Microsoft vetoed a black woman on cover for Fable II

Ex-Lionhead art director recalls marketing department "just didn't get it," insisted on a white male for Xbox 360 RPG.

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Z501796d ago (Edited 795d ago )


EDIT: (I didn't want to just s**t on MS)
After reading a bunch of comments saying it's "demographics" not racism. Coupled with (from article) "They said, what's the most unsuccessful Disney film? I was like, I don't know. They went, Princess and the Frog"

A couple questions arose.
1. People didn't like Princess and the Frog because the lead was black? How do they know this? source/proof
2. If people didn't like Princess and the Frog because the lead was black. Isn't that sorta racist/bigoted itself?
3. "We know what sells" - How would they know? Focus groups? What would someone in a focus group have to say? 'I don't like that cover because it's a black female' Isn't that sorta racist/bigoted too?

I've personally haven't played Fable 2, but I was under the impression that you could create your character OR alter the character appearance/gender. If not, then this ISN'T racist/bigoted on MS part.
BUT... If it's true that people/gamers won't buy a game because there's a black female on the cover. What does that say about said "demographic"???

How many people do you guys know have admitted they're racist? I assume, none to not many. That must mean racist don't exist, right? Think about it.

The "Sad" part is, the MS guy basically said 'A huge portion of our audience won't buy this game JUST BECAUSE there's a black female on the cover'

Retroman796d ago (Edited 795d ago )

Know thy truth and it Shall set you free indeed.

and they say Discrimination do not exist anymore.

what difference do it make what race on the cover jacket money still green.

Fable 2 will have less sales because person of color on FRONT cover really???

here it is 2016 we still have hatred of a human being color no matter how hard that person learn his/her craft,skill,trade still treated like mud, wages still lower than white co-worker with SAME education level.
in the white world a color person is good long as he has a bat,basketball,football in his hands, tell stale jokes as a comedian.
other than that he's a non-factor body to the white race there are people of color everywhere around the world but according to the "white race" there is!!! no other race but the white race. as a child watching tv Wild kingdom with Marlon Perkin, National geographic countries around the world all i seen was Europeans except occasionally Africans in Africa but portray as (SAVAGES) uneducated wild men. but... as i mature and learnt the REAL Savages are (white americans). you see it in classic western cowboy movies. disguise as indians, "REAL" indians in background while white americans dress,painted red as Indians in fore-front making real indians look bad as savages. "REAL Indians" are peaceful,love nature,love people,helpful, beautiful spirit. POWWOW is awesome. Asian people,Chinese,Japanese people,Haitians,Africans,Somal ians afro-americans did not exist in my mine back in the day no broadcast co. would show anyone of color on tv back in the 60's all this from "MY" experience. so, people of color dont exist in leading role in video games nor in movies........................ . . is WHAT it is and how it is,and always will be that way. those of you think im closed minded think again...........YOU ARE to truth and facts of life.

all 69 disagree is white gamers 26 non white gamers agree.............see discrimination is alive on here as well.

if you cant speak your mind why be alive??
if i said i was white would my disagrees change?? probably!
white americans "CAN'T see the truth with white privilege that others don't have or born with.

im a Asian

truth be known

Lord_Sloth796d ago

I'm sorry but isn't the hero of Fable 2 white no matter what? Why would the cover sport a black character to represent a white hero? That actually doesn't make sense.

I don't agree that a black character would negatively impact sales but in this case it's kind of false advertising.

thekhurg796d ago


Who cares. Video game cover.

BrandanT796d ago

If race doesn't matter to anyone, then why do people care if he/she is white, black, yellow, red, brown, or polka dot for God's sake!

343_Guilty_Spark796d ago (Edited 796d ago )


Pretty sure with a black female on the cover, the game's character would be black and female.

Grap796d ago Show
JackStraw796d ago Show
zb1ftw777796d ago Show
zeuanimals796d ago


You realize you're able to choose between different sexes for your character, meaning they could also allow you to change the race of the characters as well.

And to the people who are saying it'd be discriminating against white people if they put a black character on the cover instead, did you even read the article? The devs were told that it has to be a white male on the cover. There were heated arguments about this. They were told "no black people on the cover", "it's not what sells, just look at the most unsuccessful Disney movie of all time, The Princess and the Frog". But no, apparently that's not discrimination. But simply putting a black person on the cover? Apparently that's discrimination to you.

JackBNimble796d ago

@ gt67
You are just as much of a Bigot as any other racist out there , and what you said is highly offensive .

sammarshall102796d ago (Edited 796d ago )

I couldn't care less who is on the cover just make the game good

Alexander1Nevermind795d ago

How can we embrace diversity without actually being diverse,,,,,, Shame on a major company like MS if this is true.

