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Assassin's Creed Shadows
-1
One of the game's dual protagonists Yasuke, an African samurai, is the first main character in the series to be based on a real historical figure, but his real-life identity and status serving under Japanese daimyo Oda Nobunaga has been the subject of a contentious debate among historians. There are few scholarly/historical resources available describing him and his life, and no known resources from when he was alive that refer to him as a samurai, with the most common belief being his title was a retainer.

His reveal as a main character in the game on May 15, 2024 caused polarizing reactions worldwide on social media. Fans critical of the decision claimed Ubisoft were going against the series' penchant for accurate historical backgrounds and misrepresented Japan, which the series had never covered in-depth, by inflating Yasuke's role in history and not having both protagonists be Japanese (the other protagonist, Naoe, is Japanese), claiming he was not actually a samurai. Fans in support of his role claiming he was actually a samurai called these objections racist and based on narrow-minded arguments and inferences, with some going so far as to claim that Asian samurai protagonists in media were oversaturated and that critics' complaints would be the same if the game was set in Africa and starred an African protagonist. This intense fighting led to an edit war on Yasuke's English Wikipedia article, with administrators publicly calling its Talk page "a complete dumpster fire". As of July 3, the consensus that the Talk page reached appears to be that the available historical resources are inconclusive as to if he was or was not a samurai, but that scholars consistently describe Yasuke as a samurai without any sources found where scholars do not describe him as one.

This lack of clarity allows popular media to take creative liberties in adapting him, often depicting him as a high-ranking samurai, and Ubisoft took a similar direction from the outset. A press release at the game's announcement stated:

"Ubisoft Quebec wanted to include a Samurai, and Yasuke's story was open-ended enough to allow for creativity; there are still plenty of questions and speculation surrounding him. The fascinating facts, though, were undisputable: of African origin, he arrived in Japan enslaved by the Portuguese; he impressed with size, strength, and wits; he served under the Japanese daimyo Oda Nobunaga. There must have been something exceptional about Yasuke to succeed in the service of a personality like Nobunaga's, [...] and the goal has been to expound on this in [the game] through his curiosity, openness, respect for values and tradition, valor, warmth, and charisma."

While the quote's header is named "Yasuke: A Real-Life Samurai", the quote itself is carefully worded to stop short of directly calling him a samurai, with more advertising describing him as a "samurai of historical legend". Game director Charles Benoit later acknowledged his life "is surrounded by mysteries" and that "[Yasuke] told us to tell" his story seen in the game, which was also described by associate narrative director Brooke Davies as historical fiction.

Creative director Jonathan Dumont elaborated in a set of interviews with Famitsu on May 15 that they chose Yasuke to fit with the story of a foreigner who fights off oppressing forces like the Portuguese slave trade's effects on Japan, while exploring a country unknown to him alongside the player, stating that they were "first looking for "our samurai," someone who could be our non-Japanese eyes". The following day, the interviews were edited to remove this quote, and to change quotes either directly or contextually referring to Yasuke as an "outsider" to being a "foreign-born samurai".
person MehDeletingLater calendar_month May 19, 2024
Game website with "samurai of historical legend" quote:
https://www.ubisoft.com/en-us/game/assassins-creed/shadows

Ubisoft press release:
https://news.ubisoft.com/en-us/article/2LH4Ael4X1TlNJY3B3aYg5/assassins-creed-shadows-launches-november-15-features-dual-protagonists-in-feudal-japan

Ubisoft Forward - June 10, 2024:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPoJUPrCkkg#t=4602s

IGN Japan interview with Brooke Davies:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqwitaREyd0

Ubisoft article with several videos explaining historical backgrounds behind previous Assassin's Creed games:
https://news.ubisoft.com/en-us/article/6d4zQXyH0VF6z75Ab7jfss/discover-the-real-history-behind-every-assassins-creed

IGN articles:
https://www.ign.com/articles/when-and-where-is-assassins-creed-shadows-set
https://www.ign.com/articles/assassins-creed-shadows-yasuke-asian-protagonist

TheGamer article:
https://www.thegamer.com/african-assassins-creed-shadows-controversy/

Time article:
https://time.com/6978997/assassins-creed-shadow-yasuke-controversy/

Forbes article mentioning Wikipedia edit war and international reactions:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/2024/05/15/japanese-fans-are-puzzled-that-yasuke-is-in-assassins-creed-shadows/

Yasuke English Wikipedia article (Note: while much of this controversy occurred on English language Wikipedia, bear in mind that Wikipedia articles by themselves are not reliable sources for historical research, and the English article is not a uniform representation of the information on Yasuke across the different language versions of Wikipedia that have this article. There are varying primary, secondary, historical and pop culture sources suggested for and used in all of these articles either backing up verified information about him, or making different claims that may not be accurate.):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yasuke
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Yasuke

Wikipedia administrator discussion:
https://web.archive.org/web/20240518220622/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Talk:Yasuke_is_a_complete_dumpster_fire

