So I'm torn on the issue but I also wanna put in my input. This turned into a giant ass wall no one will probably read, but I wanna post it all the same:
I'm torn because it's no secret I'm a GamerGate supporter. Yes, let's not deny the elephant in the room: this is GamerGate vs. SJWs, the same story we've heard for 8 months. (really that long now? Jesus) However, I also think that GamerGate must reflect on itself and realize that threatening Obsidian for caving makes the non-censorship side just as ridiculous and childish as those who demanded it's removal and freaked out. It's also simple fact that we do not fully know Obsidian's motivations here. We do not know if the limerick was something Obsidian overlooked while processing backer reward submissions and only later realized they take offense to it personally of their own accord, or if this is something truly sparked by the tweets. I sympathize with people's desires to put two and two together, but it's somewhat unfair to do so. This would be different if the limerick were something directly spouted from Durance or another Pillars character, making it painfully clear an Obsidian employee wrote it, but unfortunately it's skewed here. I'd urge people to calm the hell down and wait to hear Obsidian out, which is exactly what I've been doing.....not that it helps. There's an angry mob forming essentially, and any posts I've made on a certain subreddit discussing this matter just get downvoted to oblivion for even suggesting people put the pitchforks down and wait on a comment....something for which I'm quite disappointed in Gamergate aswell.
But I also would be lying to myself if I denied that seeing this news hurt. I honestly wasn't expecting this, or at least to see it happen like this. If there was a change, I expected we'd see an announcement in advance and not after-the-fact. I mean the replacement limerick is quite good and I actually think this could've been LOADS less painful had an announcement simply been made upfront to highlight it's change and how that happened.
I also have to reflect and realize that....New Vegas was my favorite game of all time, and New Vegas ended with one character: Ulysses. Ulysses is a man written by Obsidian employees and a character who is big on symbolism. He lambasts the Courier for not reading into his own actions enough and understanding the ramnifications they hold. He accuses the Courier of negligence, of acting before realizing what consequences his actions may have.
A part of me has to reflect on that and expect the same from Obsidian. Quite frankly Obsidian, the very people who called for this thing to be removed will do you no favors. This is admittedly a bit of a situation where a group is being lumped into one instead of treated like individuals, but you do realize the very side calling for the limerick to be removed would also be the side that overall (overall being the keyword there since of course individuals will have individual opinions deviating from the norm of the group) voices support for Anita Sarkeesian....yknow, the critic who has a video up criticizing your game (Fallout New Vegas) and merely including it as cannon fodder for her "women as backround decoration" video? .....Blatantly LYING about how women in New Vegas lack depth and how there's no consequence for killing any prostititutes within the game? This is the group you just appealed to. This group (again keyword being group; not all individuals of said group would be guilty of this, but a significant margin would be) seems to wear being offended like a fashion statement, whether warranted or not. You have to ask yourselves what value you expect to come from trying to appeal to them. You think this would stave off criticism in the future? I doubt it...
More importantly I just have to voice how easily it is to slowly go towards censorship when trying to appease people like this. You want an example of how easily I could draw controversy to an element of Pillars? Endulge me in the wall of text below if you would, and I can highlight EXACTLY how that can happen:
You know something within Pillars of Eternity I really, REALLY don't like? That Pallegina is such a weak little nab when it comes to her being an avian godlike, being born different and looking different from others. This hits too close to home with my disability (one leg), except I was born disabled and have no shame in it. I grew up being made fun of for my disability, I grew up getting mocked, harassed or outcasted for it, because unfortunately my mother moved to a very sheltered area where I was the only physically disabled person in a town of 30,000. Everyone was more or less the same, except for me, so the little kids didn't know how to act around me and their parents didn't know any better or know how to teach them respect. I know what it's like to be different. I had to just deal with it.