Kingthrash360795d ago

I've been black my entire life.
What I've seen from the perspective of being black in america:
1.Every race has racist people.. black white hispanics Asians matter what there are idiots in all races.
2. Blacks suffer from racism the most. That's just fact. I can't count how many times I was falsly accused of stealing or followed in stores or pulled over or refused seating in restaurants.....alot...Like at least one of these twice a week alot.
3. Blacks don't care. It become the normal sadly. Living here in America where you were born and raised but still get looked at like you don't belong are the norm. We are ok with it. We feel bad for racist people missing out on how awsome other races are.

That whaaaaatt! This would have matter more back when it was first released or before...but now? Like a decade later? So what. Racism is alive and well sadly but I see tons of improvement in all people in the US...all I ask is keep the RACIST BS OUT OF MY GAMING LIFE!

stuna1795d ago

People talking about People don't think!? Here's something to think about! Maybe the black woman on the cover was the antagonist???

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SonyWarrior795d ago (Edited 795d ago )

i know i personally wouldnt buy a game with a minority on the cover. the cover should be used to promote what the game is about not about being politically correct.

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iTechHeads796d ago

Not really. How many black women do you think play video games? Its is surely a very small amount compared to the typical white male gamer that plays games.

Its not racism. Its catering to the games biggest potential audience.

jholden3249796d ago

^^^^ This

True equality is true reprentation of the audience. Pull up the stats on how many Fable gamers are black women. Doubt it's even close to a majority. It's not about race, it's about who is buying and playing the game.

KwietStorm796d ago (Edited 796d ago )

Oh so that's why most game leads are white males. They're just catering to the majority and ignoring the rest of the human race. I get it now. Makes so much sense. Just like movies. And awards. And advertisements. And job promotions.


BrandanT796d ago

Kwiet, affirmative action says hi.

Erik7357796d ago

Pretty sure sims had gay marriage before fable 2 but idk

DragonKnight796d ago

What's sad is A) Current year arguments and B) That suits and representation ideologues are still so out of touch with actual gamers that they are not yet aware that we couldn't give a rat's a$$ about who is on the cover.

Is the game good? Then we'll find out and buy it, never once caring about box art UNLESS it's a Collector's Edition, then we care for money purposes only.

And for games with character creation, either go the way of Soulsborne and have a generic, androgynous, fully armored protagonist on the cover; or put multiple characters of varying ethnicities, genders, or races on the cover. That would be accurate to the game.

Either way, stop feeding the SJWs because they never shut up about it and then we end up getting TrigglyPuff.

Spenok795d ago

Doing the research of about 2 min... it turns out Howl's Moving Castle is their worst performer, although that's a technicality, as they didn't make it, only help produce it for the states. If we're talking about actual Disney made properties, Teacher's Pet from 2004 makes this list, at 6.5 million on a 10 million budget.

Now how about we delve a little further and look at one of their actually well known movies. The rescuers down under fits this bill, although there are several other disney properties that fit this bill truly. The Princess and the Frog did quite well for itself, finishing currently at ~100 million.

NOW on to MS. Even if the statement were true, they have every right to decide what goes on the cover of their games, regardless of what that reason is. If what they said is true, it's actually not racist of THEM to say that, but racist of the consumers who wouldn't buy it for that reason.

To 'try' and answer your question.

1) I've no idea, but it's BS based on the info I gave above. I'm an adult white male and I enjoyed that movie.
2) Technically no, the definition of racist is to believe one race is superior to another. So not liking it because she's black doesn't make you a racist UNLESS you hold the view of blacks being of a lesser race at the same time. This answer could get ridiculously long to be fair, but I'll leave it at bigoted fits the bill of what you described more.
3) Focus groups would be one of the answers, sales history of their own, and rival companies. However the second part of your question is entirely irrelevant to the first part, as Disney isn't responsible for what focus groups would say.

To answer another part of your comment you were able to fully customize your character, to include gender and race.

Long story short on this whole article, it was written to create controversy over something LONG past, and ridiculous. This website that very few have ever heard of cherry picked this portion of the interview from Eurogamer just to piss people off. Racism exists on a personal level, plain and simple.

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thorstein795d ago (Edited 795d ago )

Princess and the Frog:
Total Lifetime Grosses
Domestic: $104,400,899 39.1%
+ Foreign: $162,644,866 60.9%
= Worldwide: $267,045,765

Doesn't sound too shabby to me. It is a great film. I watched it with my white wife, white kids, and white self. Why wouldn't I, it is a great film.

