Firewatch Devs Issue DMCA Against PewDiePie After Latest Incident, Get Their Game Review-Bombed
Campo Santa burned after taking a stance on social issues.
The latest news on Felix Kjellberg, AKA PewDiePie, involves his fans' reactions to the controversy. For those not up to speed, Kjellberg was caught in hot water again when he used a racist term during a livesteam on Twitch.
This caught the ire of Sean Vanaman, co-founder of Campo Santo and developer of Firewatch. He responded to Kjellberg's outburst, stating that "He's worse than a closeted racist: he's a propagator of despicable garbage that does real damage to the culture around this industry." He then announced that Campo Santo would be filing a DMCA takedown of PewDiePie's Firewatch content This move has since gone into effect, and this is where the latest development takes place.
Despite Kjellberg's apology for his use of the word, stating that he owes it to his audience and to himself to do better, his supporters showed their displeasure with the Firewatch developers by review-bombing their steam page.
Firewatch enjoyed an 84 percent positivity score on Steam until recently. It is now sitting at 45 percent, with the majority of the negative reviews in the past 30 days referencing the PewDiePie incident.
Eurogamer handpicked a few comments they'd found, including:
"Game is short, linear, and although can be enjoyable experience, the ending is lacking and unsatisfying, and the developers abuse DMCA laws to penalise let's players they dislike for personal reasons."
"I don't support the abuse of copyright law to censor things."
"butthurt SJW crybaby looking to be offended."
There were even suggestions for Vanaman to kill himself, which seems wholly unrelated to the game itself. While this isn't the first time fans have attacked a game through Steam, it does seem to be the most personal. Football Manager 2017 was review-bombed for not including an official Chinese translation, and GTA 5 received the same treatment when Take-Two removed the modding tool OpenIV. Both incidents at least had to do with decisions that ultimately affected the games the reviews were about.
Despite Kjellberg's apology and Campo Santo exercising their legal rights, fans of PewDiePie decided to take action regardless. In his original tweet regarding the incident, Vanaman explained why he made the decision to file a DMCA takedown: He believes inaction makes them part of the problem. "We're complicit: I'm sure we've made money off of the 5.7M views that video has and that's something for us to think about."
Firewatch is available on Steam, receiving a positive review from GameZone with Mike Splechta writing that the game was delivered "with a fantastically realized environment and some of the most honest and realistic voice-over work I've heard in a game. "