Gaming website Let’s Play Video Games recently disabled comments on their negative review of Warhorse Studios’ Kingdom Come: Deliverance, due to a blow up in the comment section when readers discovered they knocked points off the game for a number of reasons, including that it lacked people of color. They gave it a 40% out of 100%, citing that the bugs detracted from the game, along with the lack of “representation”.
The article states right at the beginning…
“Let’s get the big thing out the way straight off the bat – as a game purportedly aiming for historical accuracy, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is the poster child of a school of thought that argues diversity is not needed in medieval settings because ‘there were no people of colour’ (or disabled people, or queer people, or anything like that) at the time.
“While this is factually untrue, as many academics, historians, and commentators have explained every time this conversation pops up, games like Kingdom Come continue to present a specific image that fits in line with our cultural expectations (expectations themselves born of racism) of what medieval society was.”
They praise the game’s graphics and environments, but express their disgust for the clipping, pathfinding, AI, and getting stuck in certain parts of the environment, as well as still encountering bugs after installing the 20GB patch.
Another large portion of the review circles back around to representation, where the author clings to the notion that there should be some kind of representation in the game when it comes to people of color, writing…
“It isn’t all that surprising a medieval game has fury surrounding it regarding representation. It’s happened many times. Kingdom Come is a unique example, though, because Warhorse itself has stoked these fires over the years. And you know what? Whatever. People having politics I disagree with isn’t new, and getting into debates about the false binary of “artistic freedom” versus social responsibility isn’t something I’m interested in.
“But for Warhorse to then happily include night-vision potions, special game-saving drinks, and a jumble of American and British accents in a Bohemian setting just makes the things it did deem acceptable to omit for its rather inaccurate vision of accuracy all the more suspect. It firmly puts the game on very mean-spirited footing – magical night goggle drinks are acceptable in their world, but marginalised people who actually did exist at the time are not.”
The comment section did not take kindly to the interjection of sociopolitics into the review, and many called out the author for blatantly turning the topic into an issue about race relations.
As a way to prevent the comment section from getting the better of them, Let’s Play Video games make the decision to censor comments and closed down the comment section on the review, tweeting out that only those willing to discuss the game according to their terms would be allowed to do so on the Discord channel.
Following a huge uptick in abusive, vitriolic comments, we have disabled the comments on the Kingdom Come review. Please use our Discord server for any civil, good-faith discussion of the game (link’s in the top menu on the site!)
Sorry for the inconvenience.
— LetsPlayVideoGames (@letsplayvgcom) February 19, 2018
Plenty of people on Twitter did not agree with this decision, even though some attempted to defend the outlet for the censorship.
It’s okay to be white.
It’s okay to make really good games that don’t feature non-white characters.
It’s okay to disagree with those things but don’t expect for many to take you seriously.
— Anon Amous (@anonfs03) February 20, 2018
Other sites also brought out the lack of people in color in Kingdom Come: Deliverance, but refrained from knocking off too many points for it not ideologically fitting in line with their beliefs. In some cases, like Waypoint, they simply refused to cover the game.
Despite all the hand wringing and fulminating harangues, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is selling quite well and is very popular with its intended section of the market. According to Steam Spy the game has already managed to move 450,000 copies on PC alone. Censoring comments and keeping the outrage bait going is likely only going to help spread the game further and bring in more gamers looking for a title that they feel brings the historical accuracy of the middle ages in Europe to life.
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