John Gibson, the president of Tripwire Interactive, is under fire for a tweet regarding the recently-passed, controversial Texas Senate Bill 8. Tripwire Interactive, which is the publisher of games such as Chivalry II, Maneater, and Killing Floor, has not yet commented on Gibson’s tweet.
Texas Senate Bill 8 (also known as SB 8) became law on September 1, 2021. The law makes it illegal for a physician in Texas to perform an abortion after the first six weeks of pregnancy, or once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. The law also gives Texas citizens a right to sue abortion providers or any other person who assists in breaking the law, and they can be awarded up to $10,000 should the person they sue be found to have violated this act. SB 8 does not allow for citizens to sue those seeking abortions, but it has been criticized for restricting abortion rights that were previously found to be protected. Although many expect that SB 8 will be challenged as unconstitutional, the Supreme Court recently denied a motion by the Center for Reproductive Rights to block the act from coming into law – though the Court did allow for SB 8 to be challenged in Texas or lower courts. The incredibly controversial discussion has now entered the gaming sphere.
According to Kotaku, Tripwire Interactive President John Gibson tweeted in support of the Supreme Court’s decision to allow SB 8 to become law. Though he noted that he is usually not political, Gibson said that, given the vocal opposition from his peers in the gaming industry, he felt it necessary to “go on the record as a pro-life game developer.”
The response to his tweet has been, predictably, quite polarizing. Many players expressed disgust and said that they would be uninstalling games from the publisher. Shipwright Studios, who had been co-developers of many of Tripwire games including Maneater and Chivalry II announced that it would be canceling its existing contracts with Tripwire as a result of Gibson’s tweets. Tripwire itself has not made any comment about Gibson’s tweet.
While the sentiment of uninstalling or refusing to play Tripwire games because of Gibson’s statement is circulating, many have pointed out that Tripwire is both a developer and publisher. Although Tripwire was involved in the development of games like Maneater, it was only the publisher of games like Chivalry II. It remains to be seen whether those developers will elect to take similar action as Shipwright. It is also unclear whether SB 8 will stand to legal challenges in the future. For now, however, John Gibson’s stance is an industry controversy.