RimWorld Dev Assailed By Rock, Paper, Shotgun Over Gender Politics
(Last Updated On: November 4, 2016)

RimWorld is a sci-fi, procedural story generator from developer Ludeon Studios that’s still in development via Early Access. Players start the game with three survivors as they attempt to colonize a planet, craft gear, and survive the harsh conditions of deep space. The game also includes relationships… and Rock, Paper, Shotgun took an opportunity to paint the developer, Tynan Sylvester, as some sort of gender politics troglodyte to their audience, resulting in the community attacking Sylvester over the unfinished game.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun [backup] freelancer Claudia Lo took a look into RimWorld’s code and racked Sylvester over the gender politics coals for making the women either bisexual or gay (meaning that they won’t initiate efforts to romanticize males) and for making men either straight or gay (so men are not bisexual).

Lo argues that the game doesn’t let you pamper the women from a state of depression for having to reject men but that you have to make men less sad for getting rejected, writing…

“In daily life, the feeling of having to constantly turn people down is not a nice feeling. But these negative feelings are only reflected mechanically for those being rejected, and because of the way romance initiation is handled, you end up having to cater for the sad rejected men, rather than the women who are always having to turn away these unwanted encounters.”

Lo argues that the game perpetuates a lot of gender norms and stereotypes in our current day society, and that the game essentially isn’t progressive enough in dealing with gendered interaction between men and women.

The article acknowledges that the game is not finished and that Sylvester even labeled some of the romantic features as a bug, but the author waves that off, and continues on to state…

“We could label that behaviour a bug, perhaps. But those are just the surface symptoms. Those are the easily-noticed, in-game consequences of a system whose base structure has literally encoded assumptions about how men and women operate.


“[…] Code is never neutral. All of these coded structures push a particular scenario over others, and most of the time this is fairly benign. However, this does not mean that it should escape scrutiny, because we can end up uncritically coding in harmful assumptions, which ultimately means we are constraining what our games could be while also alienating other players.”

Lo provides no numbers or even any empirical data to back up that there is some market alienation taking place for an unfinished bit of code relating to the relationships of men and women.

Sylvester left a comment at the bottom of the piece, deconstructing the misinformation and telling his side of the story since he wasn’t allowed to have his say posted unedited because Rock, Paper, Shotgun claimed it could open them up to legal consequences…

“The author of this anger-farming hit piece did email me asking if she could ask me some questions. However, she wanted to edit my responses. When I said I’d be willing to answer questions, but not if the responses were edited, she went silent. I guess she wasn’t willing to print the other side of the story if she didn’t have the power to edit it.”


“[…] It’s anger-farming, combined with a moralistic witch hunt. It’s the worst kind of click-bait – they type that generates anger on purpose, where none needed to exist, in a community that was perfectly at peace beforehand.


“Notice how it specifically skirts as close to calling me a “malicious” person as possible without actually making the claim.”

In the e-mail exchange with the Rock, Paper, Shotgun author, Sylvester tried explaining that the issue Lo was concerned with was already being addressed and it was a bug.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun stated that they weren’t going to edit the article and stood by Lo. Some of the community said that they would not be getting the game due to the story about an unfinished feature featuring romance and relationships.

Sylvester explained that he’s already tweaking the relationships between characters in the game because simulating human relationships is difficult. Even more than that, he mentions including things like “gaydar” so straight people will be less likely to try to romance homosexuals. Many of these features were already planned for release in upcoming builds of RimWorld.

However, the comment section in Rock, Paper, Shotgun contains a wide assortment of people claiming that Sylvester is perpetuating sexist stereotypes. A Reddit thread spawned a deep discussion centered on the topic, and even Kotaku was quick to throw up an article about the whole affair.

Interestingly enough, some of the people participating in the discussions on Reddit admitted that it was pretty obvious the Rock, Paper, Shotgun article did little else but inflame the situation.

I asked if Sylvester knew that the topic of the article would devolve into gender politics when Rock, Paper, Shotgun reached out, and he said that the author, Claudia Lo, mentioned that the subject would center around romantic relationships. I was also curious if Sylvester was expecting more of a game-oriented examination of the mechanics or sociopolitical punditry, and he responded via e-mail saying “I pretty much expected it to be as it turned out, really.”

He also addressed some of the other statements and issues brought up in the Rock, Paper, Shotgun piece and the comment section in a separate, lengthy Reddit post where he explains the paradigm for how relationships were structured in the game and why.

RimWorld is available right now in Early Access for $29.99 on the Steam store.

