Pokemon Sage Fan Project Nearly Implodes Due To SJW Politics
Pokemon Sage

One game that was originally scheduled to come out but has fallen on hard times is the fan-made Pokemon Sage, a game featuring an all new story, all new Pokemon and an all new adventure. It’s been in development for a handful of years but still is far from being ready to release. So what happened to it if it wasn’t hit by a DMCA or sent a cease and desist by Nintendo? SJW (Social Justice Warrior) politics is what happened.

One of the former team members working on Pokemon Sage recently discussed the project with One Angry Gamer; how it began, where it was going, and why it ultimately almost came to a grinding halt. Images, messages, and correspondence with members was shared with OAG, where the inner workings of Pokemon Sage were laid bare. The individual will be referred to throughout the piece as “The Writer”, since he wished to remain anonymous to avoid his job being put at risk, as well as to avoid being doxed.

It was originally supposed to be a celebration of Pokemon using features and pocket monsters not available in the latest generation of Nintendo’s handheld series. They were focusing on using Generation 4 mechanics, and relying on Flash animation for the characters and combat.

The team was working on all new sprites and animations built from the ground up to mirror the aesthetic the classic Game Freak titles are known for.

The project had started just before the official Generation 6 launched back in 2013.

The group started off fairly large at first, with various anonymous users on 4chan’s /vp/ board contributing. Eventually a Skype group was formed to better organize the development of the fan project. They decided early on not to broadcast the project to the public, keeping a low profile to avoid any C&D letters from Nintendo.

Work progressed as scheduled, and developments were made… just up until #GamerGate happened and the great 4chan exodus occurred, further dwindling the amount of people contributing to the project.

By 2015 more members had left the development team. The group contribution numbers began whittling down, so only those who were dedicated to contributing to Pokemon Sage were allowed in the Skype group. Work moved along slowly.

Eventually they decided to break away from 4chan’s /vp/ and start up a private thread on 8chan; something away from public purview, providing an intimate work place so progress could continue unfettered.

However, despite a smaller group of individuals working on the project, things did not become more efficient. “The Writer”, who was in charge of the plot of the game, noted that the design team had trouble coming to a consensus on gameplay mechanics and features, thus the rest of the writers working on the game’s plot were held up. But another problem was slowly brewing underneath the surface, bubbling like hot stew under the lid of a boiling pot during a rigid winter’s day.

What was the problem? Politics.

The U.S., presidential elections were taking shape in a bad way and it was something that began affecting everyone; censorship, rights and identity politics became more pervasive than ever, and it even started seeping into the general discussions between members working on Pokemon Sage.

“The Writer” working on the game’s plot – along with a few other select individuals – began explaining what was happening, and how tensions within the small group of enthusiasts began rising.

Two of the members, going by the anon handles of Smokey and Carson, were the ones who acted as if they were handling most of the leadership responsibilities. However, one of them began butting heads with one of the writers, and then things began breaking down when Brexit happened. “The Writer” explains…

“A shift in attitude occurred. It was around the time of Brexit. Carson & Smokey would both frequently post stories on Brexit that were full of fear-mongering and bias. They laughed at the notion it would pass. […]

 

“I made my first big error. I told them I thought some of the stories were fear-mongering, or outright lies. I told them Brexit was about more than immigration & racism. I told them people- like my father who was in London during the 7/7 bombings- didn’t want to be at risk from terror or another Rotherham rape gang thanks to open border policies. I told them the nutter who killed an MP the day before the vote didn’t represent all those who supported Brexit- despite what they thought. Both of them were clearly uncomfortable with me having a differing opinion to them.

 

“They conjured the idea I _must_ be racist. And- much like Smokey trying to hammer in the idea that [writers working on the game’s plot] was always shit & slow- they tried to hammer in the idea that I was a monster”

It was explained that the off-topic chat for those working on Pokemon Sage would regularly witness the political fallout between Carson, Smokey and “The Writer”. Others slowly began keeping their distance from communicating, hoping to avoid being pulled into the fray and simply wanted to make progress with designing the game, which was barely edging along at this point.

The others who avoided the political debates eventually “grew silent”.

