OPINION: Politics And Gaming Do Not Mix

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

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DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect oprainfall as a whole.

Yooka-Laylee Featured Image

I want to start off by saying that my personal opinions in no way represent Operation Rainfall. We’re a site that proudly represents different ideas and viewpoints. All of my sources used are linked for those who wish to double check the facts. Feel free to comment however you personally feel, I’ll make an effort to respond to whoever I can. So without further ado, here’s how I feel about the whole Yooka-Laylee debacle.

Personally, I’ve been hyped about this game since it was announced. Yooka-Laylee is a 3D platforming game styled off of games made famous by Rare. Consoles have been solely lacking in 3D collect-a-thon platforming games for quite some time, so it was a breath of fresh air to be able to see something that hadn’t been done in forever. It made me hearken back to the old days of playing Banjo-Kazooie with a couple of my friends, while still impressing me with some of the updated mechanics and visuals. All of this has me really excited to relive the genre that got me interested in video games in the first place.

JonTron Monocle

Recently, Playtonic Games have gotten themselves into some hot water after removing a voice actor from their cast due to his personal political viewpoints. His name is Jon Jafari, and personally, I’m a huge fan of both him and his work. He’s an entertainer and runs the YouTube channel named JonTronShow, where he posts humorous videos reviewing anything from games, to movies, to drug PSA’s. We may not see eye to eye politically, but I respect him heavily as a content creator. Recently, he’s released a bunch of his political opinions online, and it’s caused quite a stir in the online community. He had released statements on Twitter stating his opinions on immigration, as well as appearing in a debate video that is now really well-known thanks to various media outlets. Some people may have seen some of his views as being a little radical. He did release a statement video, later on, stating that he was under a lot of pressure during the debate and wasn’t adequately prepared, therefore some of his comments were said in ways that could’ve potentially been misconstrued.

Playtonic Games stated that they had removed Jon from their new game Yooka-Laylee because they “do not endorse or support JonTron’s personal viewpoints” and that he “does not represent Playtonic in any capacity”. It’s easy to see why people online are upset, as this is a form of censorship. They removed someone from their lineup simply because he didn’t agree with them on political matters. This is a really terrible thing to do to someone who agreed to voice act in their game simply because of the love that he had for the series that this game was based upon. All he wanted to do was entertain people, but he couldn’t because someone disagreed with him politically. It’s gotten to the point where all people talk about is politics and controversy instead of actually looking at games, and that’s the exact reason that I decided to write this piece.

Jontron PS4 Pro

In our world today, everything has to be politically charged. But let me ask you this, why does it have to be this way? Every time I search for Yooka-Laylee online, this controversy is the first thing that pops up. Does anyone else remember when games used to be about the game and not about the politics surrounding the game? Sure the politics were there, but gamers didn’t really care so long as the game that they were purchasing was good. Now there are people that aren’t even buying video games because they have some sort of political agenda attached to them, like games by Double-Fine because of Tim Schafer supporting Anita Sarkeesian. Gaming was created to help bring people together, but all we’ve managed to do is drive ourselves apart. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t ignore what happened, far from it. Playtonic Games did a terrible thing in a really bad way and should be held accountable. However, that also doesn’t mean that we only need to see that one viewpoint either. I think that we need to go back to the days of looking at a game for what it is, and not letting the politics of everything get the better of us. We should judge the game based on the game, and the developers for the developers. We can’t let our displeasure for one mistake that the developer made get in the way of a potentially really good blast from the past. We should just rise above all of this nonsense and put an end to the constant arguing and bickering so that we can all do what we love to do and relax again. Jon has tried to put it all behind him, so why can’t you? I just want to play games and have fun again.

About Dalton McClain

A gamer at heart, and a creator by trade. As a shy kid who grew up in a small town, my only solace was with the games that I enjoyed playing. That being said I enjoy just about every type of game, but more than anything I love playing horror/unique games. I look forward to sharing my knowledge of the strange and unusual with the world.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    The whole reason why people boycott and everything else is to shift games away from this political bullshit so that they can be fun again since pretty much every time someone puts it politics in games these days it’s either so forced that it’s an insufferable experience or made by someone who can’t make games. Burn out all the SJW shit so that the only thing to worry about is companies being greedy.

  • Guest

    I’m conflicted. I certainly believe in free speech, but I also realize that having freedom of speech does not come without freedom of consequences. I also believe that business have the right to decide who does and does not represent them in any capacity. So, while I support this guy’s right to say whatever he wants to, I also support the decision of the company to no longer be affiliated with him.

    I can’t call this censorship, though. He wasn’t told that he couldn’t say these things by the company, the company didn’t block his words, and the company didn’t force him to change what he said. They said his expression wasn’t in line with their beliefs, and chose to part ways.

    • James

      That’s pretty much how I see it. JonTron wasn’t silenced in any way, and he was just a guest VA. I assume a sizable amount of the team would be (and rightfully so) worried that JonTron’s political opinions would cause an even bigger stir if he was left in the game, and they’d put their years of work on the line to affiliate with someone they don’t even agree with. If JonTron was a part of the dev team, I could see doing things differently, but I would have done the same since he’s a guest contributor. It’s simply a parting of ways that I think people are making far too big a deal out of.

      I also think that if the guest contributor being cut was Brianna Wu, Wil Wheaton or some other SJW-type, a lot of the people “boycotting” now would be applauding. The people who say they want politics out of gaming mostly just mean they want OTHER PEOPLE’S politics out of gaming. JonTron went from someone who was mostly apolitical to deeply political (I blame SJWs bullying him until he went insane), and I don’t see why a dev would want to INJECT those politics into their game. The YL devs are trying to keep politics out of their game. Because it’s about a lizard and bat.

    • Guest

      Totally agreed. So long as it’s politics people agree with, they’re fine with it being in a game or surrounding a game. It’s when it comes to politics they disagree with that many people go into rage mode.

      Don’t get me wrong, it sucks that this guy doesn’t get to continue his work with the game, but at the same time, there are consequences to your actions and words. It’s not about “right” or “wrong” viewpoints, it’s about a company having a set of values that are incompatible with another person, and not wanting that person to represent them in any capacity.

