BattleTech is one of the longest-running game franchises: Launched as a board game in 1984, the series has gone through a number of iterations and spinoffs. The newest BattleTech game came out last Tuesday, and since then, it’s been getting mixed reviews on gaming platform Steam. The bad reviews aren’t about the gameplay, however, but the fact that the opening character creator lets you choose from three pronoun options: he, she and they.
The latest iteration of BattleTech is a turn-based strategy video game developed by Harebrained Schemes, a company led by Jordan Weisman and Mitch Gitelman, BattleTech‘s original creators. While professional reviews of the latest game have been generally favorable, calling it “unmissable” and “one of the best releases so far this year.” But user reviews on Valve’s Steam platform are much more mixed.
Most of the negative reviews hinge on one thing: BattleTech‘s character creator includes an option to choose your character’s pronoun. In addition to “he” and “she,” players can choose the gender-neutral option “they.” (Of course, it’s just an option — you can easily choose gendered pronouns if you’re so inclined.)
But as far as gamers on the GamerGate Reddit forum r/KotakuInAction are concerned, that’s enough to sink the game. Similarly, there were many negative reviews on Valve’s gaming store and platform, Steam.
Since the game came out, Valve’s moderation team has removed most of the reviews that only complain about the pronoun issue — most of the negative reviews that appear online now are legitimate, from players who’ve put time in on the game and point out real issues.
Nevertheless, here are a few queerphobic reviews that were screencapped for “posterity”:
Gamers: I support artistic freedom
[Game (Battletech) includes gender neutral pronouns]
— LucyEire (@LucyDEire) April 26, 2018
love 2 have my nooks n' crannies filled by the sjw agenda pic.twitter.com/gl6TW35NXw
— ?hellbird? (@kazooiewastaken) April 26, 2018
It’s worth noting that Steam keeps track of how long you’ve played a game when you review it. That way, a reader can tell if someone’s put the time in to give the game a fair shake, if the game simply wouldn’t install on a player’s machine at all or, in these cases, whether someone simply has an axe to grind about the game.
(Steam also lets you return any game for full price if you’ve owned it for less than two weeks and played it for under two hours. It’s not unheard of for people to purchase a controversial game, leave a bad review, and immediately return it.)
Not every gamer has complained. In fact, this is our favorite Steam review of all time and seems to perfectly sum up the complaints from the GamerGate crowd:
What do you think about BattleTech‘s gender-neutral option? Let us know in the comments!
Featured image of BattleTech concept art courtesy of Harebrained Schemes
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