It has begun. If there’s ever any question or doubt about whether a developer has decided to plunge neck deep into identity politics, you can always tell by the way the community reacts to the developers’ creative design decisions and the way the developers reacts to the community’s reaction.
In this case, Hardsuit Labs and Paradox Interactive’s Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 was seemingly announced out of nowhere, but the excitement was quickly replaced with apprehension and then rebellion after it was discovered various elements of the design were influenced by Leftist politics. The developers and moderators over the Steam forums obviously didn’t take kindly to the push back from fans and proceeded to censor topics, lock threads, and ban users that they felt were “baiting” certain topics.
It started when threads started popping up asking “Is this a joke?” when some fans discovered that Bloodlines 2 would apparently have some crossover with the 5th edition of Vampire: The Masquerade‘s tabletop game book from White Wolf, which features extreme-Leftist sociopolitics and identitarianism, including a character named Rudi, who is a gay, black, Muslim SJW who fights against oppressive misogynists and the patriarchy. Obviously, gamers were not keen on characters like that appearing in Vampire: The Masquerade and called it a “parody” character. The thread appeared just hours after Bloodlines 2 was announced on March 22nd, 2019, but the thread was locked 16 pages and several hours later.
Another user, going by the handle of Murf_This!, made a thread titled “Will it be SJW?”, asking…
“So, the first game gave you a redhead sex / blood slave and had a psychotic club owned, who you could bang by exploiting her mental illness. You had bad people, you had good people. The game had a realistic array of personalities. And it didn’t judge them based on that. You were able to influence the world to a small degree and also decided what kind of person you wanted to be.
“Then we have SJW games like Battletech, where at character creation you can only chose your pronoun, and every Avatar picture looks androgynous (somewhat male, somewhat female). Meanwhile your entire crew is a set of tokens of different races and mental illnesses, without any depth or actual character behind it.
“Or Dragon Age Inquisition, that forces on you an ugly, uncouth elf, because “Not all elves have to be pretty” or some trash like that.
“Or Mass Effect Andromeda, that introduced ugly Asari – a race of aliens, that literally psychically manipulate you to view them as the prettiest, most attractive possible mate for you and you only.
“So the question is – will this game be a good one, or will it cater to like ~100-200 tublrinas on Twitter, who may or may not buy your game?”
Hours later, Murf_This!, was banned for baiting and the thread topic was locked.
Whether or not Murf_This!, saw the news, but lead writer Brian Mitsoda did address the mental illness issue and you won’t be seeing any “punching down” happening in Bloodlines 2. Push Square reported that during an interview with one of the Left-wing media outlets, Mitsoda explained how they would be handling “politics” in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, and topics such as mental illness, saying…
“We have to be very sensitive about how we handle things like mental illness and that was a concern for us and for Paradox, in how we can make a mature story but if we do anything, we do our homework and make sure that we are punching up and not punching down.”
The terms “punching up” and “punching down” are strictly used in Social Justice Warrior circles. Normal human beings don’t use those terms.
What’s more is that even joking about Bloodlines 2 and mental illness will net you a ban, which is what happened to user FOXXOF, who quipped about picking a pronoun and a mental illness and was promptly banned for the comment.
Others simply fired back at the Left-wing sociopolitical agenda being embedded into the fictional infrastructure of Bloodlines 2, with deuxhero making a thread titled “Developers to half the population: We don’t want you to play this game”.
29 pages later and lots of ridicule from those who support the SJW agenda, and the thread was locked.
Users like Purpleetea began making threads criticizing the developers for censoring and locking the topics that dissent from the SJW agenda, writing…
“ So disabling free speech I see? How low can you get?
“You cant even speak your mind? What is this youtube-twitter♥♥♥♥♥♥♥fest? Honestly you should be ashamed of yourself. Oh you dont like what people thinking about one or another aspect of your game? Well boohoo.”
Hours later the thread was completely deleted.
User Korig also made a thread, calling out the developers for the censorship, writing…
“ Threads being locked & users being banned from discussion. What an excellent way to garner hype & excitement for your game. Within an hour of a sequel being announced you immediately confirm non binary gender pronouns, you promise to tackle modern day politics & you discuss how you will “tone down sexuality as the original was a male power fantasy”. So when people complain for obvious reasons here you lock threads & ban people from commenting…top notch.
“I’ve never seen a game get people excited so quickly & then immediately destroy that excitement/hope. Hope you enjoy your already niche game being excluded to customers who can’t figure out what gender they are.”
The thread was locked and Korig was effectively banned from the forum.
It wasn’t just Korig, though, the forums saw a massive purge of threads, topics, and users who were either asking about Social Justice Warrior influences or were making it known that they didn’t support the SJW agenda.
Keep in mind, those are the threads that were locked, not the threads that were deleted.
Users began repeatedly asking the developers about why they were banning users and deleting topics and locking the threads. Finally, user Liam Neeson Punching Wolves asked “What gives? Have I stumbled into Resetera?”. Liam Neeson was met with a curt reply from Steam community moderator Tito Shivan from Spain, who explained…
“Ok. Lemme get a look at it.
