This is a major criticism I’ve had of Waypoint’s behavior for a bit here, coming to a head with this piece. For what it’s worth, I agree with the piece, i think this is a gross thing and Devolver’s PR response (and any defense of “see they explained it later outside the text”) is bad, but the scrutiny seen here feels disingenuously two-faced when taken in the context of Waypoint’s recent actions, and utterly weakened by the appeal to spoiler culture.
Adherence to “no spoilers” guts critique regularly, but it’s especially destructive to sociopolitical critique. Even if it’s technically on-point, remaining vague opens a discussive vacuum, as even people who played or saw the spoiler may have overlooked it, and it otherwise leaves everyone else in the dark enough that they have to rely on other sources for what it could possibly be. This muddles discussion as much of it becomes people asking what the context is, and needing to rely on potentially deliberately misleading information or defensively subjective context.
I want to root for Waypoint a whole lot, but their lack of scrutiny of say, Persona’s sexualization of underage characters & demonization of LGBT, BotW’s transphobia or Super Mario Odyssey’s rampant racial othering, contrasted with their sudden scrutiny of this indie title revoking recommendation under a bizarre absolute appeal to not “spoiling” this game they say is ruined by this moment? It’s not a good look.
The most charitable thing i could say about this behaviour is that it’s juvenile, and I’m a person that actually does err on the side of believing those other games are utterly ruined by the presence of those elements, and that their competent execution ultimately culturally normalizes those horrible things, so even their “good elements” are unravelled into something more insidious. Ironically, it’s this outlook that made the publishing of the forced-feminization fanfiction so destructive to WP’s reputation for many marginalized readers, and until they apply the rigorous ideological scrutiny they claim to build their writing on–something many of us have been desperately searching for in games journalism for years–to themselves and accepted institutions within the industry as much as they do the unproven, they’re not going to be doing much to win those people back.
I hope this hasn’t come off as a hit post, I say all this as someone who believes and hopes they can and will do much better.