Sorry I didn't stay segregated like I was supposed to, 'merica.

BTW Assassin's Creed Liberation (Black Woman on cover and protagonist) is considered a success.

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BrandanT796d ago

I guess it represents the majority: a white male. The only demographic that is not considered a minority.

zb1ftw777796d ago

And the demographic that is most discriminated against.

BrandanT796d ago (Edited 796d ago )

So true, the whole equality argument is a bunch of bull. It's more like role-reversal. What's a man suppose to do when everything is potentially racist?

I'm honestly scared of applying for colleges. I'm a white guy, and the whole affirmative action thing makes it harder to get into a better school. Even if my life is worse off than that of a minority.

Zeref796d ago

white male the most discriminated against? how ignorant...

game4funz796d ago

Agreed. If you mistreat a white person being white... Everything is fine.
If you mistreat a black person being white yourself.... All hell breaks loose.

Same goes now with all kinds of things like homosexuality etc... Nothing will happen if you mistreat someone based on religion their religion especially if their Catholic.... Unless of course they're Muslim.... Then all hell breaks loose again....

Lots of discrimination against the ones assumed to be doing the discriminating.

FunkyBoy796d ago

Boo hoo buddy, this only been happening for the past couple years and I admit it's been going to far. But u guys only been scratching the surface. I'm Asian lived mostly in southern states, TN, KY, and IN. Experienced this throughout my life thanks to most media and most white people in general. Not so fun is it

Trez1234796d ago

You must be joking with that statement

OverdosedWitDopeness796d ago

Lol are u serious? So many closet racists in the N4G gaming community from looking at the agrees to disagrees SMH.

KwietStorm796d ago

It's depressing that this society has twisted your mind so much to believe what you just said.

SirJohnnyVincent796d ago

haha you have no idea what discrimination is do you?

BrandanT796d ago

Exactly, people do not even care enough to hear out my story. My god, are you all so close minded to not even give my words some credence.
It's like back in the day when black didn't have much of a voice, but I guess everyone will just see me as some damn privileged white regardless of situation.

UnwanteDreamz796d ago (Edited 795d ago )

This is typical and sad. Victims of descrimination? Do you pathetic people have any sense of history? Brandan T you think affirmative action keeps you down? It was the answer to descrimination. Blame the generations that came before us for treating minorities like less than human beings. You do realise that minorities were kept from enough opportunity that the federal gov had to make laws to help. So entrenched in racial hatred and nepotism that is the history of my nation. Equality a joke? Everything Racist? You sound like an extremist who lives in a bubble. My only solace is knowing your mindset is becoming so irrelevant that hopefully in another generation or two it might be seen for what it is. Ignorant racebaiting covert racial predudice.

To the other commenters above who also took issue with this. N4G is a reflection of gaming demographics. White males make up the majority. I'm cool with that and have been my entire life but you wont have a meaningful discussion on race issues here. What you will get is the kind of race baiting Sharpton would admire.

Just remember that these kinds of sentiments are becoming more rare. They will get louder in their deaththrows but the outcome is worth the annoyance .

BrandanT795d ago

Closet racist? What the hell is with the slander and libel?
I just hate laws that give anyone else a better advantage. All I want is for everyone in this world to have equal playing ground. I wish everyone saw each other eye to eye. I don't like gender and ethnic related scholarships, I don't like how men get the short end of the stick with women in courts, and I don't like how women still need to ask for equal wages even after all this time.

You know why I don't care for race? Martin Luther King Jr. Said it best. "Judge a man not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character."

UnwanteDreamz795d ago (Edited 795d ago )


As long as you continue to ignore facts history and context then I would say closet bigot. Not racist. I know white people experience discrimination and it's wrong but perpetuation of the myth that white people are just as or more discriminated against is not helping anyone yourself included.

I hope you get into the college you deserve. I hope that you don't rush to blame affirmative action if you don't. You may see affirmative action as something that lets people "cut in line" but it was created to let people in the line. What you see as preferred treatment others see as lvling the playing field. I hope to see it disappear too one day because it is not needed.

BrandanT795d ago (Edited 795d ago )

But I'm not trying to ignore history. I just see that we're such a progressed society since then. I'm just in high school and I could easily see that in this generation everyone seem to see each other as equal. It's starting to look like everyone has mutual love for one of another.
I just think these laws are starting to have less of place now. I know why they were needed then, but so much has changed in the decades since.

I'd be happy to actually share my story with anyone who will pm me.

