Rolled Out! Devs Kick Artist Off Project For Misgendering A Non-Binary Rat

Rolled Out non-Binary

In the Age of the Clown anything is possible. In fact, most things that would be too extreme to make its way into fiction is actually the truth during the Age of the Clown. A perfect example of that is an artist who was recently kicked off of the Super Monkey Ball spiritual successor project called Rolled Out!. The reason the 3D artist was kicked off the project was because they misgendered a non-binary rat.

It all started on May 9th, 2019 with a tweet from artist RafaKnight.

RafaKnight apparently had contact with the developers of Rolled Out! following their departure from the team, specifically talking with the head of the project Brandon Johnson.

Brandon apparently was going to issue an apology to RafaKnight for kicking the artist off of the team following the misgendering incident, but deleted it shortly after posting it up.

Brandon then made a pastebin publicly available about the incident, tweeting about the ordeal and the ensuing drama on May 10th, 2019.

In the pastebin Brandon explains his side of the story, writing…

“RafaKnight initially contacted us expressing interest in working on the game. Irresponsibly, I jumped onto the offer instantly, asking her if she could try her hand at one of our characters, so we could see her take. She stated she was uninterested in any monetary compensation, but I offered to compensate her regardless. We brought her into our development channel.


“After that point, we had an internal discussion in which she misgendered our character – which was fine! We corrected her, and were understanding, as we had been with others before. However, this proceeded to spur on discussions in which she repeatedly requested we change our approach to our character design even after we stated that we were happy with our original designs.


“This made some of my non-binary friends a little uncomfortable, so we decided to do some background research on the new artist we’d introduced to our team; this is something we should have done beforehand.


“We found that she had created and displays on her page, questionable and sexually provocative artworks of characters who are canonically minor (aged up in the pictures), which further increased general discomfort of our development team. At this point, absolutely no money or work had exchanged hands. RafaKnight had not given us any files. We were still testing the waters, to see if she was right for our team. She had been in our server for about 3 days at this point.


”After careful consideration, we decided that we did not want our game to be associated with the artworks she had previously created, and that we would not be requiring her artistic services. I offered to compensate her for her time spent on the project, as I did not want her to feel as though she had wasted her time.”

The “sexually provocative artworks” that Brandon is referring to is a tweet containing images of Medli from the Legend of Zelda. One of the images features Medli in a tunic without anything else underneath. It’s the only “provocative” piece of artwork on RafaKnight’s timeline.

Brandon, nevertheless, goes on to say that after hours of discussing the matter with RafaKnight and a friend of RafaKnight, he decided he wanted to put it all behind him by making a public apology to RafaKnight. Brandon would go on to write…

“I wrote what I felt was a fair apology, which I did earnestly mean. They did not accept it. I was told to rephrase it several times until it evolved into an apology that I felt was untrue and unfair to myself and my team. [ ]


“Still, I posted it. At this point I was tired and terrified about what she could do to my project, with her fan base and influence. I deleted my QRT chain explaining the situation from my perspective. I shouldn’t have, because it was the truth. And this is me, again, telling everyone the entire truth, whether RafaKnight approves of it or not.


“I do believe she deserved an apology. I would never want to make anyone feel so misunderstood. But I was bullied into writing something demonstrably untrue, which I now feel was a deliberate attempt at making me look like a bad person.


“I will admit that it was unfair of me to ask her to step down from the project without talking to her beforehand about why. I should have handled that better, and I’m learning a lot about all of this as I go.

“However, I think it’s far more unfair to attempt to use one’s status as a well-known artist to so deeply misrepresent the reasoning behind their departure.”

For reference, RafaKnight has 9845 followers on Twitter as of the writing of this article. The entire feed is literally just filled with commissioned work, 2D art, 3D art, and works in progress. There is no drama or “bullying” going on via Twitter or Tumblr.

In fact, the only drama that RafaKnight has been involved in over the last two years is the one involving Rolled Out!.

RafaKnight responded to Brandon’s missive with a simple tweet saying that they couldn’t trust Brandon’s words.

Brandon, meanwhile, attempted to displace the drama on being “new” to game development, saying that he’s trying to be honest and that he needs the community to be patient with him, writing…

“RafaKnight, we’re sorry you felt this was unfair, or that we betrayed you. I’m very new to game development, and very new to this sudden spotlight that is being shone on me. A lot has happened that I haven’t known exactly how to deal with. But I am trying my honest best to do everything right.


“I’ve made a lot of mistakes over the last week or two, and I will probably make more mistakes along the way. I’m only human. All I ask is that you all be patient with me, patient with my team, and understand, again, that we are all just passionate fans trying to make a great game for a passionate community. All I can do is my best, and that’s what I intend to keep doing.”

Not everyone took Brandon’s words at face value given the way things had been unfolding with RafaKnight.

To avoid the internet hate machine, Brandon decided to duck out early by saying he was taking a break from Twitter and that he still wanted to compensate RafaKnight once the crowdfunding campaign was complete for Rolled Out!.

RafaKnight meanwhile will likely get back to doing work and productively creating content for reputable clients.

Rolled Out! is currently being funded on IndieGoGo. The game is supposed to be a spiritual successor to Sega’s Super Monkey Ball. All of the playable animal characters are supposed to be non-binary or trans.

(Thanks for the news tips Plake Filmmaker and Tentacle Tomato)

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