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Subnautica is being review bombed after one of its developers was fired for posting “hateful statements” on Twitter.
Sound designer Simon Chylinski was fired by Subnautica developer Unknown Worlds over comments he had made on Twitter, with him making a series of statements that were branded racist, sexist and transphobic by other users.
Now defenders of Chylinski’s comments have taken to the likes of Steam in order to fill its store page with negative user reviews, in an effort to dissuade others from purchasing the game.
While the game’s user reviews still stand at a ‘Very Positive’ rating as a result of the reviews that were posted prior to this controversy, since Chylinski’s firing the negative reviews have outweighed the positive, leading to its user approval rating dropping from 98% to 92%.
In an effort to prevent review bombing, Steam debuted a new graph system that highlights when a game has received a sudden increase in negative reviews. The graph reveals that February 6th, the day that the news of Chylinski’s firing began to circulate, saw a sharp increase in negative reviews from its users:
The content of the reviews also points to complaints regarding Chylinski’s firing, rather than criticisms of the game itself. One player, who has nearly 40 hours logged into the game, wrote: “Would have put in for a refund if I could. The sound is by far the best part of the game and these clowns capitulate to the butthurt feels brigade and fire one of the sound guys, when most of the people you’re bending over to appease didn’t buy your game anyway.”
Another player, who has over 730 hours logged into the game, wrote: “The director of Unknown Worlds, Charlie Cleveland, has decided to fire the sound engineer due to his conservative political beliefs and outrage from a miniscule [sic] fringe of society over some comments made on social media. Mind you, this comes from a man who went on a rant about gun control after Sandy Hook and went so far as to eliminate offensive weapons in the game.”
Unknown Worlds released a statement following Chylinski’s firing, saying that the sound engineer’s conduct on Twitter had led to them terminating his contract with the company. “Over the weekend we discovered that one of our team members had made many hateful statements online that are against our company values,” Game Director Charlie Cleveland said. “After discussing the matter with him, we decided to stop working with him immediately.”
On Twitter, Chylinski asked his supporters to “plz stop targeting subnautica devs,” adding that the employees at Unknown Worlds “are still my mates.”