    • VanFinale

      If they don’t want to deal with people with his viewpoints why aren’t they refunding the money of the people with the same view points?

    • Guest

      I think they should be refunding the money, but that’s a separate issue. Those people can’t be misconstrued as a public figure of some sort, do not have the audience of this guy, and were not in the employ of Playtronics. Should they get their money back? Absolutely, and it’s crappy if they don’t, but I think that’s a separate issue.

    • VanFinale

      It’s the same issue the whole point of this announcement was to effect sales it’s why they made an announcement instead of just doing it. However Playtonic and Team17 don’t seem to want to deal with the repercussions of their decision instead deciding to close threads asking for refunds or informing people of how to get them. Which is extremely hypocritical because most of the people defending the choice are saying “free speech has consequences”.

    • Guest

      Which, again, crappy. Not going to hear an argument from me in that regard. Just as the actors speech had consequences, do does Playtronics’. If they totally avoid the problem, it’s an issue.

      But it is a separate issue. The company cannot exert its values on its customers, but it can to employees/associates.

    • VanFinale

      They are exerting their opinions on their customers though by refusing to allow them to disassociate with them. They said we can’t associate with jontron because of his values some of their customers said fine we don’t want associate with you because of yours. Then their response SO FAR has been well too bad you have to associate with us. IF they give everyone who wants their money back their money back I would be willing to buy their game if it’s good. As it stands now though I will not buy their game regardless of what their game is.

    • Guest

      Though I suppose that not refunding could be seen as imposing themselves on the customer. Definitely a sticking point, I’ll give you that. I’ll have to think on this more.

    • No_Good_Names_Ever

      Nobody liked Wil Wheaton throughout his career in entertainment; everyone would celebrate him having no job.

    • No_Good_Names_Ever

      There shouldn’t be any consequences for something said that you can see the proof of in Europe.

    • Guest

      It’s not question of proof, and it’s not question of whether his opinion is good or bad. It’s about a company having a set of values that they believe in being incompatible with somebody in their employ. They are under no obligation to be associated with or represented by somebody who doesn’t mesh with their beliefs.

    • screwfacecapone

      Free speech just means there is no legal repercussion for what you said. As you acknowledge it does not protect you from the consequences of what you say. Him being pulled off the game is rough, but it’s their decision.

  • Mir Teiwaz

    If something like this happened back in the 90s, we probably never would have even known he was taken out until after the game launched and was in our consoles. Or it would have been spread by gaming magazines that may not have reached us until much closer to the game’s launch due to their once-per-month schedule and probably would have been written in a way so as to come off as not a big deal. We also wouldn’t have had nearly as many avenues to complain about it to the developers. Back then it probably would have just been by sending a written letter or *maybe* an e-mail if they had a public one set up.

    We also didn’t have a platform where independent content creators could get as wildly popular as they can today, so someone like Jontron wouldn’t have gotten a spot in a crowdfunded indie game (which couldn’t have happened back then) that he could eventually be removed from because he shared his political views on a live streamed debate (which also couldn’t happen back then).

    Unless you were a part of the gaming industry back then, you probably didn’t hear about much of the politics contained within it until well after the fact—it’s possible you didn’t hear about it even if you were in the industry back then. I’m still finding out about things that happened in this industry back in the 80s and 90s, thanks to some awesome channels on Youtube.

    I find it interesting that, in an article asking people to drop the politics and just play games, you chose to frame what Playtonic did as being bad. They chose to distance themselves with someone whose beliefs they don’t share, because they don’t want people to claim they support what Jon said. In all honestly, I probably would have made the same choice as Playtonic did, based solely off what Jon said in that debate. One could just as easily look at the apology video he put out on Twitter as a form of backtracking on what he said—attempting to make it sound like he was saying things completely different from what he meant because he was put on the spot and wasn’t prepared.

    I don’t personally know what I believe just yet when it comes to where Jon’s beliefs lie, but I also can’t blame Playtonic for making the choice they did. We’ll find out soon enough just how much it affected them financially to make that call.

    • Dalton McClain

      The only reason that I mentioned that they were bad was because that was my personal preference. Everyone has their own, and they’re more than welcome to it. Thank you for the well thought out response, I have a Q&A coming later that will explain better what I was thinking if you’d like to check that out. Otherwise, thanks for the reply!

    • James

      4th paragraph nails it. Playtonic shouldn’t be asked to shoulder the burden of JonTron’s political views, especially since he was just a guest and never a part of the dev team. People want them to stick their neck out for JonTron’s politics, and I feel that’s simply because they AGREE with or like JonTron. I like him, too, but I agree with him strongly. Even if I agreed with him though, why should the dev keep an association that they know could look bad on the game. And, since JonTron is NOT being censored, and NOT a dev team member, he could say ANYTHING between now and the game’s release. If his opinions could get more controversial or even just vague to a point where it hurts the game, why would they want to keep that association? Why would anyone demand that they be forced to?

  • Miragos

    I understand how people are upset about the opinions and arguments Jon voiced, but why does his professional career have to be destroyed because of this? I still enjoy movies staring Tom Cruise despite his involvement in Scientology and I will also keep enjoying Jon’s videos as long as he keeps his opinions separate from his professional content.
    When has society become so bigoted that we can’t enjoy apolitical content of our political opponents anymore?

    And just in case anyone argues that Jon’s removal was Playtonic’s business decision and not censorship:
    Corporal censorship, or more specifically self-censorship in this case, is still censorship.
    Playtonic removed Jon’s voice not because they wanted to but because they feared political backlash.
    That’s why they didn’t distance themselves from him quietly.

    • James

      How do you know they didn’t want to? Do you have a citation of that, a poll of the entire dev team? Or are you just MAKING THINGS UP?

      They didn’t distance themselves from him “quietly” because his involvement was a matter of public record. People knew he was a guest VA, so an announcement seems logical to avoid confusion. If he had secretly done audio for the game and then it was announced just so they could say “but we cut it out!” THEN I would agree with you. But as it stands, I think most people are just upset because they like JonTron and automatically assume the worst from anyone who doesn’t support him. If Playtonic simply didn’t WANT to work with JonTron anymore, then your entire argument falls apart.

