Former Insomniac Games artist Xavier Coelho-Kostolny took to Twitter to reveal that several Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart developers had a heated argument about Rivet looking “stereotypically more feminine”, despite the fact that she’s not a human character and Ratchet wasn’t made to look like a stereotypical male.
Coelho-Kostolny wrote a lengthy thread in response to recent accusations of sexism and harassment at Activision Blizzard, arguing that even small things like the aforementioned problem build up over time to create toxic, hostile environments toward women. According to him, the feud revolved around adding “visible breasts” and “wider hips” to Rivet, among other things.
Part of the thread reads:
The discussion – or rather the argument – was actually about whether we should make Rivet look more stereotypically feminine. That is, if she has wider hips, exposed breasts (or humps in her suit), and other physical features we normally associate with cartoonish women. The argument basically broke down like this:
The game director and art director wanted her to have a visible, fairly stereotypically feminine look.
The lead writer, the main character TD, and I wanted to keep her as she is.
This is where things hit the ground running that guys like me in game developers have to pay REALLY FUCKING ACCURATE ATTENTION.
Two-thirds of the women on the team, as well as a cis-white male (me), told the art director and game director that, being an alien space fox, Rivet shouldn’t have wide hips and tits. We believed that:
1. It went against the message of the game that anyone can be a hero no matter what they look like
2. You don’t have to be stereotypically feminine to be a woman
3. RIVET IS A FUCKING FOREIGN SPACE FOX, LIKE RATCHET
The fight had been going on for about half an hour before I finally pulled one of the framed Ratchet and Clank posters off the wall, put it in front of both cords and told them to look at that damn thing and tell me how much Ratchet saw look like a human man.
Coelho-Kostolny claims the argument more or less ended there, but left everyone frustrated. He left Insomniac Games a few weeks later, noting that some of the other developers involved in the argument no longer work in the studio either.