Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

Skullgirls Backlash Continues As Game Tanks Their Reputation

By Baiting Irrelevance Jul1,2023
Skullgirls backlash continuesSkullgirls backlash continues

The Skullgirls backlash continues as fans take to the internet to voice their displeasure. To say that this game is currently falling on hard times would be an understatement. It is often said that we do not fix that which is not broken. If companies listen more to cliches like this, they would be in a far better place. Sadly, we live in an era where everyone is falling over each other to showcase how stunning and brave they are. In their quest for complete awakeness, often, many lose themselves on the road to wokeness.

Either that or this is not a big deal, and people overreact to a few changes that will keep the gameplay the same. As always, there are vastly different views on this topic. However, your room for error is much thinner when you are a small publisher. All of this leads us to the big question: what are Skullgirls, and why are people so upset? If you missed yesterday’s piece, let me give you a brief rundown. Skullgirls is almost a decade old, and in that ten years, they have built up a large cult following. That cult following turned mainstream as its popularity grew.

The original publisher for this title was Autumn Games. However, after some financial setbacks, they were forced to stop supporting the IP. This was a massive blow for the developers at Revenge Labs, who were now without the support of their publisher. Sadly, a developer without a publisher cannot make it far in this industry. The core development team would eventually find their feet and rebrand themselves as Lab Zero Games.

The Persistence After The Skullgirls Backlash

When Lab Zero Games formed in late 2012, they decided to crowdfund to have more financial control over their games and not rely on publishers who might screw them over. Despite Autumn Games’ mismanagement, they still had publishing rights over Skullgirls. This meant that the developers were still minimal. In 2020, the board of Directors at Lab Zero Games tried to assume power over the company and kick lead designer and CEO Mike Zaimont out over specific allegations. Zaimont pushed back and dispanded the board, killing his company’s staged coup.

Autumn Games was unhappy with this outcome and decided to sever ties with Lab Zero Games. This decision resulted in the devolvement of Lab Zero Games. However, this is different from where their story ends. Many former employees decided to start a new game development company, Future Club, and continued to work on Skullgirls and push out new content. Through all this, publisher Autumn Games had massive control over the IP. This is an excellent example of how a publisher takes control of an IP the developer created.

This brings us to about a week ago when the announcement was made that the game would be pulling back on what they deem to be past offensive content. As part of this new direction, they will censor some outfits they view as offensive. They will also cover all red armbands that refer to World War 2. The publisher states that the game’s current form undermines what makes it unique and special. This is a curious statement, as precisely those decisions made the game successful.

The Swift Skullgirls Backlash

The reaction and backlash against the censorship of this game have been swift. Since I first covered this story yesterday, fans have been quick to voice their displeasure even more. In fact, most of the recent reviews on Steam are overwhelmingly negative. Many fans state that they are disappointed in the direction that the company decided to go. Fans feel they no longer want to support the game in its current state. For many, the motives behind these changes feel off.

Skullgirls
Skullgirls

This decision to censor the game came out of nowhere. There was never any pushback against the game; thus, this decision feels highly unnecessary. Despite all of the backlash, they are standing firm behind their decision. Their original statement specifies, We, of course, realize that some members of the Skullgirls community may disagree with these changes, either in terms of how we chose to address them or whether they were, in fact, issues that warranted addressing in the first place. Please know that all of these choices have been made following careful consideration and lengthy discussion amongst all members of the current development team. Beyond this post, we do not intend to discuss the particulars of these changes further.”

For many, this statement could have read better. The worst part of their response was that they turned off all comments. Companies only turn off their comments after public information if they know there will be backlash. The publisher is shutting down all possible discussions in the hopes that this decision will eventually be forgotten. One thing that they cannot do is shut down gamer reviews. I am sure that they tried, though.

Can Skullgirls Bounce Back

The decision to censor games is nothing new. Within this current entertainment era, this issue pops up more every day. Despite sales proofing that this is not what fans want, companies keep pushing forward. Many people dismiss that as only a minor issue that does not matter. Unfortunately, in these cases, if you give an inch, they will take a mile. This is expansions and microtransactions all over again. There used to be a time when you paid 60 dollars and got a whole game. Then, companies discovered that you could cut out a specific part of the game and sell it as a deluxe.

Skillgirls backlash
Skillgirls backlash

Initially, people pushed back up and eventually accepted this new normal. The other day, I went to buy Diablo 4 and was left with three options going up to $100. I remember when we used to push back against microtransactions as well. It used to be a massive scandal when companies did it. But they moved little by little, and we just continued to accept. Now, we are at a point where we need to buy ultra-deluxe versions of games and spend additional money on content that should have been included.

Here we are on censorship, and the question is how much we are willing to give up. It starts with a top and a skirt, and it is only a matter of time before the entire direction of the game shifts. As a community, gamers must decide if they want that. These small changes are not a big deal, but they all add to a more significant issue.

Conclusion

Sadly, I see this only end in one way. People do not care enough to take widespread action, and I do not blame them. You live a busy life, and when you come home, you do not care what happens behind the scenes at a game publisher. It is an entirely normal response; that is how most people live. People will eventually forget about this and move on. The next group of people to flow through and play this game will never know what happened. That is how the cycle works.

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19 thoughts on “Skullgirls Backlash Continues As Game Tanks Their Reputation”
  1. […] Skullgirls announced they would censor certain parts of their game a few weeks ago. Since then, the gaming community has not been too happy with them. The developers, however, remain firm in their stance and refuse to back down. This comes as little surprise as most knew the decision to censor certain parts of the game would be final. Despite Skullgirls standing firm in their judgment, fans still voiced their displeasure. Many took to social media to let developers know how they felt about this recent decision. Many also took to Steam to update their reviews of the game. […]

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