In a move that has delighted and then immediately confused trans rights advocates across the globe, game developer Gongus Studios has announced that their next RPG will allow players to customize their character’s pronouns, and also what slurs people call them.
“It’s very important to us that our players are able to express themselves in a way that feels authentic to their experience,” said Gongus CEO Nigel Beestwhistle. “And it’s equally important that the other characters in the game immediately tear them down with vicious—and accurate—hate speech.”
Gongus has allowed several gaming journalists to experience the new features through a closed beta, which received a mixed reaction. Liberal reviewers praised the wealth of pronoun options but were less enthused about the massive list of slurs that immediately followed. More conservative reviewers criticized the pronoun menu as “weird” and “gay” but were highly favorable towards the part where you get to read a bunch of really fucked up and mean stuff about minorities.
“The first time an NPC referred to my character as ‘they,’ I felt represented in a way I’ve never felt in any other game,” said River Liu, a non-binary gaming journalist. “And then five seconds later, the same NPC called me the T-slur, which… I mean, I guess it’s accurate.”
Players are not able to opt out of the slur selection phase, which includes over 200 different derogatory slang terms, each viler than the last. Players are encouraged to pick the slurs which are most relevant to their own identity, which is reportedly not terribly fun.
“Diversity is incredibly important to the team at Gongus,” continued Beestwhistle, “Which is why our list of slur options doesn’t just cover sexual orientation and gender identity, but also a vast array of ethnicities. For example…”
Beestwhistle then launched into an extensive list, despite us yelling at him several times to please stop.
“I loved the slurs,” said conservative reviewer Slayton Windsor, “But some of those pronoun options are way too political. For example, ‘she/her.’”
The game also includes several options for neo-pronouns such as “xe/xyr” and “fae/faer,” as well as neo-slurs such as “skreggly” and “triangle-foot.”
“We wanted the fantasy world of our game to be truly rich and immersive, and a big part of that is allowing players to exist as they truly are, rather than conforming to narrow stereotypes of what a hero should be,” explained Beestwhistle. “And then we threw the slur thing in because, hey, we’re gamers.”