Things began getting even worse leading up to and after the general elections. After Trump had been elected President of the United States, Smokey and Carson became openly hostile toward “The Writer” for not denouncing Trump and for having been supportive of Brexit. According to “The Writer” working on the plot…

“Smokey went into over-drive and Carson lost his damn mind. Every day I logged on, there was no attempt at peace. Anytime they could make a snide comment they would. If I dared to defend myself, they’d argue back. No one from the side-lines spoke up. “


Smokey and Carson would attempt to coerce “The Writer” to denounce Trump due to allegations of rape and sexual assault, but he didn’t readily jump onto the bandwagon being pushed forward by the media, only further angering the two and causing more snide and surly responses from the duo.

“The Writer” eventually would refrain from responding to the egging on from Carson and Smokey. He simply wanted to get work done and finish Pokemon Sage along with everyone else. But that was not meant to be.

Things further escalated into 2017, where the progress on the plot of Pokemon Sage had nearly ground to a screeching halt. Tensions between members flared, and no one was moving forward as intended. “The Writer”, who was one of several who were in charge of the game’s plot, had contested some design choices that would inhibit the writer’s group from further developing the plot, and when this was brought up to the rest of the team, an argument broke out.

Since the writing group hadn’t moved forward much and many errors were spotted, the brunt of the blame fell on “The Writer”, and he was given an ultimatum.

“The Writer” tried to smooth things over with another member of the group, but it didn’t go well, and he attempted to get advice on what to do from another user, but just a day later he received word that he was booted from the writing team and would no longer be allowed to work on the writing aspects of Pokemon Sage. What really drove it home for “The Writer” was that the vote to kick him off the group included three people who were no longer even active on the project, and had been inactive for several months.

“The Writer” explained…

“I gladly told everyone in main how little plot was doing. How we’d often try to trick Smokey and Carson into thinking our ideas for plots were actually theirs so they didn’t [nitpick] and whine. How the vote was made by people who weren’t even active anymore. The arguments grew bitter, and so did the comments”

Smokey and Carson, the two who had been the most vocal and aggressive toward “The Writer” held no qualms about being openly hostile at that point, with the two of them laying into him as he vented after being kicked from the team.


Others tried telling “The Writer” to step away and get some sleep, some made it known that they didn’t care what happened to him regardless.

During the heated debate, it was attempted to turn the discussion into a Left versus Right issue, given that some of the members clearly hated Conservative politics and were still angry that Donald Trump became President of the United States, and that Britain decided to exit from the European Union.

Some weren’t fond of all the political jockeying taking place and wanted it to end, but Carson decided to escalate things by telling “The Writer” to commit suicide.


Not everyone was fond of Carson and Smokey taking it to such a personal level, but Carson and Smokey didn’t stop there.



Another individual who was working on the project, but wished to remain anonymous, corresponded with One Angry Gamer via e-mail to corroborate what was mentioned by “The Writer”. When asked if the story was true about Carson, Smokey and some others bullying him, the former member of Pokemon Sage stated…

“[I can] confirm that he indeed has been the victim of bullying and persecution [in] that way”

One of the members of the council notified “The Writer” that they would have a second meeting – a vote to see if he should be allowed to stay or go, permanently. However, those who didn’t want him there made it known that he wasn’t going to be staying. One of the council members wrote

“There are limits we have placed on blind openness in the past, though you may disagree with them. People have been not invited or not moved from offtopic to ontopic due to their behavior. [Redacted]’s personal attacks on multiple people, which in summation absolutely crossed a line, were grossly out of line and show his presence in Ontopic chats is detrimental to other project members. His personal attacks and inability to recognize when he’s wrong unless repercussions appear are bad. […]

 

“It is our place to exclude others if they do not fit.”

According to “The Writer”, before everything broke down, within two years they managed to get up to the third gym leader, but after politics invaded the space and things got personal, the entire project imploded.

It’s still going, though; a shell of its former self.

However, “The Writer” wasn’t the only one who has been on the chopping block. Shortly after the events transpired where “The Writer” was kicked out of the group, the council reconvened again to discuss banning people for not tone policing themselves.


This caught the ire of some of the remaining members of the group, with one user named Ledabot writing…

“Does smokey actually help with anything? No. Does Smokey constantly shit on people, make snide comments or act like a massive wanker in general? Yes. Why is this even a question? No. I don’t think we should ban people because we don’t get cuddley feelings from them. Just stay away from me. I don’t want to even see your avatar you repulsive individual.”

Mungoman expressed similar sentiments, writing…

“I dislike working with Smokey in this project (though I have had little to no issues with him offtopic). However, I do not think that “kys” is a bannable offense. It’s terrible behavior, but still not worth being banned over.”

