Ion Fury Developer Backtracks, Says It Won't Remove Gay Joke Because Of 'Censorship'

Image: Ion Fury

Upon its release, Ion Fury seemed like a bullet-proof success. The Duke Nukem and Shadow Warrior-inspired retro shooter launched earlier this month to rave reviews, with many praising its bloody, chunky blend of old and new. But, shortly after, players discovered homophobic content in the game, and some began to circulate screenshots of transphobic and sexist comments made by the game’s its developers on Discord. Last week, the game’s developer and publisher apologised and said they’d remove the homophobic content from the game. This week, the Ion Fury team is singing a different tune.

Ion Fury lead developer Richard Gobeille, who goes by the handle “Terminx” on Steam and who had appeared to have taken part in the Discord conversations criticising “SJWs,” feminists, and trans people, posted a statement via his Steam account that was described as a “Joint statement from Voidpoint and 3D Realms.”

“We will absolutely NOT be censoring Ion Fury or any of our other games, now or in the future, including but not limited to by removing gags such as gaming’s most controversial facial wash,” the statement said.

The in-game content, which Voidpoint had deemed “homophobic” in a statement to Eurogamer last week, included shampoo bottles with the word “OGAY” on them, as well as a secret area containing the word “fagbag.” This, alongside the derogatory Discord comments from two Ion Fury developers about trans people and women, had inspired the studio and publisher 3D Realms to respond. In last week’s statement, Voidpoint had described the comments and in-game content as “insensitive, unacceptable, and counterproductive to causes of equality,” saying that it would donate $US10,000 ($14,763) to LGBTQ anti-suicide non-profit The Trevor Project and patch the content out of the game. Publisher 3D Realms said the content was “not approved by us” and said future contracts would allow the publisher to sever relationships with anyone who didn’t follow its “zero-tolerance policy for hate speech.”

Since then, Ion Fury has been dogged by negative reviews, dropping its almost unanimously positive Steam score down to “mostly positive” overall. Reviews left in the past 30 days average out as being “mixed.” Recent negative reviews largely rage about — you guessed it — the developers caving to “SJWs” and “censorship.”

“If I could refund this game at this point, I would,” reads one of over 400 negative reviews published last week. “I would because, despite being a wonderful game and something I’ve dreamed since FPSs all turned into generic ‘Call of Dutys,’ I won’t EVER support a company that caves in to the cries of the oh-so-oppressed boo-hoo snowflakes.”

Steam’s new anti-review bomb system — which supposedly notes when there has been “off-topic review activity” and removes all reviews during a specific time period from a game’s score — did not flag this deluge of negativity. Some of these reviews did technically relate to in-game content, even though no changes have actually been made to the game yet. Kotaku reached out to Valve for more information, but did not receive a response.

Regardless, Voidpoint and 3D Realms appear to have heard the masses, outraged about outrage, loud and clear. 3D Realms issued a separate statement to Kotaku in which it expressed support for Voidpoint’s decision to vociferously defend its joke about how Olay, a shampoo brand that had a catchy commercial in the 90s, is gay.

“Jokes at the expense of marginalised communities will not be present in future games published by 3D Realms,” 3D Realms said. “However, a portion of our community made it loud and clear they felt removing ‘Ogay’ was censorship and should be protected by free speech. Voidpoint wanted to listen and we respected this decision.”

3D Realms noted, however, that the word “fagbag” was added to Ion Fury “without approval from anyone else,” and Voidpoint removed it a few days ago. So the studio did actually modify some in-game content, albeit content that 3D Realms insists is “inaccessible without hacking the game.”

Despite the partial reversal of last week’s sternly worded and seemingly full-throated statements, 3D Realms said Voidpoint is still going to make a donation to The Trevor Project and train its employees in the ancient, corporate-penance-friendly art of “sensitivity.”

Where in-game content is concerned, 3D Realms and Voidpoint now appear to sincerely regret regretting their previous actions.