    • Miragos

      I’m basing my argument on the fact HOW they distanced themselves from JonTron. That they used their official statement to virtue signal by preaching “diversity” should be enough evidence that they tried to appease someone.
      This means that it was at least partly self-censorship even if there were other factors as well.

    • James

      Well, what if they actually STRONGLY BELIEVE IN DIVERSITY? And no, “what about diversity of opinions?” is not a come back, that’s retarded. If they feel that JonTron is pro-cultural/racial purity (as some of his comments can be interpreted), they could very well feel that he is condemning every team member or family of a team member who is mixed race, or that he’s simply preaching that races shouldn’t mix. Is disagreeing with that idea a radical statement now? I give JonTron the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s just temporarily driven nuts by SJW bullying, but I see why people wouldn’t want to even be suspected of agreeing with him. You’re saying it is “censorship” for them to alter THEIR GAME.

      Things get cut, for any number or reasons. Since the parting of ways is to make it clear they do not support JonTron’s beliefs, of course they clarify that. Why shouldn’t they? You call it virtue signaling, but if that’s what they believe, that’s just them stating what they believe. Ya know, like JonTron. And if people should still enjoy JonTron despite disagreeing with his politics… why refuse to enjoy the game due to the dev team’s politics?

    • Miragos

      Jon’s arguments don’t necessarily reflect his opinions. I think that’s what he meant in his response video. And isn’t he mixed race himself?

      “why refuse to enjoy the game due to the dev team’s politics?”
      They chose to make a political statement. They drew first blood, of course others will politicize them now. The difference between JonTron’s politics and Playtonic’s politics is that JonTron keeps politics out of his professional content (so far). Playtonic has politicized their product.

      I still personally agree though. I backed this game and I want it to be great regardless. I like the people involved in the project and I don’t care about their political opinions; I just want them to keep politics out of their product in the future.

    • James

      Oh yeah, I realize that JonTron’s actual opinions on somethings are probably completely unknown, misconstrued, or he just fully think about what he was implying. I’d prefer to keep identity politics out of this one way or the other, I never liked when SJWs used it, so I don’t want to use them myself. Judging on the man’s words and actions, I can see why people can be upset with him.

      “They drew first blood” But that’s wrong. That pretends that JonTron didn’t “draw first blood” by making the first political statements. Statements that even many of his supporters do not agree with. No one forced him to make those statements, and he’s fully aware he lose some subscribers due it (I’m sure he’s since made them back up). That was on him, and he fully accepted the fallout from it, and from his statement I assume he understands fully they Playtonic did what they did.

      “Playtonic has politicized their product.” Unless the game comes out and all of JonTron’s dialogue is replaced by SJW musings, I assume that THIS is also wrong. You could say the company has taken a political stance (of which “diversity is good” is not an extreme stance by any sensible measure), but I don’t see how the product has been made political except by the company’s critics. It’s still a game about a lizard and a bat. I’d have to see evidence that any political leaning at all was injected into the game.

    • Miragos

      “That pretends that JonTron didn’t “draw first blood” by making the first political statements.”
      But Jon’s political statements don’t reflect the JonTronShow in the same way the political statements of Playtonic’s employees don’t reflect the company.
      It would be very unfair to not make this distinction of professional and personal life for individuals.
      I remember that Grant Kirkhope took a jab at Trump for example and he works as freelancer. Even his involvement in Yooka-Laylee is officially just a “contribution”.
      Should Playtonic distance themselves from Grant because he upset some Trump supporters? Does this count as first blood, too? I don’t think so.

      “Unless the game comes out and all of JonTron’s dialogue is replaced by SJW musings, I assume that THIS is also wrong.”
      That’s not what I meant. They politicized the game itself, not the content. I would be fine with SJW dialogue. That’s their artistic choice after all.
      I dislike politicization of gaming (including PR), not games.
      And their official statement was political regardless of the intention.

    • James

      Dude, no one cares if you take a jab at Trump. People CARE if you say/imply races shouldn’t mix. I don’t know, I find it funny that there can be so much outrage over JonTron not getting to make goofy noises in the game, yet the concept that others might be offended by some of the things JonTron said is just alien to people. I like the guy, but again we get back to the fact that it’s very likely Playtonic themselves were upset by things he said. It’s not political to simply stand against things you find morally wrong. There are people who think JonTron’s statements about racial purity or immigration are not just negative, but encourage poor treatment of people they know and love. And you’re comparing that to taking a poke at a president with a historically low approval rating? Why would they distance themselves when, statistically speacking, they probably dislike Trump as well? I’m sorry, that just doesn’t even make sense.

    • Mr0303

      “Playtonic removed Jon’s voice not because they wanted to but because they feared political backlash.That’s why they didn’t distance themselves from him quietly.” – If they simply dropped him without stating the reason not that many people would have a problem with it, but when they made it public they just invited political backlash from people who agree with him or with freedom of expression in general, so that was a pretty stupid move on their part.

    • James

      I do not think stating no reason at all would have gone well either. It’s not like it would have been a mystery, JonTron’s politics are all news sites AND JonTron could talk about for a while there. JonTron’s freedom of expression has NEVER been hindered. Playtonic was faced with a no win situation, but I think removing JonTron was probably the LESS political of the two choices.

    • Mr0303

      “I do not think stating no reason at all would have gone well either” – maybe not, but their reason was idiotic to begin with.

      “JonTron’s freedom of expression has NEVER been hindered.” – I never said that it was. They just did a political witch hunt based on his opinions.

      “Playtonic was faced with a no win situation” – they could’ve avoided all this controversy if they kept his cameo in or remove him without the hypocritical “we support diversity” statement.

      “but I think removing JonTron was probably the LESS political of the two choices.” – well, you are wrong – there was no major backlash that he was in the game and now look at what they’ve got on their hands.

    • James

      You can’t just CLAIM your version of things is right, and just because you’re the one that’s wrong. You say there would be no controversy keeping him in? That’s naive. You call it a “witch hunt”? How? They removed his voice from THEIR GAME? At what point does a creator lose all right to manage THEIR WORK? As I said to another poster, what if they simply WANTED to not associate with JonTron anymore? When do they lose the right to simply decide what is and isn’t in the game they’ve worked on for YEARS?

