On Tuesday, someone brought up concerns about one of our speakers, Jeffrey Yohalem, due to his previous involvement as the lead writer for Far Cry 3 and his subsequent defense of the harmful tropes contained within the game as satire.
We hear you.
The content of Far Cry 3 is deeply problematic. It perpetuates the worst tropes of violence, misogyny, and colonialism. Satire is not an excuse when the AAA context is filled with games whose own, unconsidered use of those tropes is equally horrific.
But every article we read reaffirmed that Jeffrey was earnestly trying to do what he could within a hugely flawed and itself problematic system: AAA. Rare is it that we can accomplish our goals as we intend, and for those of us who’ve worked in AAA, it says a lot that he even made a noticeable mark on the otherwise automated machine of game development.
We also spoke to Jeffrey directly, along with a few of the voices who echoed concern about his involvement. In the end, we went to our own QGCon safe space policy:
“We recognize that many people are coming to our conference with different understandings of privilege and social oppression, and mistakes may happen. Because of this, it is paramount that we encourage attendees to speak when they can about something that bothers them, and for those who misstep to be open to correcting their behavior.“
Jeffrey’s talk at QGCon is about how, seeing the reaction to and acknowledging the failings of Far Cry 3, he left to pursue a smaller project within Ubisoft: Child of Light, over which he could have greater control over the content.
The QGCon organizers believe that mistakes were made. People voiced their concerns. And Jeffrey is, with acknowledgment and awareness of those concerns and his part in them, talking about how he changed his approach.
We believe this talk exemplifies the very growth that we hope to see in this conference. Jeffrey is a part of our community, and it did not feel right to silence his voice due to two year old attitudes, especially given how they have changed.
So, we have decided to keep Jeffrey’s scheduled talk within the “Socially Responsible Game Design” panel. However – we are also going to hold a small conversational session during Lunch on Saturday. Jeffrey will speak to the concerns around FC3, provide more information about his background, intentions and contributions, and then he and one of our Keynote Speakers, Naomi Clark, will have a conversation about how things could have gone better.
We hope that some insight into the content of the talk, Jeffrey’s current position, and the inclusion of a conversation around the topics, will help address the valid concerns brought up. We want to thank everyone so much for speaking when they felt uncomfortable, and we apologize for causing that discomfort. For those that continue to feel uncomfortable with this solution, we invite you to email us directly (to support our “No Public Shaming” safe space guideline), and we will continue to work to keep this a safe and welcoming space for all.
Thank you again for everyone’s patience and understanding,
The QGCon Organizers,
Bonnie, Chelsea, Chris, Squinky, Zoya