Kingdom Come Owes Its Popularity To ‘Realism’ And Conservative Politics

Kingdom Come Owes Its Popularity To ‘Realism’ And Conservative Politics

Kingdom Come: Deliverance has sold more than one million copies in less than a month. Its all-time concurrent player peak is higher than The Witcher 3‘s. So why is a janky role-playing game set in the Holy Roman Empire so popular? Because, on the surface, it rejects tired fantasy RPG tropes, but underneath it all, it’s not so different from the power fantasies it tries to stand in contrast to.

When Kingdom Come appeared on Kickstarter back in 2014, developer Warhorse promised that the game would be different than other RPGs. “Dungeons and no dragons” was the tagline, taking a not-so-subtle swipe at the glut of heroic swords-n’-sorcery fantasy games like Skyrim, Dragon Age, and The Witcher that characterised the genre at the time.

Warhorse wanted to offer a world nearly on par with those games in terms of scale, but with more realism, more immersion, and more attention to detail. That pitch resonated with would-be players to the tune of over $US1.5 ($2) million, nearly four times the initial goal.

A little over four years later, Kingdom Come is here, and it’s a bit of a mess, riddled with glitches, AI problems, and over-designed systems that sometimes seem at war with each other. But it’s a mess that tries hard to fulfil the vision that drew so much interest in the first place. That’s a large part of why people dig it, in some cases to the point that they’re willing to overlook flaws that otherwise trample any sense of realism or immersion.

Kingdom Come cannily pushes back against tropes that long-time capital-g Gamers are sick of, both in gameplay and narrative senses. You’re not some pre-anointed hero, ready to tear off your shirt and bare your rippling abs at all the world’s ills. Instead, you play as a corny dude who can barely handle a fight against more than one enemy at once and who, even if he wins, might just bleed to death afterwards.

Sword fights aren’t glamorous. They’re slow and ugly, sometimes even tedious. Characters don’t give a shit about who you are. They will judge you based on how you’re dressed, how recently you’ve bathed, and if your face looks like spoiled mincemeat because you just lost a fight and surrendered like a coward before your opponent could strike a killing blow.

On top of all that, the game’s alcohol-based save system — you have to consume a costly beverage called “Saviour Schnapps” in order to manually save your progress — though irritating as hell, prevents you from save-scumming your way through, so your choices carry actual weight.

On the other hand, while Kingdom Come rejects some tropes, it relishes in others. The male characters are often stereotypically gruff and confident, or, failing that, at least given agency over their situations. The women are submissive and supportive. Henry starts out a slobbish oaf, but if he works hard enough and makes the right decisions, he can have pretty much anything he wants. Power, money, sex. Lots of sex.

So while Kingdom Come boasts of its more realistic elements, it’s also more similar, in this way, to the Skyrims and Witchers of the world than Warhorse cares to admit. On its face, it uses historical accuracy as a reason to eschew many trappings of traditional video game power fantasies, but at the same time, it replicates the same systems and cultural ideas underlying those power fantasies, which results in a structurally similar experience.

It’s different in some ways, but also familiar and easy to digest if you’ve been playing games for a long time. That, as it turns out, is the winning formula on Steam.

Goode Olde Games

A lot of Kingdom Come‘s finer details — combat, the need to bathe, bleeding to death, etc — might not sound that fun to you. Sometimes, they’re really not! But PC gamers have been asking for a game like this for years. A game that’s unapologetically ambitious and reactive to player choice. A PC game that makes no concessions in the name of casual and/or console convenience.

A game that’s legitimately challenging. A game that carries on the legacy of the old Fallouts, Deus Exes, Baldur’s Gates, and Elder Scrollses. A game that flies in the face of what games became after those games’ glory days. A game for the PC-only diehards who’ve suffered the sheer indignity of warmed-over console ports for far too long. Kingdom Come, to some, is that game.

“This game is closer to a classic RPG than anything else,” reads a Steam review with over a thousand upvotes. “Its mechanics are complex, its gameplay is realistic, and the world has a high level of reactivity that you only find in the likes of Baldur’s Gate and the early Fallout games.”

Kingdom Come Owes Its Popularity To ‘Realism’ And Conservative Politics

To others, it’s the latest incarnation of the ephemeral, nearly Platonic ideal of The Ultimate Video Game, the game that contains all games and achieves Maximum Immersion by doing everything. Think what people wanted No Man’s Sky to be, or what deep-in-the-hole backers really, really hope Star Citizen turns out to be.

Multiple genres. Colossal, open worlds. Systems and systems and more systems. Open-ended Steam survival games like Ark: Survival Evolved take a scrappier, smaller-scale approach to the idea, offering survival mechanics stacked atop base-building mechanics stacked atop exploration mechanics and so on. Are all of these things enjoyable or necessary? No. What matters is that they’re there. New games in the genre stand out by adding even more.

Kingdom Come, building on both classic PC games and modern survival games, has survival elements like eating and sleeping, as well as combat, conversation, stealth, exploration, romance, NPC schedules, alchemy, horse emotions and countless other, under-explained systems besides. Players enjoy the unexpected moments some of these systems produce.

One of the game’s most notorious Steam reviews, in fact, is a story of fighting, improvised thievery, public drunkenness (to improve charisma, you see), surprise jail time, and eventual death. “This was the tutorial,” the story concludes.

You don’t have to interact with the majority of these system, and many players probably won’t. Immersion, as gamers define it, is often more about choice or the illusion of choice than it is everything working correctly and never falling on its face. Kingdom Come‘s systems — especially ones that involve AI — frequently trip over themselves, clumsily yanking back the curtain during moments that should be immersive or authentic.

