There’s been furor over a limerick in Obsidian’s Kickstarted RPG, Pillars of Eternity. Crowd-funded to the luscious tune of nearly $4 million by eager gamers thirsty for a drink of the old-school magic that shaped the landscape of role-playing games back in the late 90s and early aughts, Pillars of Eternity was a love letter to the gamers who love the dark, freedom-begging fantasy worlds of old. Well, the game ran into a bit of poetic trouble when one of the epitaphs created by a financial backer of the game came under fire by a very loud but vocal minority scouring the likes of social media.
Obsidian was bombarded by Twitter user @IceQueenErika, or Erika Imperial, requesting – no, demanding that they remove a limerick from the game that was perceived as “transmisogyny”. The limerick on the epitaph from Firedorn Ligthbringer reads as follows…
“Here lies Firedorn, a hero in bed.
“He once was alive, but now he’s dead.
“The last woman he bedded, turned out a man
“And crying in shame, off a cliff he ran.”
Various game journalists and the regular folks that #GamerGate has been embroiled with over the past eight months launched an ambuscade on Obsidian from the social media trench of Twitter. The company quickly responded about looking into the matter. All the meanwhile social media exploded over the limerick, with the Ralph Retort covering a lot of the bile masked as communication that went back and forth across the social media metasphere. A snippet of it can be viewed below.
A lot of the so-called “Social Justice Warriors” claimed that the limerick promoted transphobia, with Katharine Cross from Feministing stating on Twitter…
“Characterising a sexual encounter as rape due to lack of trans disclosure, however, is transphobia. As is viewing sex w/ a TW as shameful.”
If a woman has unwanted sex with a man we call it rape. If a man has unwanted sex with another man these people are calling it “transmisogyny”… because the man didn’t want to have sex with another man? You don’t get to exercise bigoted hypocrisy and not expect people to call you on it.
Jonathan McIntosh, the one who writes Anita Sarkeesian’s lines and pushes the hard authoritarian narrative in Feminist Frequency videos as well as a strong advocate for getting GTA V banned, commented about the situation as well, saying on Twitter…
“Transphobic jokes aren’t a problem because they might be personally “offensive” they’re a problem because they’re culturally oppressive.”
Anyway, Obsidian wanted to get from out of the cross-hairs of the outragers. They reached out to Firedorn to get it all cleared up; the limerick was removed and replaced with something else.
Over on the forums, Obsidian stated…
“In the case of this specific content, we checked with the backer who wrote it and asked them about changing it. We respect our backers greatly, and felt it was our duty to include them in the process. They gave us new content which we have used to replace what is in the game. To be clear, we followed the process we would have followed had this content been vetted prior to the release of the product.”
“Actually, there was a choice. They asked me if I wanted to change in light of what happened. I chose to change it so that they can concentrate on the game instead of this PR nightmare. They weren’t going to change it, they asked ME if I wanted to. I can find another platform to write my controversial crap, and I will. They, on the other hand, did the right thing and allowed me to decide the fate of the epitaph. I chose to turn into something that made fun of the bitch-bastards that were complaining.”
Jonathan McIntosh was one of the people complaining, so does that make him a bitch-bastard? Because if so that would make him both the property of a pimp and fatherless. That might explain a lot.
Anyway, for those of you worried about Obsidian folding to pressure… they didn’t. They were, however, willing to listen and decide as opposed to listening and believing. They left the choice up to the backer who pledged $500 to their cause when they were gathering funds for Pillars of Eternity. Firedorn chose to alter the limerick to help save face for the developers he loves and supports.
The new limerick has already been added to the game, as evidenced with a screenshot of the epitaph available right here. The new limerick reads as follows…
“Here lies Firedorn, a bard, a poet
He was also a card, but most didn’t know it
A poem he wrote in jest was misread
They asked for blood, so now he’s just dead”
Obsidian’s co-founder Chris Avellone talks a little bit about how they approach controversial subject matter – like the kind found in Pillars of Eternity – in an interview here. Additionally, Pillars of Eternity was recently updated and patched to version 1.03, so you can check it out over on Steam or by visiting the official website.
[Update: After the limerick was altered in patch 1.03, someone made a mod available so you can keep the old epitaph in there that Firedorn originally intended for the game by downloading it from Nexus Mods. It’s called “Censorship BE Gone”.]