“We do not support censorship of creative works of any kind and regret our initial decision to alter a sprite in the game instead of trusting our instincts,” the two companies said in the joint statement, via Richard “Terminx” Gobeille. “3D Realms and Voidpoint stand together on this matter.”

Ion Fury is now receiving negative reviews over its creators’ decision to backtrack on removing homophobia — albeit so far in less overwhelming volume than the review bombs last week.

“After doing the right thing and apologizing and giving away money to a good charity, these idiots decide to reverse their decision after alt-right crybaby bullying,” reads one. “I will not support transphobia and homophobia in any way, and, for the first time in my life, have requested a refund for the game.”


Comments

    Common sense prevails

    The people they placated with the original apology were never going to buy the game in the first place. They admitted as such.

    They people that did want to buy the game chose not too because they kowtowed to a forum full of snowflakes.

    Moral of the story?

    Don't pay attention to anything resetera says. Make the game you want.

      If anyone wants a good objective summary of the whole situation I highly recommend reading this article by a stellar writer.

      https://medium.com/@sophnar0747/ion-furore-19b2aa371c6b

        There's some useful information in there, but 'objective' is far from how I'd describe that blog post. It's almost pure editorial. The author has contributed to far right news sites including Red State and The Daily Caller, both notorious for producing proven fake news and the latter an outlet for real white supremacist opinion pieces. They're also a member of Kiwi Farms.

        There's room for that kind of thing in the world the same as there's room for idiots like Hasan Piker, but objective journalism this stuff ain't.

          Thanks for writing what I couldn't be bothered to.

          So you provided nothing to dismiss the claims in her article other than attempt to smear her?

          Here i was thinking you were better than that.

          What's next? She's an alt right gg Nazi?

            Everything I listed there is a fact. You don't seem to mind criticising writers for being on Resetera, but when one you like writes for far right fake news sources and is a member of Kiwi Farms (which you consider the far-right version of Resetera) suddenly it's smearing?

              I criticize journalists based on what they write.

              Not who they write for.

              Dismissing people based on that is a cowards tactic.

              You are no different than trump supporters who dismiss articles as fake news because they happen to come from CNN.

                Not only do you criticise information based on where it came from, you outright dismissed correct information because it happened to agree with something on Resetera.

                I'm sorry, but you're showing clear partisan bias on this. The blog post you linked above is loaded to the brim with editorialising and personal opinion, and the writer's association with known fake news producing websites is directly relevant to their credibility as a journalist. That matters when you describe them as a 'stellar journalist' (they're not), and when you describe their blog post as a 'good objective summary' (it isn't).

                  Last time i checked resetera is not a journalist and is instead a hive of far left idealogues who spend their time trying to find the smallest things that offend them and ruin peoples lives over it.

                  I'm sorry, but you're showing clear partisan bias on this.

                  I'm a leftie you dimwit.

                  @djbear

                  Last time i checked resetera is not a journalist and is instead a hive of far left idealogues who spend their time trying to find the smallest things that offend them and ruin peoples lives over it.

                  Last time I checked, Kiwi Farms is a hive of far right idealogues who spend their time coordinating stalking and harassment campaigns against people with autism and other mental illnesses, bullying them at times to the point of suicide. Your writer is a registered user and contributor of the site.

                  If the phrasing of that last sentence sounds familiar, it should be.

                  I'm a leftie you dimwit.

                  Thanks for telling me that, but it has nothing to do with what I said. Partisanship doesn't exclusively fall along the false left-right dichotomy. But hey, if a 'dimwit' knows that and you don't, what does that say?

    oh-so-oppressed boo-hoo snowflakes

    alt-right crybaby bullying

    Ah, public discourse in 2019.

      Yeah unfortunately I think it is just going to push people from all sides back into their echo-chambers.
      I have to admit I am one of them. For my own sanity I now look at articles and just decide not to read them because i know they or the comments will just upset / infuriate me.
      For my own sanity I have to disengage and that's a shame.
      Discourse is important but I think social media (funnily enough) is just forcing us not to be social.

