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Ion Fury developers double down on homophobic statements, refuse to remove content from game

Ion Fury

Voidpoint, the developers behind retro first person shooter Ion Fury, has released a joint statement with their publisher, retracting previous statements concerning homophobic content in their game. The decision comes as Voidpoint says it does not “support censorship of creative works of any kind”.

The homophobic content had been discovered through a noclip cheat, showing a room that had the text ‘fagbag’ written on it. In bathrooms, there are hand soap bottles that say ‘Ogay’. When combined with the Discord leaks which showed a variety of troubling statements, it painted a very unflattering picture of members of the Voidpoint team.

It’s not all that surprising that the developer would make this decision. A quick perusal of the screenshots from their own statements on Discord, which are laden with casual misogyny, transphobia and other general awfulness, demonstrates a willing ignorance and refusal to understand criticism. Anyone paying attention to this issue could tell that the developers just wanted a quick payoff from the controversy before they fully embraced their nonsense and wore it like a badge of honor, which is exactly what they’re doing.

This is a direct reversal of previous plans the developer had to remove said bigoted content, in a statement on the controversy to Eurogamer, Voidpoint said: “We recognise these statements are insensitive, unacceptable, and counterproductive to causes of equality. We unequivocally apologise both for these comments and language as well as for any pain they have caused the gaming community, particularly women and members of the LGBTQ community. We take full responsibility for any damage that has been done to the relationships we’ve worked so hard to build.”

The company has also pledged to make a $10,000 donation, part of the profits from the game, to The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization aimed at assisting suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. The developer also planned to undergo sensitivity training to reduce these incidents in the future. Both of these plans are now up in the air at best, and outright canned at worst.

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“Moving forward, Voidpoint will institute a zero-tolerance policy for this type of language and all employees and contractors will undergo mandatory sensitivity training. As part of our efforts to contribute to the work that must be done to further support these communities, we are donating $10,000 from Ion Fury’s release day proceeds to The Trevor Project. We are also patching Ion Fury ASAP to remove all unacceptable language.”

Finally, the publisher also weighed in the controversy, saying they disagree with the viewpoints expressed, but that they won’t be severing ties with Ion Fury over them. So in short, the value of the business is more important than a principled stand against bigotry.

“We do not support censorship of creative works of any kind and regret our initial decision to alter a sprite in the game instead of trusting our instincts. 3D Realms and Voidpoint stand together on this matter,” the statement followed. Publisher 3D Realms spoke to Kotaku as well, echoing support for the reversal. “Jokes at the expense of marginalised communities will not be present in future games published by 3D Realms,” the publisher said. “However, a portion of our community made it loud and clear they felt removing ‘Ogay’ was censorship and should be protected by free speech. Voidpoint wanted to listen and we respected this decision.”

So the far-right and bigots screeched loud enough, using their typical paper-thin claims of ‘free speech’ to apply public pressure, and got their way. But if someone makes a crass joke about a polarizing political figure, and gets punished for it, that’s not free speech, and these absolutists are nowhere to be seen. Just trying to suss out the logic here.

 

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