Update: Ion Fury developer Voidpoint has since taken to Twitter to clarify its statement. While the "OGAY" sprite will remain, the studio will be removing the out-of-bounds homophobic slur, which it says was a "legitimate error" from a developer who doesn't live in an English-speaking country.
The original story follows:
Voidpoint, the studio behind the recently released throwback shooter Ion Fury, is taking back its decision to remove controversial content in its game. After apologizing and pledging $10,000 to charity when players found a couple homophobic jokes hidden within Ion Fury, the studio is now saying it "will not be censored."
In a new statement posted to Steam today, developer Terminx says Voidpoint will "absolutely NOT [sic] be censoring Ion Fury or any of our other games, now or in the future, including but not limited to by removing gags such as gaming's most controversial facial wash."
The statement says Voidpoint now regrets the initial decision to "alter a sprite in the game," and that publisher 3D Realms and Voidpoint stand together on this matter. Terminx also writes that they would like to keep the community forums "clean from hateful messages, spam, or off-topic threads."
We've reached out to publisher 3D Realms to confirm it stands behind this statement, though it did not respond by publication. In a statement to IGN last week, 3D Realms said the homophobic language included in the game was not approved, and that moving forward it would include terms to sever contracts that do not abide by its "zero-tolerance policy."
Voidpoint had been out in front of discussion as well, saying on Twitter last week that they "really didn't censor anything" and that "legitimately like what [they] replaced it with more than [they] liked what [they] put there in the first place." It appears that both parties have changed their stances, in response to an influx of negative reviews and social media attention.
The controversy began when users on ResetEra posted messages shared by Voidpoint developers in the studio's Discord, as well as several in-game pieces of content: a bottle with the label "Ogay" and an out-of-bounds note with a homophobic slur. Voidpoint apologized for both the statements and content, saying they "recognize these statements are insensitive, unacceptable, and counterproductive to causes of equality."
Much like the recent Ooblets situation, the discussion and vitriol around it is saturating any discussion of the game. But where the Ooblets developer stood its ground in making a decision for the good of its own game, it seems like Voidpoint has capitulated, backtracking into the original harmful speech and right over any "zero-tolerance policy."