You can sign up to get a daily email of our articles, see the Mailing List page.
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. See more here.

Thunder Lotus have been doing well with Spiritfarer, with it going on to receiving very warm reviews and it's now available on even more stores for additional choice but it's not without issues.

Spiritfarer is an absolutely gorgeous game, that truly hits the right mark in many ways from how it tells the stories of the dead and how you deal with death to the amazing art and audio. However, Thunder Lotus seemed to completely miss the mark in one of the stories it told. It involves a character with a wheelchair, with the character mentioning how in death they would be "free from my dreaded wheelchair" which it has been said is ableist writing.

Thunder Lotus have now issued a formal apology on Twitter, noting that they will be correcting it and learning from it. Considering the setting and how the game is all about caring for people and being empathetic, to me it doesn't seem like it was intentional ableism. Considering they owned up the issues in such a quick and respectful way, I'm certainly not going to be warning anyone away from it (and neither is the person who initially mentioned the issue). Overall, Spiritfarer is a genuinely incredible experience.

As for the availability of Spiritfarer it can now be found across these stores: Humble Store, GOG, itch.io, Steam and Stadia.

YouTube Thumbnail
YouTube videos require cookies, you must accept their cookies to view. View cookie preferences.
Accept Cookies & Show   Direct Link
Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
16 Likes
About the author -
author picture
I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly and find me on Mastodon.
See more from me
The comments on this article are closed.
13 comments
Page: 1/2»
  Go to:

Nezchan 3 Sep, 2020
Huh. I did notice that bit of dialogue, but thought they did a pretty good job of communicating that it wasn't wheelchairs in general that were bad, but the character's resentment at how they were seen by others due to the device. But then, I'm able-bodied and thus don't have the experience to really comprehend the point of view.

Good on them for taking this as an opportunity to improve their craft rather than get defensive about it. The writing overall is top-notch (and that particular character is among my favourites) even if I did find the ending unsatisfying.
eldaking 3 Sep, 2020
Quoting: GuestMeh, I dont' see the issue frankly. If the char doesn't want to be in the wheel chair, that's the char's choice. it doesn't represent all people in a wheel chair.

Sorry to break it to you, but fictional characters can't make choices on account of not existing. The choice was the author's all along!
Nezchan 3 Sep, 2020
Quoting: GuestMeh, I dont' see the issue frankly. If the char doesn't want to be in the wheel chair, that's the char's choice. it doesn't represent all people in a wheel chair.

I read a few of their replies to folks with similar responses to yours, and a big part of the issue was regret that they (and, presumably, you) didn't actually consult any wheelchair users while writing to see what they thought of it, a failure in due diligence. Something of particular importance in a game all about empathy and understanding others' perspectives. And when called out, they understood that they should have done so and are in the process of working it out.

I can identify with not seeing the issue, I didn't either until it was brought up. But that's exactly the point, isn't it?
Fureloka 3 Sep, 2020
Quoting: Nezchan
Quoting: GuestMeh, I dont' see the issue frankly. If the char doesn't want to be in the wheel chair, that's the char's choice. it doesn't represent all people in a wheel chair.

I read a few of their replies to folks with similar responses to yours, and a big part of the issue was regret that they (and, presumably, you) didn't actually consult any wheelchair users while writing to see what they thought of it, a failure in due diligence. Something of particular importance in a game all about empathy and understanding others' perspectives. And when called out, they understood that they should have done so and are in the process of working it out.

I can identify with not seeing the issue, I didn't either until it was brought up. But that's exactly the point, isn't it?

Usually I don't care to comment, as no matter what one says on the internet in this day and age, someone will get offended.

I have a mother who is bound to a wheelchair, there is nothing more she wishes for than to get rid of it. The authors thoughts reflects hers perfectly, she would have burned the wheelchair if she could. She hates it with a passion, and I'm sure others do too.

I'm sick and tired of people getting offended on the behalf of a group they don't even communicate with or associate with, all to virtue signal to get likes and thumbs ups and what not. Then again, me saying something won't change shit, so I'll show myself out the door.
F.Ultra 4 Sep, 2020
View PC info
  • Supporter
Quoting: Fureloka
Quoting: Nezchan
Quoting: GuestMeh, I dont' see the issue frankly. If the char doesn't want to be in the wheel chair, that's the char's choice. it doesn't represent all people in a wheel chair.