But many players consider that excusable, because having options at their fingertips is more than enough to make up for it.

“There’s so much to this game I can’t go into it all,” reads a Steam review that’s been upvoted by nearly 4000 people. “Honestly this game is so awesome in every respect, I completely overlook all the faults.”

His Story

The other side of Kingdom Come‘s appeal is thornier. The game is historically based, set in Bohemia (now the western Czech Republic) during the time of the Holy Roman Empire and the game’s developers say they have even replicated topography and individual buildings from the region.

Kingdom Come Owes Its Popularity To ‘Realism’ And Conservative PoliticsImage: xXEdgy13YrOldXx

However, since long before the game came out, there’s been debate about exactly which elements of history the game’s developers prioritised. Much of that debate concerned Warhorse’s 2014 and 2015 proclamations that the game wouldn’t contain people of colour because, according to director Daniel Vávra, “there were no black people in medieval Bohemia. Period.”

People then pointed to historical texts and art that suggested, actually, there might have been Moors in the region, as they were definitely present in Europe at the time. It’s hard to say definitively one way or another whether they ended up in the sorts of backwoods towns that dot Kingdom Come‘s setting, or if they only appeared in major city centres.

In response to the ensuing controversy around representation, Vávra, a Gamergate supporter, mocked dissenters on Twitter with, among other things, this image of a black man photoshopped into a faux-medieval setting:

Kingdom Come Owes Its Popularity To ‘Realism’ And Conservative Politics

Since then, a schism has formed around Kingdom Come. Some are hesitant to play the game because of the views of its most visible creator and what he seems to represent, not to mention how modern day biases might influence his team’s choice of historical sources. Vice‘s video game site, Waypoint, even refused to cover the game on those grounds.

In January of this year, Vávra issued a statement retroactively re-contextualising his stance on Gamergate, claiming that for him it’s always been about “freedom of speech and the freedom of opinion and thoughts,” rather than the clear sexism, racism and harassment that the movement peddled in from the get-go. “I am not a friend of any kind of totalitarian rule and consider the accusation that I am a Nazi or close to any ideology that even remotely goes in that direction therefore as absurd, even personally offensive,” he added.

However, others have rallied around Kingdom Come, partially because they see its all-white cast and its developer’s support of Gamergate as a big middle finger to “social justice warriors.”

Kingdom Come Owes Its Popularity To ‘Realism’ And Conservative Politics
Kingdom Come Owes Its Popularity To ‘Realism’ And Conservative Politics
Kingdom Come Owes Its Popularity To ‘Realism’ And Conservative Politics
Kingdom Come Owes Its Popularity To ‘Realism’ And Conservative Politics
Kingdom Come Owes Its Popularity To ‘Realism’ And Conservative Politics

“SJWs complaining about it = instant buy for me,” wrote one Steam user on the game’s discussion board. “Not even joking, I was going to wait a few months for price to drop and patches to hit but now I see SJWs are complaining I’m going to buy it immediately.”

“This game is a lesson to developers,” wrote another. “The budget was a fraction of that spent on the SJW game Wolfenstein yet its sales are dwarfing it. Pandering to the left will destroy your business. Carry on at your peril.”

These days, alt-right groups (and worse) thrive on Steam because it’s not moderated in any consistent way, with Valve taking a hands-off approach and leaving developers to enforce rule sets that apply in their personal community spaces and nowhere else.

It’s even more lax than notoriously troubled platforms like YouTube and Twitter. Steam’s community is, of course, not made up entirely of users who engage in these sorts of behaviours, but it’s become one of the platform’s most prominent cultures.

In the wake of the game’s release, people have also done things like releasing a mod that gives dark skin to key character Cpt. Bernard as a joke. The mod is titled “Inclusive Cpt. Bernard”, and it got over a thousand upvotes on Kingdom Come‘s subreddit in reaction to Eurogamer‘s review of the game, which criticised its politics.

It’s the second most upvoted mod on the subreddit, beating out even the “save anywhere” mod that lets you skip the Saviour Schnapps.

The game itself, however, is largely free of overtly racist or sexist rhetoric. What’s there hasn’t been enough to set off most people’s alarms, even though it’s very much a game about white manly men doing white manly men things, women mostly being supportive mother-esque figures or prostitutes (when they get to be characters at all) and little details like a charisma buff called “alpha male” that you get for having sex with women at bathhouses.

The game also frequently depicts Cumans, a Turkic nomadic group, as killers and savages. It can be, in places, alarmingly careless, but unfortunately, that’s par for the course in this genre. Kingdom Come offers a white-default perspective that values power — but in that sense, it’s not all that different from other large-scale RPGs.

“As upset as I am by the whole low-key white nationalism of that Kingdom Come: Deliverance game and its popularity,” game developer and critic Liz Ryerson wrote on Twitter, “I have to admit it kinda only echoes the bland white Eurocentrism in most mainstream fantasy media like Skyrim.”

She added in a DM that modern fantasy powerhouses like Game of Thrones and Skyrim “are still very much Euro-centric male power fantasies” that “contain only barely coded racial stereotypes like the brown Redguard characters being good at getting angry and physical activity.”

Kingdom Come‘s most troubling rhetorical gymnastics trick, then, is one that people who’ve been playing games for a while are pretty used to: while people are happy to cite a commitment to historical accuracy to explain Kingdom Come‘s anti-diversity stance, that didn’t stop its developers from adding borderline-magical potions, overt references to other video games and heaps of modern slang in the conversational dialogue.

