A Note About Playing as ‘Asrion’ in Redshirt

It’s been almost a week since Redshirt was released, and I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported the game so far. Thank you so much!

I just wanted to post a quick notice however, as this entry on tumblr was brought to my attention: “Trigger warning for anyone interested in playing the indie game Redshirt”, which relays one woman’s experience of playing as, seemingly, an Asrion character, and therefore receiving repeated unwanted attention from men, despite stating on her profile that her character is interested in only women.

The author writes that she was triggered by the experience of playing, and I am deeply sorry that there was no clearly-stated warning that this would happen when playing as an Asrion.

As the awesome Border House Blog covered Redshirt in their Bunk Bed series last week, this particular dynamic of the game was also touched upon, and I left a comment further expanding upon the way this works in Redshirt. I’ll reiterate that here, too…

The way that Redshirt deals with sexuality is such: while our profiles define how we choose to present ourselves to others, whether or not other characters respect this is up to them. Asrions get the worst of this deal, being the male-wish-fulfillment-sci-fi-trope that they are. As implied by their species description, they are the typical green/blue-skinned ladies of science fiction, perceived to be an empowered, matriarchal society, when actually, they are objectified by everyone else. As such, the game aims towards slightly different dynamics (and therefore, an additional layer of intended social commentary) for when you play as an Asrion.  They will tend to receive unwanted attention from heterosexual male NPCs who are explicitly “bigoted”, and this attention will increase their perceived relationship with that NPC (at least according to that NPC), but also lower their happiness at the same time.

Again, it’s only NPCs with a high ‘bigotry’ attribute who will post unwanted messages to Asrion characters who are not interested in them. Playing as any species other than Asrion will therefore not result in this dynamic. Furthermore, it is possible to avoid this dynamic altogether by turning the ‘bigotry’ slider all the way down to zero when you create a game, so that there are no ‘bigoted’ NPCs aboard the station.

Again, I’m really, genuinely sorry to Elle, and anyone else who has been triggered by the existence of this particular dynamic, and I will definitely take steps towards ensuring this doesn’t happen again. I will add appropriate labels to the character creation screens in a future update, to indicate that this is what happens when playing as an Asrion (and as a result of the bigotry slider.) I’ll also see if a ‘block’ feature may be possible.

In the meanwhile, if you could share this post with anyone else to whom it would be of interest, that would be appreciated.

Once again, I’m really sorry.