Consider symbols/settings you use in your game, and show them to people before you use them in your game.
Not long ago I learned something totally new about games production: people are politically very aware, and notice cultural aspects. Somebody might get offended if you don’t.
The image is here:
After showing this picture to people and explaining that these would be the evil/dark units in the game we got comments that the characters/symbols had similarities with the following themes:
Issue #1 – Similarity with Turkey’s flag
I agree that the symbol has similarities with Turkey’s flag (somebody said it reminded he about Islam/Turkey). Just look at the picture below and compare the flag with the symbol that units have (in the picture above). This is a coincidence – not intended.
First of all I need to say that I noticed the similarity and we discussed with the artist before we showed the concept art in public. I want to make it really clear to everybody that the similarity was a pure coincidence, and the image/symbols don’t reflect our opinions on any religions or Countries. We don’t think that Islam/Turkey is evil nor have any meaning to bring this kind of message to public. We change the symbol to some japanese/chinese character (maybe ‘evil/dark/black’ and ‘good/light/white’).
The main reason in bringing this issue up is that you fellow game producers can learn or be reminded as well. I don’t think we all need to do the same mistakes. The lesson learned: Remember to consider symbols/settings you use in your game and test them with people. It just might backfire to you if you ignore different cultures in global marketplace.
Issue #2 – Other similarities, although not so serious ones…
Similarity was found with Dr. Zoidberg (from the terrific Futurama series) and Cthulhu (the Lovecraft monster – great novels & great RPG game btw):
(Found this Cthulhu image using google picture search. The same image appeared on several pages, so if somebody can point me to author, I’d be happy to put his link here.)
As you can see, they have similarities with the Dark Chi Wizard. That was unintentional, but sometimes it just happens – I guess it’s the same as with game ideas: sometimes people get same kind of ‘unique’ game ideas just to find out someone else is already working on it… It’s fun to see how people can spot these kinds of things – and it’s fun to notice how people comment and bring these up.
In this case we won’t do any changes, our concept is ours and if it has similarities with any cartoon or fictional character, then be it.