Merge Games and German developers Ion Lands announced that Cloudpunk is set to arrive on the PlayStation 4, the Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch at some point in 2020. Merge will be handling the console distribution while Ion Lands focuses on getting the game up and out on Steam for PC in collaboration with Maple Whispering.
The announcement for Cloudpunk’s console release came via a new trailer that was rolled out, featuring some of the on-foot segments and the ability to fly around in the city, scouring both the highs and lows of a futuristic cyberpunk city teeming with all manner of organic and non-organic life, both scrupulous and unscrupulous alike.
The story centers around a neophyte driver named Rania who joins a delivery company known as Nivalis, where she attempts to break in via delivering passengers to their destinations throughout the sprawling voxel-based city, with skyscrapers kissing the clouds, and rows of concrete awash in an ocean of glowing neon lights.
You can check out the trailer below.
With the basic description out of the way, I can readily say that this does not sit well with me at all.
All sorts of red flags are going off, and a lot of it has to do with the main female protagonist Rania.
Had this game been made some 20 or 25 years ago it wouldn’t have fazed me in the least, but outside of Innocence: A Plague Tale, almost every single female-led game seems to fall back on some sort of sociopolitical commentary about Left-wing concepts of gender identity.
The developer’s response to a user’s question about the lack of a male character in the Steam forums on December 12th, 2019 also waylaid any sense of confidence I might have had in the story being about fun and immersion, with Ion Lands responding to a user’s inquiry about the playable character, saying…
“This game tells a story, not a generic one, but very specific to the main character. And that character is female. Sorry to disappoint you. We cannot implement multiple main stories or two versions for every dialog. We also feel that the result would be very generic.”
In any other era one might shrug and ignore that response, but in [current year] the fact that the developer insists that this story is specific for the female character made me wince. The second trailer for the game that was released back in September of 2019 didn’t help to assuage any of my concerns, either.
I wasn’t alone, though. Another indie developer in the thread also had some similar reservations, but also cautioned to withhold any judgments until more information surfaced.
“eh… options are nice, but I understand that a small team can only do so much.
“The best thing to do, is to withhold judgement until you can read a review.
“It would be unfortunate if this fantastic looking game got tethered down to a cringe story, but it’s way too early to decide that.
“I do personally prefer to play games as a male, but there are exceptions to that. We shall see.
“I am currently working for an indie team making a game with male protag, and they are doing that, knowing that their target audience is overwhelmingly male (They have definitive info from a KS campaign and surveys). So far, we’ve only seen minimal interest in the game from women, but that was the PLAN.
“If this game doesn’t have combat, there is a good chance that it’s target demo will be evenly split along gender lines.
“Personally, I saw that car in the Teaser, flying around the city and I couldn’t help but wish i was Decker in Blade Runner… (atmosphere) Now I will temper that sentiment and wish the dev the best.
“There is nothing wrong with a female protag in games, and there is nothing wrong with not liking it either. “
Those are about my sentiments as well.
I understand the technical limitations and focus that’s required to complete a game of this scale for such a small team. Voxels or not, an open-world 3D game with six-degress of navigation is no easy feat for a small team.
But on the flip side, if the team is using this awesome concept to push more identity politics into gaming, then I’m out.
There’s just no room in my life for anymore Left-wing agitprop.
Now this isn’t to say that Cloudpunk is converged, but I just found it odd that for a game about a taxi driver taking on a grungy job in an overcrowded city that the protagonist would be a female.
In fact, according to a graph on DataUSA taken from the U.S. Census Bureau, 83% of taxi drivers and chauffeurs in America are male.
So why purposely center your game around the concept of a female in a job typically associated with males? Why have a female lead in a game where majority of the people who want to play as a taxi driver in a cyberpunk city are male? Something smells off to me.
Then again, maybe it’s nothing? Maybe it’s not laced with identity politics propaganda? Heck, maybe it’s not unlike Traffic Department 2192, which also featured a female protagonist and was one of the most uncompromising, brutal, and nihilistic games I’ve ever played. But then again, my Social Justice senses are tingling, and it’s never failed me before.
Anyway, I’m not convinced until I’m convinced. And right now my red flags are still raised.
But you can look for Cloudpunk to launch first on PC and later in 2020 for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.