Online role-playing game RuneScape has pushed ahead with an in-game LGBT Pride event, despite a strong backlash from players.
PinkNews reported earlier this week that Cambridge-based games developer Jagex had been at the receiving end of a tidal wave of homophobic abuse, after announcing a special in-game event on its retro fantasy title, Old School RuneScape, to celebrate LGBT Pride month.
Players had reacted with fury over the announcement of the event, with hundreds attending in-game ‘riots’ to protest the update and repeatedly posting anti-gay slogans.
Meanwhile, thousands of players flooded the game’s Reddit and forums to attack the plans, accusing gay developers of “shoving your opinions down my throat”.
Despite the push-back, the company went ahead and launched the special update today.
PinkNews sent our fearless reporter into the game to investigate.
After hastily finishing the tutorial, we encountered a drab-looking leprechaun, Gilbert.
Gilbert asked us to find six different rainbows scattered across the game world, each representing a different part of the Pride flag
There was walking to far-flung places
A LOT of walking
…and much like with some real-life Prides, we hit a stumbling block when we couldn’t afford an entry fee
But after flogging our sword to get past the gate, we found the last rainbow
Gilbert rewarded us with a rainbow scarf, and gave a nice subtle speech about equality
Tragically, our fearless reporter was later murdered by a goblin. (Hate crime is not suspected.)
The event does not explicitly mention LGBT people, though its meaning is clear.
RuneScape has featured a number of other events in recent years dedicated to important themes – including mental health, animal protection, and preventing online abuse – with little issue.
In a response to the tidal wave of abuse, Jagex said: “Pride is about bringing communities together and celebrating love and understanding: sentiment that’s close to RuneScape’s heart.
“There’s no political statement here. Our only aim is to acknowledge and honour an event that promotes empathy, acceptance and love.”
The game studio added: “We are disappointed to see some hateful and abusive comments targeting individual members of staff and players from a small sub-section of the community.
“We stand side by side with those targeted, in support of them, and in support of this cause. There is absolutely no place for hateful behaviour in our community and we will not tolerate abuse or harassment.
“Pride 2017 is something we wholeheartedly agree with and are proud to support.
“We know the community stand with us in support of the cause. If you want to show your support, all you have to do is take part in the event!”
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