Here's the story: A player was temporarily banned from the PlayStation Network after sharing a photo (NSFW) of the explicit genitalia he discovered in the game Watch Dogs 2. Controversy ensued. Publisher Ubisoft freaked out about the avatar's crotch, released a public apology and explained how it would fix the vagina issue.
Sounds shocking, right?
The thing is, pixellated genitalia in the game will stop seeming so weird when you actually play the game. In Watch Dogs 2, which is rated mature, you eavesdrop on half the city of San Francisco and discover they're all talking about sex.
Watch Dogs 2 is an open-world game, specifically a loving re-creation of the city of San Francisco and its surrounding areas. That means you spend a healthy amount of time just exploring for the heck of it, taking advantage of the ability to eavesdrop on everyone along the way.
When I played, I kept hearing the same things over and over again. San Francisco, apparently, loves its sexy time.
Watch Dogs 2 controversy: Gamers decry PlayStation Network ban for sharing in-game content
The controversy was kicked off on Sunday when a player who goes by Swizzasaur on Twitter posted the screenshot. (The PlayStation 4 makes sharing on social media pretty easy.)
Sony, the PS4's developer, suspended Swizzasaur. "Content of an adult or sexual nature is against our Code of Conduct," read the warning as shared by Swizzasaur, who also goes by Goron2000 on the popular NeoGAF video game message boards.
The question in the minds of gamers and critics was whether or not it was fair for Sony to suspend a player for sharing something he found in the game, something Sony had approved for distribution — not creating potentially offensive material.
In other words, the community argued, the game developers were ultimately responsible for the image, not Swizzasaur.
Sony lifted the suspension on Nov. 15. Polygon reported the same day that Ubisoft was developing a patch to remove the vaginas from the game.
"We're aware that one of the NPC models in Watch Dogs 2 is rendered in a way that is particularly explicit," Ubisoft told Polygon in a statement. "While Watch Dogs 2 is a mature-rated game, we apologize and will update this NPC model to make it more consistent with other NPC models in the game in a patch to be released this week. We are also working with our first-party partners to ensure that players can continue to play and share all content from the game within the bounds of the first parties' respective codes of conduct."
Watch Dogs 2 gameplay: Hacking reveals the sexy side of San Francisco
Watch Dogs 2 is so saturated with sex that the idea of fully rendered genitalia in the game ceases to feel quite so strange.
The game takes place in a world where urban digital networks are wired directly into citywide traffic and surveillance systems, and, of course, into everyone's smartphones as well. You play as a member of DedSec, a hacktivist group that stands against the growth of these digital networks. As a hacker, you naturally have the ability to tap into the smartphone of any person you see on the street.
Rather than stealing or hijacking a car to get across the map in Watch Dogs 2, I prefer to travel by foot. That's mostly because it leaves me time to hack into peoples' phones and see what I can find. Sometimes it's money. Other times it's text or audio conversations I can eavesdrop on. Many of them are about banging.
Watch Dogs 2 genitalia: Straight-up, this game is obsessed with sex
What's surprised me about my Watch Dogs 2 experience so far is that I'm still not bored of spying on people's phones. I still prefer to run through the city rather than drive to each destination.
It's like the game has tapped into some kind of OCD response as I incessantly hack everyone to see what I can steal from them. This is what vigilante justice in the near future looks like, folks.
Based on my experience, Watch Dogs 2 treats sex so irreverently as to make me wonder whether rendering vaginas in the game was some developer's way of prodding conservative sensibilities. The fact that a picture of a vagina in Watch Dogs 2 got a PlayStation 4 user banned from PlayStation Network almost immediately might have proved this hypothetical developer's point.
Correction: Nov. 22, 2016