I read a few of their replies to folks with similar responses to yours, and a big part of the issue was regret that they (and, presumably, you) didn't actually consult any wheelchair users while writing to see what they thought of it, a failure in due diligence. Something of particular importance in a game all about empathy and understanding others' perspectives. And when called out, they understood that they should have done so and are in the process of working it out.

I can identify with not seeing the issue, I didn't either until it was brought up. But that's exactly the point, isn't it?

Usually I don't care to comment, as no matter what one says on the internet in this day and age, someone will get offended.

I have a mother who is bound to a wheelchair, there is nothing more she wishes for than to get rid of it. The authors thoughts reflects hers perfectly, she would have burned the wheelchair if she could. She hates it with a passion, and I'm sure others do too.

I'm sick and tired of people getting offended on the behalf of a group they don't even communicate with or associate with, all to virtue signal to get likes and thumbs ups and what not. Then again, me saying something won't change shit, so I'll show myself out the door.

You can point out possible ableism without being offended, actually I don't see any one being offended here at all. Yes people in wheelchairs are not a homogenous group exactly like people without wheelchairs.

This has more to do with not painting disabled people as stereotypes than being offended.
damarrin 4 Sep, 2020
View PC info
  • Supporter Plus
This is a dangerous slope.

What’s the difference between this and telling a male writer he can’t write a female character because he’s not one?
tuubi 4 Sep, 2020
Quoting: damarrinThis is a dangerous slope.

What’s the difference between this and telling a male writer he can’t write a female character because he’s not one?
The obvious difference is that nobody told this dev he can't write a character in a wheelchair. Just that he should be careful not to perpetuate harmful stereotypes. You're allowed to point those out, and it's not the same as censoring them.
tuubi 4 Sep, 2020
Quoting: GuestThis knee jerk outrage over every little thing is just absurd imo.
So is knee-jerk outrage over perceived knee-jerk outrage. Please don't invent drama where there is none.
kneekoo 11 Sep, 2020
The need of some people to have fictional characters reflect real-life people is rather weird. Most art, movies, games, etc are work of fiction and the depth of each work goes way beyond the creator's knowledge of each particular character. It's not the point of most works to replicate some real-life people, situations, etc, but to create something that triggers certain responses in the audience.

The problem is some people seem to be focused on finding thing that trigger them in a negative way, so they can complain. I don't see how a real disabled person wouldn't hate their disability, chair, or whatever else, just like an enabled person would hate their weight, height, mental/social/etc abilities, and so on. Sure, not everyone hates stuff. But then why can't people acknowledge the differences between them, despite their similarities?

The game is about a spirit farer. As far as we know, there are no spirits and there are no people who guide dead people to another place. There's nothing wrong with a fictional character who wants something that a real person doesn't want. It's a story. Stop slamming creators for "isms" over fictional works.

As a real person I can't have all the positive and negative attributes of fictional characters, and it makes no sense for me to object to fiction or to get offended over something like that. How about we focus on the great parts of what people do, and if we think it's so important to point something out, why not do it in such a manner that others don't have to apologize?
tuubi 11 Sep, 2020
Quoting: kneekooIt's not the point of most works to replicate some real-life people, situations, etc, but to create something that triggers certain responses in the audience.
In this case some interactions in the game apparently triggered a negative response in a player with a personal stake, and based on the feedback the developer decided that they wanted to do something about it. I assume this wasn't the kind of response they were looking to elicit in the audience. Of course, they could have responded that the character behaves the way they do because they want them to have a certain flaw or something, but seems like that was not the case. Should we tell the developer that they are not allowed to change their own game?

The people reacting in a negative way to this apology seem to do so out of a misguided principle, and not because this will somehow make the game worse. They don't seem to even care about the details that much. Is it just the macho notion that compromises and apologies are somehow shameful? That they're signs of weakness? As if honestly engaging and compromising with someone is always somehow letting down everyone else.
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on:

Reward Tiers: Patreon. Plain Donations: PayPal.

This ensures all of our main content remains totally free for everyone with no article paywalls. We also don't have tons of adverts, there's also no tracking and we respect your privacy. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!
The comments on this article are closed.