        I think we are well and truly at the point where the tone of the debate is a much bigger problem than the actual issues being debated.

          Yeah I want to argue and say that these issues are hugely important. I have been pretty involved in the local queer community, have trans friends and I see what a lot of the recent debate around that is doing to them and their friends. Not to mention what the destruction of the environment is doing. But thinking about it I have to agree with you. If we can't even discuss these issues in a balanced manner then there is no chance of coming to some sort of path forward. We are in an escalating arms race of rhetoric fueled by a desire for clicks, likes and 5 minutes of fame.

            Why can't we unite as one instead of having all these separate community's.
            Think about it

              We can't unite because some folks still think denigrating particular parts of the community is hilarious. I don't, I think it's pretty outrageous considering how many kids have died over homophobic/transphobic bullying, or the crap I went through in school (and more generally ever since). But hey, some people think that stuff is hilarious, and we shouldn't take it so seriously because some people want to laugh without losing sleep. Great community, I'll stick to my own. I don't expect folks to understand, but I think it's funny how some people get so outraged over "censorship", "white/straight erasure", "PC pandering", etc and not understand things from the other perspective. It's like anger is the other side's go-to as a defense mechanism. I really do feel for them, but could they not?

              We can. As soon as large parts of the population stop trying to deny rights to, and the very existence of, minority groups within this country.
              Once we have equality we can unite.

    Lets be realistic, the developer can put what ever they want into the game, as long as it adheres to the classification guidelines. Sure some minorities (which seems like it is becoming a non minority) might be offended but in hindsight the game wasn't created for them. So a group of people won't buy the game seems like a non issue to me.

      Or maybe sometimes it's just nice to not be an bellend towards groups of people whether or not it was created 'for them'

        It would be nice, but unfortunately we live in a world where people have differing opinions and unfortunately, these opinions are allowed to be vocalised through various media outlets. I am not saying what they did is right, but what they did is within the guidelines and unfortunately it was in bad taste, but once again if it was a real issue it would have been knocked back.

          if it was a real issue it would have been knocked back

          please define the use of 'real' in this sentence. Because from where I'm sitting homophobia sure as hell seems like a 'real issue'. Now maybe - maybe - this is not an act of considered, malicious homo- and transphobia, but it at the very least it is a casual disregard for those people they are hurting and just encourages others to do the same. The fact that the devs and so many other people don't seem to realise or even care just fucking sucks and I don't think it's helpful to throw up your hands and say "Well, they aren't breaking any rules, so ah well."

            I guess the way I meant to articulate my words with that sentence was whether or not the developers were being intentionally transphobic or homophobic and if that was the case then the classification board should have ways to ween that kind of behaviour out. Like I stated before I am no way advocating what they did, but what ever ended up in the game obviously got over looked by a lot of processes. Me not having played the game I can't stand here and argue any points, only from what I have observed.
            "Well, they aren't breaking any rules In regards to this comment not sure how you can police something like what happened in the article. Only thing that comes to mind is including some kind of censorship in regards to "hate speech" against all minorities.
            Any way my intention wasn't to anger anyone or piss anyone off, but to point out that this kind of thing makes to the end product of games and maybe the review process needs to be re-worked.

      Do you think it should have a ticker-sticker? "Contains homophobic content"? You could apply it more broadly, solve a lot of problems. Fill a game full of n-bombs and put a big sign on it "NOT FOR BLACK PEOPLE". What do you reckon?

        I think you ticked all the boxes, hahaaha. The way I see it, there is no winning at the end of the day as some people will always be upset with the final decision.

          We can live in a better world than that.

            I wish we could, unfortunately humans have evolved(or de-evovled) to not agree with one another.

              That's why we have to work at it rather than throw up our hands and say, that's just how it is.

                100% agree with you there.

                  ...just quietly, thankyou for your civility. Too often it gets lost and you raised the level a little here.

