After apologising last week for including two small, puerile gay jokes in Ion Fury, the throwback FPS's makers and publishers have now declared that their voluntary decision to cut one of those would actually constitute "censorship" and they cannot abide that. A bottle of soap branded "Ogay" (like "Olay" but "gay" haha do you get it?) will remain in a bathroom in their off-brand Duke Nukem 3D tribute. This bold and meaningful manifestation of political speech, this brave bottle of soap, will stand proud to tell future generations where they drew a line in the sand against the cruel forces of tolerance.
Voidpoint apologised last week for some shitty anti-trans guff from developers on the game's official Discord chat server as well as two stupid gay jokes they had put in Ion Fury. Along with the aforementioned Ogay bottle that's out in the open, players found the secret message "Aeeress SECRET Fagbag LAAWRAAH!! Unholy Fanfare" in a hidden area accessible only with a noclip cheat.
Voidpoint's public response to this exposure was dramatic. They said that some of their number "have made sexist and transphobic comments, and included homophobic language in Ion Fury" and that this was "insensitive, unacceptable, and counterproductive to causes of equality." They apologised for "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."
Moving forward, Voidpoint vowed to "institute a zero-tolerance policy for this type of language", have "mandatory sensitivity training" for all employees and contractors, and donate $10,000 from Ion Fury's sales to The Trevor Project (an American nonprofit aimed at helping suicidal young LBGTQ people).
The response last week from publishers 3D Realms (who are actually Interceptor Entertainment wearing the flayed and sold skin of 3D Realms) said that Voidpoint "included homophobic language in the game which was not approved by us" and that the game would "be patched ASAP to remove all unacceptable language."
The "fagbag" message was removed last week, and 3D Realms said on Monday that they "once again apologise for this text as it does not reflect the values of 3D Realms or Voidpoint."
I consider the Ogay and secret "Fagbag" message to be tiny, unfunny jokes of the sort found hilarious on a mid-90s high school playground. They rate an eye-rolling 'uh huh' on the scale of modern culture, and I am not remotely surprised to see them coming from people making a Duke Nukem 3D fan game. The negative remarks about trans people are more unpleasant, though sadly typical of society's ongoing disingenuous moral panic. We only gave this whole stink a brief mention in a news roundup last week because it seemed minor amongst gaming's deep-seated problems.
Following the public contrition and self-flagellation, Ion Fury was review-bombed on Steam with the usual complaints about 'censorship' and 'SJWs'. Those voices have been heeded.
3DR announced yesterday that the Ogay will stay. They said that "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."
Let's pause to admire how they relay the claim that "removing 'Ogay' was censorship and should be protected by free speech." Remarkable.
The Ogay bottle might be "protected by free speech" if a government were insisting that Ion Fury remove it, but none have. 3DR and Voidpoint made a voluntary decision to remove it. Evidently they didn't particularly want to change the bottle but felt pressured to after they were called out for being kinda shitty. That's self-censorship, which is not the same.
Crowing about "censorship" makes clear that they stand with the usual dickheads who shout about free speech when people point out they're acting like an arsehole.
"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 added yesterday in a joint statement boldly titled "Ion Fury Game Content Will Not Be Censored".
Voidpoint have said they will still donate cash to The Trevor Project, which is good. They do still plan to implement mandatory sensitivity training too, though I don't know why they're bothering when evidently they don't really care.
3D Realms also insisted on Monday that "Jokes at the expense of marginalised communities will not be present in future games published by 3D Realms" but they are content to grandfather in this joke at the expense of a marginalised community. It's probably for the best: such a gross violation of the First Amendment would likely have sparked a legal battle running up to the highest court in the land, and those get expensive.