Game developer, vocal supporter of Gamergate.
Criticism of Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Upon the announcement and beginning of the crowdfunding effort for the first game of Vávra’s Warhorse Studios, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, in early 2014, the developers found themselves amidst a minor controversy around the lack of non-white characters and possibly no female playable characters. https://archive.today/8EOjm https://archive.today/YIFGd. People arguing for or against social justice issues focused on whether, as the original article pointed out:
it’s still plausible for Kingdom Come not to feature any characters of color, particularly since, as one of its developers pointed out to a potential Kickstarter backer, the game takes place over a mere 9 square kilometers of land. Effectively, “historical accuracy” can be used to support both sides of the argument.
The blog MedievalPOC, which had been dragged into the debate, responded to the previous quote https://archive.today/xLtYE:
That’s totally true.
Which is why I’m trying to emphasize the fact that these were conscious choices made by the game developers, not some kind of force beyond their control. Nothing was stopping them from including people of color aside from their own choices.
The problem comes into focus when the developers make these kind of claims:
Warhorse called its system, “the ultimate character customization tool ever invented,” and added that your gear will get bloody and dirty as you slog your way through battles, and that many parameters of an avatar’s body can be altered.
That’s a pretty hefty claim to make along with the total exclusion of women and people of color.
In an interview with Tech Raptor https://archive.today/lpe1x in September 2014, as the Gamergate debacle was ongoing, Vávra said his opinions on the topic, among others:
[Tech Raptor:] Will the GamerGate issue have any real effect on your approach to your upcoming game, Kingdom Come: Deliverance? That could be changing a character, a story, or part of the world.
[Daniel Vávra:] No. We had a strong playable female character before all this started. We have gay characters in the game, and we have different minorities in the game, because all I want is to have a mature, strong story. A story that I wanted to tell for years, and I am not going to change it because of outside pressure.
Claim of blacklisting and stifling of speech
Vávra had in the past voiced concerns about him and his company being blacklisted from the vastly anti-Gamergate gaming press.
In the aforementioned interview with Tech Raptor, he especifically said about certain critics:
And they will never be happy. If you don’t have a gay character in your game, you are homophobic, if you do have gay character in your game, you are homophobic, because they don’t like the character. If women in your game look good, you are sexist, if they look bad, you are sexist, if you can fight with them, you are misogynistic, if you can’t fight with them, you are using them as objects, if you don’t have any women, because there is no correct way how to have them, you are misogynistic.
It’s a witch hunt and it’s affecting my artistic freedom.
However, there’s a lack of proof of how his freedom was actually stifled. Developer David Scott Jaffe, who has long been a vocal critic of the videogame press, mentioned how he himself had yet to see how bad criticism from journalists and bloggers was affecting developers’ freedom https://archive.today/n69xc, with Vávra’s case being one of his examples altho not by name.
More substantially, Reddit user wideawekened has demonstrated that the claims of blacklisting of Kingdom Come: Deliverance to be provably false https://archive.today/64g0w.
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