      You’re claiming there is no risk in keeping JonTron in, when you have nothing at stake. You are claiming that their reason is stupid, leading me to believe you either like JonTron or his politics. Which in turns leads me to feel you’re not being objective about this at all, and would probably be much more understanding if it was someone else being cut from the game.

    • Mr0303

      “You can’t just CLAIM your version of things is right” – I’m not just claiming that, I’m supporting it with evidence. There was no massive movement to boycott the game because JonTron was in it. There was no indication that keeping him in would cause the same amount of backlash that they have now.

      “You say there would be no controversy keeping him in? That’s naive.” – no, I’m saying they could’ve avoided backlash from JonTron fans and free speech advocates by not removing him from the game. I wouldn’t exactly call a couple of SJWs on NeoGAF a controversy.

      “You call it a “witch hunt”? How?” – they are excluding a person based on his political beliefs. It follows that anyone with similar beliefs would be treated in the same way. That’s pretty much the definition of a political witch hunt.

      “They removed his voice from THEIR GAME? At what point does a creator
      lose all right to manage THEIR WORK? As I said to another poster, what
      if they simply WANTED to not associate with JonTron anymore? When do
      they lose the right to simply decide what is and isn’t in the game
      they’ve worked on for YEARS?” – I never said that they don’t have the right to do whatever they want with their product – they do. It’s just that consumers can respond in kind based on their actions.

      “You’re claiming there is no risk in keeping JonTron in, when you have nothing at stake.” – there was no risk. A couple of twats complaining on NeoGAF is not comparable to his 3 million+ fanbase and any other potential customers who are in support of free expression or even his political beliefs.

      “You are claiming that their reason is stupid, leading me to believe you either like JonTron or his politics.” – no, I’m saying that their reason is stupid, because it is – they feared political backlash for something that wasn’t political until they made it so. Whether I like JonTron or agree with some of his stances has nothing to do with the argument at hand. To put your wild assumptions to rest here’s a statement – I’m not a fan of JonTron and I don’t agree with everything that he said and I would also make the same argument if they decided to remove anyone else no matter what their beliefs were.

      “Which in turns leads me to feel you’re not being objective about this at
      all, and would probably be much more understanding if it was someone
      else being cut from the game.” – well, I’m happy to tell you that your feelings are wrong. I backed up my position with facts and logic and I don’t care who was removed.

    • James

      A lot of rambling, so let’s get to the point: “I never said that they don’t have the right to do whatever they want with their product – they can. It’s just that consumers can respond in kind based on their actions.” I notice it’s “product” and not “game” or “work”, a solid attempt to make sure no one compares it to a work of art. Especially since if games are art, your entire argument falls apart because artist’s intent and wishes would win out easily.

      And consumers are allowed to do whatever, I never implied you have to buy the game. Here’s a secret: I’m not going to buy the game. I never even finished Banjo-Kazooie. I get that people may have wanted the game because JonTron was in it, and I assume if they’re boycotting now they also didn’t care that much for the core game anyway.

      But at the end of the day all you’re doing is not associating yourself with Playtonic, as a consumer. Because you disagree with their political opinions. There is nothing amazing or noble about it, it’s a simple parting of ways, you no longer want to do business. And who could blame you for not wanting to associate with people you disagree with politically?

    • Mr0303

      ” I notice it’s “product” and not “game” or “work”, a solid attempt to make sure no one compares it to a work of art.” – you are assigning intent where there is none. Games are both products and works of art. Is this some sort of language policing, judging my statement on what I didn’t say rather than what I did? I’m afraid that’s a rather fallacious way of approaching the argument.

      “Especially since if games are art, your entire argument falls apart because artist’s intent and wishes would win out easily.” – what are you even talking about? I said that they can do whatever they want with their game (are you happier now that I used game?). If a movie director decides to remove someone from his work of art (see, I did it again!), he has the right to do, so but if he makes it public that he did so because of the person’s political beliefs, he would be opening himself to backlash from people who may see his movie. Unfortunately for you games being art doesn’t change my argument in the slightest.

      “and I assume if they’re boycotting now they also didn’t care that much for the core game anyway.” – and maybe some of them did care about the game and are taking a moral choice based on the actions of Playtonic as a company.

      “Because you disagree with their political opinions.” – slight correction here. It’s not because of their political opinions that I’m boycotting the game. I have no idea what their positions are on various issues. I’m boycotting the game, because of how they handled this situation.

      “And who could blame you for not wanting to associate with people you disagree with politically?” – it’s not about associating with people who I disagree with. It’s about the principle of tolerating people with different points of view in a professional environment. If my employee disagrees with me on global politics I may not be friends with him, but I will not fire him for it.

    • James

      But JonTron was a guest, not their employee. If the team doesn’t want to associate with JonTron, for any reason, what is the actual problem? JonTron himself understands why they did it. How would you have handled this situation? And no “I wouldn’t have cut him”, how would you have handled cutting him? Assume members of your team had concerns or were very opposed to JonTron’s implied opinion that races shouldn’t mix, or anything else he said or could logically be taken from things he said or supported. Whatever the case, your employees and coworkers want nothing to do with him, but they leave the ball in your court. How would you do things differently?

      And I don’t know the specifics of the Steam forum stuff, and I don’t really care. I know that is probably a mess, but Steam forums are almost always dead or mess, with little in between, and a lot of people I see complaining about getting banned probably should be banned. I only bring it up because I see a lot of people angry about how that’s handled and it seems like a non-issue to me.

    • Mr0303

      “But JonTron was a guest, not their employee.” – and that makes things better? Is this how you treat your guests? The moment you find out your guest disagrees with you politically you kick him out? Sure, it is your home, you can do it, but it is quite rude.

      “If the team doesn’t want to associate with JonTron, for any reason, what is the actual problem?” – again – they don’t have to associate with him or like him. They made a decision to make a political statement and publicly denounce him as a company. There is nothing “wrong” with that, but people are free to boycott their product because of it.

