Adult visual novel maker Winged Cloud has gained quite the reputation for their Sakura line of titles. The popular visual novel series has managed to make Winged Cloud a recognized name in the VN market, and also the target of typical criticisms from today’s “woke” crowd. Recently they had an interview with The Gaming Ground where they talked about branching out into consoles, working on sequels for certain games, and even offering some advice for developers and publishers on dealing with cancel culture and the cult of censorship.
The interview was published on TheGG on February 14th, 2020, where they got to fire some questions at the manager of Winged Cloud, Exilim. Near the end of the interview the question of censorship and cancel culture came up, and what sort of advice could be offered to gamers, developers, and publishers dealing with those pressing issues. Exilim responded, saying…
“Well about censorship… Obviously, we like to have all our games uncensored. Usually, platforms are under too much pressure from groups of people which became significant enough to force their view of the world onto other people.
“Most platforms lack the power or financial independence to follow through with what they want to do.
“There are also platforms that have those things, but lack integrity. So about cancel culture. It is tragic indeed that these days emotional manipulators have it easier than ever.
“The access to the “superpower” named public opinion is accessible by a lot of people who lack the responsibility to wield it. What could gamers do? Be more responsible – but let’s be honest, that won’t happen. What could publishers do?
“Did you like the product/people before it was attacked? Then work with them. Otherwise, it’s giving in to fear or financial gain. I mean, sure, this is understandable, as most people are not mentally strong so I would consider that as a normal reaction.”
I think the publisher issue is two-fold, since on one hand publishers who don’t espouse the views of cancel culture/censorship apologists usually are small or independent and have an uphill battle to fight through in order to maintain brand integrity. The advice of not giving in is sound advice, and any publisher dealing with that sort of backlash needs to learn how to grow a backbone and trust in catering their product to a demographic that will actually buy their product.
On the other hand, though, the dangerous part in sticking to their guns is when the product is untested or original and it starts getting attacked, because at that point how do you know that your game will land well or that the audience will stick by you? I can see where some publishers will get cold feet and start thinking about the accounting sheets and whether or not they’ll get a return on their investment.
However, for tried and true concepts – like the retro-inspired FPS Ion Fury – the developers nor the publishers should have given an inch to the SJWs complaining about the game’s content. Back in the 1990s those crazy Twitter spergs would have been given the finger and some of their complaints likely would have ended up on marketing posters for Ion Fury to poke fun at the critics. They also would have made Shelly look hot instead of kowtowing their designs to feminist whims. But I digress.
Anyway, Exilim continued on to offer up-and-coming developers advice about cancel culture, SJWs, and censorship advocates, saying…
“What could developers do? Educate yourself on a few things, hopefully before it happens:
– emotional manipulation, so you know what you are dealing with.
– resilience and mental fortitude
– emotional stability
– make your statement without justifying or discussing anything.
– deal with it. Things like that happen in life. You still have a lot of projects to make so don’t let that distract you from your own future.
“And don’t forget. They shout loud, rage a lot, but forget very, very fast. You are it today, tomorrow its already someone else. [sic]”
This is too true.
If you attempt to placate the loud minority by undermining a popular or highly anticipated product aimed at a targeted demographic, then all you’re doing is shooting yourself in the foot. Worse yet is when you shoot yourself in the foot and the people you shot yourself in the foot for don’t even support your product… like everything on the Get Woke, Go Broke Master List.
I also really like the suggestion of making a statement without discussing anything.
We see so often a developer attempt to justify or explain the reasoning behind a decision, and usually all it does is make things worse. Like when 343 Industries tried to reason with SJWs why Cortana was naked, and it only made the SJWs hungrier for change, and so from Halo 4 to Halo 5 they slapped Cortana on some lazy Mass Effect-looking armor.
Anyway, I think most developers who have been following the trends of cancel culture know what’s up, but for those who don’t this is good advice from Winged Cloud to follow.
Obviously if developers are willingly engaging with SJWs and constantly kowtowing to their demands, then it probably means they associate with SJW-centric politics than not. When revelations like this occur it means that as a consumer you get to save yourself some coins instead of supporting a studio that aligns with the enemy.
If you want to learn more about Winged Cloud and the company’s philosophy on development you can read the rest of the interview over on TheGG. Alternatively you can find most of their games on Steam or on the NSFW Nutaku store.