Sex game Subverse apologises for working with racist YouTuber, then apologises for their apologyPlatforms: All
Subverse is a tactical sci-fi RPG that sees you command a spaceship filled with sexy aliens that you can shag. It's basically Mass Effect without pretence.
The game started life as a successful Kickstarter that netted developers Studio FOW over a million dollars. After plans to release Subverse in Early Access were cancelled, Studio FOW decided to preview the game before its first chapters arrive in early 2021. The developers decided to give a YouTuber named Arch an “exclusive first-look preview” of Subverse.
If you are unaware of who Arch is, you may work for Studio FOW because they didn't have a clue either.
Arch is a YouTuber formerly known as "Arch Warhammer" before Games Workshop forced him to remove Warhammer from his name because his political views were so abhorrent that they could not associate with him even in passing. A lot of his views are your standard mush-brained alt-right bollocks. He claims black people look strange as Space Marines. Those hulking bipedal tanks that 4K fans know as Space Marines? Yes, those are totally reasonable aesthetics but some black skin is a bridge too far for Arch.
While still on the subject of Warhammer 40K, he went to great lengths to deny that the game has fascist themes. The Imperium of Man is supposed to represent fascism left unchecked, yet it has an unfortunate track record of attracting actual fascists. If you have seen the videos of Blue Lives Matter protestors singing along to Rage Against The Machine, you will know that racists and fascists are media illiterate and cannot discern the difference between depiction and endorsement. Arch is one such moron.
He also made a video on the Christchurch shooter that managed to simultaneously deny the white nationalist radicalisation of the perpetrator but also pepper in a bunch of anti-Muslim views. Having a dig at Muslim people in a video about a massacre targetting Muslim people. Arch is a real piece of shit. On the flipside, on his second politically focused channel, he argues in favour of authoritarianism to tackle Muslim extremism. The point is that Arch does not hide his political views at all. He also has a terrible sense of graphic design if you've ever been unfortunate enough to see one of his thumbnails, are all Neo-Nazis just bad at aesthetics?
He is a persona non grata in the Warhammer 40K community, he is actually banned from being discussed on certain subreddits, and since there is some crossover between the Warhammer 40K and Subverse fandoms (not a commentary, just an observation) some fans fan brought up their concerns about Studio FOW bringing him in.
The backlash was swift and so the game’s community manager issued a statement: "We were not aware at the time that he had made racist and other controversial statements in the past" and "we did not look into his background as much as we could have, and we know now this was a mistake."
And then something strange happened. Well, not that strange when you consider how spineless many game devs are about politics. Studio FOW promptly removed that initial apology and issued another. Here it is in full since it was also deleted (archived here) because you need to see this mealy-mouthed bullshit for yourself:
"Hello my darlings.
I am going to make this short, because we’ve taken up enough of your time with what has happened recently regarding Arch.
To start, lets keep Subverse as a game for getting off on sex and not politics, it’s best for everyone.
In terms of the previous statement regarding Arch, we were bombarded suddenly with posts from different political groups, and as a result we acted in haste. After all, we are only titty software developers but suddenly we found ourselves in a political debate.
We would like to make it absolutely clear, we have no problems with Arch personally. We simply wanted him to showcase some of our gameplay together, which Arch did professionally and he was very gracious with his time.
We appreciate his time and want to say we are sorry for jumping into a politically charged situation so quickly. Subverse has no political affiliation, it’s a game to be enjoyed by everyone.
We did not want to offend any fans of Arch, he provides a platform for independent games creators like us to showcase our games.
We love all of our fans regardless of political affiliation and we hope in due time you can forgive us for this unfortunate misunderstanding."
Yes, please make sure not to alienate the racists in your community. You definitely want to stay in their good books. This is some truly pathetic backtracking but not atypical within the games industry, especially for studios that cannot afford to lose any potential audience, but when Ubisoft continually side-step a political stance to avoid offending the worst people in our community, can you really blame a Kickstarter funded indie studio for being nervous?
If you are going to get into the PR game then you should be doing some pretty thorough research into who you are going to be working alongside. Arch's political views are no secret, it only takes a few seconds of Googling to find a long list of terrible things he has said as well as a list of terrible people he has associated with, none of this is lost knowledge. They are either being disingenuous when they say “The Studio was unaware of Arch’s polarizing background going into this collaboration”, or they are simply outing themselves as being incompetent.