Drama between game developers have been brewing under the canopy of social media. BioWare Montreal’s Manveer Heir decided to pick on Eidos Montreal’s marketing for a poster that had “Augs Lives Matter”.
Heir took to Twitter recently to express his discontent with the poster that you see in the header image of this article above. He likened it to Eidos attempting to culturally appropriate the Black Lives Matter movement, making a series of tweets that stated the following…
“Many other video game studios don’t have enough diversity, but when you outright fuckup by appropriating BLM you deserve to get called out. Eidos Montréal consistently shows they don’t get it on these issues. Or they don’t care.
“Also, let’s pretend for a minute there was a ton of diversity on that Deus Ex team. It doesn’t mean they understand the issues well enough. Diversity on its own is not the solution. It’s a first step. Actually being woke enough to understand inclusion issues still must occur.
“Anyway, I think Eidos Montréal should be ashamed of themselves for appropriating a real black struggle and movement for financial gain. If [Eidos Montreal] gives a crap about black folks and diversity/inclusion, they would stop using that image to promote the game.
“Even if SOMEHOW in game the whole “Aug Lives Matter” is done really well, in advertising it is devoid of context and highly problematic.”
Technically speaking, every aspect of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is “highly problematic”. The entire game is about augmented people suffering from a mechanical apartheid. But it’s not without reason and the whole game’s plot is layered, complex and dealing with sensitive cultural and political matters that do tangentially overlap with some of the concerns happening in today’s society. There is no part of the game you could advertise that wouldn’t be considered controversial, problematic or offensive to some group, political party or social class.
Nevertheless, various websites picked up on the outrage and have been reporting their outrage about people being outraged about a promotional poster.
The outrage over the poster actually caused the Eidos global executive brand director, Andre Vu, to speak up and defend Deus Ex: Mankind Divided along with the marketing team’s use of the poster, replying to Heir in a series of tweets, one of which states…
“[…] well i think you are assuming too much stuff without even knowing the whole context and shouldnt jump on a hate wagon that fast”
You can see the complete reply chain for the tweets in the image below.
Vu wraps up the conversation by saying that the Black Lives Matter and Aug Lives Matter are just a coincidence in overlapping social issues since they’ve been working on and writing out the story for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided for over five years. Assuming the term is used in the game as it appears in the poster, that would predate the Black Lives Matter movement by two whole years, which didn’t form until the middle of 2013.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided also incurred the wrath of social media criticism when they used the “Mechanical Apartheid” hashtag, with people calling it insensitive and that it was drawing from real life suffering and heinous acts against a group of people.
Sadly, given the display that people have when developers attempt to tackle “mature” subject matter, it’s likely that we’ll see less of it approached by larger game studios so they don’t have to deal with the media fallout. It’s also unfortunate because all of these topics are par the course for the Deus Ex franchise, which has been covering hot button social issues since the series’ debut on the market back in 2000.
Ironically enough, Heir’s criticisms come on the heels of BioWare shutting down their forums ahead of the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, as reported by Forbes. So any comments or criticisms about BioWare’s handling of the new game will have to be made on some other platform off-site.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is due for release on August 23rd at the end of this month for Xbox One, PS4 and PC, where-as BioWare’s Mass Effect: Andromeda is due for release in March of 2017 for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.