As with so much else about Kingdom Come, where people draw the line on immersion is a choice, not something set in stone.

Kingdom Come‘s popularity, then, is reflective of the state of the RPG genre, the PC gaming landscape, and the priorities of its fans. It’s a medieval game that flaunts its lack of fantasy elements while remaining very much a traditional white male power fantasy. It’s a game that’s supposed to prize immersion above all else, but in reality it reveals that some players are willing to overlook pretty glaring glitches and inconsistencies as long as they feel like they have choice and control.

It is, on many levels, the game PC players have been saying they want for years and it will sit comfortably on the shelf next to the many similar games that came before it and, in all likelihood, after it.


  • The game itself I really enjoyed even though it’s janky and I didn’t know about any of this stuff when I purchased it. I think people get a bit over the top of both sides of this argument at the end of the day best way to deal with it if you don’t like the game is to not buy the game and send a message with your wallet. BTW that’s not a Photoshoped picture it’s from the comedy movie Black Knight.

    • Haha… “comedy movie” …haha…

      Yes. That whole scene actually happened on film! By design! 🙂

  • In response to the ensuing controversy around representation, Vávra, a Gamergate supporter, mocked dissenters on Twitter with, among other things, this image of a black man photoshopped into a faux-medieval setting:
    You know that’s a movie right?

    • To be fair, almost nobody would know that’s a film.

      I jest, it was pretty bad though.

    • Didn’t even read that part of the article properly, knew it was from a movie though just didn’t click with the Photoshop part lol.
      Black Knight is the movie I believe, wasn’t half bad.

      I guess someone could be forgiven for such an obvious mistake if they have an already perceived perspective of someone.

  • “I have to admit it kinda only echoes the bland white Eurocentrism in most mainstream fantasy media like Skyrim.”

    Complaining about Eurocentrism while trying to force modern American demographics into Medieval European history in basically a vain attempt to say “POC history matters, they were part of Europe!”. That is the core of this entire MedievalPOC nonsense, it’s pure eurocentrism. The great “POC” kingdoms, Aztecs, Aksum, Khmer, China, Persia etc don’t matter because they weren’t part of Europe, PoC history matters because there were a few dozen black people in Manchester! My eyes can’t roll out of my head fast enough.

    The other thing is that it’s just pure US-Centric outlook on the world. To pretend that “White” means ANYTHING in the context of Europe, especially medieval Europe is absurd. None of these “White” people saw themselves as white and hell, they basically viewed people from hell, often a few miles away as a dangerous and foreign cultures. Is someone from Medieval Bohemia the same as someone from Medieval France? Poland? Rus? Lithuania? Italy? Of course not.

    Once again it’s just mostly “woke” Americans trying to force their worldview of modern US racial politics and social views on a setting, peoples and geography that makes no sense, not only that, they just completely erase the actual culture, struggle and histories of European peoples by making them just some blanket monolithic “white” culture.
    Fun fact Americans, Did you know, that white until the late 19th century basically only meant Anglos and French? That Germans were considered “Swarthy”? That Irish were considered Moorish subhumans? That even Scandinavians weren’t considered “White”?
    It just shows how nonsense this argument is and Americans don’t know what the hell they are talking about.

  • Let me ramble for a bit.

    With the right mechanics, a video game version of a Black Knight style comedy would be pretty fun. The fish out of water thing and the hero having a reason for being an empowered doofus still more knowledgeable than everyone else would make for a fun game.

    Just musing – I haven’t played Kingdom Come: Deliverance yet. Waiting for it to get patches and go on sale. But the swordplay and progression really interest me a lot more than the setting. How very specific the setting is, is kinda interesting, but I’m not that into medieval sort of stuff. We’re already saturated with those tropes in fantasy series.

    I’d really like more niche settings in video games. More regional stories. I’d play a guacho rpg or a cossack rpg or an indian rpg in the vein of a Kingdom Come.

  • People need to:
    1. Stop judging/censoring/changing the past because it clashes with modern socially liberal ideas.
    2. Calm down and learn how to see things from different perspectives.

    I wonder if the same people complaining about the lack of skin pigmentation would be as vocal if a game set in Sub Saharan Africa circa 1400s had no white people.

    If you are going to critique modern forms of media in relation to issues of diversity choose your battles wisely. Otherwise you end up looking like an idiot who’s playing a victim card.

    • Except we have no games set in Sub Saharan Africa circa 1400s with no white people. In fact, name a single mainstream game at all based in a historical setting where only dark skinned people are represented and perhaps we can then have a chat. And no, AssCred doesn’t count, it has tons of light skinned characters.

      • Assassin’s Creed Origins is not set in Sub-Saharan Africa (unless it goes south into Sudan – or Nubia as it was then). You could possible get Portuguese explorers in the 1400s in Sub-Saharan Africa, though. More towards the late 1400s than the early 1400s.

        • I ask about any historical setting in my second sentence. Perhaps I should have put my first and second sentences into separate paragraphs for clarity.

      • So in the event there was such a game. Would you be for, or against it? It isn’t immediately clear from your comment.

        • Whenever criticism of diversity in the media is raised as a concern the argument always comes out that white skins dominate because of alleged historical accuracy, or white people are just better actors than black people (because acting roles are selected exclusively and entirely based on merit, as we all know), or that the market demands white skins and therefore producers are simply selling what people want to buy, or whatever.

          All of which might even sound convincing if the reverse was often true.

          What point are you trying to make?