And I did. Hell, I'm almost happy it happened. I'd exhibited humor and a desire to refine a sense of humor since I could speak or manage a joke and before ever moving to this town, but please, count how many comedians you know who were bullied as children. Being bullied can do wonders for your charm, for your wit and for your ability to speak circles around anyone who wishes to make fun of you, and I'm sure being made fun of refined my ability in such things as well. Surely you know of this Obsidian, what with characters like Caesar and Durance preaching about how conflicts and flames can envoke an inner strength from you? I would never have had this opportunity were I born normally and with two legs instead of one. Aside from that, I have to highlight how I truly see no reason to be ashamed of my leg. I cannot tell you how many times friends or family will email me news about research into prosthetics or the ability to do a limb transplant, and they assume I'm gonna be super happy for that news and say "LOOK, YOU MIGHT BE NORMAL SOMEDAY!!" Why the hell would I want to be? Why would anyone think less of me for missing a limb? The only part about my leg that hurts is that it's made painfully obvious some people do think less of me when they make statements like that (and some other statements with even LESS tact, such as "do you have trouble landing a girlfriend cause of your leg?"). But do I find that warranted? Not at all. Stephen Hawking can't even wipe his own ass, and he's accomplished more in his lifetime than....well hell, you could dare argue he's at the top, with very few people able to compete with him and his accomplishments. It's because we're at a point in society where physical disabilities mean jack. Charles Darwin argued "survival of the fittest," and many people make the mistake of assuming that means fastest, strongest or smartest. No, "fittest" here means those most capable of adapting to their environment. Hawking qualifies as one of the "fittest" because he highlights the truth that these days, intelligence is what you need to survive in this world. Even so, ALL of us qualify as "fit" because all of us are surviving, as society has made doing so quite simple. Even IF you wished to frown upon my disability still.....have you not SEEN the newer prosthetics? A day will come when prosthetics are superior to actual limbs. The athletic prosthetics are already proving this as they regularly become a hot button issue for race events, since there's debate a guy missing two legs but using two athletic prosthetics has an unreasonable advantage vs. a person with two legs.
But I digress. The point with the above is that there's a parallel between a character like Pallegina and myself in that we both grew up being made fun of for being different. But that's the only thing we have in common, because while I don't consider my disability an issue despite the amount of people who to this day and to my age group of 26 now continue to think less of me over something so stupid? While I hold my head high, satisfied in knowing that I myself see no logical, objective conceivable reason to frown upon how I am, so I can safely discredit those that do as idiots?
Pallegina cries like a little b****. She complains about being born different, she'll cry about it, she loathes and laments it. It's PAINFUL for me to listen to this, cause it's such a freaking pity party. It's like omfg suck it up. You have so many other things going for you, yet you let that one aspect of who you are rule you. You show an inability to wear it like a badge of pride and see the good in it and realize it's all quid pro quo with upsides and downsides (ironic since at one point she WILL acknowledge this and say who she is is responsible for her being allowed to do a job she loves); something I figured out in my early teens that she can't figure out as an adult. Pallegina is the type of character that would tearfully ask of God why she was born the way she was...dude if I met God I'd just jokingly ask "so what'd I do to piss you off," moreso in relation to the fact that I was born allergic to morphine and latex alongside a disability that'd demand I have several operations, not so much for the disability itself. It's GARBAGE how she acts, because I cannot feasibly see this happening with someone who grows up being different from birth. Becoming different somewhere down the line, sure, but not coming to terms with it over the course of 20+ years? GTFO.
AND YET....I am wrong in a way. People are amazing in that you can find people of every stripe. Surely someone out there would tell an opposite story, about how they were born different just like Pallegina and they too lament it, and they too have not come to terms with it. And for these reasons, they love the character and connect with it that much better. Her stroy would inspire them....and I WANT it to inspire them. I want anyone to have a chance to feel a connection and feel inspired by a story. Have I ever met such a person that would love how she is in that regard? As I said I could expect this from someone who became different in the middle of their lifetime, (became disabled, victim of one of those acid attack stories that ruined a pretty face, anything that's blatantly obvious from appearance and first glance, really) though I can't think of an example of ever meeting someone who showed these emotions despite being different from birth.
But I am not so arrogant and self-centered as to think this means such people do not exist. I am not so judgemental and shallow so as to think that anyone who grew up different, is exactly my age and doesn't exhibit the strength I do on this specific subject matter is just weaker and inferior to me; dozens of qualities and traits make up a man, and I could surely learn something else from them aswell. I am not so anxiety-ridden and so short on self-esteem that I take Pallegina's story as a personal attack on my person and who I am, I just don't like it because pity parties are a big pet peeve of mine and hers makes me groan that much more solely because I feel I relate to her situation.
Despite this, do I think I could drum up controversy if I wanted to? Absolutely. I could easily play the "WTF SAWYER, NOT ALL OF US THAT ARE BORN VISIBLY OR PHYSICALLY DIFFERENT ARE LIKE THAT, WE DON'T RUN AROUND ASKING FOR PITY LIKE YOU SEEM TO THINK WE ALL DO. EVERYONE REBLOG/RETWEET THIS TO GET THEIR ATTENTION AND FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, HERE'S MY PATREON LINK KTHX." You don't think that very same SJW crowd would take that bait? I'd ****ing bet my fake leg on it.
