Spiritfarer is a truly remarkable video game, and one we recommend without hesitation. However, it has come to the attention of some that the title contains a narrative that is potentially offensive to wheelchair-bound individuals.
One of the characters in the game comments that death comes as a release from the limitations of their wheelchair, and this has been cited as a point of contention online. Twitter user Kayla Whaley – who is a wheelchair user herself – brought the narrative to the attention of the wider public, noting that while she has been "really enjoying" the game and that it is packed with "often hilarious dialogue, really satisfying city building, and bonus dark undertones", the narrative in question served as a "reminder of how most people see my life."
Developer Thunder Lotus responded quickly to the growing discontent surrounding the narrative, and issued the following statement:
It has been brought to our attention that some of the writing in Spiritfarer is ableist, especially in the case of one character’s description of their own wheelchair. We, the developers of Spiritfarer, would like to offer a sincere and heartfelt apology, and pledge to correct the lack of sensitivity and good judgement we demonstrated.
We understand that we unwittingly perpetuated ideas and language that have traditionally been used to exclude and discriminate against people with disabilities, while reinforcing ableist views of what they should find empowering. This directly undermines the empathetic spirit that we wished to infuse into every aspect of the game, and we regret this failure.
We therefore choose to take this as a necessary opportunity to grow our collective perspectives, and to use that wisdom to correct the mistake. The Spiritfarer narrative team pledges to reexamine their work for this or any similar/parallel perspectives or words that run counter to the inclusive values that we’ve built our company around, and correct this as warranted.
To any and all that may have felt judged or unwelcome while playing our game: we’re sorry. We’ll fix it, and strive to do better from now on.
Thanks for your support and understanding.
The move has been met with a mostly positive response online, and has Whaley's approval:
Have you played Spiritfarer? What do you make of the narrative in question? Let us know with a comment below, and please but sure to abide by our community rules before posting.