Catherine: Full Body Leaked Ending Causes Controversy for Alleged Transphobic Content
A ResetEra thread summarized interpretations of the Catherine: Full Body ending, with perceived transphobic scenarios causing an uproar.
There has been increasing anxiety from queer spaces of the gaming community regarding Catherine: Full Body, the remastered version of the unusual, off-kilter romantic puzzle-platformer game. Most recently, a spoiler-heavy ResetEra thread went more into detail about the ending of the game, which brought to light a plot element involving the waitress character of Erica that has sparked an outcry.
Expect spoilers for Catherine: Full Body ahead.
This PS4 and Vita version of Catherine (the latter not coming to the West) initially caused concerns with a new character named Rin, with some imagery invoking interpretations of transphobia. Most infamously, images of Vincent in shock while looking at Rin and her naked body was perceived as the story using a transphobic trope—essentially implying that Rin is a transgender woman as some form of comedy.
A leaked cutscene for Full Body on Reddit (now removed due to copyright reasons) seemed to show that this wasn’t necessarily the case—Rin was not a transgender woman, but some sort of extraterrestrial being. Perhaps a sigh of relief for the concerned, but many on Twitter argued that the “shocked” imagery still delved into coded transphobic imagery regardless.
Somehow, Atlus continued to invite similar controversy for their story. The aforementioned ResetEra thread pointed to tweets describing the new ending of Full Body: the character of Catherine essentially goes back in time to give the rest of the cast a “better life,” with one of the major changes being that the character of Erica never transitions to being a woman. To many, this is yet another transphobic trope that implies that never transitioning leads to a “happier” life.
Some give the benefit of the doubt of a possible mistranslation, misinterpretation, lack of context, or some sort of missed irony—some have even attempted to justify the alleged ending by citing “cultural differences” with Japan. There are also suggestions within the ResetEra thread that the ending depicts Erica pre-transition or with a delayed transition—but many are doubtful that is the case.
Much of that doubt from queer circles stems from the alleged ending perceived as consistent with the marketing surrounding Rin, treatment towards LGBTQ+ characters in previous Atlus titles (such as the Persona games), and how the credits of the original Catherine “deadnamed” Erica, meaning that her name at birth was cited and mentioned.
For a better understanding of the magnitude of controversy, competitive Catherine players have denounced the game, the story, and its writer. Most prominently, David Broweleit AKA Dacidbro declared that he was quitting the game:
I am quitting Catherine – cw: severe transphobia
— David Broweleit (@Dacidbro) February 16, 2019
Dacidbro’s “longer” tweet cited “sloppy, hateful” writing for Erica, stating his devastation for the competitive community and encouraging others to not “hold it against those who continue to compete in this genre.” Likewise, speedrunner Ghoul02 who played Catherine at GDQ stating that he would no longer support the game until “there’s more information or a change” (per Competitive Catherine on Twitter).
I’m the guy that did the Catherine speedruns in GDQs and a pretty big advocate for the game in general. However, the new things coming out about the game’s story (which I didn’t watch on my playthrough) I can’t support unless there’s more information or a change. pic.twitter.com/5DxuqmV1PH
— Ghoul02 (@ghoul02) February 16, 2019
This story as a whole is still developing, with Catherine: Full Body still undergoing through localization and not releasing in the West until this September. While seeds of doubt and theories of mistranslations and the ending simply being “rumor” are carried by some, the fallout from the rest of the gaming community, particularly in both queer spaces and the competitive scene, are quite evident.
For those interested in buying the game, Catherine: Full Body is available in the West exclusively on PS4 beginning September 3, 2019.