On July 16, ‘Gamer Girl’ was announced for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. The thriller game aims to simulate the life of a female streamer who is faced with constant harassment from internet trolls.
However, the interactive release was quickly met with backlash, with many disturbed by its subject matter. Responding to the controversy, developer FMV Future claims their project was meant to educate people on the serious issue.
‘Gamer Girl’ sparks backlash
In Gamer Girl, players will take on the role of a moderator for fictional streamer ‘Abicake99’. The interactive game will allow people to make multiple choices, and the story has a multi-branch narrative. A day after it was announced, users took to social media to criticize the release.
Twitter user ‘whatmelodywrote’ explained, “If you support the Gamer Girl game, you are turning a blind eye to actual female streamers experiencing actual harassment from actual people. THIS IS NOT A GAME, THESE ARE OUR LIVES AND REAL EXPERIENCES.”
The user also linked to Twitch streamer ‘Sweet Anita’ who revealed that she’s been to the police to report a stalker that is threatening her in July. Other tweets criticized the developer’s alleged lack of diversity on their team, such as ‘Ani-Mia’ who said, “This is their team photo. Now it makes more sense how this messed up game made it into production.”
Developer FMV Future responded to the backlash, when popular streamer Hannah Rutherford explained why she wouldn’t be playing the game in a tweet on July 16. “Best of luck with it, but as a streamer that was stalked for two years, I won’t be playing. Can’t put myself through that,” she said.
Replying to her tweet, the developer stated, “Sorry to hear that. The reason why we created the game was to raise the issue of the toxic environment which can appear online, and how the support of a moderator can help. It’s real, and it’s still happening every day.”
Twitter user ‘hidanielle’ responded to the team and raised concerns about the player controlling a moderator that saves the streamer. “Creepy obsessive men do not need more reasons and examples of how they can “rescue” women. The mod aspect of the game is one of the most egregious parts,” they said. Former Twitch staff member and streamer ‘ShannonZKiller’ agreed with the tweet.
Twitch’s biggest female streamer Imane ‘Pokimane’ Anys also gave her thoughts on Gamer Girl, and took shots at its trailer. “”Gamer Girl” > pretends to play scuffed mario kart for .2 seconds,” she joked.
While the game has received intense backlash on social media so far, the producer ‘Wales Interactive’ claimed that Gamer Girl is a “empowering story of a female streamer who, with the help of a moderator friend, battles the trolls.”
The studio also stated that the its story was co-written by actress Alexandra Burton who plays the streamer, and that she “improvised the entire script.” Regardless of how the game will be received in the long run, it’s certainly kicked off a debate about the dangers female streamers face in real life.