      “How would you have handled this situation? And no “I wouldn’t have cut him”” – I’m sorry you don’t get to define my answer. The answer is that I wouldn’t have cut him – it’s the professional thing to do. The team has to understand that diversity of thought is the most important one.

      “And I don’t know the specifics of the Steam forum stuff, and I don’t really care.” – well, that’s your decision to remain ignorant on the situation. Blocking people unhappy with their decision not only on Steam forums, but on their own Kickstarter one is only inviting the Streisand effect.

    • Jeremy Barnes

      You have confused freedom of speech with freedom from consequences.

  • Mr0303

    Playtonic made buying their game a political act. They removed the work of someone who worked on their game, because he has different opinions. They sent a clear message that they don’t want to be affiliated with anyone who has views similar to JonTron’s, so they should be perfectly fine with those people not buying their game. What they did after that by locking out Steam threads and forums discussing the situation further shows their mismanagement of the project.

    What they did to JonTron was a political witch hunt and he didn’t even say anything too controversial. This banning of different opinions is not something I’ll support. This is why I won’t be buying their game.

    • James

      It would have been a political act to keep him in the game, and you’d have been fine with that simply because you like JonTron and/or agree with his politics. Which is your right, but they are the creators and JonTron was just a guest VA, whose POLITICS would have been injected into the game through association.

      I didn’t check the Steam forums for the game, but most Steam forums I’ve ever seen are trashfires and most people who get banned deserve it. Especially if you take what is probably a slow forum and people are assuredly making dozens of “WHY DID YOU CENSOR JONTRON!?” threads, all saying the exact same crap that one tread could manage.

    • Mr0303

      “It would have been a political act to keep him in the game” – no, it wouldn’t. Having a person in your game doesn’t mean you agree with their politics or opinions. He wasn’t even paid for this role, so it’s not like they are even financially supporting him.

      “you’d have been fine with that simply because you like JonTron and/or agree with his politics” – you have no idea whether I like JonTron or what my political beliefs are.

      “whose POLITICS would have been injected into the game through association.” – no, they wouldn’t have been injected. There was nothing political in their game. He doesn’t state his opinions in it. Is a car political, because a political guy made the air freshner?

      People have the right to express their displeasure with what they did. They even censored the Kickstarter forums. Shouldn’t they be listening to the people who funded them?

    • Dalton McClain

      That’s like Pandora’s Box. Both removing him and keeping him in are apparently political. I don’t think that his politics would’ve been injected. Games were designed to help you disconnect from reality. Regardless of his political opinion, he’s a cartoon animal in a platform video game full of puns. Characters are not the same as actors.

    • Guest

      It’s guilt by association. Not saying it’s fair, but everybody is guilty of it, consciously or unconsciously. You associate a certain person with an event, and it’s hard to distance themselves from any representation of that person, even if it just their voice for a cartoon.

    • Dalton McClain

      Right and now they associate Playtonic and censorship so that didn’t really work in their favor.

    • Guest

      So, maybe it’s fair to consider they were between a rock and a hard place? You say that they now associate Playtonic and censorship (though we’ll disagree about the use of that word here), then the opposite must hold true if they had done the reverse – that they would be associated with this guy’s comments, which some people may not agree with.

    • James

      I think enough people would disagree with you AND disagree with JonTron’s stated politics for the game to effected more by keeping him in. We’ll never prove it either way, but if I was a betting man, or on the dev team, I’d have done exactly what they did. JonTron is well known and beloved by many, but there are also millions of people who have no idea who he is. So if they only hear about him as some guy who agrees with/accepts cultural/racial purity (with no concept of context or who he is as a person) and he’s associated with this game, the dev team could be taking a publicity bullet for one guest VA who played one cartoon animal. I also don’t let his politics get in the way of enjoying his work, he’s a brilliant creator, but not everyone is like that. Hell, the fact that people are claiming they will boycott the game simply because of their POLITICS proves that a lot of people don’t separate creators from content, or politics from art. The boycott crowd now, just like the SJW boycott crowds before them, are not demanding games remove politics. They are demanding games support THEIR POLITICS. And I see that as regressive hypocrisy, the very thing we need to fight against.

      Creators come first. If they don’t want to associate with JonTron, for any reason, why should they?

    • Narmy

      The only political act was removing him for his political opinions. I don’t even agree with his opinions or watch his show, but that in itself was a bad move for them to make.

      If they had just ignored the handful of complaints from NeoGAF, then this wouldn’t have blown up at all.

    • Steve Baltimore

      Yep, this is my feelings on this matter as well. like you said exactly what I said about it word for word lol.

    • Guest

      Out of curiosity, would you feel the same way if somebody like Zoe Quinn or Anita Sarkeesian were removed from a project because of something they said?

      You want developers and creators to have total control over their product (to not be censored, for example), but why doesn’t that include who they decide to have represent them? Say oprainfall decided to host some of Anita’s content, but then she said something you guys disagree with/is against your organizations values. Should you be required to continue your association with her? (I know that’s an insane hypothetical that would never happen, by the way.)

    • Steve Baltimore

      There have been opinion piece written here that I didn’t personally agree with. So long as they are well written and present a sound argument I would approve them for the site.

      Also, no I don’t think Anita or Zoe should be removed from projects because of their political leanings, but it is up to the end users if they want to support those projects or not.

    • Guest

      Not entirely my point. But lets build off of what you’ve said.

      Say that one of your contributors begins to say things that are possibly very offensive, disagreeable, or just at odds with oprainfall for any theoretical reason. It gets to the point where you do not want him associated with your site. Should you be required to continue to associate with him?

      Now, say Anita in some insane world was a voice actor for an upcoming Neptunia game. Say that the developers axe her because of something she says. That something is separate from the project, but said while she is visibly, publically associated with that project. Would you boycott the game?

    • Steve Baltimore

      It would have to be something really bad before I would let them go from the site. Like for instance they would have to be personally attacking readers with racial slurs or fighting with random folks without a coherent argument

      As long as she can do a good job as a voice actor in said project I’d have no issue with it. Unless she was trying to push her politics on to said project,

    • Guest

      So, you have a limit to what you’ll associate with. It just seems that your limits are different from this company’s. As it would be from any other organization. So what makes you distancing yourself from this hypothetical person better or different from Playtronics distancing themselves from this guy? Because the limit of what you personally accept is different?