Earliest archive of original Famitsu interview (in Japanese; English machine translations for all archives of this article compared between Google Translate and DeepL prior to publishing this submission. Deleted quote in Japanese is "まず“私たちの侍”、つまり日本人ではない私たちの目になれる人物を探していましたが、これは") (May 15):
https://web.archive.org/web/20240515185159/https://www.famitsu.com/article/202405/5194

Archived edited interview (May 16):
https://web.archive.org/web/20240516194746/https://www.famitsu.com/article/202405/5194

Latest archived edit (May 18):
https://web.archive.org/web/20240518034336/https://www.famitsu.com/article/202405/5194
Star Fox 2
1
Attachment When assets from Star Fox 2 were leaked in the 2020 Nintendo Gigaleak, one character that caught people's attention was what appeared to be a human woman. Some fans and news outlets assumed the character to be black based on her frilly hair and large lips, but palettes were eventually discovered that revealed her to be fair-skinned. The human woman's sprites have the same filename as Miyu and Fay's in the final game, and her two sprites' facial structures resemble Miyu and Fay's prototype sprites (the latter being a sheep instead of a poodle), suggesting she was simply a placeholder meant to give a human reference for Miyu and Fay's anthropomorphic expressions.
person Rocko & Heffer calendar_month May 14, 2024
Stellar Blade
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1
person MehDeletingLater calendar_month April 24, 2024
Spanish for Everyone!
1
Spanish for Everyone!'s plotline has been noted for containing stereotypical characters and seeming to have innuendo alluding to drug smuggling across the Mexican border. According to a developer, this was intentional as a way to have fun making a budget title, and inspired by the double meanings in the Shrek movies.
person Rocko & Heffer calendar_month April 13, 2024
Hardcore Gaming 101 article, links to a Starmen.net thread with a developer:
http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/spanish-for-everyone/

Developer mentioning Shrek inspiration:
https://ocremix.org/community/topic/9164-spanish-for-everyone-ds/page/2/
Antonball Deluxe
subdirectory_arrow_right Antonblast (Game)
1
According to creator Tony Grayson, possibly in a joking manner, the Anton characters are all multicoloured as a result of a nuclear war that left only Japan and their home country of the Backburner Peninsula, and are not meant to be any real-world enthicity. Grayson jokingly compared the skin colors of the Anton characters to The Groovenians, a 2002 Cartoon Network pilot that was not picked up for a series.
Paper Mario: Color Splash
subdirectory_arrow_right Mario (Franchise)
1
Attachment Concept art for Paper Mario: Color Splash shows that the captain of the Violet Passage was at one point going to have a dark skin tone. This would've marked the first instance of a Toad with a distinct skin color (not counting usually-pale Toads under a transformation) in a Mario game, but not the first instance of a non-pale Toad in the Mario franchise as a whole. The Super Mario Bros. Super Show featured a one-off Native American Toad named Pronto, a parody of Tonto from The Lone Ranger, in the episode "The Provolone Ranger".
person Rocko & Heffer calendar_month March 18, 2024
Alan Wake II
subdirectory_arrow_right Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League (Game), Sweet Baby Inc. (Company)
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2
person chocolatejr9 calendar_month March 8, 2024
"Sweet Baby Inc detected" Steam Curator list:
https://store.steampowered.com/curator/44858017-Sweet-Baby-Inc-detected/?appid=1934570

Sweet Baby Inc. front page:
https://sweetbabyinc.com/

General info:
https://kotaku.com/sweet-baby-inc-consulting-games-alan-wake-2-dei-1851312428

Article about the group (note the article is in German):
https://www.gamestar.de/artikel/sweet-baby-inc-detected-steam-kurator-hasskampagne,3409770.html

Accusation of "woke agenda":
https://www.eurogamer.net/spider-man-alan-wake-ridiculous-fishing-devs-speak-up-in-support-of-consultancy-studio-sweet-baby-inc

Employee statement:
https://dotesports.com/general/news/sweet-baby-inc-detected-drama-explained

Steam follower number:
https://www.themarysue.com/sweet-baby-inc-controversy-explained/

Kyle Rowley statement:
https://www.thegamer.com/going-after-alan-wake-2-for-being-woke-really-gives-the-game-away/

Kyle Rowley tweet:
https://twitter.com/TimePirateNinja/status/1764697135344202183

Stacey Henley quote:
https://www.thegamer.com/diversity-consultants-sweet-baby-inc-gaming-worse-live-service/

Curator statement about list purpose:
https://steamcommunity.com/groups/sweetbabyinc-detected/discussions/0/4302697419069965949/

Employee complaints:
https://thatparkplace.com/sweet-baby-inc-employee-begs-followers-to-report-steam-curator-that-tracks-sweet-baby-inc-s-involvement-in-video-games/

Zoë Quinn and Maya Felix Kramer DDoS tweets that were mentioned in the above article but not actually linked:
https://twitter.com/legobutts/status/439565200576892928
https://twitter.com/UnburntWitch/status/439565409780383744
https://twitter.com/UnburntWitch/status/439565723996655616