As Far I can see there’s.
– One deleted bait thread from a user previously warned for making similar bait threads on other ‘hot zone’ forums.
– 2 Spam topics with no content itself.
– 1 topic just linking to a Youtube video that’s already been linked in other places in the forum. So the subject is already being discussed.
and a few more bait topics made by users with a list of previous bans longer than advisable.
“Nothing removed out of the ordinary so you can leave the tinfoil hat at home. No Ventrue conspiracy at play. The place is ‘hot topic’ right now so it’s bringing in some regular trolls out of the woodworks at the smell of fresh blood (wink wink, nudge nudge) As it has happened on other places in the past. […]”
Shivan then quickly proceeded to lock the thread from any further discussion.
Shivan doesn’t explain which threads belong to which users given that it’s tough to tell what Shivan considers a bait thread or which ones were satirically mocking the developers for focusing entirely on talking about the politics of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 instead of the actual gameplay. In fact, we know nothing about the actual gameplay and only about the Left-wing politics on which the game is built. This was parodied endlessly from user FiauraTheTankGirl in a thread titled “To The Devs”, to which they mock the idea that the only reason people played the original was for constant, politically charged content.
Of course, the thread was locked.
Other threads make it difficult to tell if they’re being serious or not due to the absurdity of Leftist sociopolitical jargon. For instance, SolviteSekai made a thread titled “So, which gender pronouns will you be using?” linking to an image from VG 24/7 where the outlet championed the developers for adding multiple gendered pronouns to the game. SolviteSekai quipped… “I’m thinking it/they but I’ve also considered Vamp/Vampies”.
10 pages later and the thread was locked.
Shivan made have made it seem like he only locked/deleted a handful of threads, but the bans just kept going. Noxxshroude’s thread titled “The SJW Parts” attempted to convey that they didn’t really want to play a game about LGBTQIA sociopolitical propaganda, writing…
“Okay, I support the LGBTQI but does every game need to include it? I mean maybe put in a romance quest or a nod here and there but 50 pronouns? How is that relevant to the game? This is a game about vampires. The only concerns should be what clans you can be and how you can make it feel like WoD.”
Less than an hour later and the thread was locked.
Others like Tova didn’t even bring up the SJW aspects. They simply wrote…
“Was interested.. then.. Saw paradox was the publisher, Too bad they are blacklisted for the Stellaris Fiasco.”
The thread didn’t even last minutes before it was locked.
What they’re referring to with the Stellaris fiasco is that back in late May of 2016 Paradox Interactive stepped in to ban a user mod from being made publicly available for Stellaris because it allowed players to make the human characters white only.
Game journalists complained about the mod calling it “racist” and so Paradox Interactive kowtowed to their demands and pulled the mod.
Nearly all the threads decrying the Left-wing politics or criticizing the game’s obvious Liberal-slant with the identitarianism and sociopolitical topic matter have been locked or deleted, and the users sanctioned or banned.
One thread, however, remains.
User Mannagen created a very long post titled “Please Reconsider the Political Messaging”.
As of the writing of this article, and 33 hefty pages in, the thread is still alive.
Mannagen tries, to the best of his abilities, to outline that he’s Conservative and that he doesn’t mind Liberal content in his media, but he just wants a game where he can enjoy it without all the political bludgeoning going on in today’s culture war. To sum up what Mannagen wrote, the lengthy post ends with the following paragraph…
“I just want to play my bit of dark fantasy in this World of Darkness, free of all the pettiness and strife I have to deal with in the news, workplace, and public spaces of reality. I want to make my vampire how I imagine myself (or how I imagine the character I seek to play), and make choices how I elect to make them, with force or coercion of ideas that are not my own, in a political climate that is balanced/neutral by any 3rd person’s point of view (free of bias), and I want to be able to do this for hours on end. Period. Make that the game. Let’s not play this political, pandering card that appears to be all the rage now-a-days.”
Obviously, Mannagen is immediately attacked by Liberals and Leftists who have a deep rooted hatred for Conservatives and traditional Western values.
However, even with the censorship running supreme on the forums, the word is still spreading and users are still dropping red pills for all the casuals to see. Threads are still popping up from users like TYR who warned people about Cara Ellison’s ties to getting Hotline Miami 2 banned in Australia, as well as pointing out that Ellison helped with writing Dishonored 2, which effectively made its way onto the Get Woke; Go Broke Master List…
“Feminist/SJW-Pronoun VtMB2 writer Cara Ellison, writer for VtMB2, also writer for the trainwreck that was Dishonored 2, was part of the bandwagon that got Hotline Miami banned in Australia.”
What it looks like is that the more that the moderators try to censor and ban users for exposing the SJW agenda, the more people are going to push back against the censorship.
This is always a common tactic with a lot of Leftists and SJWs who can’t argue in favor of their own politics because they’re either contradictory, desultory, or degenerate, and therefore the only recourse they have is to censor the opposition, which is exactly what we’re seeing with people who critically put the development team’s politics and the political direction they’re taking with Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 under the microscope.