Criticism and insults continued to be leveled at the director of Deadly Premonition 2, as critics remain unsatisfied with the edits made by SWERY in response to previous offense caused by instances of ‘deadnaming’ seen in the original release.
On July 21st, SWERY announced the official release of Deadly Premonition 2’s first patch, which sought to fix graphic issues, gameplay bugs, and the aforementioned deadnaming scenes.
In a post accompanying this announcement, SWERY explained that while the specific scenario involving Lena had “been fixed,” he also had not changed any “important point of the story of this work” and only made changes “where I wanted to make corrections.”
He wrote, “Dev team, Publisher and the sanity check team worked so hard that we were able to release the 1st patch.”
SWERY continued, “The scenario where the problem occurred has been fixed. I didn’t change the important point of the story of this work, and I was able to make changes only where I wanted to make corrections.”
“Therefore, I am confident that fans who were worried that ‘this fix may change the essence of the game’ will be reassured,” he added.
Next, he stated, “Of course we also fixed bugs/glitches that we knew. Regarding frame rate improvement, we plan to gradually improve it.”
SWERY continued, “This patch is only partially fixing of frame rate, but we are preparing the next patch after this, ASAP. Please expect and wait.”
He concluded, “I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has contributed to urgent patching and to the fans who support Deadly Premonition. I love you all!!”
However, SWERY’s corrective efforts were soon met with backlash, as critics took issue with his refusal to conform the entirety of the game’s narrative in adherence with contemporary ways to respect an individual’s identity.
This new wave of dissatisfaction was prompted by Laura Kate Dale, the Kotaku journalist who once accused the Persona 5 theme song of containing a slur against disabled people, herself a trans woman.
Playing through the game post-patch, Dale noted every instance of characters referring to the game’s trans characters in ways she perceived as less-than-respectful in a lengthy Twitter thread while ignoring any context related to the game’s production, setting, or characters.
First she wrote, “Okay, so I can confirm off the bat they have not recast the cis man who plays the trans woman. She’s still played by the same cis male actor.”
Next, she stated, “Melvin still makes his comments about Lena not being a ‘normal woman’, which York calls out and says he’s in the wrong for.”
She added, “Marvin still, as quoted by Patricia, uses the phrase ‘It’s stupid for a man to wanna turn into a woman’. Again, this is painted as wrong.”
She then writes, “Lena continues to, post patch, bring up her deadname frequently, umprompted. This, if anything, feels stranger now, considering she’s no longer doing it in response to York’s Gotcha. She has no idea he knows her deadname.”
“York post patch still in places uses Lena’s deadname and old pronouns, when discussing her in the past tense,” Dale adds.
She then states, “On that same mystery solving board, Lena is still listed by York as being P.J. Clarson’s eldest Son. That’s how York permenantly labels her on the mystery solving board.”
Finally, she concludes, “Yeah, so the game still features examples of Lena being referred to by the wrong gender inconsistently. Sometimes when referencing times we know she was out as trans.”
Dale’s sentiments would soon be echoed by others, including video game journalist Jim Sterling.
One person added, “Having the protagonist, the hero, pull crap like this wholly unexamined in a work, renders it acceptable within the work.”
They added, “I honestly don’t think SWERY is transphobic, but this content is. He swung and missed on this. I get hes got a vision, but this isn’t ok.”
In a series of now deleted tweets, SWERY took to Twitter to defend his artistic choices and explicitly state that he himself did not harbor any transphobic feelings.
First, he wrote, “Does York deadname? No.”
He continued, “He did it in the original script purposefully in order to irritate the person he was speaking to, but I changed that.”
He went on, “Does York use the personal pronoun that the person wants to be referred to as? In most cases.”
Next, he stated, “In what cases does he not do that? When talking about the events of the past.”
He then addressed accusations against himself, “Does SWERY do the same thing? No. Why is there a difference? Because that’s the stance that York has taken.”
Next, he wrote, “York exercises the utmost consideration when referring to Lena, but he doesn’t do that when making third person references to the past.”
He added, “If by your definition that means he isn’t supporting transgender people/issues in the way you speak of, it’s unfortunate, but I have no intention to change that point.”
After expressing his frustration at the fact that he continued to be “attacked” and having a fan explain to him that “once you became “enemy” to some people, there is no way to repent in their eyes.”, a resigned SWERY noted that the ordeal had left him in need of an alcoholic drink.
What do you make of the continued attacks on SWERY and Deadly Premonition 2?