Steam Curator About page:
https://store.steampowered.com/about/curators/

Chris Kindred account limit and archived reaction:
https://thatparkplace.com/sweet-baby-inc-employee-who-tried-to-cancel-gamer-over-boycott-list-gets-x-account-limited/

Curator Steam Support tweet:
https://twitter.com/kabrutusrambo/status/1765907696887173127

Curator Steam Support community post:
https://steamcommunity.com/groups/sweetbabyinc-detected/announcements/detail/4128183566040620693

Article about claims of Sweet Baby's extent of their involvement:
https://thatparkplace.com/sweet-baby-inc-misinformation-campaign-about-how-much-influence-the-company-has-quickly-gets-exposed/

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League end credits with Sweet Baby section:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxWTfD9CHtQ#t=4475

Alan Wake II Game Developer article:
https://www.gamedeveloper.com/design/why-remedy-entertainment-went-all-in-on-saga-anderson-in-i-alan-wake-2-i-
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
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2
person VinchVolt calendar_month February 26, 2024
Kirby's Return to Dream Land
subdirectory_arrow_right Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe (Game)
4
Attachment Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe redesigns Wing Kirby's costume, changing the pattern on the headband to a series of straight lines, adding a red jewel on the front (similar to the kind seen on other Copy Ability hats), and replacing the rows of feathers on the back with arrangements that more closely resemble a bird's wings. As the original design was based on a Native American warbonnet, the redesign was likely to avoid cultural appropriation, as real-life warbonnets are regarded as sacred in tribal cultures and consequently can only be worn by those who have earned the right to do so.
person VinchVolt calendar_month December 25, 2023
YouTube video highlighting various changes made in the Nintendo Switch remake:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiLRSBsOiFA

Indian Country Today article on cultural appropriation of warbonnets:
https://web.archive.org/web/20170706114746/https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/culture/sports/houska-i-didnt-know-doesnt-cut-it-anymore/

Native Appropriations article on why wearing warbonnets as generic headgear is considered offensive among Native Americans:
https://web.archive.org/web/20160513074733/http://nativeappropriations.com/2010/04/but-why-cant-i-wear-a-hipster-headdress.html

Texas Law Review paper on Native American perspectives on cultural appropriation:
https://texaslawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/RileyCarpenter.FinalPDF.pdf
Psycho Soldier
2
Attachment The Commodore 64 version of Psycho Soldier may be one of the earliest instances of a video game character having their race swapped, where Athena is depicted as black on the loading screen and box art, while also being depicted as having a red/pink caucasian skin color in-game.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2
subdirectory_arrow_right Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway (Game), The Legend of Korra (Collection)
1
The 2023 game Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 was the first Nickelodeon product where Korra from The Legend of Korra isn't voiced as an adult by Janet Varney, instead being voiced by Jacqueline Grace Lopez, while Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway was the last time Varney portrayed the character in 2022. The reason for this is that Varney announced that year that she was stepping down from the role, because she wanted Korra to be voiced by a person of color, much as Korra herself is, following the announcement of a new Avatar: The Last Airbender movie starring Korra to be released in 2025.
person Rocko & Heffer calendar_month November 20, 2023
Janet Varney confirming that she was retiring from the role:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4t8JCGLM85M

List of Korra's actors:
https://www.behindthevoiceactors.com/characters/Avatar-The-Last-Airbender/Korra/

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 credits:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCXOsq0UT-Y#t=10074

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway credits:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYu9BRfLSDE#t=4370
Cuphead
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1
person Rocko & Heffer calendar_month November 18, 2023
The Oregon Trail
subdirectory_arrow_right The Oregon Trail (Game)
3
When The Oregon Trail was first being tested with 12-to-14 year olds at the Carlton College, the school faculty reacted negatively to offensive portrayals of Native American people in the game as tomahawk-wielding savages inspired by cowboy movies. While the developers of the game were initially offended by the prospect of changing the depiction, they eventually realized it was the right thing to do after questioning how an indigenous descendant would react to having to fight members of their race in the game.
Bad News Baseball
1
On the US box art for Bad News Baseball, one of the players is black. Despite this, the game does not have any skin-tone related character options, and all characters appear to be white or fair-skinned.
Fate/Grand Order
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4
McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure
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Wrecking Crew
subdirectory_arrow_right Mario (Franchise)
1
In the 2023 film "The Super Mario Bros. Movie", the Japanese name for the character Spike (the foreman from Wrecking Crew) was changed in the corresponding dub. Although no specific reason was given as to why the change was made, it can be assumed it was done to avoid controversy as the character's original Japanese name is "Blackie", which is also a derogatory racial slur in English-speaking countries used to refer to dark-skinned people of African descent.
Pokémon Platinum Version
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Dr. Mario 64
subdirectory_arrow_right Nintendo Puzzle Collection (Game)
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1