Little Devil Inside developer Neostream has apologized for including racist stereotypes in a teaser trailer shown during the recent PlayStation 5 showcase.
The studio said it had received a "series of inquiries" relating to a characters featured in the trailer that fed into archaic and offensive racial stereotypes by depicting enemies with dark skin, dreadlocks, and large lips.
According to the developer, the characters in question were intended to be "protectors or guardians of a particular mystic region in the world of Little Devil Inside," and were not created in reference to any "real African and/or Afro-American human tribes."
Irrespective of its intentions, the studio has acknowledged the mistake and pledged to fix the design by removing the dreadlocks, changing the bold lips, altering the skin tone, and tweaking the dart blower "so it looks less like a joint." If those fixes aren't deemed adequate, the team said it may change the design entirely.
'Racist stereotypes of any kind were absolutely not intended, we were not aware of the stereotypical connotations and wish to apologize to anyone who may have been offended by the character design," said the studio on Facebook.
"In addition, 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.
"The focus was on creating colorful masks and our designers were researching masks from all various cultures. As characters in the game, they move in groups and use blow darts that paralyze when hit. 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. However, regardless of our intentions, if any people were offended in any way, we sincerely apologize."