Honest talk: I absolutely abhor news like this. I recently wrote that Bethesda deserved to cut early review access to game journalists for reasons exactly like this. Why, as a developer, would you even entertain people like this to have access to a game when they’ll do nothing more than spin it into something to feed outrage culture and damage your brand? It doesn’t help gamers and it doesn’t help developers.

Politicizing an unfinished game to satiate rage-bait has diminished games journalism into a cesspit of misfeasance from self-serving, egotistical, ethically-challenged, millennial hipsters and is the reason games journalism needs to die in a dumpster fire.

The reason people hate SJWs is because they ruin games with needless politicking. So instead of spending this time focusing on informing people about the newest game to come out or help people with guides on the latest popular piece of software, I’m wasting time writing about a website that doesn’t know how to report on video games anymore.

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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • raudskeggr

    And that rather shortsighted and foolish little child who wrote that hit piece has pretty much ensured that no other game designer will *ever* reply to hear emails or voicemails again.

    So I hope she made good money from her pathetic little stunt!

  • guy

    So do people not realize that no one was demonizing him in the comments on RPS, that it was mostly focused on this thing human beings call “discussion,” and that the entire problem started when Tynan decided to go on an unhinged, accusatory rant about it?

    All this concern trolling is stupid and is easily seen through. Someone dared to suggest a stereotype was stupid, and as reactionaries you have to react. It’s politics, and the most retarded kind at that.

    No harm was being done. No one was taking Rimworld down. There was no call for boycotts or mass refunds. FFS.

    • No harm was being done. No one was taking Rimworld down. There was no call for boycotts or mass refunds. FFS.

      Yes there was. Go read the comments.

  • Dave The Sandman

    Oh look….
    Stupid goofy hair
    Problem Glasses
    Plaid shirt
    Whiny blog full of muh patriarchy and muh soggy knees twaddle

    Seriously….is there some Nazi down in Argentina cloning these fucksters?

  • Lucifer Faust

    This whole thing is so fucking stupid. I’m bisexual and I love that rimworld represents homosexuality at all. None of the pawns can reproduce anyway so it’s just an extra flair that helps me feel recommended.

    But seriously all these people bitching are just biased. In my colonies the regular old straight people rebuff each other all the time, just as much if not more often than the ones with the gay trait. I’ve had one guy try and woo multiple women repeatedly and get bummed out each time. It’s frustratingly hilarious. I have then go take some smokeleaf and move on…

  • Kay Dougan

    I’d never heard of this game ’til now. Based on the description, it’s not a game I’d enjoy, nor is it a style/genre I have any interest in giving a shot. But there’s so much wrong with the way Lo and RPS treated the developer I’m putting it on my wishlist and if it makes it out of early access I’m going to buy a copy just to spite them and their ilk. Hell, I might buy a couple copies as gifts.

  • flavortang

    RPS has been sh!t for awhile. At this point they’re turning into sensationalist TMZ garbage for clicks from the Buzzfeed crowd.

  • lieschen müller
    • Phasmatis75

      Seriously Hatred cause a grand total of zero people to consider mass genocide. I mean how can you take a game serious that in it’s first level says: “Who knew killing my whole neighborhood would be so easy. It was like the best drug ever.” and ended with blowing up a nuclear power plant using 666 as the meltdown code.

      I still attest the reactor didn’t explode. The Hatred guys edge became so sharp it cut atomic bombs resulting in the atomic explosion seen at the end.

  • Dawn Blast

    Well I know what to buy now.

  • Anonymused

    Lol those degenerates. I will bring extra fuel for the dumpster if needed. This is worth no further attention. Sorry poophole lovers but you’re corrupted degenerates. Go chew on a shotgun shell, or keep your degeneracy to yourselves.

  • Judotoss

    At least now I know not to read RPS. The game isn’t finished, and some “writer” with an agenda tries to make a political witch-hunt over some perceived gender bias… The game isn’t even about realistic simulation of human interactions, but the developer tries to include these extra things like sexual orientation and gender politics just to add depth of character interaction/development. These are practically part-time game developers, and without assuming their gender or orientation, we can only assume that they have no idea how to code the real world interactions of the entire human population. When did journalism devolve into click-bait hate-mongering?

    • When did journalism devolve into click-bait hate-mongering?

      A while back, but you got to see how ugly the face in the mirror was when #GamerGate happened and nothing but lies came pouring out of the floodgates 24/7.

  • Grampy_Bone

    Exactly how important is it to model homosexuality in a survival game?

    • C G Saturation

      Wouldn’t want to be stuck with the devs on a deserted island!

