Indie Dev Pulls Game from PAX, Blames PA Organizer Tweets

Indie dev Fullbright calls out PAX organizers on their blatant transphobic, sexist and racist views.

Indie dev Fullbright calls out PAX organizers on their blatant transphobic, sexist and racist views.

An indie developer has decided to pull its upcoming title from its slot at PAX Prime expo earlier today, citing the organizers’ public stance on issues such as transphobia, sexism and racism as the cause.

The Fullbright Company was all set to showcase Gone Home at PAX at the end of August. The title was slated to be shown at the Indie Megabooth, a section of the show floor reserved solely for indie games. It is a huge achievement to be accepted into the Megabooth, and Fullbright knows what it is giving up.

In an explanatory post on its website, the developer details the circumstances that led up to its decision. Though many may see the reasons as insignificant, the dev team stands firm.

Penny Arcade, the parent organization behind PAX, has become infamous for the controversial public views of its founders, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik.

Yesterday, Krahulik took to Twitter again to broadcast his blatantly ignorant understanding of the transgender community, with remarks like, “I think you call a person with a vagina a woman.”

He defended himself by posting an email thread on the Penny Arcade website in an attempt to disprove his transphobic views, though this backfired when he refused to understand why his comments were offensive to begin with:

“I hate the idea that because I think boys and girls have different parts I am “transphobic” that pisses me off it makes me angry and so I lash out.”

This follows an earlier incident from 2011 (the “Dickwolves” debate) when Krahulik received negative backlash for his insensitively blunt comments regarding rape and its triggers. When asked via Twitter how it felt to perpetuate rape culture, he responded, “Pretty good.”

Krahulik’s fellow founder, Jerry Holkins, was also on Fullbright’s list of reasons. He was extremely dismissive about criticism of the overly exaggerated female characters in Dragon’s Crown, calling it censorship.

Fullbright also brought up Penny Arcade`s contribution to the growing number of corporations taking advantage of unpaid labour. A Penny Arcade Kickstarter is bribing backers to pay $7,500 for a chance to spend a day as a Penny Arcade intern.

And to top the rest in a show of misogyny and unacknowledged privilege, just yesterday, PAX Australia announced a panel titled “Why So Serious?” that included these inflammatory lines in its original description:

“Any titillation gets called out as sexist or misogynistic, and involve any antagonist race aside from Anglo-Saxon and you’re called a racist. It’s gone too far and when will it all end?”

The lines were later quickly reworded.

Fullbright is a four-person team that includes two women and a gay man. Their title Gone Home partly deals with LGBT issues and thus, the developers felt uncomfortable displaying the game at PAX.

Fullbright explains,

“We believe that agreeing to pay the organizers of PAX over $1,000 for booth space, and to present our game on their showfloor for four days, provides explicit support for and tacit approval of their publicly demonstrated positions on these subjects.”

The dev team did not want to be seen as showing support to an organization demonstrating the kinds of values that Krahulik and Holkins have been displaying.

Fullbright understands it is losing out on a huge opportunity. It will miss out on a chance to build its fanbase, to promote the game at a major indie showcase, sell merchandise and connect with the industry and press. It was a difficult but unanimous decision, and one the company felt compelled to make.

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Girl, Canadian, caffeine worshipper, currently in school for book publishing. I like to write about games and complain about the lack of a good zombie RPG. You'll find me lurking on various game forums in various guises.