If you didn't know I am the creator of the game WITCH, where members of the Fated can sell their souls to a demon for power. To describe different Fates (classes, types of witch/warlock) in our game we use names like Lich, Yokai, Druid, etc. Through the creation in the game and during our Kickstarter, I received messages from people who were offended by the names in my game - namely the use of the word Pagan.
These were messages from people who identified with following a Pagan religion etc. When I heard this feedback, I understood where they were coming from and I realized why they would find the use of the word Pagan offensive - no body wants to be connected to people who sell their soul.
I like to think of myself as a generally nice person. I care about how people feel and it makes me feel bad if someone is hurt through my actions. This, of course, is tempered with the fact that I know if you work in any industry you need to have thick skin. You will always offend someone with your work.
So, this feedback I was getting made me do a lot of self reflection. How would I feel if someone used a title I identified with, in there game as synonymous with selling your soul. What if the Fate's name was woman or mixed-race-person? How would I feel then? Would I be offended?
After much self reflection - I always came back to the same answer - no, I would not be offended. This is for two reasons, (in short) the first is the fact that in my game the Fated are the heroes of the story, the ones who triumph. The Fate names are not meant in a derogatory way, in fact it is quite the opposite. The second reason is that in our game we make a huge distinction between the Fated and the real world people their titles may be connected with - this is a source of drama in the game.
However, I also came to the conclusion that how I feel and what I see as offensive simply is not the entire breadth of human emotion. I am happy it is not (and am slightly terrified to think of a world where it would be). While I am not offended by many things, it doesn't make anyone else's experiences of a lesser value.
So, I was stuck with an issue. How do I marry keeping to what I believe is the creative vision my game, with the realization that I may be wrong? Should I really 'cave' and change a part of my game that I personally enjoy and what is going to happen the next time people don't like something else in my game?
Then I realized I was being stupid. I have gotten plenty of feedback from people about things they didn't like in WITCH. None of it has stuck with me, there have been things I have changed, but these were all thoughtless, easy things.With all the feedback I have received, most of what I can remember now is how thankful I am that people took the time to discuss things with me.
The only piece of feedback that has stuck with me for so long was this one, and that is how I know now it is important. And how I know that is it the right thing for me and for my game to change two names I have been using.
Therefore, I will be changing two Fate names in my book - the Pagan and the Bokor.
The Pagan are now officially the Heks
The Bokor are now offficially the Sósyé
Speak to you soon!