                Dude no worries, I completely understand how my original comments here might have incited the wrong message I was trying to get across, but I also know how to reflect and step back and look at both sides of a conversation and evaluate the best course of action, even it if does mean admitting I am wrong. Also wanted to thank you for the time you took to comment. One of the reasons I like to include myself in these conversations even if I am impartial to both sides.

    Good to see they aren't bowing to public pressure by *checks notes* bowing to public pressure.

    Excellent, the more Devs that ignore Resetera, the better.

    The snowflakes beat the snowflakes once again!

    A week from now nobody will care or even remember what went down here.

    Oh dear, they've really stepped in it now.
    Look, everything was blown way out of proportion initially, and comments were taken out of context (perhaps on purpose in some cases). The "OGAY" and "fagbag" things were brought into it because people were hunting for evidence of bigotry.
    But, IMO, despite benign intentions, they were not great and they made the right call to publicly announce that they were removing them.

    But then you have the censorship whining. Which I get, but the "OGAY" bottles aren't exactly making any sort of statement. They're a background dressing with a poorly thought out joke. Removing or changing them isn't "censoring" the game in any way...

    But that's just my opinion. Either way, now that they've changed their minds twice, neither side of the argument is going to trust anything they say and they've lost all control of the situation.

      That's the message out of all of this that's really sticking in my craw. The idea that "OGAY" isn't making a statement. It is, the statement that the concept of being gay is still a punchline. It's the same argument I get when I hear someone describing something they don't like as gay "I had to work all weekend, that's so gay".

      "Lol, gay" jokes are always making a statement, it's just a statement so ingrained that people it doesn't effect don't notice.

      *Thus isn't calling your comments out directly, I'm supportive of your comment and agree.it's just this element has been part of the larger conversation.

        Yeah, this is the whole thing. It's an offensive joke that the devs didn't think was offensive because of ignorance. And I'm not even saying the devs need to go out and get educated or anything, that's a different discussion. I'm just saying that it was picked up and called out (in amongst a bunch of furore for other reasons that may or may not be valid), so removing it is totally the right call. It's the obvious right call. And now they're back-tracking.

        If the "OGAY" bottles were part of some larger argument about how the meaning of the word "gay" has changed and shouldn't be offensive anymore (an argument, I would hasten to add, I do not agree with) then you could say that removing them would be censorship of that message. But it's not. It's a dumb joke. Just ditch it and be done with it.

        Last edited 27/08/19 11:44 am

          People should not fear saying anything offensive. Anyone that has issues with speech are the problem.

        Pretty much, it brings up the idea that being gay is a negative thing to be mocked. Which is an opinion you are allowed to have, just don't expect the rest of us not to call you out and shun you for your hatred if you decide to actively voice that opinion to others.

        Again they're allowed to have the joke in their game just as I'm allowed to think they're assholes for making it and not touch their stuff.

        "Caring about yoir appearance is gay"
        Essentially what the "joke" boils down to. Not difficult to understand or see.

    Anyone else getting outrage fatigue?

      So you are too tired to get outraged now? Like it's not worth your time. Like my outrage is something that makes you sleepy or is somehow not validated through an inability to...

      ...oh I never wanted to do this in the first place. I.....I....I always wanted to be...a LUMBERJACK! Leaping from tree to tree as they float down the might rivers of British Colombia!

      So much yes.
      Also "caving-to-outrage" fatigue. It's weird that it's become refreshing when people stick to their principles.

      Mate, two weeks later and I'm offended and outraged at your fatigue!

    Personally, I think we need offence management classes for some people. We have anger management, so why not? Being offended is a feeling just as being angry is, and in a way, being offended is very similar to being angry, in terms of what you do when you get offended (yelling, calling names, losing any sense of common sense) so it might be a good idea.

    As for the game, meh? I think if it was littered thought the game, then there would be a problem, but given its only some shampoo bottles and a secret room. I mean, in its self secret rooms could be offensive to gay people as there kind of like closets, and when someone comes out as gay its called coming out of the closet, so you know, anything can be offensive if you think about it stupidly enough...

