As a backer of Inverse World, I got the following announcements today and felt I had to respond:
To sum up the posts as I understand them, Jonathan Walton and the creators of Inverse World have amicably parted ways because of a fear on their part over a possible backlash against Jonathan over his layout work for another Kickstarter called The Misery Index (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1019114683/the-misery-index-terrible-games-about-terrible-rea). Backers will end up getting 2 versions of the Inverse World add-on that Jonathon was supposed to write, one created by Jacob Randolph and one by Jonathan that won’t use any Inverse World IP but will contain the ideas he was planning for the book.
Now that the summary is out of the way, let me give my opinions: I can totally understand Jacob’s worries about this. RPG.net just had a 500+ post thread attacking Monte Cook and Numenera over a single monster entry that they felt was supposedly sexist. That thread was eventually closed after it became so heated that 10 people got infractions and many others got warnings. Now a new thread spawned with 365 posts discussing the proper way to attack games and creators for insufficient political correctness in a game. Given that, and the the topics that the Misery Index covers, I can see full well why there would be a concern.
However, I believe in freedom of speech, not a fictional freedom from ever being offended. I say good for Jonathan in not backing down or out of a project just because someone may not like it. Reading over the 8 settings in the Misery Index, I think they sound very cool and original. Sure, they are only for adults, but that’s fine, so is a lot of entertainment. Maybe they’ll offend some people… those people should simply find another game to play. Gamers and game creators (and anyone else) should not cower and genuflect to the Political Correctness Police IMO. People should play games they enjoy and not play those they don’t enjoy, it’s that simple. I hope the chilling effect of such public shaming matches on some forums doesn’t spread or deter creators from making the games they want to make.