UnwanteDreamz795d ago


I think we agree on that then. Your generation is so much more tolerant then my own. I see it in my own highschool aged kids. Some of the protections given to minorities are outdated some of the laws are becoming unnecessary. I do hope I haven't come off as a person that doesn't understand that it can be hard to be white in todays society. I don't envy the flak sometimes thrown your way. It's wrong to judge people on skin color afterall.

I just think more understanding and less pointing fingers about who has it worse is what's needed. I wish you the best.

BrandanT795d ago

I apologize as well. I always had trouble coming off as too blunt, and maybe that's why I don't always seem reasonable.

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SonyWarrior795d ago

not considered a minority because they make up like 80-90% of the population in the us.... its simple math really

BrandanT795d ago

That's not considering children, right?

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Frinker796d ago

getting sick of microsoft's s***

yarbie1000796d ago ShowReplies(17)
jb227796d ago

Yeah they are great at making shady moves, glossing over details to get fans & media to fill in best case scenario ideas behind them, only for the real truth to come out months later to be swept immediately under the rug.

Case in point: IGN has an article up with details on the Lionhead closure (that for some reason doesn't seem to be submitted to N4G even though it is more interesting than half of the recent news on the site)...the article says that MS receiving tons of letters of intent from publishers wanting to buy & save Lionhead, but MS refused all offers because these publishers reasonably wanted the IP Fable to go along with it. Ok, fair enough, it's MS' ip to do as they please, so if they'd rather leave the flesh & blood people out to dry in order to hang onto a property that they may never do anything with, that's their prerogative.

Where it gets really fishy is the Legends fiasco. I saw tons of MS supporters on here saying that it's Lionhead's fault the studio is closing because they decided to go the Free to Play route which resulted in a game that Fable fans didn't want...they wanted a proper sequel. When I suggested that maybe Lionhead didn't have a say in the matter, I was told that I'm crazy, that MS gives devs ALL the freedom. Well today we found out that Lionhead wanted to make Fable 4...they had a story & characters & art all ready to go, made the pitch to MS, and MS refused it, shooting it down because they said that they wanted Lionhead to be going the "games as service" route, hence Legends.

So ultimately the scenario that myself & a few others suggested, that MS forced Lionhead into making a game they didn't want to make, only to turn around & cancel the game & close the studio when said game turned out poorly. So that's definitive proof that Lionhead's closure was no fault of their own, it was clearly a result of restrictive mismanagement on MS' part. Really classy move. Wish this stuff would be brought out further in the open so things like this don't happen behind closed doors in the gaming industry anymore, but console warriors continue to shield & protect the people who are actively hurting their favorite pasttime, all for the sake of pointless competition.

Magnes796d ago

@Dookie_monster it's a shame we the bubble system went away now trolls like you get to run ramped least everyone on n4g knows you for what you are

Hold_It796d ago

I just came here to say you have the perfect dislike to like ratio. 9/11

That is all.

Godmars290796d ago

MS certainly didn't want to risk the IP going multi - onto the PS4 - especially after cancelling a title.

game4funz796d ago

You are stretching the truth. No where does it say they didn't want to not do the game they were creating.

They got bored.... Thats their problem... Not Microsofts. They had over 3 years to finish a simple game. They're currently full of excuses... Not to. Mention contradiction.

When the game was canceled they came out saying how no one saw it coming. That they wanted really much to finish the game etc etc etc.... Now the story changes to that they never wanted to create the game to begin with and it's Microsoft fault etc etc. And that they could see it coming but didn't expect not to finish the game.

Haru796d ago

Microsoft is the worst publisher ever

CrimzonRazor795d ago

They closed lionhead because they dumped a large amount of money into legend and the game was a huge turd its called cutting your losses.

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Imalwaysright795d ago


Europe isn't a country, it's a continent and Europe more racist than the States? Is that a joke?

Z501796d ago

US geeks will buy a game with a 'blue dragon' on the cover, but a black woman on the cover... Ewwww, f**k no!

lastking95796d ago (Edited 795d ago )

Sad truth be told.....that probably true. People are racist to go along with sexist and I'd bet money some wouldn't have bought fable had it been a black woman

Did i say all. Do your eyes not see that four letter word "some"

exkalibur97796d ago

love you just assume everyone is racist and sexist lol we had a meeting and decided woman and people of color dont matter XD the fuck outta here with that shit, if isis doesnt represent islam a few racist and sexist guys shouldnt represent games now should it?

pasta_spice796d ago

But even if racist/sexist people DIDN'T buy the game based solely on the cover, I doubt it would have much of an effect on sales. In the end, they're only hurting themselves by not buying a potentially good game based on the race or gender of the protagonist.

gangsta_red796d ago

You'd be surprised.

