The Skaldic Games Debacle

The Skaldic Games Debacle
Literally the only Image I could bring myself to post.

Looks like we’re finally beginning to figure out this whole society thing.

The past century has been the least violent in recorded history, more and more minorities are being afforded the rights they deserve, citizens are rising up and demanding accountability from their governments, and Marvel studios has scheduled movies right up to 2028!

Naturally, there’s always people who want to kill the buzz, especially on the internet.

Digital hate speech

There’s a bizarre cluster of hate movements online that seems to want to actively fight against minorities seeking equal and fair representation in media and entertainment.

Crying, “PC gone mad” ,this nonsensical fury is often leveled at groups railing against bigotry, stereotypes, and regressive comments and attitudes. Entire Youtube channels, blogs, and sub-reddits provide soapboxes for these regressive sentiments

The latest addition to this cavalcade of contemptible claptrap is a cheap point and click shooter game tactfully titled, ‘Kill the Faggot’.

KTF, as I will call it from now on because typing that word in that context makes me feel greasy, was posted on Steam Greenlight, a platform where indie developers can showcase their creations.

It wasn’t well received, to say the least.

The trailer showcased a cheaply made ‘point and click’ shooter, where the objective was to shoot gay men (100 points), transgender women (150 points), and to avoid shooting straight people (-100 points). A clear contender for game of the year.

Every time you score a kill a voice booms, “AIDs carrier eliminated”, or “Faggot killed”, a little like the Mortal Kombat voiceover, if its lines were drawn from particularly nasty Youtube comments.

It was revealed that KTF was intended to be a minigame in a larger release called ‘The Shelter: A survival story’,’ a post apocalyptic survival game.

KTF could be found and played on discarded mobile phones, a bit like Flappy Bird, if Flappy Bird was Developed by the Westboro Baptist Church.

Caught in the middle.

The Shelter boasted a cast of talented voice actors. None of whom were aware of the KTF mini-game’s existence or Skaldic Games evident insanity.

Two of the cast were Irish; Rachel Lally, actress and model, and Keith Fay lead vocalist of folk metal band Cruachan.

We talked to Keith about his initial interactions with Skaldic Games and how they seemed to be regular, reasonable, non-rabidly-homophobic people.

‘They sent over an Email and introduced themselves, they linked me to a game that they had already released, a small iPhone game, Fugitive Simulator’, Keith told us.

They said that they were starting a much bigger project with a number of voice actors and that they’d love to use Cruachan’s music. I said, “Yeah sounds good, no problem at all there.”

There was some talking back and forth, and he seemed like a nice enough guy. Then he asked if I would be interested in having a spot part in the game.’

With the help of Rachel, Keith put together an audition and sent it to Skaldic. It was well received and he was offered a part in the game. Rachel was also offered a spot based on the audition.

Keith goes on to describe the process of voice acting for The Shelter.

‘Me and Rachel had a laugh doing it, it was really funny, and just all round good fun. That literally, was it. We just sat back and watched the updates on their Facebook page. Then, on the 4th of may it all just went “kaboom!”’

Rachel and Keith were taken completely unawares by the madness Skaldic had dragged them into. Keith tells us about the shock they felt when they finally heard about KTF.

‘We were in Rachel’s making dinner. She was chopping up some veg’ I checked my phone and I just said “What the fuck is going on here?’.
There were 20 or 30 Facebook messages and Emails, and all of them were negative, but you could tell that we were being given the benefit of the doubt. They were asking “are you ok being involved with this?” “This is in your name?”

‘We watched the Jim Sterling video I said to Rachel, “You’ve got to look at this”, I can’t even describe her face when she heard the comments that were in the game.’

Rachel had a strong reaction to the content of KTF.
‘I became aware of a very visceral reaction, similar to the one you get when watching movies of Jews being persecuted or hearing of the abuses African slaves suffered at the hands of their masters’,she told us.

‘Every fibre of my being was repulsed when watching ‘Kill The Faggot’ or KTF as its now become known. I became acutely aware of how many people in my life could potentially be upset by my now ended association with Skaldic and was astonished actually at how many people that could be, from young people whom I work with, to very close friends.”

Speaking up for equality.

Rachel and Keith were horrified by the implication that they might be involved with Skaldic bizarre lunacy. Especially since they are both vocal proponents for equality.

Keith was quick to address his fans and condemn Skaldic on the content of KTF.

‘We were going to sleep on it, think about what we were going to say, but I just thought “I’ve got to get on Facebook right now, I can’t be associated with this in any way”. Not only do I have a gay brother, but before he came out as gay I had been marching in the gay pride parade, you know hair down, total death metal looking guy saying that death metal guys can support gay people as much as anybody. I have a lot of gay friends and they loved that I did that.’

Rachel tells us about her activism for equality, ‘I feel passionately about equality, no not everybody is the same, but everyone should be afforded the same opportunities where reasonable, regardless of sex, gender, socioeconomic background or medical condition, therefore I have been involved in the Yes campaign on a local level, addressing family and friends, promoting the issue on social media and attending canvassing meetings in my locality.’

Eventually, Skaldic Games stepped forward to release a statement of their own. Unsurprisingly it seemed to be right-wing gibberish.
‘The reason behind this particular game is because of how tired I am of people being overly sensitive and how easily offended people are by every little thing, especially with LGBT issues.” Say Skaldic, conspicuously not part of the LGBT community.’

‘So, I decided to go down a path that most developers are afraid to go down: to piss these people off by making the most overly offensive game possible to these idiots to prove a point. The point being that a crappy made video game would offend people so much.’
Concluded Skaldic, proving that if you go out to offend people with something intentionally offensive, you will offend people.

The statement did for Skaldic’s reputation what the Hindenburg did for the airship industry.

While the lash back against Skaldic rages on and will no doubt have far reaching repercussions for the developers, the response to Keith and Rachel’s open objection to KTF has been overwhelmingly positive.

‘I am glad that some of the strangers who were in touch regarding my association with Skaldic, could say, “I can see you are pro LGBT, what’s going on?”’, Rachel tells us, ‘I was reminded of how many important people in my life identify as LGBT, and how many injustices some of them face from day to day and thought how difficult it must be to choose their battles’

‘I received some wonderful words of encouragement and thanks, which gave me some faith that there are others like me out there and reinforced my belief that to be an ally is as important a position as any’ she concludes.

Keith describes how his prominance in the metal scene and stance on KTF has drawn a lot of positive feelings.

‘We’ve had a tonne of messages coming into us, and a lot of them are from people within the metal scene. The metal scene is a macho, male bravado filled scene, and it’s very hard to be gay.’

‘The messages that were coming into us were from people in the metal scene saying it’s very hard to tell my friends, but to see a big, beardy, extreme metal band come out in full support of the LGBT scene has helped them so much in their lives.
There was one that was really cool, the guy posted it on our page for all to see, he said, “I’m a gay man, I’m a HIV positive man, I even tried to commit suicide once because of all of the abuse over the years. There’s just no condoning what this game has done.
I’ll be a Cruachan fan to the end, and I’m going to go and buy all the albums I don’t have.”
That was just amazing’ Finished Keith.

Rachel concluded with an important point about how we should never tolerate hate speech like KTF, ‘we must refuse to laugh at jokes which mock or make a cartoon of the LGBT people we love, even if they can’t hear or see it, and we must act to call out and challenge those who’s homophobic actions, or any actions which threaten equality, whether deliberate or ill informed effect workplaces, where we live, learn or socialise, only then can people like Randall from Skaldic comprehend the hurt and pain caused by their actions. Even if and hopefully when we achieve a Yes vote, that is what will stay with me.’