Art Sqool and Lovely Weather We’re Having developer Julian Glander has requested that Valve remove his games from the Steam storefront, accusing them of choosing “not to address the Black Lives Matter movement,” ignoring the many public steps the company has taken to support black creators.
On June 11th, Glander sent a request to Valve requesting that his two games, Art Sqool and Lovely Weather We’re Having be pulled from the Steam platform, taking issue with how Steam allegedly failed “to make even a broad and generic statement about racial justice” and declaring that “it’s clearer than ever that the owners of this platform feel beholden to a base of angry white male gamers.”
In the attached image Glander wrote, “Over the past few weeks, Steam and Valve have chosen not to address the Black Lives Matter movement, failing to make even a broad and generic statement about racial justice. It’s clearer than ever that the owners of this platform feel beholden to a base of angry white male gamers.”
“This makes me especially sad because I feel that some of these people are the people most need to hear the message of Black Lives Matter. Obviously as a company you guys can do whatever you want but I find having my games associated with the Steam platform to be embarrassing and a little nauseating,” he continued.
He then concluded writing, “Please retire both of my games (ART SQOOL and Lovely Weather We’re Having) from your store ASAP. #blacklivesmatter.”
tonight i pulled all my games from @steam and i don’t see myself publishing with them ever again. i urge other indie devs to join me pic.twitter.com/JrtmdiGOdQ
— Julian Glander (@glanderco) June 12, 2020
Despite grandstanding the removal of his games, Glander’s two titles received poor to mixed reception from Steam Users.
Art Sqool, an art school simulator meant to question if a video game can “make you more creative” or “a better artist,” held a lukewarm 67% positive score on Steam prior to its removal.
Lovely Weather We’re Having , described as a “goal-free explorer game” in which players simply explore the landscape and watch the weather change, received an even lower score, holding only a 62% positive score before its delisting.
Contradictory to Glander’s assertions, Valve has in fact taken steps to support Black developers following the recent protests surrounding the death of George Floyd.
On June 7th, the company promoted Guerilla Collectives “Black Voices in Gaming” stream, which featured round table discussions with black game developers, linking to it from their official Twitter account and advertised a special sale in support of the event on the Steam store’s front page.
Thanks to @Steam for setting up a special event page to help support developers in today’s Black Voices in Gaming stream. Stream starts in 5 minutes pic.twitter.com/tdZhME6Vcu
— Guerrilla Collective (@GuerrillaCollec) June 7, 2020
Furthermore, Valve is also a sponsor of the upcoming Game Devs of Color Expo, “a games conference focused on putting game creators of color at the forefront.”
When confronted with Valve’s charitable actions, Glander argued that the company needed “to do more,” calling for them “to answer for themselves on why they’ve let white supremacy fester in their community.”
I’m open to having a real convo on this – I think supporting the sale was a good move but they need to do more. I also dk if it’s fair to put guerilla collective in this position. steam has to answer for themselves on why theyve let white supremacy fester in their community
— Julian Glander (@glanderco) June 16, 2020
Glander’s call to arms was met with widespread criticism, with many finding his performative declaration itself to be a shameless attempt to market his own products on the back of the same issues he claimed to champion:
Requiring commercial entities to support your personal beliefs publicly so they have the honor of allowing you to use their platform to make money for yourself will not end the way your favorite cartoon show told you it would. https://t.co/tYGbBxqns4
— PixelMetal (@PixelMetal) June 16, 2020
I’m surprised a person of such a high moral standard didn’t do this after Valve continued their business in China while the stories of concentration camps, organ harvesting and HK protests played all over the news. Hm… Good luck with new endeavour.
— El Az (@Rosenkrantz_ID) June 13, 2020
“Hey guys, I pulled my poorly received indie games from the Steam platform. To drive in how much this cause means to me, I’m going to make sure you see the name of my games, wink wink, so just remember that in the future when I relist them. 🙏😊”
— Tyler (@ughidontknowman) June 16, 2020
Staff, even higher ups, have spoken in support of it. Any support a company can provide is meaningless marketing. A company can’t ever truly support anything or anyone, it’s ungenuine.
Treating a company or community like an individual that can support something is schizophrenic
— Nethira (@Nethira1) June 16, 2020
I always find it funny, that white people are trying so hard to fight for black lives matter, when it literally doesn’t affect them at all.
This white savior complex, really does nothing for the black community. He just made a shitty game & is mad nobody’s playing it.
— BlackSageD #ExclusivesMatter (@BlackDGamer1) June 16, 2020
What do you make of Glander’s comments?