      And you entirely sidestepped my absurd Anita hypothetical. I didn’t ask if you would be okay with the game because she was in it, I asked if you would also boycott this hypothetical Neptunia game if she was *fired* from it for something she said. Remember, this hypothetical statement isn’t about her work on Neptunia. For funsies, we’ll say she was fired because she said that she thinks all white men are racist. It has nothing to do with this Neptunia game, but she’s fired by the team anyway. Would you boycott the game as you are this one?

    • Steve Baltimore

      Because I wouldn’t distance myself from someone over their opinions. Everyone has those, but when you start attacking or belittling folks that don’t agree with you that’s when it becomes a problem.

      I may boycott it depending on how the situation was handled, if was handled like this one, I probably would. This was handled very poor by Playtonic, their statement on it contradicts itself from get go and it all downhill form there. right down to this trollish tweet sent out by then not long after this news broke


    • Steve Baltimore

      Then they decided to censor their Steam forums and not give folks refunds. They brought all this on themselves with the way they poorly handled it.

    • Guest

      Can’t it be argued that this hypothetical person doesn’t believe they’re racist? (Using that as an example as you listed it as one of your limits). They don’t think they’re belittling or attacking, they’re just stating their opinion. Who gets to decide what’s an attack, and what’s an opinion?

      So you believe they could have let this guy go in a different way, and you’d be totally fine with it?

    • Steve Baltimore

      As always with anything else that is subjective which is why this all my personal opinion on the matter, and like I said this whole thing was very poorly handled by them.

    • Guest

      Which is exactly my point – it’s subjective. What is acceptable to you is not to others. What is opinion to you may be belittling attacks to others.

      Playtronics had every right to say they didn’t believe his expression was acceptable for their business. And had every right to part ways.

      Not to say you can’t have feelings or opinions about it, but understand the company does, too.

    • Steve Baltimore

      I never said they didn’t have the right. I said they handled it poorly and brought a lot of flak on themselves for no reason. His politics had nothing to do his voice acting in the game. This was them protecting themselves from a non issue outside of the GAF echo chamber.

    • Guest

      My argument was never about the how, but about the why. Those are two different issues.

      You say they have the right, but then go on to say that his voice acting is separate from his opinion, and stating as fact that it was done purely as a response to some GAFers. Can you prove that? Can you say with absolutely no uncertainty that it was done to appease some vocal minority?

      Or is it possible that their response is due to the way they actually feel? We can assume until we’re both blue in the face, but it’ll make an ass out of you and me for sure.

      If this guy gets to have an opinion, this company gets to have an opinion of his opinion. And their opinion was that it didn’t mesh with their values. No company should be required to work with somebody that doesn’t mesh like that. You wouldn’t force this guy to work with Playtronics if the situation was reversed, would you?

    • Steve Baltimore

      Can you prove they didn’t do this because of the GAFers? Playtronics made this mess by making behind the scenes politics very public. All they have done is bog down their launch of a game people have been looking forward to for years with politics.

      They had the right to this, and they made their choice. No one said they had to work with him, but they reached out to him for this project to begin with. They let the outrage culture of the day make this decision for them, and IMO it was a poor one.

      But I don’t fault anyone that wants to snag this game up. In fact I hope the game is great, and I hope the fans and backers get everything they wanted out of it.

    • Guest

      That’s exactly my point – neither of us can prove it. You can say that it’s behind the scenes politics, and I can say it’s personal ethics. Either one of us could be right, but I’m not trying to pass my guesses off as fact.

      As for reaching out to him, that’s neither here nor there. His publicly expressed opinions were made after the fact. He had every right to make his political statement – and Playtronics had every right to make their own comment about it.

      You can call it politics, some people will call it opinion, and others will call it ethics. Any one of those is still a legitimate right to not work with someone. If Playtronics had said whatever the voice actor said, and the actor decided to quit, would you be as upset?

    • Steve Baltimore

      They did it because of his politics though, that’s what makes it political IMO. To each their own on this, this is just my 2 cents on it all.

    • Guest

      Or they did it because they felt his statements were morally at odds with their core beliefs, which makes it more ethical/opinion-compatibility, in my opinion.

      Agreed. We’ll all have to form our own ideas about what happened. Only Playtronics knows for sure.

    • James

      A follow up tweet to that says that bee was not the character JonTron would have voiced. It’s entirely possible the person handling the twitter simply mentioned this particular character has no dialog (as it’s an enemy or something), without considering the building controversy and people are just reading things into it so they can feel angry.

      Unless I’m shown proof otherwise, this honestly just looks like outrage culture doing it’s thing. I really feel people want to whiteknight for JonTron even though he accepts why this all happened.

    • Steve Baltimore

      Oh know that, but it was in poor taste to make a tweet like that do soon after all that went down IMO.

    • James

      It’s in poor taste for the twitter guy not to dance around anything that might remind people of a guest VA who was cut for reasons they may or may not have even paid attention to? Come on, that’s just looking for a reason to be offended.

    • Steve Baltimore

      Maybe it is, but I think the timing was very poor.

    • Miragos

      Steve, I don’t think this tweet was supposed to be trollish, it was just bad timing on their part. The corplet drone is a generic enemy seen in footage of the game before. Of course it doesn’t have any dialogue. It just happened to be the first generic enemy model they introduced. And dialogue ≠ voice.

    • Steve Baltimore

      No, but as I said before the timing of it was very poor and it looked bad.

    • Mr0303

      Bloody hell, they keep digging.

    • Mr0303

      Great minds think alike, I guess. 😛

  • Panpopo

    What a ECHly situation.

    As a backer for the game (only for the game – not a big spender), here what I think. I think they could have removed the voice without saying anything. I understand their thought process on the statement, but I have always believed in quiet dignity. They could make the change, and make a one or two sentence statement if asked.

    Anyway, it is a day-one patch. If people want the sound bites, they can just not update. Those that don’t, update it. Who cares.

