We’ve learned of some interesting comments made by Andrew Allanson, the director on YIIK: A Postmodern RPG, over the critical reception to a game.
The comments were made back on March 5th on episode 144 of the “The Dick Show” podcast (the interview with Allonson starts at 01:45:47). The two hosts and Allanson talk about the game’s release and reception, Allanson stating the release had done “pretty well financially”, making its development costs back within the first week.
Allanson also discussed about how advertising the game needed to be done during development and an audience need to form within the first week of launch; stating“If people only find out about your game after its released, you’re fucked.” Later he discussed how the games initial positive reviews from Europe, but controversy began with the US reviews.
Some reviewers had felt the question “What name did your parents give you” was transphobic. Allason also felt others had sought to look for other content deemed offensive once he apologized, such as a joke where the main character (Alex) responds with “That’s our word!” when someone calls him ginger.
Another example was how scenes from the game mirrored the real life death of Elisa Lam, and how some claimed the developers were profiting off her death and “fetishising Asian women who had gone missing.” Allason does talk about how him discussing the case with others on message boards trying to work out if it was a tragic accident or murder did inspire YIIK, utilizing characters who didn’t “grow up” or get “proper jobs”, “playing internet detective all day.”
Allason then claims once the controversy over utilizing elements of Lam’s death “didn’t stick”, individuals attempted to “de-humanize” him and his team. Such as giving away the game for free on Discord servers. Some individuals (who Allason mentions after talking about how those who were allegedly targeting the game would change tactics), also became offended over his tribute to late Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata. They allegedly felt it insulted his memory, and allegedly “asked Nintendo to take it down.” A Nintendo representative did allegedly say to Allason they found the memorial “touching.”
Talking about the people who Allason felt were constantly attacking his game, he stated “they can’t create anything themselves, so they look to destroy shit. It’s that simple.” Allason then touched on how fellow game developers began to “disavow” the game, and allegedly deleted positive tweets they had made in the past.
Later, Allason discussed how people on the left and the right of the US political spectrum attacked the game. Those on the right allegedly attacking the game because Alex looked like a hipster stereotype- something some feel are synonymous with the “social justice warrior” sub-culture. While those on the left hated the game because it was too “hetero-normative.”
Allason stated that the game had some fans on anonymous message board 4Chan, and those users understood what Allason and his team “were going for.” He then expressed his shock at “who liked the game” and how others had attempted to politicize it.
One particular set of comments made by Allanson (at 02:07:20) had been added to an image and shared on social media such as Twitter, with some words omitted. Those full comments go as follows:
“My mistake was thinking that video games are art. I wanted to make a game about a guy who’s a piece of shit unlikable character, who by the end of the game has to transform. But too many gamers, when they look at this, when they play a game, they’re so used to having to identify with the character, that if they play a game where the main character is unlikable or has to do some bad stuff, they immediately get triggered by it.
So, the thing is, games aren’t art. They’re toys for children and it’s considered in bad form to talk about anything meaningful, or impactful or thought provoking.”
The sentence about “when they look at this, when they play a game, they’re so used to having to identify with the character, that if they play a game where the main character is unlikable or has to do some bad stuff” was omitted from the image posted on social media. Allason continues:
“I was trying to make the video game version of a Chuck Palahniuk novel, or a Haruki Murakami novel. To try and do something a little different y’know? But it turns out, everyone just wants Ayn Rand-ian written characters, where the main villain is like Wesley Mouch. You immediately know what to feel about each character.” […] When you make an unlikable character, people expect Sherlock Holmes or Dr. House.
They want flawed heroes, but only to the extent that they’re beautiful and intelligent and slightly Asperger-y. But they manage to be dicks to everyone and they get away with it because they bring some sort of savant-ism that saves the world. So if you make a character who’s just some hipster obsessed with the paranormal who hasn’t grown up yet and treats his friends like shit, people immediately feel- they don’t know how to process this.
But if you put it in a novel, people get it in a novel. But gamers are, y’know. I’m just gonna say though, this is not to say my game is above any criticism, like I know my game has problems, it’s not perfect, it’s my first 3D game I ever made.”
Allason then discussed how he spoke with people on Discord who hated the game, and how allegedly their opinion “changed a little bit” when they “understood the thought behind it.” Allason also stated the game had made enough money to fund future projects.
The game currently sits at a Metacritic score of 66, and a user review score of 33 (both on Windows PC).
What do you think of Allason’s comments? Sound off in our comments below!