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Vavra: "There is no propaganda" in Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Warhorse co-founder says controversy over historical RPG would be "laughable if it wasn't serious"

Even after the launch of his studio's debut title, Dan Vavra remains on the defensive following criticisms over the lack of diversty in Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

The historical RPG set in 15th Century Bohemia has been criticised for the lack of people of colour and the minimal role women play in the story, but developer Warhose has always maintained this is in the interest of historical accuracy.

Speaking at Reboot Develop today, co-founder and creative director Vavra disputed the notion that the game might be vehicle for his own political views. The developer has been associated with the GamerGate movement, often described as a hate group, and has been known to oppose 'social justice warriors' and feminists via social media.

"I wrote ten per cent of the game," he clarified. "Six other people wrote it with me. There's an anarchist sitting with me in the office, there are liberal guys sitting with me in the office. So it has no propaganda because there are more people with the opposite political views to what I have in the same office. We didn't kill each other, we're able to cooperate so it's ridiculous.

"They wrote the game, like 90 per cent of it - yeah, I wrote the heart of the main story, but 90 per cent of the actual writing is done by someone else. So even if I wanted, it would be quite tough to force all those people to do something against their will. It doesn't work like that. We have an open, flat-like structure to company so anybody can tell me to fuck off, basically."

In a talk that discussed the history of Kingdom Come: Deliverance and explained the many delays to the game's release, Vavra touched on the controversy and suggested the media's handling of it was very one-sided.

"It all started without anyone asking us for an opinion," he said. "All of a sudden there were articles on the internet, nobody asked us about what they were writing - which is not very good journalism, I would say. Most of the articles were written in a way that was like 'it didn't happen, but it could happen'.

"There was an article in a mainstream magazine saying there was a Silk Road going from Olomouc, a Moravian city, to Prague. I hope that everyone who attended elementary school knows that the Silk Road ran from China to Turkey. There are maps on Google that show exactly where it went but we are bad, because we are lying because Silk Roads went to Prague. Which is an absolutely ridiculous statement."

He also claimed that some journalists quoted historians that do not exist, adding that he did not quote his own historians as he didn't want to get them embroiled in the argument.

"There's this 70-year-old guy, the biggest authority on the period we have, and I don't want to attach him to me when I'm attacked," he said. "I don't want anyone calling him names and discrediting his work just because he's on my side, because I'm toxic. That's why I didn't [fight back] with announcements from historians because I didn't want to take them into the shitstorm with us.

"But I double checked, and most of the stuff [the media said] was ridiculous. It was laughable if it wasn't serious. It's easily disproved if anybody would like to have the discussion, but nobody wanted it."

Vavra even suggests judgements were passed on him based on his YouTube history and social media tweets he liked in addition than what he has actually posted.

"They even went to Twitter and looked at things I liked," he said. "It's not what you say, but even stuff you like. So I liked something by Eric Trump, it was non-political stuff but I liked something and Trump is a terrible person so I am a terrible person as well. It was absolutely ridiculous."

It's worth noting that the media has previously reported on attitudes he has expressed via Twitter, including comparing Apple boss Tim Cook to ISIS and feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian to book-burning Nazis.

When a member of the audience asked if he believed the controversy could have led to a more reasoable discussion, he said: "I would be always willing to discuss it, if anyone was willing to discuss it [with me]. But never, ever anyone was - except Germany's Gamestar, and that was after the biggest shitstorm happened. Stephen Totilo at Kotaku did an interview with me that was quite okay, not very biased, but those were the only two publications that were willing to have any discussion.

"No one came to us and asked me properly. If anyone would seriously ask 'why did you do this?', I would be perfectly willing to answer, and I believe that my answer would be perfectly satisfying to most people, because there were no conspiracy theories behind it."

Fortunately, the controversy did not impact the performance of the game with Vavra declaring sales were "better than expected". Kingdom Come: Deliverance sold one million copies within the first two weeks and generarted enough money for Warhorse to continue developing both new content and new games.

Vavra was also grateful for the support Kingdom Come fans showed during the initial media backlash.

"Thank god gamers were largely on our side," he said. "Usually when you look at comments sections under those articles... it backfired terribly for those magazines. So thanks to our fans for their support. I was really thinking I was going to quit because I didn't need this in my life."

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