          • Not really going for a point. But on one hand you seem to disapprove of single-ethnicity games, whereas on the other hand you have a problem that there isn’t a single-ethnicity game filled with dark people.
            There is also a number of games set in Japan, Sleeping dogs is set in Hong Kong and we get the same excuse for single-ethnicity.
            Far Cry Primal also comes to mind, given that it was set in 10,000 BC I’d imagine most people would be brown. I haven’t played it, but I believe it fits the bill.

          • You keep attributing to me opinions that I have never expressed or implied, but go ahead and knock yourself out tying yourself in knots trying to catch me out in some ‘reverse racism’ gotcha.

            All I’ve said is that there aren’t any all black skinned mainstream games, and until there is it’s a bit rich to argue that in this particular instance it’s all [insert your current rationalisation here] when your convenient rationale almost always seems to run in one direction.

            It is, however, interesting that you mention Far Cry Primal where Takkar (the main protagonist) has a nice tan (as one would expect from a hunter) but otherwise has absolutely stereotypical white Anglo-Celtic features despite the fact that the white skin mutation is only around 7000 years old.

            But you’re not actually reading or responding to my posts are you? You’re just venting your frustration about how unfair it is that some people other than yourself might prefer to play a a computer game that they pay good money for in a skin colour of their own choosing, despite the game including a range of fantasy elements such as magic potions that enable you to make friends with animals, improve your charisma and instantly heal back to full health.

          • I am not the original post you responded to. I don’t really have a side in this argument. I love diverse games and I love not diverse games. I just wanted to get your take on this all overall, given it seems you have given it more thought. I understand your hostility, there are a bunch of people disagreeing with you, but I am a fence-sitter here.

          • Okay, happy to give you the benefit of the doubt.

            I don’t have a problem with a game having all black characters or all white characters, as such, if that suits the story. Two points here though.

            Firstly, it’s a game and a developer should have a pretty damn good reason for not offering players simple options appropriate to a diverse player base. Everyone is here is role playing, it’s not like the game is in any practical sense some kind of academic simulation.

            It’s also not as if a bit of skin color variation would wreck anyone’s immersion, at least, no one would who wasn’t already a racist twat. At the very least because, typical for any game of this type, people are going to act like dicks spawn camping and shit stirring and such. The game also does plenty to break immersion on its own with pop culture references and the like.

            Secondly, and more importantly, as I’ve already discussed, part of the problem with lack of diversity is that people always have an argument for why this particular game lacks diversity. Taken individually these arguments sometimes even sound convincing.

            The problem here is that if every decision and rationale somehow magically ends up with white males dominating, with non-whites and women at best in token roles, it illustrates a far more important structural problem with the industry.

            At the end of the day, given that we know that diversity is a goal that the game industry is still a very great distance away from achieving, developers have an obligation to be consider carefully the extent to which their decisions might be simply convenient rationales for continuing to perpetuate the status quo. We have plenty of evidence in this case, in fact, that women in the era weren’t all subservient and it’s quite easy to find instances of black skinned people being present in many parts of Europe at the time.

            In the context of a pretty virulent fan club of alt-right keyboard warriors owning your game as a big finger to ‘social justice warriors’ and ‘political correctness’ you don’t get a choice to sit on the sidelines and claim neutrality. You either own that campaign by your silence and/or implied endorsement, or you take steps to disown your game as a symbol of this campaign.

            But all of that’s already discussed in the above article, and I’m still not at all clear that you are genuinely interested in teasing out these issues.

          • Ok, cool. I think I can agree with you on a decent number of points here.
            * Purely from the point of popularity/income giving people more options is something a dev should definitely consider.

            * I agree with you about skin colour not breaking my immersion. I am not the sort of person who enjoys my dungeons without dragons though, so a game set in boring medieval England isn’t really my bag to begin with.

            * The arguments for games without diversity always seem to occur whenever medieval style games come out, I remember the same issue coming up about Witcher 3 when it came up. The argument being that it was from a polish book with mainly white people, with the devs saying they were so focused on the issues in Poland they wanted to note ingame that they didn’t really think about issues in other countries. That being said, Sleeping Dogs was not held to task for its ethnic monotony. I guess I am willing to take what people are saying at face value here, unless there is evidence to the contrary. I do also think there may be a subconscious bias here of (mostly) white males wanting to tell white male stories, not in itself a bad thing, but as a trend can look more insidious.

            * I don’t really know to what extent this is a developer trying to perpetuate the status quo and what extent this is bad research (on either side, not much a history buff, not much of a care for history, happy to take your side and say the dev was unresearched).

            * I don’t think any of the messages put up on steam were by alt-right, just anti-social-justice. On the part of the developer owning it, while I do not think that silence inherently means acceptance (merely tolerance), I suspect the developer mentioned, Vavra, is against at least some forms of social justice due solely to his controversy regarding gamergate.

            I’m not looking for a mic-drop moment or any of that. I might have a different (and too optimistic) standard of evidence, or have not considered a way to look at this that gets me off the fence. I also appreciate the lengthy response 🙂 it really helped with understanding the angle you’re looking at this. Well, I hope it is an understanding at least.

    • I wonder if the same people complaining about the lack of skin pigmentation would be as vocal if a game set in Sub Saharan Africa circa 1400s had no white people.

      There were white people in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 1400s. The Portuguese were trading extensively with the Kingdom of Kongo as well as exporting Catholicism there – the King converted in 1491. Somalia was home to a large Islamic empire from the 10th century onward and was a major trade hub with the Middle East and Near East. Zanzibar in Tanzania was similar, and became a vassal of Portugal in 1498. The first Europeans reached the Cape of Good Hope in 1487.

