Quick catch up if you’ve missed it: a recent piece of Deus Ex Mankind Divided concept art uses the phrase ‘Aug Lives Matter’, obviously referencing the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. And understandably that’s upset people.
Let’s just skip right past the ‘all lives’ argument, because not ‘all’ lives face discrimination and threats based on appearance. That’s the point of the statement. So, obviously, people have some quite strong opinions of a game co-opting such a sensitive phrase.
Deus Ex has already used things like ‘Mechanical Apartheid’ to help colour its portrayal of a normal/augmented split in humanity. That alone raised a few eyebrows, but less of a fuss due its more historical context. This involves something that is an issue now.
The conflict’s spilled out onto Twitter where Andre Vu, Deus Ex Mankind Divided’s global executive brand director and Manveer Heir, Mass Effect: Andromeda gameplay designer, have discussed the situation at length:
@GeneralVu The fact that you went forward with posting the image & not realizing the optics/meaning of that image to people is incompetent
— Manveer Heir (@manveerheir) August 3, 2016
This is being discussed live right now on Episode 27 of Final Encounter Cast at Twitch.tv.