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Indivisible exposes why forced diversity and its proponents keep failing


[Full disclosure: I’m an Indivisible backer in the $30 tier]

Have you ever tried to come up with a list of requirements for a game concept to be considered potentially perfect? The thought had never crossed my mind before but after some deep thought I’m near 100% sure that Indivisible would covers almost if not all of those requirements. What would those requirements be in the current gaming culture? Off the top of my head:

  • A dev studio with proven skills
  • The same dev studio must have successfully run at least one crowdfunding campaign before.
  • A transparent and clear showing of how the money obtained from the campaign will be spent
  • A unique art style
  • Tried and tested gameplay ideas mixed with new ones
  • A working prototype of the game
  • A diverse cast including race, gender and social condition diversity as reasonably possible for it's premise.
  • An interesting story/premise
  • Gaming cameos

Based on that list one could say that such a game is nearly impossible to make. A pipe dream that would get easily funded if it created a crowdfunding campaign to bring it to life. Yet in reality a campaign for Indivisible, a game that literally checks every item in that list has been a slow, tortuous crawl towards the funding goal with uncertainty about its success.

A little while back the Dtoid front page got a c-Blog about diversity in gaming from an anthropologist perspective while 2 weeks ago it got yet another “Does it matter if character X is female?” type of post trying to present one more time the idea of genderbending a character from a know IPin order to get a broader audience into gaming, or as it’s come to be known “be more inclusive”.

So after some rumination over the last few days I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer to that question is “Yes it matters, because this so called inclusivity crowd needing character X to be gender/race flipped to feel included does not care at all about the medium they want to change but in fact its hurting it and its followers”. This answer does not originate from any idea or theory of mine but from empirical evidence provided directly by Indivisible’s crowdfunding campaign.

This is made painfully obvious when we see how inclusive Indivisible is. Don’t believe me? OK, let’s make another list of traits that appeal to this crowd present in Indivisible:

  • Female lead
  • Non sexualized/buxom/skimpy clothed female lead
  • Characters that cover near every aspect of human diversity. Sure, the cast has representatives of the usual attractive females and white males archetypes (Thorani, George) but it also includes characters that are tall (Zebei, Tatanka), short (Turgan, Kushi), kids (Nuna), people with disabilities (Yan), trans (Qadira in the crossdressing sense), strong females (Baozhai, Kampan), a single mother of 3 (Phoebe) and non human (Lanshi)
  • Every skin color on earth.

Based on that list you’d think this game would get an overwhelming amount of coverage, yet the sector of the gaming press that cares about (and constantly pushes) these issues so much has given it the bare minimum, if that, when it comes to promoting it. Kotaku has but 2 posts about it while Polygon has a grand total of 5. How about Destrutoid (or to be precise, the writers that openly push for this particular political view in Dtoid) ? a whopping 3 posts*.

So my question is: why the gaming press that writes about this topic so much cannot be asked to help bring this game to life by doing their job and give it some coverage? Keep in mind that this campaign has been going for nearly 2 months, with updates almost every 3 days and one of those months came from an extension of 20 days.

The takeaway point here is that Indivisible has had little to no coverage from the official gaming press yet somehow it has managed to raise almost $1.250.000 (as of the time of this writing). So how is that even possible you ask? Well, because it has been supported in different ways by gamers, not keyboard activists, in all positions of the industry. These include well known devs like Koji Igarashi giving the campaign a shout out, other indie devs (Wayforward, Yatch Club Games, Airship Syndicate and Joe Madureira to name a few) lending their flagship characters to appear as incarnations in Indivisible, Youtube personalities showing gameplay from the demo, Zone (yes, the same Zone of Hentai-Key fame) doing a SFW flash animation and of course more than 19.000 backers that have put their money down to support the campaign.

And make no mistake, this is money raised by gamers not the “pro-diversity crowd”. I say this without the faintest doubt, after all if only gamers have spread the word to other gamers while the pro-diversity writers that should be singing praises about this game have done near nothing for it then how can their like minded peers back a game they’ve never heard of?.

And that is the real issue about the pro-diversity crowd in the industry and why gamers reject them so harshly: They don’t support the industry in any positive way, not as consumers buying games or as writers giving positive coverage. In fact the bulk if not all their influence manifests almost exclusively in negative ways.

Nintendo went from insisting on adding more cleavage in Bayonetta 2 to completely removing unlockable swimsuits and part of the story in Fatal Frame 5, an already niche M rated game. And just earlier this month Koei Tecmo confirmed they won’t localize DOA Extreme 3 out of fear of backlash from this crowd. Keep in mind this is the same company that’s been releasing countless DLC packs of sexy outfits for DOA5 for years now.

The next casualties of localization?

Whats even more infuriating is their disingenuous detachment and copout answers to the outcome of their own actions:Jim Sterling’s answer to the DOAX3 situation was to dismiss it as “corporate decision”. Keep in mind this is the same man that said Anita Sarkeesian wouldn’t take away our games. The same man that said, and I quote “This is an industry that would rather make no money than some money” yet can’t seem to understand that the influence of the critic who pioneered this movement and that he supported saying we wouldn’t lose our games has in fact done just that.

A man that can’t understand a company, seeing this crowd managing to prevent the sale of GTA5 in an important retailer in Australia with what are essentially lies would be concerned the same could happen to their product and would rather not risk localization.

And that my dear readers is the true problem with the so called pro-diversity crowd in gaming and why any idea proposed by them will never reach any kind of lasting success. Because those pushing for this ideology in our medium aren’t the same that put their money and effort where their mouth is, instead they are the ones hindering it the most, causing trouble to its customers and those that love gaming unconditionally.

What the outcome to Indivisible’s campaign will be remains to be seen but in any case one thing is clear, the origin of the support behind it and hopefully its success lies in gamers’ shoulders and no one else.

*One of these writers has time to mock those affected by DOA Extreme 3 not getting localized while having ZERO front page posts about Invisible to his credit.

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About EdgyDudeone of us since 10:42 AM on 10.12.2008