In 2008, massive video game publisher Electronic Arts released a new survival-horror video game called “Dead Space,” which became an instant hit.
Thanks in no small part to the game’s obvious influences from legendary science fiction horror films, like “Event Horizon” and “Alien,” and the game designers’ choice to refine the gameplay of the wildly popular “Resident Evil” franchise, “Dead Space” became a veritable hit for EA.
Not only did the game spawn a pair of numbered sequels (“Dead Space 2” released in 2011 and “Dead Space 3” released in 2013), but it also helped launch a wave of multimedia projects, like a comic book and animated films.
Poor reception and relatively poor sales for “Dead Space 3” put the entire franchise on hiatus, until EA opted to release a remastered version of the 2008 hit on modern consoles.
The remake for the original “Dead Space” dropped on Jan. 27, and it skyrocketed up charts while garnering rave reviews. In fact, on the ubiquitous PC gaming client Steam, the 2023 iteration of “Dead Space” is actually the top selling game on the whole platform. Technically, “Hogwarts Legacy” is above it on the chart as of this writing, but those are pre-sales as the Harry Potter-inspired game releases in February.
Which is all to say, the 2023 remaster of “Dead Space” was obviously one of the most anticipated games of the year (with some pundits even opining that it may already be their Game of the Year… despite it being only January).
Well, all that good will and excitement seems to have been squandered after eagle-eyed sleuths noticed a slew of subtle changes between the 2008 original and the 2023 remake, which have caused critics to accuse the game of going “woke.”
The first thread that really began gaining traction was a small, but significant change, made to the bathrooms aboard the USG Ishimura (the derelict spaceship on which Dead Space takes place).
My favorite part of Dead Space is the gender neutral bathrooms.
— Sony Prophet 5⃣ (@E3waitfor2020) January 29, 2023
You can see that the bathroom is clearly labeled “All Gender Restroom.” In the original 2008 version, the restrooms were clearly differentiated between a men’s and women’s, with the classic male and female silhouette logos.
The issue of transgender bathroom usage has been a divisive, hot topic — especially as of late.
Whether it’s Harry Potter author JK Rowling’s ongoing clashes with trans activists, or the controversy in Scotland over the insertion of males in female prisons, or the infuriatingly sordid tale of what’s happening in Santee, California, having these very real issues injected into a video game seems misguided at best. Of course, the 2023 “Dead Space” remake has likely been in development for longer than these aforementioned issues have been in headlines, but it’s not like transgender issues haven’t been a major talking point for years now.
If the bathrooms had been the only tweak made to the game, perhaps that would’ve been that and everyone would’ve collectively moved on afterwards.
But as internet sleuths kept digging in, they found more and more changes that critics may describe as “woke.”
While there’s nothing overtly egregious with some of these following changes on their own, collectively, it does feel like the developers of the game largely stuck with typical leftist tropes that pass for “diversity.” Namely, changing a character’s race, gender or sexual orientation:
It’s all very jarring to see in a dump like that, but it’s hard to blame some fans for being upset.
There’s no significant, plot-based reason that the bathrooms have to be gender-neutral, or one of the support characters has to be gender-swapped, or a side character has to talk about her girlfriend.
It’s hard to argue with the critics who are claiming that this is woke propaganda for the sake of woke propaganda.
For now, it appears that “Dead Space” will continue to rack up the sales and accolades (it currently sits at 89/100 on Metacritic), woke changes be darned.
But if “Dead Space 2” ever gets a remake? Rest assured, you can bet eagle-eyed Twitter sleuths will be on the case again.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.