      • And, there were Moors in Bohemia, at the very time period this game was set, and FAAR before, as, gee, I wonder if the group that conquered the damn near entirety of Iberia decided to trade with their neighbors.

        • Yeah, the idea that the only civilization in Europe was White and no one ever traded or traveled is obviously ludicrous.

    • I agree with both points but your first point also has to also acknowledge that the past has been whitewashed a lot… in the past…

  • Read the title and knew this was going to be a hot take.

    I don’t know why people are surprised that a game set in medieval Europe lacks people outside of the Caucasians that populated the region. It is a historical European game made by Europeans, I would hope for the same sort of treatment if it were a about an African themed game made by Africans.

    Except not really because I think these complaints are silly and a pre colonisation African game where you play a warrior in an open world sounds awesome.

    • Wasn’t there a recent game set in Africa where everybody was black? Where you play an assassin or something? Where you belong to a creed or something? I think it was an obscure indie game.

      • Pretty sure it was a decent niche title, but I hear that you fought gods or something ridiculous like that and I just zoned out.

        I kid, I am just not much into Assassins Creed. The gameplay loop in’t particularly interesting to me.

        • You know what was really progressive, once a bit name franchise was set in Africa. I’m talking about the Resident Evil series. It was so brave of them to set a game with mostly black characters and nobody complained about it ever.

          • Was halfway through a bottle of ginger beer and had to stop myself from spitting it onto my keyboard.

          • I immediately though of RE too, even though I think it was more the portrayal of all the African folks that got people upset.
            The trailer in question showed a whole village of the newly infected rioting down the road with weapons while Chris dropped em like dominos.

            I can kind of understand how hollow that kind of representation ended up looking.
            Hey look, here’s Africa, with all the Africans acting like rabid animals!!

      • Assassin’s Creed: origins is set during Cleopatra’s reign, when the country had a significant Greek and Roman population, and the game reflects that. The Roman occupation of Egypt is central to the story, in fact. So not only have you clearly not played AC:Origins, you also lack even the most basic awareness of history. People of African descent have been on the European continent since the time of Ancient Rome, and not just as slaves, or traders, but as citizens.

        It is an established historical fact that people of African and Middle-Eastern descent were present throughout Britain and Europe from the time of the Roman Empire, all the way to the present day. So to not depict them, or claim that they weren’t there or could never have been is, at best, totally ignorant , and extremely ironic, given the developer’s pretensions of ‘historical accuracy’.

        • In Prague, for sure. But not likely in the area KCD is in.

          The part of Bohemia where the game is set has 0 major urban centres, is war ravaged and is renown for being the path armies take going to war being a buffer zone.

          Foreigners with or without skin pigmentation would find it to be a very unnatractive location to live or settle. They could live or trade literally anywhere else. Like in a city or a place in saxony, hungary, etc.

        • The Roman Republic/Empire was a Mediterranean and Western European entity. Europe is not a single thing and vast parts of Europe simply were never in the Roman sphere of influence. To cite the fact that the Roman Empire had many African and Middle-Eastern people, which is indeed correct, is actually irrelevent to the issue at hand. I don’t want to be defending this developer but poor arguments are poor arguments no matter where they come from, and the argument that the ethnic makeup of some parts of pre-modern Europe were more divirse than people might think and thus the ethnic makeup of the entirety of pre-modern Europe was more divirse is just simply wrong.

      • There was a recent movie about Africans in Africa and it got 10/10 and standing ovations before actually being screened.

      • There are hundreds of light skinned characters in Origins, you only have to scan the screenshots page on Steam. Maybe you’re thinking about a different game entirely?

      • You mean the one where they had been invaded by Europeans from Greece a while back and were at the time being invaded by white people from Italy? 😛

  • Any excuse to be offended, huh? Most of this article is nonsense and an attempt to engender outrage, but there’s one salient point:

    However, others have rallied around Kingdom Come, partially because they see its all-white cast and its developer’s support of Gamergate as a big middle finger to “social justice warriors.”
    Quotes like this, as well as trying to connect it to ‘alt right’ or neo Nazist groups or ideology is why people are rallying against this kind of perpetual outrage, not because of an ‘all white cast’ or ‘white male power fantasy’ or any other ingrained sexism or racism or whatever. Judging a medieval game on modern societal norms is silly. Demanding diversity in an era where there most likely wasn’t that kind of diversity is silly. It isn’t a crime against humanity to have a game where a medieval white male can, in the context of a video game story, work his way up to a position of power.

    It’s a sad reflection on gaming when we have to be offended because x or y wasn’t represented or it didn’t conform to storyline concept z.

    • Except there was quite a bit of racial diversity in medieval Europe. Whether the developers are racist or not, their claims of ‘historical accuracy’ are simply untrue.

      • You’re right that they’re almost certainly incorrect that there were no black people in that region in that time period, but it certainly wasn’t a cultural melting pot anything like modern society.

      • I tell you what, I wouldn’t want to be the only black person in a medieval back-woods Bohemian village. Chances are they’d blame you for a cow dying of ague of something and beat you to death without further ado.

      • “their claims of ‘historical accuracy’ are simply untrue.”

        Wrong. They *ARE* true.

        The location of the game is *NOT* “medieval Europe” as you suggest, it is “Bohemia” which is a far more specific region of the world, and the historical data strongly suggests Vavra was correct. If there were any dark skinned people there at that time at all, the number would have been so extremely low as to be statistically insignificant.

      • It’s really not that hard to connect violent Antifa to social justice progressives.