      Offence management class lesson 1: Offence is taken, not given.

      Back in the day we did have offence management. It was our parents sitting you down as a little kid, and saying "Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will never hurt us".

      Apparently no one does that anymore, or it's magically stopped working at some point :(

        Parents have realised sticks and stones do break bones, now they're all wrapped in cotton wool.

    meh, there are more important real world things going on that deserve attention then what happens inside some fictional virtual world...

    speaking of censorship, was watching anchorman 2 last night on Prime. The line where he's about to hang himself "I'm going the way of the ancient samurai, who when dishonored, would hang themselves from a fluorescent light. " has also been censored. wtf.

      Yet the part where he continues with the whole black thing to the lady is ok, feels weird.

        if you ask me, for a generation raised on south park, family guy, and 90's comedies, our society has become a bunch of cry babies that gets offended by everything....

          Yeah that is an observation, and I guess a lot depends on the subject or context of the subject. Like calling people out on shit they did 15 years ago is just poor form in my opinion, but on the other hand being a blatant racist or genderphobe isn't really necessary. My motto if it doesn't directly affect me then I don't get riled up, I will have an educated chat about it but I don't put my feelings on the line.

            My circle of friends is of all different nationalities; greek, german, italian, japanese... the amount of racial slurs and stereotypes that get brought up every single time, would result in some kind of protest or 'movement' if they were transcribed for the kindernet.

            but we are all mature adults, who know how to take a joke, and dish one out at the same time. none of us are racist in any way shape or form.

            people need to grow the fuck up.

              Yep, agree with you there. But nowadays you gotta be politically correct.

    Ion Fury went from "mixed reviews" when being barraged by ResetERA, to "mostly positive reviews" after saying they wouldn't be censoring content.
    I hope game devs take away the fact that ResetERA are not their audience. There are scores of screenshots of posters there saying that they would have nothing to do with the game, even after they initially apologised and announced their $10k donation to the Trevor project. But that's just talk; they weren't going to buy the game to begin with.

    Maybe one day ResetERA will shrivel up and die, and the gaming world will be a better place. Until then, we're all better off ignoring them, especially those of us who develop games.

    And also maybe don't put the word fagbag in your game with absolutely no context it's not a great look idk

    ResetERA are garbage and nobody should pay much attention but I don't see why it wouldn't be a big issue to remove these references. Honestly seems like a silly hill to die on.

    Love the game, didn't notice any of this though.

      TBH I don't think it is a big issue for the devs to remove these things from the game. The issue is the fact the devs decided to change the game based on the obnoxious whinging of the very vocal minority that would never have purchased the game and are seeking things to be offended by.
      If these things were removed from the game silently without all the crying from resetera I doubt anyone would have noticed or cared.

      Isn't that funny though? All this shitstorming and you managed to miss the offending content. You and many others could finish the game, come out at the other end and discover that the world is burning over something you didn't even notice.

        For me, the Discord stuff was always the bulk of the problem. I don't mean to detract from how other people feel about it, everyone has different sensitivities, but for me it was kinda a "Hitler killed a fuckload of people, and he kicked his dog" situation, where the latter thing is no good either but the two together make a much bigger splash.

          Honestly, man, I read the "shit" they posted in that discord on the resetera thread. I honestly can't say I seriously find anything they said particularly offensive.

          "Some SJWs are fucking nuts". Explain to me how he's wrong. If he said "some alt-right people are fucking nuts" would have resetera made the same fuss? I'm going to guess not. He's not saying they all are, but that some definitely are. If you can't accept that, then go hide in a bubble for the rest of your life, because you don't have the maturity to interact with the rest of society.

          This whole episode is different groups of people getting insanely over-sensitive over complete bollocks. Ironically, this is is exactly what one of them was complaining about - saying some people are doxxing others just because they disagree with them on the internet.

