Urustar

Game Design From Outer Space

We stand for equality, because if you ignore inequality you are part of the problem. So, take a stance. Take action, now.

Equality Sign

Taking a Stance


First of all, let me share some words about Italy.

Past the rhetoric of good food, good people and great art and landscapes, what remains of the country I live in is a place where machism, sexism, homophobia and inequality find a fertile terrain to grow in.

This is the country where the honour killing was legal up until 1981.

This is the country where every two days a woman is killed by the hand of a former partner.

This is the country where a respectable politician has been the object of racist jokes and insults even from other colleagues.

This is the country where kids commit suicide after being excluded from family and society because of their sexuality.

This is the country where almost no one thinks that all people should be treated equally and have the same rights.

This is the country poisoning me, every single day I’m living here, with its obsession with alpha-male culture.

So, I come from a quite troubled environment.

Yesterday I was reading my Twitter timeline as usual. And among all the inspiration coming from people all around the world (thanks!) I stumbled upon some tweets about the last PAX drama. I usually don’t read Penny Arcade so I somewhat missed some of the things which happened (except some unacceptable transphobic statements by Mike Krahulik). If you want to know more, the roundup of the always great Leigh Alexander is a pretty good place to start. Even here. Or here. It’s awful, and I really don’t see a way how such a thing could be excused. And the cheering in support of rape culture make me question the state of this industry.

Now, I want to make a statement in this post. It’s something that have always driven development and ideas and culture in our small team, even though there is always space for discussion.

We won’t stand racism, sexism and homophobia. Never. We fully support equality. We think that every single human being should have exactly the same rights. And we hope our works will always reflect our position. If you don’t like it, so be it. We can survive.

For the very same reason we are going to try our best not to be at events supporting such ideas. We respect the opinions of everyone, but we also know that some ideas have been deemed as unacceptable by history and human evolution. If you want to live in the Middle Ages, it’s up to you, just don’t expect we support you. We kinda prefer living in our modern times.

Now, a few words about art. I’m convinced that making games is an art form. Of course, not every game is art, but a lot of times a game is an expression of the ideas and culture of the people developing it. One can object that taking such a stance could be seen as a political agenda limiting artistic expression. But we don’t agree. First of all, because, as Kieron Gillen puts it:

Diversity leads to better art. Moreso: Diversity is better art.
Sexism is bad art. Racism is bad art. Homophobia is bad art. Even if you didn’t care about equality and human rights, there’s a strong formalist argument for it, simply because it’s truer to the world and shows more aspects to being a human on this planet and what it can mean. If art lies to us about what life is, it’s bad art. It’s bullshit.

And then because art IS political. It is completely inevitable. When I decide to express myself through a mean of expression, I cannot hide my views about politics, society and the world I live in (that says something about me often making little depressing games, but let’s ignore it for a while). How can having idea(l)s limit artistic expression? It’s exactly what DRIVES artistic expression!

Of course most of the times, games are made for commercial reasons, rather than artistic. Well, I think we need to criticise them, even though it’s entirely possible to enjoy them. We need to do it, because none of us is perfect, and we should strive to become better human beings.

That’s our stance, like it or not.