I mean look at the flack people gave Star Wars when they saw a Black Storm Trooper. Then you get people going ape shit when their favorite white comic book character is portrayed by a black actor.

Even still you have to wonder how many african/americans have graced the covers of video games that wasn't related to sports.

Shame, MS should have grown some balls and just did it instead of conforming to the status norm.

SuicidalTendencies796d ago (Edited 796d ago )

The comic book characters have more to do with staying true to the source material. There is no good reason to change the race or gender of a character that has been around for decades. People would prefer they just create new comic book characters who are black or whatever instead of changing the old ones. Shit like that does more damage than good and fuels the fires of racism or sexism.

Edit: Meant decades, not centuries. My mind must have been elsewhere.

garrettbobbyferguson796d ago

The excuse was that people are racist. Except people gave zero flack over Lando (Billy Dee Williams) another black dude. So how would you explain that?

gangsta_red796d ago (Edited 796d ago )


Source material? That would hold true if the source material required that character be a certain race/ethnicity/religion because it directly ties to their origin or powers. For instance it would make no sense for Black Panther to be played by a white person since he is of African decent. But Nick Fury, Johnny Storm, makes no difference what color they are since there backstory has nothing to do with where they are from and what color they could be.


I'm not sure what point you are trying to make here. Lando was a bit character that no one really cares about. But there were people upset that a storm trooper was black.

Point is there are people that get upset about race even in this day and age.

There was a recent ad campaign by Old Navy that showed an interracial family.

It's a shame that something that is really so common (at least in Cali) could even spark debate, support or outrage.

And I'm out of bubbles.

343_Guilty_Spark796d ago


Unless their ethnicity is crucial to their origin story then a character can be portrayed by any race.

Spiderman for example is just some nerdy guy who happened to get bit by a radioactive spider. He could honestly be black, white, yellow, red, green whatever.


Black Panther has to be African because he is the King of an African Country. The story wouldn't work at all if he were a white guy.

garrettbobbyferguson796d ago (Edited 796d ago )

"Lando was a bit character that nobody cares about"

Piss off with this stupid crap. People loved Lando. Not to mention he even went on to pilot the Falcon for the Rebellion. Once again, no one complained about this. People dislike Boyega because he's not exactly very easy on the eyes.

game4funz796d ago

Actually portraying an originally white superhero as suddenly being black is racist indeed... Why not leave the white superhero stay white and create a new black superhero... What is so difficult in doing that... It makes us feel discriminated against.

zeuanimals796d ago (Edited 796d ago )

Alternatively, Steve Roger's has to be white because he grew up in the Great Depression as a poor Irish Catholic kid, and his Catholicism helped make him the man he is. Same with Matt Murdock, Irish Catholic except not born in the Great Depression.

Other people donning the Daredevil or Captain America names can be whatever else that they are, but Steve Roger's and Matt Murdock have to be white, Irish looking people.


And people dislike Boyega because he's one of the main characters and he's the first character we ever get to see from the trailers. Lando was largely a side character. Certain audiences don't mind minorities in minor roles (get it?), but it doesn't go well with those audiences when the minorities are the leads.


Characters have to be as they were originally envisioned? I guess all of those retcons never happened.

Godmars290796d ago


Peter Parker's Spiderman is white for the same reason that T'Challa as the Black Panther is black: its how the characters were originally envisioned.

If Miles Moralas had been introduced back in the when the original Spiderman was introduced, and became popular, THEN there would be no issue with him today. Much in the same way as the Phantom, a white superhero based in Africa, has remained popular and likely served as inspiration for Black Panther. Cause that how Marvel do back in the day. They took "inspiration" from heroes from other established comic companies.

The reason such has become issue now was making the Human Torch black when he was an established white character and the whole stink with Lady Thor cause she was literally taking Thor's name while people who have yet to buy an issue gave the comic community the middle finger over the whole thing.

With Fable MS had opportunity to effect the series, make it open ended and multifaceted by not going to what they were making into established tropes, and they didn't. End of story.

That such a choice proved to be the end of Fable as Lionhead tried to go beyond the character established from the first game is besides the point.

lawgone795d ago

It's funny you point out the flack "people" gave Star Wars for having a female lead and black storm trooper but fail to mention just how tiny that population of complainers was. If it truly were a large group it wouldn't have been viewed by the larges f***inf audience ever. Clearly, the vast majority of people had no issue with it! But hey, let's talk about the tiny groups and make like it's everyone.

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ShaunCameron796d ago (Edited 796d ago )

Yet they had no problem buying a game with a Black male lead called Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.