        You can connect the extremes to any group you pick, but that doesn’t mean it’s homoginised.

        • But it does often become the overarching focus much like politics these days.

          Gamergate became a muddy playground for the extreme feminism and extreme men’s rights advocates, giving each other ammunition to continue their furious circle jerk.

          It prob would have been better to say that it’s easy to connect gamergate with crazy folk in general, they were the only ones left sloshing around in there by the end.
          (But it was kinda fun to toss a turd in every now and then to watch em screech and wail for a bit)

        • I didnt say.

          But here is the thing about Antifa they in themselves dont want anything and they (in most cases) wouldnt exist without Neo-Nazi’s in the current form. They are a reaction to it’s rise. If there was no Neo-Nazi’s calling for ethnic cleansing and sprouting 70 year old rubbish about the Jews and anyone who is not white (how stupid is that) Antifa would just be another bored bunch of rent-a-thugs.

          I cant see the sense in bringing up Antifa, and they are ALWAYS bought up but some. I was wondering how long it was going to take for someone to bring them up a lazy defence. it always comes across as a justification for the Alt-Right and their worse legions to exist. Like ‘oh the Alt-Right are okay, because the left have bad seeds too’. Sure Antifa does some question things (name an aggressive social mob that doesnt) but at least they ARE NOT calling for ethnic cleansing on the streets of American and Australia and the like. I cant believe in 2018 I have to type that as if there is some question that it is a bad thing.

          • No, they’re just undertaking literal violence against people they claim are Nazis and riot in the streets. And also screech about anarcho-communism or some shit. When the concept of “fascism” has become so dilute by their screeching that it’s practically meaningless, they effectively have no real platform. You illustrate my point perfectly – the majority of people identified by Antifa as “alt-right” (which now means “anyone left of centre”) aren’t Nazis calling for ethnic cleansing.

            Nazi hate groups have been around since the Nazis. Antifa as it is today is only a new thing born of the Trump election. They’re violent thugs who never actually directly confront actual Nazis and are instead content to smack people with bike locks outside of any convention with politics they disagree with. If you defend them and their methods, you’re just as bad as the Nazis, because they both fundamentally use violence for their own ends.

            Antifa isn’t a defence for far right groups existing. It’s just an example of how so-called “progressives” can be just as dogmatic, violent and ignorant as the far right wing caracatures they claim to differ from. Just because you identify as left wing it doesn’t mean you’re not a thug. I could use Antifa to represent all left wing politics, but it’d be disengenuous. Same with boiling down GamerGate to “Oh it was alt right Nazis!”

          • “violence against people they claim are Nazis and riot in the streets”

            yeah all those white males walking through the streets of Charlestown chanting “Jews will not replace us.” are not Nazi’s. Roll eyes. Oh they were also calling for ethnic cleansing, caught on this little invention called a video camera.

            yes some of Antifa are thugs. there is not a single activist group of any kind in the world who does not have at least a small faction of extremists.

          • Yeah remember how one group did this thing so therefore every single action they took has been justified ever since?

            Sorry but if you honestly believe everyone at UC Berkeley was a card carrying Nazi, then you’re part of the problem of these modern day polarised politics. Just hope they don’t decide to change the definitions and come for you next.

          • well if I am ‘part of the problem’ (one of the most overused attempted insults of the digital age), you are merely sympathising with people chanting anti-Semitic rubbish in public. Their reasons for doing so is immaterial. They could be real Neo-Nazi’s (highly doubtful), they could be just loser entitled university students out for a good time and thought chanting that sort of rubbish is cool. Either way, there they were in public, in a lynch mob, chanting anti-Semitic sentiment. Getting caught doing so on film for history to record. And if you are okay with THAT but call me ‘part of the problem’, I dont know what else to say. History and the morality of current social norms are with me. I dont go around pointing fingers at Nazi’s but if ANYONE parrots their doctrines, for whatever reason, they are of course going to be associated with them.

            Maybe instead of of using such a clichéd statement like ‘part of the problem’, spent your time reminding yourself of the last 2000 years of history of the Jews. To understand it doesnt matter why they were saying that rubbish but the fact that they were, is what is wrong. If they dont want to be associated with Neo-Nazi’s here’s an idea, they shouldnt sprout their rhetoric. Then read all your modern hsitory from The Great War, then its impacts going into the 20’s, then read why the Nazi’s thrived and then look at the photos of the gas chambers, the camps (even better go visit them, I have), the toll of life, then look at those photos of those pathetic marches and then come back and try and tell me that I am ‘part of the problem ‘ again.

          • @blakeavon Lol, are you calling me an anti-Semite? Nothing you just posted has any relevance.

            If you honestly believe Antifa are acceptable simply because Nazis exist, then yes, your opinion is problematic. Antifa are violent rioters with a far left anarcho-communist agenda (which you conveniently ignore) who target anyone incompatible with their politics under the guise of targeting ‘fascists’. They are effectively totalitarian left-wing blackshirts, but ignorant or blatantly dishonest people will ignore that because Charlottesville and Trump.

            If you honestly believe Antifa were ‘fighting Nazis’ when they were beating people with signs ironically reading ‘No Hate’ simply because they were campaigning against Marxism, if you honestly believe that Antifa has no political agenda outside of “Nazis Bad”, if you honestly believe they only ever target Nazis, then yeah: you’re part of the problem that allows these shitty groups to flourish. You’re just on the opposite end of the spectrum.

          • @soldant what you’ve been describing is Black Bloc, not Antifa. Should anyone be seriously listening to you if you either don’t know the difference or you purposefully conflate to “win” a shitty internet argument? Probably not.