Pokemon Sage now hobbles along.

After the situation involving the bans and the arguments, some others have departed due to the open hostility exhibited by some members.

Will Pokemon Sage ever release? It’s up in the air. However, in-fighting and bringing sociopolitical differences to the table was a recipe for disaster. Adding the extra elements of Social Justice Warrior elements such as tone policing and forcing people to adopt certain “progressive” views only made things worse. It’s a real shame because people likely would have loved to have played the game… assuming it will ever be released.

[Update:] Following the publication of this article, a member of the development team did reach out, claiming that much of what “The Writer” stated regarding some things were “wrong”. I did request their side of the story to amend or elaborate on sections of the piece, but it was stated…

“If you yourself feel like you need to make alterations to your story knowing the whole thing might be false then feel free.”

[Update #2:] Another member of Pokemon Sage‘s development team, going by the handle of Orange Moose, decided to clarify points of the article and/or provide refutation to some claims. In accordance with our Right of Reply policy, their statements are below, unedited.


They were focusing on using Generation 4 mechanics, and relying on Flash animation for the characters and combat.

Gen 5 battle mechanics mixed with some mechanics from other Generations and some original stuff, and there is no flash animation anywhere in the project. Flash was used once in the compositing of the title animation, that’s it.

The project had started just before the official Generation 6 launched back in 2013.

The project was started in October 2012, almost exactly a year before the release date of Pokemon X and Y to start the 6th generation.

the great 4chan exodus occurred, further dwindling the amount of people contributing to the project.

The people contributing before, during and after that time didn’t change as a result of GG at all. The exodus had nothing to do with GG. It was initiated due to bureaucracy stagnating development by needlessly involving non contributors in the decision making process.

so only those who were dedicated to contributing to Pokemon Sage were allowed in the Skype group.

Anyone can join at any point even if all they want to do is dick around in off-topic.This has always been the case and Sage is still an open project. A couple people have joined since [redacted] left even.

[NOTE: The project is segmented into a series of chats. “Off-topic” refers to a chat that has nothing to do with Pokemon Sage and only partially overlaps with its dev team as a place to discuss all manner of things, including politics. The rest of the chats are referred to as “On-topic”, as they are where development happens.]

“The Writer”, who was in charge of the plot of the game

One of the people in charge of the plot.

What was the problem? Politics.

Aside from the drama that happened, the game has been progressing at the same pace it has been for the past few months. The political drama didn’t actually slow down anything but maybe plot.

hoping to avoid being pulled into the fray and simply wanted to make progress with designing the game, which was barely edging along at this point.

the game is progressing at the pace we expect it to, it’s not our faults people think fan games can be popped out like AAA games

Things further escalated into 2017, where the progress on the plot of Pokemon Sage had nearly ground to a screeching halt.

Again untrue in the sense that it had anything related to this drama. A few of the staff were moving or had stuff they needed to sort out in their lives.
And during the Christmas month/months most people are busy relaxing with family anyway so little gets done at that time of the year every single year.

Since the writing group hadn’t moved forward much and many errors were spotted, the brunt of the blame fell on “The Writer”, and he was given an ultimatum.

As one of the people who regularly gives plot shit for what I feel isn’t what could best reflect the game I think I can safely say from the outside looking in that nobody blamed “The writer” for the failings of plot but he was blamed for the misinformation he was spreading to people outside of plot. Which is why the final drama started.

as he vented after being kicked from the team.

He was attacking people in ways that I would certainly not call “venting”.

Not everyone was fond of Carson and Smokey taking it to such a personal level, but Carson and Smokey didn’t stop there.

Both sides took it to a personal level.

the council reconvened again to discuss banning people for not tone policing themselves.

One person made threads on the forums in response to what carson and smokey had said but it wasn’t in any way about tone policing.

Pokemon Sage now hobbles along.

It’s the same as it was before if not slightly faster with the addition of another member.

Adding the extra elements of Social Justice Warrior elements such as tone policing and forcing people to adopt certain “progressive” views only made things worse.

As someone who sits in the center of the liberal/conservative spectrum I can say that the only person who has ever given me shit, falsely accusing me of being “alt-right” is smokey. And it’s very easy to just ignore him or tell him to fuck off.

It’s a real shame because people likely would have loved to have played the game… assuming it will ever be released.

If you let political agenda prevent you from enjoying things then you’re only letting yourself down.


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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.

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