Another week, another case of developers vs players. This time it’s about Ion Fury, a “Duke Nukem clone” published by 3D Realms.
Ion Fury released on August 15 and received positive reviews. Unfortunately, the game quickly ignited a firestorm of controversy.
Homophobia & Transphobia Engulf Ion Fury’s Spectacular Release
First, players exposed sexist and transphobic comments the developers had made on Discord.
The incident then became a full-blown scandal when gamers spotted homophobic language such as the word “f*gbag” in Ion Fury itself.
Those twin controversies triggered a massive backlash from gamers, forcing Voidpoint, Ion Fury’s studio, to apologize for the remarks in a statement issued to Eurogamer.
On top of the apology, they vowed to remove the offensive material from the game and make a token donation to charity.
“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.”
That should have settled the matter.
Voidpoint, 3D Realms Backtrack on Homophobia Scandal
However, Voidpoint inexplicably backtracked on its promise, releasing a joint statement with 3D Realms vowing not to “censor” Ion Fury – homophobic content or not.
“We will absolutely NOT be censoring Ion Fury or any of our other games, now or in the future.”
The reason for such a change heart was a negative review campaign launched by gamers critical of Voidpoint’s decision to remove the homophobic language from the game.
One of the most upvoted negative reviews even admits that the game is fantastic. That doesn’t stop him from giving a bad score, though.
Why? Because he thinks developers shouldn’t listen to “hate mobs.” So what did he do? He joined one to get Vointpoint to listen.
And it worked.
This might set a perilous precedent, as developers who seek to correct mistakes risk suffering financial ruin for trying to do the right thing.
Voidpoint claims that it will still make the token donation and that employees will undergo sensitivity training to prevent this kind of situation from ever happening again.