Transphobic content removed from Pillars of Eternity

Proving again that you can’t please all the people all the time, Obsidian Entertainment is again facing gamer backlash over an in-game epitaph from Pillars of Eternity. The developer first copped flak for including the “transphobic” content, but is now in the firing line over removing the offensive content.

Firedorn Ligthbringer's original epitaph

Firedorn Ligthbringer’s original epitaph

When Obsidian organised the Kickstarter drive for the game that’s now Pillars of Eternity, the studio offered a number of tiered rewards. Fans who pledged $500 or more to the project were rewarded with the opportunity to pen a piece of in-game content – a tombstone, found in one of the game’s graveyards. While some backers used the opportunity to commemorate those who have fallen in the real world, others chose to recognise characters like Fluffle (Fluffy Marshmallow of the Obsidian Order), Fenrir (last of the Wolfkin), and Firedorn Ligthbringer (their spelling, not mine).

…and it was dear Firedorn’s that proved to be problematic.

Here lies Firedorn, a hero in bed.
He once was alive, but now he’s dead.
The last woman he bedded, turned out a man
And crying in shame, off a cliff he ran.

Feargus Urquhart, CEO of Obsidian describes Firedorn’s contribution as “a piece of backer-created content has made it into Pillars of Eternity that was not vetted”. All fan-contributed content had been run through a careful vetting process, with Obsidian working with several backers to revise, edit or change content that would be included in the game, on the occasion when it “didn’t strike the right tone”.

It seems that Firedorn’s content slipped through the cracks somewhere, but Obsidian worked quickly to correct the issue:

In the case of this specific content, we checked with the backer who wrote it and asked them about changing it. We respect our backers greatly, and felt it was our duty to include them in the process. They gave us new content which we have used to replace what is in the game. To be clear, we followed the process we would have followed had this content been vetted prior to the release of the product.

Firedorn Lightbringer's new epitaph

Firedorn Lightbringer’s new epitaph

However, while the news is sure to please some fans, others are now up in arms over the developer “jumping the shark” and bowing to the whims of an “internet lynch mob”.

Comments from the official forums include:

  • Absolutely disgusting to see Obsidian cave in like this
  • I’ve read some PR and that is exactly what this reads as.
  • Extremely disappointed.
  • Glad to know that Obsidian is siding with people who scream ‘kill all men’, but who are upset by a poem.
  • This change cost you a customer.
  • …you gave in to the censorship crowd
  • This wasn’t missed by vetting. This wasn’t seen as an issue and now you are making excuses.
    as I am offended by censorship (reminds me of Gierek, Jaruzelski and United Communist Party of Poland which I remember too well), I won’t be backing this game
  • It’s a tad disappointing, I admit. And does not bode well for the future.
  • I fear when Obsidian starts to tailor their games to people that are openly misandrist
  • I can’t back a decision to cater to a Neo Nazi and a genocide advocate, and the insecure, entitled whiners who would support such individuals.
  • Seeing words changed now to conform to the new standard of “offensiveness” brings back the memories… and they are somewhat triggering.
  • You caved to pressure from a group of vocal SJW’s and misandrists.
  • I don’t wish to be a customer anymore, and you clearly don’t want me as a customer so when will Obsidian be providing refunds / returns to people who bought the game via Steam
  • You are sneaky, weak, hypocritical ****!
  • Pathetic. You will reverse this, if you have any sense at all.
  • I even feel stupid for buying fallout NV recently. Never again.
  • I’m not buying that thing about “no prior vetting” one single bit. Nice try though.
  • I lost all my respect for you. As a backer i’m disappointed and angry. No more money from me. Next time go ask your SJW “friends” for money. Shame on you.

…other fans ask if Firedorn’s post was the only content that wasn’t thoroughly vetted, with backers now concerned their contributions may be edited post-release.

Obsidian is yet to comment on specifics, but in closing, Feargus posts:

We appreciate the faith you have all given us into making Pillars of Eternity the great game that it has become, and we appreciate the strength of conviction all of you bring to every conversation we have together.

Pillars of Eternity is available now, exclusively for PC.

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