          This isn't homophobic or transphobic or hateful, it's just pure bloody facts.

            I don't read Resetera (and don't want to) so I have no idea what they said. I went and looked at the stuff they said first-hand, on the 3D Realms discord server directly, and the general mindset (a lot of which was transphobic) bothered me enough to not want to deal with them.

              Transphobic give me a break it's a mental illness.
              Just look at the stats for trans suicide.
              Hardly a sane group

                Men have four times the suicide rate of women in western countries, does that make being male a mental illness too? Correlation does not imply causation.

                  The fact that men are 4 times higher yet we pander to women groups and others yet we do nothing for straight men

                Given a choice, why would someone choose to be trans, with opinions such as yours and those represented in this article being circulated. The only point of this speech is to be hateful. There is no context to it, so why is there a need for it when it doesn't effect the person expressing that opinion in any way, shape or form?

              So it's "discord stuff" that you take issue with. Yet what evidence there is of that was linked in this very article was from resetera, and furthermore you say you don't want to read it. So based on that you didn't disagree with me, it seems you agree with me that there was nothing that was actually ____phobic in the thing that caused the uproar.

              I'm not saying you can't have issues with them, but all the evidence presented in this article indicates that the devs were complaining about self-righteous people who kick up a stink and attempt to have a severe negative impact on someone's life and livelihood. And then a group of self-righteous people did exactly that.

              I'm sorry, but based on all the evidence that's been presented, the devs aren't the ones at fault here. If you have evidence to the contrary, I'd be happy to see it.

                I don't agree; there were transphobic comments. I saw the evidence of it first-hand when I went onto the 3D Realms discord server and took a look around, most of the messages are still there and the two that were deleted still have their surrounding conversation proving they existed. I've previously posted a few screenshots that I took personally, and you're welcome to head over to the discord server and see for yourself.

                  Sorry mate, but there was nothing transphobic in the comments that were linked in the article, and you haven't provided any links to comments made by the devs here that are transphobic, or in fact any comments made by the devs at all. So far you're claiming they're bad people, but I haven't actually seen you provide any evidence of it - but merely telling people "go look for yourself."

                  So far all I've seen is a horde of reactionary morons chucking a tantrum because of a fictional cosmetic brand "Ogay" as a riff on "Olay". Is it classy? Not really. Does it warrant a large group of people getting massively bent out of shape and starting a review bomb? Not at all.

                  People are carrying on as though there's a massive smoking gun of ___phobia, but based on the stuff that's been linked here, there's not even a toy cap gun, and this seems like a manufactured scandal caused by people who are desperate to be offended. (And then continued/perpetuated by people who like to take their dislike of such people to an equally ridiculous extreme).

                  @amstradhero I told you I've posted links to screenshots here before, and I told you where you can see the evidence first-hand. I'm not your personal research assistant, if you're too lazy to look in the two simple places I gave you to look then that's on you, but don't pretend you're working off all the information when you deliberately choose not to look at all the information.

                  I'll make this as clear as I can: I don't care what you think. I described the problem I had with the transphobic comments I saw, and you replied to me.

                  Mate, I just told you that I looked through this entire thread. You haven't posted ANYTHING from the devs of the game.

                  This isn't about you being my research assistant, it's about you saying you've done something you haven't.

                  @amstradhero I posted them in a previous article, not this one. In my comment history around the third page back, there are images linked there. In particular, there are two where one of the devs describes sex reassignment surgery (SRS) as mutilation and likens it to normalising amputation. There are more transphobic conversations on the 3D Realms discord, those are just the ones I found and screenshotted while waiting for a compile to finish at work.

    When you get to the end of an article and the scrollbar isn't even half way down? Time to get the popcorn.

    I'm not that keen on censorship but we don't need homophobic slurs or racist stuff in games. Grow the fuck up. I was going to support the devs on this game until I heard about this. So I downloaded the torrent. Because of your attitude Voidpoint, I got a free game. Thanks.

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