A recognizable response

Grimfate notes that Beamdog’s response to the criticism of Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear falls into what has come to be a recognizable pattern:

Usually if there’s a big uproar, the company will try to make things
right, try to save face and hopefully do something to appease those who
have decided not to purchase the game because of it. For example, the
ending of Mass Effect 3. Also, whenever an SJW complains about
something, the company seems quick to address the issue, such as the
butt thing with Blizzard’s latest game. So it’s interesting to see that
when there is an uproar AGAINST the SJW side, the company digs their
heels in, asking people to post positive reviews for the game instead
of, you know, addressing the concerns of their actual and potential

This is the tell. This is what informs gamers that a game developer is not on their side, and is sufficiently SJW-converged to stand their ground on the basis of SJW politics rather than artistic expression or creative freedom.

If you are the sort of organization that would immediately cave, (or worse, has caved) before a single SJW pointing-and-shrieking racist, or sexist, or goblinist, or geometrist, or whatever the complaint du jour is, you cannot expect people to take you seriously when you suddenly stand firm against tens of thousands of ordinary gamers expressing their disapproval of your design choices. Observe that the review ratings are consistent: 70 to 75 percent of gamers are openly hostile to Beamdog’s “enhancements”.

An SJW complains about a single character’s pose: “OMG! We are SO sorry! We will change it ASAFP! Do you like her new butt better? Is that okay? PLEASE FORGIVE US!”

Tens of thousands of gamers complain about smirking SJW convergence inserted into a beloved series: “Too bad, small minded bigots! You’re just a vocal minority and you’re BANNED!”

Moreover, if you are going to disrespect a much-loved classic of the genre by rejecting various elements of it and “improving” it, you really should understand that you are also rejecting its fans and that more people are going to actively hate your enhancements than are going to enthusiastically embrace them.

It’s a legitimate choice, although I would argue it is a foolish and self-destructive one. And while the developer has the right to make that choice, it is very important to understand that a deliberate choice is being made by someone inside the organization. It’s not like any of this is new, as the memelords well know.

Meanwhile, a longtime fan of the Baldur’s Gate series reviews Siege of Dragonspear:

Creating more content for a game that is in desperate need of a revival at a time when CRPGs are finally coming back into vogue was a great idea, and had I been a game developer, I would have jumped at the chance to do it myself.

Of course I was warned, both by friends and by readers of this site posting in comments on Dragonspear news articles I posted, that the game wasn’t going to be worth the money.

“They hired Gaider, you know what that means”

“Did you see how bad that stream was”

“You know they’ll screw it up.”

Naturally, I didn’t believe them. Call it putting the nostalgia goggles on, but I couldn’t possibly believe Beamdog’s Baldur’s Gate expansion would be anything but a continuation of the same events and personalities that made the original so timeless and memorable….

After five hours with the game, I encountered numerous situations where a
combination of very poor writing and social justice pandering began to
weigh the game down. Technical and gameplay missteps were one thing, but
the sheer amount of modern 2016 Tumblr-level politics turned what was
once a grand medieval swords & sorcery epic into the equivalent of a
emotional teenage girl’s self-insert fanfic.

What a small minded bigot! Nevertheless, it appears the controversy has already broken through and hit the mainstream media:

The problem with Minsc’s dig at #GamerGate isn’t that it breaks the fabled “Fourth Wall.” After all, Minsc is already making a jump through the fourth wall with his delightful pet Spelljammer reference. Heck, Baldur’s Gate is just as happy to reference The Bob Newhart Show and Monty Python as it is murder and betrayal.

Rather, the problem lies in Beamdog’s level of respect — or lack thereof — for a character that is deeply meaningful to an entire generation of gamers. Minsc is the lovable hamster-toting warrior of both Baldur’s Gate titles. His legacy extends into novelization and comic books, and he’s been praised by just about every conceivable gaming publication at one time or another. He’s an intellectual innocent, a gentle giant.

With one quip, they’ve turned that great big teddy bear of a hero into a passive-aggressive tool to insult a portion of their potential customers. It’s a cynical decision, and a needless one. It’s intentionally sarcastic and insulting, stooping to the tactics that people consistently ladle onto anyone who has ever participated in the #GamerGate conversation, without offering any useful rebuttal.

Not only is it grossly out of character for Minsc, it’s a little bit of the Internet’s ugliness that quite simply didn’t need to be there. Where the transgender character is an expression of the developer’s intentions toward inclusion, Minsc’s dig is designed to exclude people with whom Beamdog disagrees. It’s trite, it’s catty, and it makes Beamdog’s other in-game statements come off as posturing rather than sincere.

Beamdog’s response to the controversy hasn’t been extremely constructive and suggests a very loose grasp on the heart of the problem.

The problem is that the amenable authorities think their best interests are served by pandering to the SJWs who put them in their untenable position in the first place rather than jettisoning them at the earliest opportunity. What every leader of an organization needs to understand is that the SJWs within have no loyalty to the organization nor do they harbor any concerns for it. The organization is only of interest to them insofar as it provides them with a vehicle for pushing their Narrative.

Give them the chance, and they will burn it all down around them in the interest of virtue-signaling without even a moment’s hesitation. And then they’ll move on to their next victim.