05/01/2012 13:01 GMT

Star Wars: The Old Republic Attacked For 'Slave And Torture' Content

Star Wars: The Old Republic has received good reviews and strong growth since its launch over Christmas - but now it's receiving a different kind of attention.

A controversial debate has sprung up online about a non-player character in the game, whom players are reportedly encouraged to abuse, torture and humiliate.

Vette, described as a "slave, treasure hunter and survivor" on the Old Republic website, is a blue-skinned alien who accompanies Sith players in their course through the game.

When a player first meets Vette she is fitted with an electric slave collar that allows her to be shocked into submission, as well as tortured, humiliated and even forced to watch sex acts.

One character in the game reportedly says: "give her enough juice and she'll show you the back door to her mother's house" in what could be construed as innuendo.

Like most aspects of the massively-multiplayer online game, of course, players can choose to treat Vette well if they want to and badly if they prefer.

Some players seem to have taken more to the latter, however, and there are reports of players bawdily comparing rankings of how much Vette dislikes them and how horrible they have been the innocent blue alien.

Mike Fahey wrote in Kotaku:

"I cannot remember a single video game experience that has made me feel quite as dirty and evil as my relationship with Vette has. I wish I could take it all back, but it's too late; BioWare has made me hate myself. That was not the emotional engagement I was looking for."

Other reports have been even less kind, and some newspapers have taken it as wider evidence of declining morals in video games - which is a long-standing and controversial debate in itself.

Regardless of where you stand, if you're playing The Old Republic tonight maybe cut Vette some slack. It sounds like she's had it rough lately...