Purple Sloth Studio is an Indie Game Studio, formed in Berlin in early 2018, with the expressed purpose of creating video games (and related media) with a political subtext in a safe and supportive environment. We aim to bring people together in the development process and form a structure that is able to release games commercially as well as non-commercially. This mission statement is a living document. It will likely change over time to reflect changes in our perspectives and the studios format and to incorporate criticism.
Values & Aim
Purple Sloth Studio is an explicitly political Studio that understands itself as queer feminist and emancipatory. A full list of positions we hold cannot be generated, but we generally oppose systems of oppression and try to empower those subjected to said systems. Based on this understanding, we aim to reflect on our positions and privileges, and try to appreciate how they influence our perspectives, and thus the ones we reproduce in our games.
While we love to play video games we are deeply critical of some of the social dynamics they often display and reproduce and the way they choose to approach certain topics (e.g. using a fetishized display of violence, usually to feed into the player’s power fantasy, rather than discussing violence and it’s legitimacy as a complex topic). We realize that condensing impactful topics into a game that is simultaneously fun or enjoyable and meaningful is an immense challenge. Nevertheless we see a large potential in video games to achieve exactly this and want to give our best to realize this potential.
Reducing characters and their behavior to simple motivations or patterns is an often unavoidable part of storytelling. When these patterns become stereotypical though, they reinforce a simplistic view of the world. In particular if we cannot portray a larger variety of people belonging to any one group in the same game, we try to break the prevalent stereotypes for this group with the respective character. At the same time, we strive to have a diverse cast of characters, without succumbing to tokenism. Combining these two aspirations heavily influences our writing process.
Just like everyone else we have internalized a lot of stereotypes and are probably not aware of many of them. It is part of our goal to recognize these internalizations and ideally to help others see them as well, when confronted in our games.
As content creators, we recognize our responsibility to give content warnings, where appropriate, to enable everyone to make an informed decision on whether they want to experience a piece of media or not.
Wherever possible, we aim to maximize the accessibility of our games, in order to give as many interested parties as possible the opportunity to experience them. We recognize that this is not always possible, but we try to make an informed decision by seeking to understand, which elements of a game can limit accessibility.
It is our expressed goal to enable people to partake in the development of video games, including those that haven’t had much opportunity or exposure to the medium or it’s creation process, e.g. due to social dynamics such as gatekeeping, stereotyping, etc.
We consider the open source community as an incredible source of knowledge, solutions, tools and sometimes even assets. Therefore it is our intent to give back to this pool by proving open source solutions and products wherever plausible.
We aim to create a structure that allows people to contribute to projects in different forms, frequency, etc. according to their desires, resources and abilities. For potential commercial titles, we try to find structures that allow us to distribute revenue in the interest of the group as well as the contributing individuals.
We aim to foster an atmosphere that allows everyone to get a lot of enjoyment out of the group by creating a safe and supportive environment. In order to achieve this, there is a certain conduct we expect from ourselves and others working with us.
We expect all people who consider themselves part of purplesloth, or partake in projects/activities hosted by purplesloth, to treat all other people within the group with respect. People who act grossly discriminatory, don’t recognize problematic behavior on their part, when pointed out, or who willfully disregard the needs of others will be excluded.
If confronted with criticism from marginalized groups, we expect us, as a group, and the individuals within it, to listen, take it seriously and draw appropriate consequences where necessary.
Written December 2018.