But I don't do that. Because that would mean that Sawyer's character and his desire to express himself in some way would be completely snuffed out and we'd never hear his/her story. (his/her since author is male, character female)
Stories are like people to me. You're a fool to think that you'll like all people, but that does not mean this world would be a better place if every person you didn't like dropped dead. Just because a person doesn't exhibit value to you does not mean they provide no value for others. Stories are exactly the same, as art imitates life imitates art.
This may be "just a limerick," and you may be thinking people are foolish to read THIS much into it that it got removed. In a way you're right, but again, surely you must've known something like this would happen? These forums fill up and almost crash any time this issue comes up. You can easily check 8chan or KiA and see your names on the front page the moment this issue became a thing.
What's going on is that people are second-guessing. They don't trust that this was your decision and your decision only, and wtf, they have every logical reason to do so, even if they lack sufficient evidence to definitively "convict" you, so to speak.
My advice? Make that announcement and be honest. Be respectful, but be honest. If you want to tell GamerGate you disagree with it? Do so. If you want to tell SJWs to calm the hell down? Do so. I can already hear your marketing director saying "nonononononononono dun do that," but this is the thing: GamerGate's side is not against people having opinions. GamerGate would not be against Obsidian as an entity truly caring about being sensitive to such issues and wanting to remove that stuff out of a personal interest. GamerGate's stake in this is that they feel as though you've caved when you didn't actually want to, and that the decision was cowardly, made solely by some CEO or marketing director who's interest is only in the consumer's money and not actually within integrity of the game; that the company would gladly light a baby on fire tomorrow if it seemed like that's what the people wanted, and can at any time be bought off with the proper amount or the proper pressure applied to make you second-guess if an action, gameplay snippet or message is profitable for the company. But your actual opinion...? That holds value to GamerGate, and I think they could respect it even if it disagreed....so long as it treats them with due respect back, of course.
And if your opinion is that this is stupid and you wish the SJW crowd would back off and stop policing things like this limerick? Say so. Look at the amount of people watching this topic. Look at the OVERWHELMING support for the limerick you're seeing now. These are GamerGaters. They've waited 8 months for a developer to have the balls to make a stand, and it's not happening because any CEO or marketing director is going to suggest a safe, hands-off approach. But these very same people would provide overwhelming support to any company to break this silence and voice support for them. I also would voice doubt that this issue of "transphobia" would escalate any further. I mean ffs, the guy who called it transphobic legit had misandric and neo nazi commentary on his account history, as I recall. You think your names will pop up on national news? You think this story would get that high with someone like that on the other side? Please. And if your worry is that sites like Kotaku are gonna pick up on the story, kindly visit Kotaku and check how many ads there are. It's a ghost town, because no one's reading them anymore.
Even if that doesn't convince you.....wtf guys you're OBSIDIAN!!!! ****ing google "New Vegas feminism," "New Vegas Mormon," "New Vegas LGBT." You'll see nothing but praise from feminists (the ones not after cash anyways), Mormons and gay people alike, all praising the game for presenting such characters as people rather than letting their gender, religion or sexual orientation be their defining characteristic and "personality." The blatantly obvious truth is that YOU GUYS ARE NOT TRANSPHOBIC. You could very easily ignore the complaints of this limerick and then include a transgender NPC in a future DLC or title, and just show them firsthand how humanely you can write minority groups and how respectfully you can treat them. The complaint will not hold weight or damage your image in any way because it's simply not true. It jumps to outrageous conclusions that you guys support transphobia when it's clear that's not the case.
Whatever your choice, whether you feel compelled to respond to me and tell me you think GamerGate is a flawed, reactionary movement that would do the world a favor if it died off, or if you want to let people know you guys didn't actually enjoy removing that limerick...just say so. Because I truly believe that's what people actually want right now: they want transparency and they want honesty, not neccesarily a hivemind adherence to whatever it is we want. We just want to see that companies can think for themselves and that they won't mindlessly sell out to the first potential threat to come along, because unfortunately there's a LOT of threats going around these days and that will quickly end poorly if this is the case.
I'll be patiently awaiting the backer announcement clarifying how and why this move was done, let's hope people can put down the pitchforks until then and hear you guys out.....though let's not kid ourselves, they're not gonna do that.