From milking an invisible cow in Nintendo’s One-Two-Switch to the fur apparel of Warhammer 40,000’s mighty space marines, PETA has voiced its “concerns” over the abuse of animals in gaming. Video games may not be real, but that isn’t stopping the animal rights group from complaining about them.
While most game developers are keen to ignore their complaints, one studio appears to have capitulated to the demands of animal liberation activists. Complaints to Japanese game publisher Bandai Namco have landed their mark, and the studio is removing a boxing kangaroo named Roger Jr. from its upcoming fighting game, Tekken 7.
It’s unclear whether it was PETA that lodged any complaints, but executive producer Katsuhiro Harada says sensitivities towards kangaroos prompted the developers to omit Roger Jr.
“There was a video of a man’s dog being headlocked by a kangaroo, and he punched it in the face. It turned into a big problem,” said Harada, referring to the controversy that arose after an Australian man slugged a wild kangaroo to save his dog’s life. As our own William Hicks noted, kangaroos are known to beat the crap out of people and the guy only did what was necessary to free his dog before he backed off.
“People were complaining about him punching a kangaroo. It seems that in the last few years there’s a lot more animal activists—even though they probably wouldn’t play our game they would still hear about that, about a kangaroo in our game being punched, and would complain about it,” continued Harada, referring no doubt to the increase in complaints from social justice warriors who find things to complain about whenever the opportunity arises.
Harada himself is no fan of social justice warriors (a term he uses), having previously slammed “ill-informed” critics for not respecting cultural differences. The developer has received many a complaint about his games, some of which depict scantily-dressed characters—both male and female. Polygon, of course, was more than eager to rip into him for calling out the critics, too.
Roger Jr. isn’t the only animal to appear in the Tekken games. He used to appear alongside Kuma, a grizzly bear, who will not be cut from the game because he is, as Harada notes, “obviously stronger than a human being.”