Bad Dev: Devs Demand Game Ban

Game developers want Six Days In Fallujah banned.

Today’s Bad Press is going to be a Bad Dev, because it has to do with game developers rather than the press. Makes sense in my head.

Six Days In Fallujah is an upcoming game that you won’t see much (if any) coverage here on MMO Fallout. I’m not not covering it because of any political reasons, but because it isn’t an MMO. It’s a tactical shooter and lord knows I’ve embarrassed myself enough trying to talk about those. I’ve seen some other outlets around the net who are actively refusing to talk about Six Days In Fallujah. That’s fine. Every outlet curates their coverage.

But the topic that I want to talk about right here is the efforts by game developers to have a competitor product banned from sale. Because that’s what is happening. Developers from Respawn Entertainment, WB Games, Ubisoft, and more are trying to petition various governing bodies including the United Nations to ban a competitor’s product. They also want Steam, Sony, and Microsoft to ban its sale as well.

The petition gained a good amount of attention thanks to Osama Dorias, lead designer of Gothan Knights at WB Games. The tweet has thousands of likes, retweets, and over 700 replies/quotes as of this publishing.

The petition makes several false claims including that the title will “inevitably breed a new generation of mass shooters” and “brainwash gamers into thinking racism is ok.” There has never been credible evidence linking violent video games with inspiring or inciting real world violence. The same goes for the claim that a war game might normalize racism.

Bombing, shooting, and humiliating the Iraqi people is being normalized in this sick video game, which will also inevitably breed a new generation of mass shooters in America and brainwash gamers into thinking RACISM IS OK.

The hyperbolic claims of racism and violence have no basis in evidence. You might however be shocked to go through the replies and see just who is vocally acknowledging that they signed the petition. Game designers from Respawn Entertainment, WB Games, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Sony, Disney, and more. Game developers openly supporting a petition to try and ban a competitor’s product.

Are developers allowed to have and voice their own political opinions? Of course they are. Does it look bad when a number of developers are forming together to openly call for the ban of a competitor’s product? You bet it does.

Petitioning President Joe Biden and the United States government of course is a fruitless endeavor. The Supreme Court already ruled that violent video games are protected forms of speech. The petition is also likely to sit on deaf ears with Valve who famously reinstated the game Hatred after initially banning it. We’re also not quite sure if the United Nations has the ability to ban a video game, or how that would be enforced. Gamers in other countries and platforms might not be so lucky.

The merits of Six Days In Fallujah as a game can be discussed (Polygon). They should be discussed (IGN). They will be discussed (PC Gamer). They are being discussed (Kotaku). What is the game’s message? Does it have a point? How well does it present that point? There are a million topics to discuss around games like Six Days in Fallujah, including even whether the game needed to be made, whether news outlets should cover it as it is news, and what the developer’s motivations were in creating it.

But to have members of the industry demand that it be banned from sale? Using hyperbolic commentary and lying through fearmongering to further a political agenda? That’s not ethical. It’s questionably legal. It’s certainly not something that should be encouraged when these same developers are regularly on the receiving end of attacks over how their own creations will inspire murders, gamify and glorify things like war crimes and police brutality, and normalize racism and sexism.