Following considerable backlash, developer Wales Interactive and PlayStation have pulled the reveal trailer of Gamer Girl, which was revealed yesterday for PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. And not long after its reveal, it was swallowed up in controversy. Despite being a smaller release from a smaller developer, Gamer Girl was quickly trending on Twitter as the Internet slammed and criticized the FMV game.
For those that don't know: Gamer Girl is a FMV, choice-based adventure game where you play as a moderator for an "up and coming" female streamer who is under threat from an anonymous predator who hides in the stream's chat.
"Adopt the role of moderator for up and coming streamer ‘Abicake99’, who’s back online after the mysterious disappearance of her friend Becky," reads an official pitch of the game. "Featuring multi-branched narrative and real-time chat simulation, your role as moderator is to control the stream, level up mod powers, guide Abi’s choices and uncover the threat she faces by an anonymous predator who hides in the stream’s chat.
As you would expect, while some were allured by the game's unconventional premise, others were quick to point out its issues, including the fact that it's essentially selling trauma.
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. https://t.co/Xhlm5CR30q— 🏳️🌈 melody: raising $ for Trevor Project 🏳️🌈 (@whatmelodywrote) July 17, 2020
if u defend gamer girl u are probably not a women who experiences unwarranted sexual and non sexual harrasment. this game isn’t “bringing awareness” it’s a gross cash grab.— camila (@notwholesumbby) July 17, 2020
'the threat she faces by an anonymous predator who hides in her chat'
Yes, so basically every girl streamers worst nightmare given life in the form of a video game. pic.twitter.com/xfGHZjusrG— djarii (@djarii) July 17, 2020
gamer girl trailer feels like a black mirror episode pic.twitter.com/YY2MYZ005i— O⅂ꓤ∀ꟽ (@unclemarlo69) July 17, 2020
i don't _really_ want to seriously comment on the gamer girl thing b/c I know everyone else already is but:
the classic problem with 'empathy games' is that it always ends up being "this game is interesting to nonmarginalized ppl and traumatizing to marginalized ppl"— Aura🔥 (@MOOMANiBE) July 17, 2020
At the moment of publishing, the game is scheduled to release worldwide this September, but now that the trailer is being pulled from YouTube, it wouldn't be very surprising to hear word of a cancellation in the next few days. For now though, Wales Interactive's latest statement is as follows:
"Gamer Girl is about the impact user comments and actions have on a streamer’s mental health and wellbeing. The reason why FMV Future created the game was to raise the issue of the toxic environment which can often appear online behind the anonymity of a username. Gamer Girl was co-written by Alexandra Burton, the lead actress who improvised the entire script. The research into the streaming content of Gamer Girl took 4 years and the dev team at FMV Future interviewed dozens of female streamers most of whom have experienced abuse of various kinds online — some have even shared their experiences during interviews within the game. Players start the game as one of Abi’s friends whom she trusts, and it is their job to make the channel a success but also to guide the stream to keep Abi in a positive frame of mind. Online abuse is real and is still happening every day — Gamer Girl seeks to raise awareness of this issue."
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.