          • LOL this joker can’t even tell the difference between Marxism and anarchism. In my country, most of the hardcore old school communists involve themselves in trade unions and organizing workers, not picking fights in the streets. Ironically, most anarchists despise Marx, viewing him as too authoritarian, and more sympathize with the views of Bakunin. As such “Cultural Marxism” is just one of the many snarl words the alt-right employ to dismiss any left wing views, and is simply a continuation of the term “Cultural Bolshevism”, a Nazi concept used to denounce any ideal with doens’t fit into the vision of Nazism.

            And comparing Antifa and the alt-right is simply false equivalence d whataboutism. Antifa killed nobody so far, while the alt right killed over 7 people in the US. Remember Jeremy Christian, the “free speech or die” guy who thinks that his right to say whatever without consequence trumps other people’s right to life? Lane Davis, the GG and Milo supporter who killed his dad over a political argument? James Fields, the guy who ran over Heather Heyer? James Jackson, who picked and killed a random Black man in NYC in order to “keep the White race pure”? Nikolas Kruz, who shot up his high school and killed 17 people? William Atchison, another teen Nazi and Trumpster who also shot up his high school?

          • LOL Antifa existed long before Trump, and you probably believe that they are paid by Soros right? Their earliest incarnation, as Antifaschistische Aktion, existed in 1930s Germany where they fought actual Nazis. The modern incarnation was formed in the 1980s in response to the growing far right in Germany which started various attacks against immigrants and people of color.

            But of course, enablers like you would jump at the first opportunity to defend the “free speech” of Nazis, even when they are going around with tiki torches chanting against Jews. Meanwhile, on actual free speech issues regarding those of whistleblowers, ethnic minorities, and the poor, ie those without actual social privilege or protection, you’re suddenly silent. Violence is one of the goals of fascism, regardless of what new name it calls itself, and when alt right celebrities like Milo and Richard Spencer push out rubbish calling Black people as having lower IQ, they re frankly promoting indirect violence using many of the same rhetorics from Nazi Germany. A polite Nazi is still a genocide advocating scumbag, and we all know what happened last time Nazis were given a platform.

  • Meanwhile everyone misses the whole CUMANS ARE EVIL ARAB MUSLIMS LOL issue. They are potrayed as paper thin stereotypes when in reality many of the ‘blonde’ Cumans probably looked more Aryan than half the inhabitants of Bohemia at the time.

  • Small developer promising the world is a recipe for a janky game at release so I’ve held off buying it and decided I’d check it out maybe in a year when and if it’s properly patched but finding out one of the lead developers is a complete asshat makes me reconsider picking it up at all.

    Ah well I have plenty of other games on the Steam backlog to play.. enough to last me until 2358 at tlast calculation if I speed run them

    • Completely ridiculous reason not to pick up a game, by that logic you will never watch a anything that has been produced by Wienstien.
      I takes more than one person to make a game, and I guarantee you that every game or movie ever made has had some “asshat” working on it.

      • Interesting thing about the whole Weinstein thing – his movies have been some of the most loved among progressive audiences

        I am wondering if there is a movement happening right now to edit out Weinstein’s name and Miramax’s logo from all their films so people can go back to enjoying them without feeling guilty/disgusted etc

        • They did it to Kevin Spacey ( kind of deservedly so) I wouldnt see it as much of a stretch.

  • I honestly still do not understand wtf gamergate is.
    I want to be informed and I even looked it up. But it seems like the most random arguments and fractured sides. It’s a mess. It’s not one side vs another, it’s a mess.
    I have tried to understand wtf it is but all I can see is a random twitter war and people just say the word gamergate to each other to increase the flames.
    Can somebody explain it to me like I’m a 6 year old??

    Also not including black people in the game, simply because it’s just factually correct that black people weren’t physically there seems okay to me? Am I deemed alt right for that?
    I played dynasty warriors a few months ago and they were all Chinese. Seemed cool to me.

    • what started about an ‘ethics in reporting’ in games journalism, turned into this lame online male Fight Club type thing. It is anti-political correctness and anti all sort of progressive thinking (IE updating the morals of our day, as attitudes with things about gender and race change in time). Their sworn enemies are Social Justice Warriors SJW. Who they see as always trying to further their person agenda of um um. Shrugs who know, the gaters dont ever make much sense… Basically any one with any sort of moral backbone. Anyone who has hint of caring about others. Whether it is race or gender, or the downtrodden. They are the most dreaded and fear humans on the planet. Because they care about others.

      Naturally there bad people on both sides. Just the Gamer Gaters label everyone who even slightly fits the build as a SJW and the only way they can shut done intelligent and interesting discussions, is by screaming “SJW are ruining everything”. When so many of these apparent SJW are just human beings, who understand and respect other humans beings.

      If none of that makes sense, I apologise because quite frankly the whole thing, from both sides is the most vacuous and mindbogglingly ridiculous thing in recent history. On so many fronts.

      • Started out as an ex-partner dropping a letter full of accusations about a female developer onto 4chan to stir up shit.

        The “ethics in journalism” offshoot was secondary to, and concomitant with, a concerted campaign to harass female devs and their allies.

        After a few years there has been much smoothing over of the dead cat which kicked the whole thing off.

        • Coincidentally, Grayson was at ground zero of that kerfuffle – being one of the ‘five guys’ named.

    • From what I understand it’s a backlash against critiquing video games through prism of race and gender theory. Also some accusations the “social justice warriors” were sleeping with journalists, I think? Specifically, the writer of this article.

