me? Cos I’m pretty.” But “You gotta be the one that controls the steering wheel” really pushes things out there. Not only does it reinforce the absurd, almost cartoonishly outdated idea that women make bad drivers, but it doesn’t even make sense in the context of the game.
PUBG Mobile characters play similar to a hero shooter like Overwatch. They’re designed to fill certain roles on the battlefield. Sara excels as a vehicle mechanic, so the idea that she can’t drive really seems to pinpoint some kind of generational divide in Tencent’s localization team is to blame for the dubious decision.
Thankfully, Tencent community manager Ocho has taken note of the criticisms launched on Reddit. Replying to the post, which amassed over 300 upvotes in under 24 hours, Ocho claimed to have “not seen the lines” and pledged to “bring this feedback up with our team.” He thanked Reddit user Nevetsg for highlighting the issue, but whether it will result in any meaningful action before Sara’s launch in up for debate.
The whole thing just seems like a shallow attempt to get some female representation in the game. PUBG Mobile has won brownie points in the past by not forcing gender locks on its copious amounts of (pretty cool) skins. But disregarding Sara’s own characterization just to add some derogatory quick-chat lines is a baffling call any way you spin in.
Not only will her lines serve absolutely no purpose in a match, but they’re also not even remotely related to her main purpose on the battlefield – to fix those vehicles she apparently isn’t confident enough to operate.
It isn’t known when exactly Sara will release, but her inclusion in the 0.15.0 patch notes suggest she’ll arrive before 0.16.0, which is expected sometime next month.
Hopefully, by then Ocho will have knocked some sense into whoever signed off on her quick-chat lines. If not, don’t expect anyone playing Sara to let you know when you’re about to be ambushed. After all, she’s just there to ask if you like mango sticky rice.