Eidos Montreal game developers Gilles Matouba and Andre Vu coined a term called “Mechnical Apartheid”. It represents a catastrophic event in the transhumanism society within the fictional world of Deus Ex where humans have very advanced augmentations and some of them have been quarantined off from the rest of society because they’re viewed as a danger to normal humans. Well, certain individuals within the “Social Justice Warrior” community decided to attack Eidos over the term “Mechnical Apartheid” when it appeared in a tweet by the company.
You can see the tweet below from the official Deus Ex Twitter account.
— Deus Ex (@DeusEx) June 16, 2015
According to The Ralph Retort, various individuals took to social media to textually attack the developers of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the upcoming action-RPG that happens to be the sequel to the very high-brow cybernoir thriller, Deux Ex: Human Revolution.
Some individuals stated the following on Twitter after seeing the phrase “Mechanical Apartheid” used to describe the social tensions and social division happening in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
Gita Jackson, a contributor to Offworld and Boing Boing, mentioned in a series of tweets…
“I don’t think it’s a controversial or divisive statement to suggest that using the term “apartheid” to advertise your game is wrongheaded. It’s also 100% a fact that the French perspective on race and colonialism is kinda fucked.
“France was a major colonial force and committed mass atrocities 🙂 Maybe their perspective on apartheid is not one we need 🙂
“The funniest thing to do to French people is to remind [them] of that time that their police murdered a bunch of peaceful Algerian protesters.”
Gilles Matouba is black and French and Andre Vu is Asian and French.
Matouba was shocked about how the so-called “Social Justice Warriors” were attacking a game and studio where part of the controversial content being covered in the game was designed and written by minorities.
Hello KiA. This is me. pic.twitter.com/8cfyCIqEVX
— G.I.L. (@GGMatouba) June 17, 2015
As reported on Gameranx, Matouba posted a long letter explaining who he was, what he was about and stated how important it was to address the topics of segregation, whether it was through racism or mechanical augmentations, since this was something bouth Matouba and Vu have experienced firsthand, writing…
“Racism is a [very] dark part of our human nature and we wanted to treat this subject. It was especially important for ME to treat this.
“So it makes me sad and angry that these ignorant people just ASSUME that everyone behind this game is ill-spirited, stupid, and more importantly for me, that they that they are all WHITE. (For them devs==white, gamers==white)”
— TheRalph (@TheRalphRetort) June 17, 2015
The concept of “Mechanical Apartheid” spread so far and wide throughout the social media spear while E3 2015 is trying to take place and gamers are trying to get their game on that additional staff from Eidos Montreal had to come out to squash the controversy before it became a buzzkill. Speaking with Destructoid, executive narrative director Mary DeMerle commented about the issue, stating…
“When we make a decision like embracing that term, ‘mechanical Apartheid,’ we do it with a lot of thought and a lot of specific concern about how we’re doing it.
“And what we are also trying to do with Deus Ex is look at the world, and trying not to judge the world but to present it in a very – we like to talk about shades of grey. So we like to present the issues to the best of our abilities without judging you or your actions, so that you can make up your own mind about it. It’s one of the things I’m constantly telling the writers on the team is that you can’t write dialogues that are judging, you can’t come up with choices where you’re slapping people in the face for their moral decisions.”
[..] “Obviously, there will be people who are super sensitive to those sorts of things, and we recognize that, and we feel bad when we offend someone but we are trying to be as truthful and as honest as we possibly can.
I did briefly ask Matouba about whether or not he was personally attacked by the individuals decrying the usage of “Mechanical Apartheid” but he simply stated…
“They did not attacked me [as far as I know]. They attacked the game. ‘how dare white dev speak about apartheid!’ was their tactic”
As noted by The Ralph Retort, even Adam Jensen’s voice actor, Elias Toufexis chimed in to mock the social justice crowd, saying the following on Twitter.
How dare videogames attempt to explore serious social and political issues? Stupid totally white male game devs.
— Elias Toufexis (@EliasToufexis) June 17, 2015
Regardless of the attacks against the game, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is due for release on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC in 2016. You can learn more about the game by visiting the official website.
Additionally, you can read Matouba’s entire letter to #GamerGate and Kotaku in Action below.
Sorry for the typos and weird syntax, english is not my mother tongue. I am Gilles Matouba and there is a thin chance of you knowing me. Still, I am a veteran french game developer with 15 years of experience in the industry. Mostly at Ubisoft and Eidos Montreal. Until september 2014 I was the Game Director of DXMD at Eidos Montreal. 3 years ago Andre Vu, the Brand Director of the DX franchise, and I coined the term ‘Mechanical Apartheid’. Thing is… I am Black (& French…). And Andre is Asian (& French).
When we decided to go all-in on delivering the experience to play as Adam Jensen, an Augmented, in a world agressively segragating his own kind, we actually wanted to offer to our audience something unique. Something that was close and very personal to us: The experience of being torn between 2 worlds and 2 identities. Augs calling you the ‘uncle Tom’ of the non-augs, non-augs always insecure when you’re around, always deeply being scared or appaled by your mechanical body. Somehow, it was our own individual stories… We wanted to share a little part of our own life experience (on a super dramatized degree, of course) as visible minorities in a world of prejudices sometimes not well tailored for us. We also used the reference of south africa, israel, even brasil, french and american ghettos and any country ressorting to walls in order to segratgate a part of their own population. We meant it. This was important to us to not half-ass these analogies. BECAUSE THIS IS DEUS EX.
Deus Ex is a very mature and thoughtful franchise that wants to hook gamers on essential questions and considerations: power, control, species, science, sociology, singularity, etc.
Racism is a ey dark part of our human nature and we wanted to treat this subject. It was especially important for ME to treat this. So it makes me sad and angry that these ignorant people just ASSUME that everyone behind this game is ill-spirited, stupid, and more importantly for me, that they that they are all WHITE. (For them devs==white, gamers==white)
What these bloggers and tweeters did to me here is beyond mere insults: They have degraded me and have literally erased my identity as a black developer and as a black creator that just wanted to share a piece of himself with this game. I wish that they will feel bad about it. I wish they will have the decency to apologize of their gross false assumptions and accusations. To apologize to all the people back in Quebec that have been working hard FOR YEARS to make this game to happen. But since they have no spine, no shame and no self respect they will simply ignore this post (once again denying me voice, legitimacy and identity) and will at best move on another AAA target to toss their freshly defecated shit at. They don’t deserve anyone’s attention. They don’t deserve our industry, our games and the dedication we put into them. They disgust me.
TL : DR Asian guy and black guy came up with the term Mechanical Apartheid 3 years ago. Black guy not happy about the SJW shit tweets and wants to call them out and expose their stupidity. Black guy is not their shield.