      So around the time stuff like Anita Sarkesian’s criticism and Brianna Wu’s criticism was coming out and a bunch of people were angry about that stuff so started being horrible human beings about it, and trying to dox and harrass these new game journalists.

      To understand why; I’ve seen one thing from Anita Sarkeesian (a video on violence in video games) and I thought it distorted the truth and used selective examples in order to prove a point. The only time I’ve read something by Brianna Wu it was a twitter post against Nolan Bushnell where she made it seem like the infamous business spa was basically a rape pool. So I can see why people don’t like some of the social criticism journos. It goes without saying that they still don’t deserve to be harassed like that.

    • Initially GamerGate was a movement that questioned the relationships between prominent progressive indie developers and journalists – namely that they may be getting biased coverage, reviews and promotion. It then started to form into a backlash against hardline progressives attacking video games over various perceived institutional racism or misogyny – a rebuttal to Sarkesian (or this stuff) for example. Ideologically it saw these frequent attacks and frequent promotion of ‘socially progressive’ games as harmful (as the two seemed to be a linked, concerted effort).

      As with any movement it had significant angry minorities who posted threats of violence and physical harm as well as doxing – and the video games media, being a target, immediately focused on this aspect and have portrayed the movement as being wholly represented by this subset. As reasonable people lost interest these vocal and abhorrent sections became more prominent.

      The opposing side have sought to control the narriative by focusing on these outliers and then resorted to the exact same tactics – character assasination, threats of violence, doxing, etc. Most opposition was initially fairly balanced but as the biased coverage has gone on and events became more bitter, only the hardcore hateful elements of both sides remain.

      GamerGate has practically no relevance to today because hardly anybody talks about it, except if someone wants to drag it up to use it as a label for character assasination. What started out as a criticism of perceived inappropriate media-industry links and constant denouncement of gaming as sexist and racist has become a bitter hateful footnote to gaming.

    • It’s a bunch of people fighting tooth and nail to maintain the status quo – games made for white 20-somethings to the exclusion of all others – as the medium diversified around them, and fighting that fight in the most horrible ways possible, mainly targeted online harassment campaigns, especially of women in the industry and of anyone that spoke out against them.

      It’s kind of blown itself out a bit now, but unsurprisingly a lot of them ended up being subsequently involved in alt-right movements. The line between the two is very blurry and they may not have actually been completely separate to begin with (it seems many prominent people in the Gamergate movement ended up being Tiki Torch Nazis, go figure…).

      People will tell you it was about making sure that “Journalists weren’t being influenced by Developers” but that’s bunk, it was always just an excuse for harassing women.

    • You are 100% correct, it’s a hot mess.
      Many will try and say what it is or what it was but in its current form it’s just a hole that came to swallow up too many voices and agendas until any and all resonable debate was drowned in a sea of shit.

      Really it should have served as a warning for how loud extremist minorities (on both sides) can hijack something and render it stagnant and immobile while legitimising and enabling each other.

  • Loving the game. But after a slow day at work looking through youtube for help videos for some part, the absolutely cesspool and Anti-SJW videos on this subject were at epidemic levels. So much rubbish. Most of it was based on what a handful of people who, some idiots might call SJW’s, yet somehow all these videos were all about this SJW’s conspiracy to destroy gaming.

    While I think that one site was a bit silly not covering the game, I applaud them for not just having a morale stand against something but by standing by it. Meanwhile these Gamer Gates lunatics just seem to realise if a gaming site doesnt want to cover a game, they dont have to, they dont have any sworn duty to talk about every game. If they want to put their editorial and morales above earning money for clicks, then so be it.

    So many of these anti-SJW’s have absolutely no idea how complicated history is and that written accounts only survive based on the politics of the time. So they arent an’ absolutely ‘truthes’. Think of it this way. If Fox news reports something from one side their viewers believe it without condition, while another side will roll there eyes and change the channel… now imagine in 100 years, if the researches at the time only have access to Fox News. That is the only side the history remembers. The exact same thing happens with Herodotus, the grandfather of ancient history. For hundreds of years he was the source of history, only in modern days, it is very clear his writings are written from his political views at the time. Flawed. Biased. Yet not devoid of useful information, if that is taken in context. And that is where these haters really faultier. They have no grounded knowledge of history and no understanding how we have got to the point of accepting certainly historical events as ‘truth’.

    Great game, but all this whining from gamer gaters, has truly turned me off it.

  • Just quickly though I find it really shitty that the author says the game owes it’s popularity to conservatives when it’s actually just a good game. It really discredits a lot of hard work from a lot of people and I just really find that quite petty.

    • I think it’s just a sardonic attempt by Grayson to do to Vavra what Gjoni did to Quinn.

  • Honestly, I’m surprised we didn’t see a hit piece earlier.

    I expected one before the game came out/first week, as a “don’t buy this game because of a developer’s politics” deal.

    • That’s not the message of this opinion piece, is it? We’re not being told to avoid the game, or that the director of the game is a nutsack, or even that the game isn’t worth playing. Far from it.

      It’s a huge stretch to describe it as a hit piece, and a mild worry to jump to such a shallow assessment straight off the bat.

      You could always engage with the discourse – I’d like to know why historical accuracy is seen as an acceptable selling point to players for a fantasy game that, at best, trades in the kind of narrow historical adjacency that no game can avoid.
      The response to focused criticism ought to be a bit better structured than the deeply ironic accusations and complaining we’ve seen throughout this thread, right? While we won’t change minds, we’ll move to a less adversarial position.

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