The two-dimensional fighting game Skullgirls 2nd Encore is being a victim of review bombing on Steam, a practice consisting of using the review system to leave negative reviews as a protest against something that is not intrinsic to the quality of the game. In this case, they are protesting because the developers have removed references to hate groups, have reduced sexualization and fetishism towards younger characters and have made changes to racist content.
Those changes, which went into effect on June 24, have been poorly received by the community: of the 4,777 recent reviews on Steam, only 22% are positive. as they remember from The Gameruntil a few days ago the situation was even more critical, since the opinions appeared as “Extremely negative” on the platform, but another part of the players is evaluating the game positively to balance the situation.
The same medium highlights some of the complaints that the players are leaving in their reviews. For example, one of the users complains that they have changed an art that showed a man groping a 16-year-old girl. “Don’t censor 10-year-old content to accommodate someone’s crazy political views”says another. In the messages the words are recurring “censorship” and “woke“and you can read someone who checks “I miss when this game was only about sexy girls fighting”.
On the official forums, Hidden Variable Studiosthose responsible for development, said: “As we look to the future of skullgirlswe have reflected on past decisions regarding certain content that have undermined many of the things they do skullgirls really unique and special.”
They explain that they have removed bands, flags, and other symbolism that were “too close for comfort” to Nazi iconography. They add that while there are characters who “confidently express their sexuality”, this is not always the case: “There are characters who are fetishized or have been sexualized”. “This includes some depictions of unwanted predatory behaviorespecially towards younger characters”, they admit from the study, and also comment that they have eliminated racial stereotypes. The changes have been made in the character design, in the story mode scenes, in the voices and in the art gallery.
The developers will not discuss the changes.
The creators expected some of the criticism: “[…] are aware that some members of the community of skullgirls can disagree with these changes, either because of the way we decided to address them or whether they were, in fact, issues that deserved to be addressed in the first place. Know that all these decisions have been taken after careful consideration and lengthy debate among all members of the current development team.” They add that they will not discuss these changes with players.