In an exceptional show in priorities, Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro has announced that he’ll be rewriting scenes in Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise that drew criticism for its depiction of a transgender character.
Swery took to his Twitter account to let fans know with a personal message (which, he admits, has been translated to English by Google translate) that a change is coming, and the rewrites will be checked over by a diverse team in hopes that whatever these scenes looks like on the other end is respectful. The full statement reads as follows:
“Dear DP fans.
I would like to tell important message. I realized by pointed out from friends, I might have hurt transgender people in my scenario. It wasn’t intentional. I am really sorry for that. Some scenes will be sanity checked by a team that included diversity. And I will rewrite that scene ASAP. So please continue to support Deadly Premonition. I’m the one writing the scenario.”
Good morning everyone.
I need to tell you about my apologies about DP2.
So I wrote message by myself with Google-sensei.
Please forgive my poor english skills.
— Hidetaka SWERY Skywalker (@Swery65) July 13, 2020
While Swery didn’t give any idea about what these new scenes would look like, an acknowledgement that this was hurtful to trans fans and that it’s not something he’s so precious about that he refuses to change it is a really refreshing viewpoint. Especially given situations like Persona 5 Royal, which doubled down on its homophobia to the point where localization had to step in, even if it couldn’t make the game more inclusive on the whole.
The scenes in question, have been addressed in several reviews, including by Trusted Reviews’ Jade King, who noted that a trans woman character Lena Dauman is the subject of attempts at invalidating her identity.
“One particular arc surrounding a transgender character is downright offensive, despite seemingly being approached with a progressive state of mind. The woman in question is a villain in the grand scheme of things, and despite some understanding from the player character, she’s subsequently misgendered, deadnamed and ripped of any validation in favour of a tragic conclusion. It left a bad taste in mouth, and a perfect example of how such identities shouldn’t be handled.”
— Laura Kate Dale (@LaurakBuzz) July 12, 2020
The more I read up on the character and look into the larger arc of Lena’s story, there’s…a lot going on here. Without getting into the specifics (they’re unpleasant), the crime this woman has committed involved her genitals pre-transition, and when that crime is discussed, the cast begins to deadname her and use male pronouns. Overwall, I don’t think it would hurt anyone for this entire segment to be re-examined and changed.
While Swery’s commitment to changing this is admirable (though you are under no obligation to forgive him or Deadly Premonition 2 for it), what makes this entertaining on a grander level is that Swery and Toybox Inc. have already said they have no plans to fix the game’s notoriously awful frame rate issues. And you know what? In the grand scheme of things, awful, dehumanizing portrayals of trans people are certainly more worthy of being fixed on a list of patch priorities, in my opinion.