    It’s like a mountain made out of a molehole. Maybe it is a sign of the times, or maybe it is designed for clickbait articles. People don’t read (or only read headlines or first 3 sentences), and get mad over everything. Maybe it is because of the instant information from twitter/facebook. All I know is that I am going to play it and enjoy it. Not many major 3D platform these days.

    • Dalton McClain

      Same here, I plan on playing the game as I’m a fan of those games. I never intended this as clickbait, I just wanted to get people talking and thinking.

    • Panpopo

      Yeah, this article was fine imo. Sorry, didn’t mean to infer yours was clickbait, just thinking of the usual suspects.

  • epy

    First they cave to some fringe loonies at neogaf, then they make this whole situation political with their statement, their employees mock people on twitter and finally top it off with the nonsense on the forums. What a trainwreck.

    • Miragos

      You mean “their publisher’s employee”. He is also the one responsible for the Steam community mess. And the Playtonic forum is essentially self-moderated by the community.
      None of their employees have mocked people on twitter so far.

  • Mr0303

    Here’s a great quick summary of the situation for those out of the loop:

  • Stinky Finkelstein

    Was it not also an act of “free speech” to remove him from the game?

    Because extremes are easier to understand, I’ll use the worst things I can think of to make a weird point:

    Suppose his crime wasn’t a politically-charged rant but brutally assaulting infants while making the same noises/voices/reciting his lines from Yooka-Laylee. His victims numbered in the thousands and his crimes were known to millions.

    Would you blame Playtonic for taking him out of their game at that point?

    Think really hard about your answer here, because it’s really the same “censorship” but the crime (or alleged crime depending on your personal views) has changed.

    Leaving his murderous voice in there has the potential to upset millions and it CAN reflect poorly on Playtonic for allowing the voice over to remain in their product. Because it’s their art/product/whatever, they ultimately have the final say in what goes in it and what gets cut out. Not allowing them that right actually would be a form of censorship – wouldn’t it?

    And your claim that Playtonic should be “held accountable” — what exactly do you mean by that? Because… it actually sounds like you’re implying they ought to be punished for a choice they made with their own game. Which is sort of the opposite of “keeping politics out of gaming.”

    I get that you’re upset at a company for doing what it thought was best, but the fact that they were free to exercise that discretion should be seen as a positive. Your article creates a whirlwind vortex or paradoxical hypocrisy that is pretty tough to ignore.

    • James

      I think at the end of the day a lot of this “controversy” is that people like JonTron as a person and instinctively want to defend him, even from something as mundane as a parting of ways.

    • Mr0303

      You know what the problem with your analogy is? JonTron didn’t do anything illegal. Breaking the law is crossing a line. They removed him based on difference of opinion. There was no “crime” here. Firing somebody, because he did something illegal is understandable and perfectly fine, but doing so because said person has a different political view is not acceptable.

      “And your claim that Playtonic should be “held accountable” — what exactly do you mean by that? Because… it actually sounds like you’re implying they ought to be punished for a choice they made with their own game. Which is sort of the opposite of “keeping politics out of
      gaming.”” – Playtonic made a political statement and made the purchase of their product a political statement. People reacting to that is only natural. They would face the consequences of their decisions – simple as that.

    • Stinky Finkelstein

      Right, and I totally support each buyer’s decision to vote with their wallets.

      But the idea that Playtonic somehow owed the world a game that featured JonTron’s voice is a bit silly, isn’t it? It’s not like it was a pillar in their campaign or a major selling feature. It’s just a thing they decided after the fact and people wanting their money back because of it seems odd. If they really just care about the game and not politics, what’s stopping them from playing a game they were ready to buy before JonTron’s inclusion?

      And they didn’t “fire” JonTron because he wasn’t their employee. They offered him a part and rescinded their offer. Unless I’m misunderstanding the situation and he was actually on the Playtonic team.

      OK – so my analogy did included a crime. What if he went to some third world country where sex tourism was legal and did… XY and Z. It’s not about illegal/legal, it’s about the company not wanting to associate with anyone who could damage their brand by simply existing in their product. There are plenty of perfectly legal ways to “cross the line” and create a situation where it’s more than reasonable to remove someone from a project. Let’s say you’re making a game about rescuing baby seals, but the lead voice actor advocates the brutal murder of baby seals. What if the proceeds from the game are going to a charity that rescues baby seals, but some percentage of the sales are paid as residuals that went to the voice actors (including said seal-murderer who plans to use ALL of his paychecks to murder more baby seals).The company’s values are suddenly at odds with those of their voice actor and they are definitely sending mixed signals to the general public. Not a great situation to be in and perfectly reasonable for them to take action.

      Whether or not someone has crossed the line isn’t really our call; it’s the artists/companies.

      We just get to not buy their stuff.

      I’m not sure about refund policies for most game stores/companies, but I don’t believe “suddenly mad at their political views” is typically in there. And I usually see people who REALLY want to make a statement spending a lot of their hard-earned money to host mass-burnings,steamroller festivals… etc… Let’s all stick it to Playtonic by buying millions of copies of their game and hosting a bonfire if we wanna make a big ol’ to-do about things.

    • Mr0303

      “But the idea that Playtonic somehow owed the world a game that featured JonTron’s voice is a bit silly, isn’t it?” -then it’s a good thing that nobody is suggesting that.

      “It’s just a thing they decided after the fact and people wanting their money back because of it seems odd.” – it’s not odd. People are boycotting their game not because JonTron was such major feature, but rather because Playtonic made a political statement by excluding him and they have a problem with that.

      “And they didn’t “fire” JonTron because he wasn’t their employee.” – I never said that they did. I was just using an example to demonstrate that workplace discrimination based on political affiliation is wrong.

      “They offered him a part and rescinded their offer.” – he already did the voice acting for the character, but they are either removing the character or his voice.

      Yet again your example is not applicable in this situation. There was nothing inherently political in Yooka-Laylee. His work in the game wasn’t associated in any way with him as a person. Having him as a voice actor doesn’t mean they endorse his opinions. Excluding him was basically saying that they denounce him and his views. He wouldn’t have damaged their brand because he didn’t do anything wrong. Not to mention the end result of their actions that damaged their reputation much more than if they would’ve kept him in.

