John Gibson, the president of Tripwire Interactive, which is know as the publisher of Chivalry 2 and developer of Maneater and Killing Floor, took to Twitter to hail a new Texas anti-abortion law passed by the U.S. Supreme Court last week. Backlash from fellow devs ensued.
Proud of #USSupremeCourt affirming the Texas law banning abortion for babies with a heartbeat. As an entertainer I don’t get political often. Yet with so many vocal peers on the other side of this issue, I felt it was important to go on the record as a pro-life game developer.
— John Gibson (@RammJaeger) September 4, 2021
The law bans abortions after six weeks (that’s when the so-called “fetal heartbeat” is detected by ultrasound, although many doctors challenge this notion). The law also empowers citizens to sue individuals performing or assising with abortions for $10,000. Gibson’s position drew immediate fire from the dev community.
Shipwright Studios, which co-developed Tripwire games Chivalry 2 and Maneater, announced it’s terminating all contracts with the studio.
— Shipwright Studios (@shipwrightstdio) September 5, 2021
Other notable response came from God of War director and writer Cory Barlog, who called the ruling the “bounty law that pushes us closer to some kind of Gilead dystopian religious state,” and Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski, who simply said “you can unfollow me now, thanks.”
Torn Banner, which developed Chivalry 2 for Tripwire, issued the following statement. “We do not share the opinion expressed in a recent tweet by the president of Tripwire, publisher of Chivalry 2. This perspective is not shared by our team, nor is it reflected in the games we create. The statement stands in opposition to what we believe about women’s rights.”
Megan Zavala, senior concept artist at Unbroken Studios (co-developer of Rocksteady Studios’ Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League), said that “As a woman game developer, it’s hard to navigate this industry knowing so many don’t understand. Thanks to you being honest, now we can all tell our associates, mass block you, and never work with you in the future.”
The gamer community was also largely unanimous, calling for the boycott of the studio and its games. More nuanced opinions referenced “cancel culture” in action and “not being able to separate the artist from the art.”
Meanwhile, President Biden called the law “an unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights,” which “unleashes unconstitutional chaos and empowers self-anointed enforcers to have devastating impacts.”