  • Alistair

    My mind is pretty fucked up today, I can’t make sense from this article.

    I got a problem with force diverse & anything concerning censorship.

    As 1 commenter said it a understatement, the issue that regression lefts has is sexy woman in games. But from what I tell they not as sexy right or I’m am wrong.

    As the same commenter said “an ugly disfigured les” so you would think that SJWs would welcome that anything to spoil that toxic “male gaze”

    So I see what the Dev is try to do is to carter for them, that what I see from this article. Or have we gone up the next level from sexy woman, lack of diverse to non sexy woman & more diverse.

    Consider a problematic, Jesus make up your mind.

    I take from all of this is RPS can’t ever by happy whatever the Devs do or regression left. Or people comments on here.

    Them are just pissing in the wind. Well billy care to explain the reason if the women was sexy I understand, if the the game doesn’t have gay women they would flip then I understand.

    That what gender politics is & the Devs are doing that. So far the Devs are pressing all the right buttons & still they whine.

  • 40 Insane Frogs

    On the plus side, RPS has convinced me to give the dev some money. I might even buy a few copies and distribute them to friends and family.

    • C G Saturation

      RPS has convinced me that they still suck shit.

  • LurkerJK

    Funny how even if you pander and model lgbt ideals in your games you not only get hit by sjws anyway but get targeted even harder

    • Alistair

      That is what I think happen. So now I need to put it in my list book.

      Boobs, butts, lack of diverse, legs, butt slaps, etc etc & now this.

      The legs part was really silly it was about a cosplay to wear leggings because she show off a lot of leg & 1 person complain.

      I’m just waiting for the next No-No whatever that is.

      I say this they running out of things they dislike unless they recycle the old stuff.

    • C G Saturation

      I think SJWs are always on the lookout for anyone foolish enough to pander, so they can make another example out of them and grab more attention. What they actually want isn’t SJW ideals, they just want fuel to whine more. That’s why apologizing and pander to them never works.

      • LurkerJK

        fuel for the never ending victim spiral is definitely their main objective

    • raudskeggr

      Moving goalposts. See, the goal is not to actually achieve social justice, it’s to assert your moral superiority. If someone actually does what you want them to, and makes every change at your slightest wim/tantrum, they’re not giving you what you *really* want; they’re challenging your moral dominance, and you are then obligated to up the ante by finding a new way that they are a TERRIBLE PERSON and should be hated by all *GOOD, VIRTUOUS* people.

  • Rimworld is ace.
    It also represents a FUCKOADS of different kinds of characters.
    To call it diverse would be an under statement.
    An ugly, disfigured lesbian with alcoholism? Rimworld has your back dawg.
    A sociopathic cannibal with artistic talent? Aint no thang.

    The fact ONE dev hasn’t modelled every single human behaviour in all its iterations in a game that is only *nominally* about these interactions (the environment will fuck you over too ^^) is ridiculous, especially with how much it DOES include.
    This is the sort of game these hipster fucks should be celebrating, as it has so much of what they SAY they want. It’s just not their clique doing it and it’s not for overtly political reasons. It’s just a FUN GAME.

    (really is btw. I once accidentally ordered a colonist to eat the corpse of a raider. He became depressed but CONTINUED to consume human flesh until he had a psychotic break and went on a rampage killing 2 other colonists. Emergent gameplay or what?)

    • LurkerJK

      I dont think sjw can have fun and they are going to make us all hear about it

      • C G Saturation

        SJWs have fun by ruining everyone else’s fun.

        • Phasmatis75

          That implies they aren’t just dead and depressed inside.

  • Arbitrary

    The best part of this story, is that the developer already sucks a bit of SJW cock in other aspects on how genders work in the game. And yet they turn on him, for sucking SLIGHTLY less cock on ONE comparatively less important aspect.

    I love seeing people trying to kowtow to SJWs be eaten alive by those same SJWs. I hope it costs him his career.

    • LurkerJK

      We have nothing to gain from that, we have more to win from welcoming those that get red pilled

      Everytime they lose one, we gain one

      • Phasmatis75

        Yes we do have something to win from this. It’s the same reason MGTOW has risen to such great heights. When developers see other developers pandering and getting eaten alive anyway and see developers who openly don’t care in the slightest what the harpies on the left have to say and are making mad dosh because of it. Not only making mad dosh, but also having an army of loyal fans defend their game, and buy their DLC and free advertise the game. They’re going to want to be like the dev winning, not the Rimworld dev, even if they agree with the progressive politics they’ll choose profit over progressivism.

        When they destroy their own, we win every time.

