Little Devil Inside Dev Criticized Over Racist Stereotypes and PS5 Exclusivity
The character design is being changed as a result.
In 2017, Neostream teased some gameplay footage of Little Devil Inside, and at the time the release date was slated for 2018. Since then, things have changed and the game will now be launching exclusively on the PS5 for a limited time. However, backers of the Kickstarter project —that originally started in 2015— aren’t too impressed with this exclusivity, and to add fuel to the fire, the developer came under fire for the design of enemy characters in the trailer using racist stereotypes.
During the PS5 event that took place last week, Little Devil Inside got a lovely, quirky trailer. However, the developer had received social media criticism over the character design for the tribal enemies that appeared at one point because they shared similarities to stereotypical features of tribespeople. These features included big lips, dreadlocks, loincloths, and blowdarts.
The criticism led Neostream to issue a statement on Facebook. “Racist stereotypes of any kind were absolutely not intended,” the statement reads, “we were not aware of the stereotypical connotations and wish to apologize to anyone who may have been offended by the character design”
It continues, “no one (not just limited to team members) has ever commented or hinted on the character designs. However, these characters have not been revealed publicly elsewhere prior to the event.” Neostream explains the design for the characters, that the goal “was to create characters who are protectors/guardians of a particular mystic region in the world of Little Devil Inside. We were not producing character designs referenced on any real African and/or Afro-American human tribes.”
“The focus was on creating colorful masks and our designers were researching masks from all various cultures.” it was stated, with the developer going on to explain how characters use blowdarts to paralyze their targets, As for the mask, “We wished to add character to the mask design and give it life to it – something like the little Kakamora characters in Disney’s Moana.”
Neostream has announced that it will be making changes to the characters going forward “but if it ends up not being suitable to the game as a whole, we may change the design entirely.” The changes will include changing the skin tone, changing the bold lips, removing the dreadlocks, and tweaking the blowdart weapon “so it looks less like a joint.”
Regarding the platform exclusivity, in a Kickstarter update posted on June 13, the developer addressed the situation due to backers still waiting on PC and console versions of Little Devil Inside. The post explains “Little Devil Inside will be coming to the PlayStation 5 Systems (PS5) as a PlayStation “Timed” Exclusive title which means that the game will be available only on PS5 and no other consoles for a limited time, after which, it will be available on other consoles.”
Neostream continues, “we originally hoped for an all platform, concurrent release but for many reasons which we learned the hard way, this just was not possible.” However, it does clarify that this exclusivity does not affect plans to release on PC, and as such the PC version should launch around the same time as the PS5 version.
The post details that the priority right now is to get Little Devil Inside ready for a PS5/PS4 and PC release. Other platforms will follow after. Despite the game being a PS5 exclusive and still intended to launch on PC around the same time, backers have been vocal about the move stating that they regret backing the game, some confused as to whether the PS4 backing warrants a PS5 copy, and others crying for refunds.
At current, Little Devil Inside has no set release date, but it will be a PS5 console exclusive with a PC version launching around the same time. Other platforms will most likely be determined after the timed exclusive period comes to an end.