When Game Science released its 13-minute trailer for Black Myth: Wukong — a new video game based on the story of the Monkey King — the indie gaming studio was universally praised as China’s best chance of producing its first domestic AAA gaming title.
But now some netizens are calling for a boycott of the game, as online comments from CEO and founder Feng Ji, as well as older recruiting materials, have surfaced.
In response to the viral attention the trailer received, Feng posted on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo that he initially only wanted to recruit a few more employees, but instead “was licked so much [he] could no longer get an erection.”
In another post, Feng mentioned that he’s watched the trailer until he’s “gotten wet” and that he “feels pressure on his crotch now.” The response to his post was mixed — the top comment derides people for being upset by Feng’s language “shadow boxers,” while another commenter notes that in their “five years as a gamer [they] never encountered a creator as suffocating as Feng.”
An old Game Science recruitment poster has drawn new scrutiny
In the wake of Feng’s comments, the company’s early recruiting posters are also being scrutinized. Netizens pointed to graphics of a naked man holding a can of RedBull in place of his penis, or a naked person with a mouse and wires covering their crotch, as evidence that sexualization is alarmingly ingrained in Game Science’s working culture. With phrases joking about employees hooking up as a “bonus for the company,” critics saw the materials as particularly off-putting to female jobseekers.
“As a male gamer who has been a genuine Steam player for many years, I want to say that for a company whose top leader is full of such foul language, I can’t begin to imagine its corporate culture,” reads one comment on a Game Science post.
The Many Faces of the Monkey King: How the Legend of Sun Wukong Lives on in Popular Culture
The controversy has also stirred debate about the gaming industry’s complex relationship with female gamers, especially considering China’s gaming market is nearly half female. Meanwhile, some netizens are now calling for a boycott of the new game and the company as a result of the controversy.
The discussion about the creators of Black Myth: Wukong is indicative of the deep gender, sexual, and cultural divides that still exist in an industry with an increasingly balanced consumption demographic.
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