Before I dive into the muck that can sometimes be the Internet , I want to first share some facts with you my dear reader. Most importantly, this is my first blog so hooray for me and boohoo for you as you try to hopefully make sense of my rant. Secondly for the record so you understand my perspective I am not a white male, I have a glorious golden brown tan originating from middle eastern descent. I feel this needs to be made clear in the context of the upcoming brilliant opinion piece below.
Right, now that introductions are out of the way , lets hold hands and jump into the cesspool shall we?
I have been playing KCD for the last 50 hours and like everyone else I have been bouncing from the sheer amazement of the deep RPG mechanics , hard core combat, wonderful characters namely Henry off course, to then experiencing the absolute horror of losing 3-4 hours of gameplay, bugged quests and beholding the engine as it struggles to render my environment. All in all I love KCD don't get me wrong. Yes its technically totally unstable however its one of the best historic medieval RPG's I've played since the Witcher.
To my surprise however it became clear to me there has been some ongoing discussions and articles about whether or not KCD is racist and sexist. A vile subreddit was born due to someone asking simply why the game is so white.
The creator of KCD Daniel Vávra has been accused of being a racist , a Nazi and a misogynist. Apparently people point to his twitter feed and his support of gamergate as the main pillars of their accusation. I personally don't know him , so I cannot judge him. All I can speak off is my experience with his piece of art KCD. People rallying against him are stating that there is a chance that since Africans had at the time a small presence in Germany, Italy and other European countries then surely there should be some non whites represented in Bohemia. On the other side of the coin when it relates to the region of Bohemia where the game is based there is very little to no evidence of any non whites in Bohemia. Daniel and Warhorse also hired historians who they worked closely with who seem to validate Daniels point of view. We simply do not know with any certainty and Daniel made the call for his own creation.
Again as I played this game at no time did I, as a non white feel any racism. The game actually has non whites in the form of Cumans who are hired by the Hungarians as a mercenary army used to invade Bohemia. So the Bohemians view them as savages, and guess what? I believe deeply that all people of all nations and creed today have a degree of racism, and if we rewind time a few centuries all races and creeds where exponentially more racist then today. So the way the Bohemians spoke about the Cumans hordes ravaging their villages in the game would have been more accurate than not.
But I want to take a step back from this tit for tat and speak about artistic freedom.
The gaming community has been fighting to convince the world that game development is a form of art, but then at some points try to censor the art form. I believe KCD has been dealt a hypocritical hand.
For Example I'm playing South Park at the moment, a game filled with all sorts of misogyny and racism , albeit sarcastically and wrapped up in humour. Do they need to be censored. What about the plethora of Japanese games that pretty much represent women as sex dolls with massive swords , and ironically at the cosplays I've been too, those same scantily clad characters seem to be the most popular. Do we ban them as well ? Are these Japanese developers not more sexist than Daniel?
As a person of Middle East decent its rare for a game to have 'one of me' as the hero. But I've never taken that personally. Look folks who am I to place upon a artists shoulders the burdens of the whole world for him to magically include into his work? I don't expect a Japanese artist to know about the culture in Zimbabwe and therefore encompass the nuances of that culture in his creation. That expectation is insane. Do we ask musicians in the middle east to work in a bit of Chinese , and French styles into their creations? No then why would I expect Daniel to do the same in his game. If I didn't like the fact all the residents in Bohemia are white Slavs like they actually where, then I can choose not to buy this piece of art. I'm tired of non creators and consumers putting their life's burdens and expectations on artists which only results in censorship and dilution of the art in my opinion. If for example, Middle easterners want more hero's...well get programming. If Women want zero sexist games or heck why not even sexist the other way, well ladies get programming.
Make your own genres and markets people, don't sit there and criticize another artist. Trying to will them to create what you want. Artistic freedom is what separates us from the animals and just like paintings, music and movies, game development needs to have the same freedoms. If anyone is serious about anything lets stop the wars and do something about the 10 billion hours of porn footage freely available on the internet. Leave game development alone.