    • durka durka

      Reminds me the overwatch character, kotaku was like THEY LISTEN, comments where like HUR DUR AWFUL NEON HAIR TOUGH RUSSIAN WOMAN STEROTYPE, WHERE ARE THE BLACK GUYS BLIZZARD?

      You can never satisfy them.

    • Anonymused

      Yea I noticed male drones are the norm now. If I see more bullshit, like hermaphrodites, I’m going to boycott it and make a new game. Not rely, but I’d mod the shit out of it and have death penalty for all types of degeneracy that threaten survival. Gay couples would catch aids within a year, and have frequent hemorrhoids, requiring you to make special comfy chairs or they’ll get a negative thought =D
      I really don’t mind what people do, but I don’t want to know about it.

      I think the millennials either have found a source of income or they’ve been subjected to more liberal propaganda to destroy the nation state.

    • Zuthal Soraniz

      How is he “sucking SJW cock”? If you mean that homosexuality is included in the game, that is called being realistic.

  • C G Saturation

    Why is Rock Paper Shotgun not dead?

    • Alistair

      Why is that cesspool of Kotaku not dead too?

      • C G Saturation

        We need someone to drain the cesspools.

      • Phasmatis75

        It did die and then got bought out when Gawker was sold.

        • Alistair

          Well it need to die again.

          And lack of funds is like drain of their bloodline.

          Other sites like jaz needs to die too that got pass on when gawker died.

    • LurkerJK

      They get linked by steam, links to their content are aaaaaaaallll over steam

      • C G Saturation

        Well, they can suck my ass. I hate obnoxious advertising.

      • R.J.

        Yeah, any way to stop that? It’s getting to be a bit irritating…

        • LurkerJK

          If they did not disappear during gamergate i doubt you have much chance of getting valve to remove them

          It would probably be a good idea pointing out negative articles in those links, Valve tends to lash out real quick against anything negative about products in the store”

    • MusouTensei

      Because this world sucks.

  • durka durka

    “a sci-fi, procedural story generator”

    That sounds fun.

    “In daily life, the feeling of having to constantly turn people down is not a nice feeling. But these negative feelings are only reflected mechanically for those being rejected, and because of the way romance initiation is handled, you end up having to cater for the sad rejected men, rather than the women who are always having to turn away these unwanted encounters.””


    wtf am i reading seriosuly first world cyber problems

    Also subdog, KILL YOURSELF YOU FUCKING HIPSTER, getting your information on what game to play or not by RPS, fucking hipster, fuck, these people, fucking hell man.

    • This is spot-on, and was one of the points I was going to make in my post but forgot.

      “you end up having to cater for the sad rejected men, rather than the
      women who are always having to turn away these unwanted encounters.”

      Yeah, this is pretty much one of the reasons why SJWs and feminists are getting so much criticism, the sheer blatancy of the disregard for the men who get rejected and mocked. They don’t even try to hide it.

      It’s basically the ‘forget about the men and let’s all grieve and feel sorry for the self-righteous snooty-nosed cow who got 10+ dating offers that weren’t up to her standards’ attitude.

    • C G Saturation


      ^ This. Everyone ignores the fact that being loved, even unwanted love, is still better than loving others just to be rejected and shat on.

      Unwanted love is a nuisance, but unrequited love is soul crushing. But hey, “men are animals who only think with their penis”, so it’s okay to crush them and make them suicide. Cuz dat patriarchy.

      • durka durka

        Like that song says you are nobody till somebody loves you.

        Seriously women are by far the most privileged class in the west and they are fucking complaining.

        • Anonymused

          Women need to be stripped of their right to vote and ordered back in the kitchen. We threw our cultural restrictions in the garbage and what we get is greedy cheating sluts who rearrange society in their favor.

          • Anonymused

            Face it they’re 2/3 greedy selfish children leeching off the higher male income, and 1/3 pseudointellectual dimwits.

  • cen

    well i already own the game and am now almost hoping there wont be any developement of relationships out of spite.

    also the ones claiming they wont buy the game because of this are obvious trolls

  • Jesus fucking wept, that pile of utter drivel from Claudia Lo has given me a disease. I really despise whiny, arrogant and self-righteous articles like that.

    Calling these kind of articles ‘clickbait’ I feel is letting them off too lightly, because I really do think that a lot the authors who write this rubbish are as obnoxious and bigoted as their articles suggest.

    Boy, I sure hope Sylvester (I always think of the cartoon cat when I see that name) tweaks the relationships of the characters to the way that he wants as intended, and not for some perpetually-offended little SJW tosspot.