Voidpoint, the developer of retro first person shooter Ion Fury, has released a joint statement that it will not remove a homophobic joke in the game as it does not ‘support censorship of creative works of any kind’ (via Kotaku).
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’. Moreover, Voidpoint developers made transphobic and sexist comments in Ion Fury’s official Discord; screenshots of the conversations were circulated by Resetera user Twenty5Thousand. Once these had been discovered, Voidpoint disclosed a statement to Eurogamer: ‘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.’
‘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.’
Now, Voidpoint has retracted this sentiment and said that the homophobic jokes will not be removed from the game. Ion Fury lead developer Richard Gobeille posted a joint statement on the game’s Steam page, and indicated, ‘We will absolutely NOT be censoring Ion Fury or any of our other games, now or in the future, including but not limited to by removing gags such as gaming’s most controversial facial wash.’
‘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 separately and showed support for the developer’s decision. ’Jokes at the expense of marginalised communities will not be present in future games published by 3D Realms,’ the publisher stated. ‘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.’
The room that said ‘fagbag’ has been removed, and 3D Realms maintained that Voidpoint will still donate to LGBTQ charity The Trevor Project and provide sensitivity training to its employees. Before, the decision to remove the content was met with derision and review-bombing, with some gamers stating that ‘3D Realms folded to the demands of the bullies’. After the joint statement was published, its score has begun to recover as reviews laud Voidpoint for standing firm and keeping the content in the game.
Yet, scrolling through a few of the recently posted reviews express discontent at the developer’s choice to fight against ‘censorship’. One reads, ‘I would’ve been on team OGAY if I was still a 14 year old, but I’ve grown up and don’t want any part of the culture attached to this game and gaming in general. Punching down is not funny to most decent people. Good bye, from a long time 3DRealms fan from back in the day.’