      “Whether or not someone has crossed the line isn’t really our call; it’s the artists/companies.” – I disagree. Both the company and the consumers can decide if he did something wrong (he didn’t) and the consumers get to react accordingly if they see Playtonics’ actions as unjust.

      What are you even talking about in the last paragraph? There will be no mass burnings of the game. People are simply not going to buy it. For those who were stupid enough to donate to the Kickstarter, they’ll likely not get their money back.

  • random

    Lmao dude, spouting white nationalist bullshit doesn’t constitute an “opinion”, it’s blatant racism.

  • VanFinale

    If Playtonic released the exact same statement about how they don’t agree with JonTron and he doesn’t represent their views but kept him in the game. I would have pre-ordered the game on the spot which is something I hardly ever do anymore, just because they showed integrity for themselves, their fans, and the people they worked with. Which is something that is sadly so incredibly rare nowadays. If they removed JonTron from the game then subsequently refunded all the people mad at them who theoretically have all the same political views as jontron. I wouldn’t have bought the game but I wouldn’t have such a low opinion of them. However the way it stands is that they don’t really care about what Jon said just what other people thought about it. Playtonic finds Jon’s views so abhorrent that they have to spend money to patch his lines out of the game, however they aren’t so abhorrent that they won’t take money from people with the same views. This move was sheer cowardice on Playtonic’s part and they did this specifically to effect the sales of the game yet they refuse stand by the negative consequences of their choices, while removing JonTron under the same pretenses.

  • I get it’s totally in Playtonic’s right to remove JonTron. But was it wasn’t necessary to begin with.
    All it would’ve taken would be a “JonTron’s views does not represent the views of Playtonic or its employees” to quiet whatever complaining there was. Hollywood does this ALL the time with actor/producer/director/etc. interviews in movies and TV shows.

    It pretty damn petty that they removed him. I mean who honestly cares THAT much about one dude’s opinion anyway? It just shows how shallow and thin-skinned they are more than anything else. What’s real rich is they said “Playtonic is a studio that celebrates diversity in all forms and strives to make games that everyone can enjoy…” I guess that means all diversity except having the “wrong” opinion on things. God forbid people have different opinions.

    • Zeonis

      Exactly, they preach tolerance but they are intolerant.

    • Stinky Finkelstein

      I don’t think there’s a law requiring people to tolerate intolerance. It’s a weird “canon drum.” We are allowed to be “racist” against “racists.”

      *Note: Racist is not actually a race. But I’m sure you get the idea.

    • precisely. Which is a recurring theme in a lot of media companies nowadays. Videogames, TV, movies, etc. “We celebrate diversity of all forms as long as you have the right opinion and don’t oppose the hive mind.”

    • Stinky Finkelstein

      I also agree with Astro that the disclaimer would have been a good approach too.

  • Everything is political. If it looks like it isn’t, that just means it represents the politics of the status quo. Crying to “keep politics out of gaming” is itself a political position.

    And what the hell is this kind of fatuous opinion piece doing being published on Operation Rainfall, which is supposed to be about encouraging publishers to localize more Japanese games? If you need a personal blog, then go start one.

    • Dalton McClain

      Because this is a site that supports open and free thinking. We do encourage the localization of Japanese games, I don’t know what made you think we didn’t. This is my personal opinion and doesn’t reflect the site in the slightest. I personally don’t think it’s fatuous because it has to do with gaming in general. People don’t seem to understand that the JonTron thing wasn’t what this was about, but it was the catalyst that got me thinking.

    • What site doesn’t ostensibly support “open and free thinking?” That’s not a reason to post something under its purview. My point was that this has nothing to do with the mission of Operation Rainfall, and it doesn’t belong here. No matter how many times you disclaim that this post doesn’t represent the website, you posted it here; so it does. If your personal opinions don’t represent Operation Rainfall, then they shouldn’t be published under its banner.

      Of course you personally don’t think it’s fatuous; if you thought your op-ed was bad you wouldn’t have posted it! But it is. It’s wrong-headed, privileged, presumptuous, and naïve, and it reflects poorly on Operation Rainfall.

      If you’re fed up with controversies surrounding game development/publishing and the sociopolitical implications of decisions that lie outside the content of the software itself, then ignore them. All you’ve done here is engage in the very thing that you claim is making you sad. Believe it or not, most of us are capable of having opinions and conversations about this stuff and still purchasing and judging games on their own merits. If you can’t manage that, then bury your head in the sand and just play the game.

      Either engage with these topics or don’t. That’s up to you, but that’s all that’s up to you. Don’t try to tell other people what not to talk about. It’s either arrogant or childish; either way, it’s not good.

    • MusouTensei

      “And what the hell is this kind of fatuous opinion piece doing being published on Operation Rainfall”
      “My point was that this has nothing to do with the mission of Operation Rainfall, and it doesn’t belong here.”
      “Don’t try to tell other people what not to talk about. It’s either arrogant or childish”

      You’re a liberal aren’t you?

  • why it is so hard to get that Playtonic celebrates diversity and there is a lot of people from different countries on the dev team, families, etc, and they feel that having someone with the point of views of Jon been part of this piece of love they are making just hurts them? sorry, but Playtonic is the lesser of evils here, this article was uncalled for, making a political statement of something that wasn’t politics to begin with. Feeling hurt by the opinion of someone inside your game has nothing to do with politics, but saying that politics and gaming doesn’t mix then you are losing the idea of what is wrong today with the world, the idea that politics is something that you have to separate from your daily life was the reason Trump is now on power.

  • MusouTensei

    Sorry, can’t do, won’t do, I already boycott games that get censored for violence (surprisingly rare these days, even in my country which used to censor violence a lot) or sexual content (like Criminal Girls 1&2, Tokyo Mirage Sessions or Fire Emblem Fates), why should that be differnet here? What Playtonic did is censorship, plain and simple.

    • Stinky Finkelstein

      *slow clap*

  • Mags

    I’m just gonna leave this here.

  • catazxy

    I hate the word “diverse”, I don’t see somebody giving a shit about that in russia, china, japan or other eastern countries, and I’m from one myself. This is just some retarded way of virtue signaling that makes little sense to me. Perhaps some people just have it too easy, I wish I had time to worry about insignificant things like that.