On the Controversy of Ethnic Representation in Kingdom Come: Deliverance

One of the most controversial issues surrounding KC:D is the absence of people of colour as NPCs and the stances on the issue by the game’s director, Daniel Vávra, whose reputation as blunt-spoken is widely known and reported in connection with the Gamergate controversy. Some find it very difficult to separate the creator from his creation, which is understandable but should not have any bearing on the facts of the matter.

First of all, it should be noted that the game does not take place in the grand capital of Prague, which would obviously have had a higher influx of foreign merchants and travellers, but rather in small countryside towns and most prominently the market town of Rattay, which according to the 2017 census had a population of only 527 people, as per Wikipedia.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance Controversy

Furthermore, the story takes place in 1403, little before the Hussite Wars between Catholics and pre-Protestants, which lasted 15 years. This is a time in history when anyone who was not a Catholic would have been persecuted. As the game shows, even refugees from other towns within Bohemia were viewed suspiciously and treated with contempt.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance Controversy

The flimsy notion that any other ethnic group would not only choose to settle anywhere in a country where they could be persecuted but also live long enough to have progeny is laughable at best. Speculating on what-ifs about the possibility of this or that ethnic group finding themselves in such a country and historical period is not in any way an argument that would substantiate the inclusion of those ethnic groups in the game.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance Controversy

Tokenism never seems to be an issue when it comes to games like Yakuza, which includes only Japanese characters. It is only an issue when it comes to games like KC:D and The Witcher 3, which was also criticised in reviews due to the majority of in-game characters being white, though the expansion Hearts of Stone did include the dark-skinned Ofieri.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance Controversy

This fixation with turning every piece of art or entertainment into a diversity poster is not conducive to good art or entertainment, especially when it’s obviously imposed as a denial and revisionism of historical periods. Warhorse Studios will and should stand their ground and refuse to change their vision of the game, which is backed by years of historical research.

Written by: Richard Costa

Ape meets keyboard. Hack for hire, recovering academic, poor man’s polymath, and RPG enthusiast who started gaming on MSX in the late 80s, then witnessed the glorious 90s on PC. Probably would eat your flesh in a survival situation.


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