Controversial game designer Phil Eklund has claimed that future games from the Sierra Madre games label will continue to feature his essays and footnotes despite the public backlash that started last week.
Original Phil Eklund Essays Were To Be Removed
Last week's backlash was sparked after Eklund made some anti-lockdown comments on his Twitter, prompting some users to call him out for some of the content in the essays and footnotes found in some of his games. Publisher Ion Game Design originally responded by claiming they would be pulling essays from future games, before updating their response to modify the language used.
Since then, we've heard from Phil Eklund that future games under the Sierra Madre label will continue to feature the same essays that they always have done.
"In accordance with my contract with Ion Games, the content of the games with the Sierra Madre Games label that are published by Ion Game Design are my own artistic and intellectual property. Ion Game Design has veto power, but the CEO has agreed that this will be limited on the basis of economy, factual truth, or logical/consistency lapses. Thus the Sierra Madre Games line will continue as before with rules, footnotes, and essays, as they have over the last 40 years."
The essays in question have been accused of everything from climate-change denial, to promoting the benefits of colonialism. One such example is this essay features in American Megafauna which talks about how little impact man has on nature compared to nature itself.
The Response Hasn't Been 100% Clear
While the response from Ion Game Design to the original situation surrounding Phil Eklund hasn't been the clearest, they seem pretty firm that they will retain the right to refuse to publish any games if they can't agree over the contents of the rulebooks. When we contacted Ion CEO Besime Uyanik she was also apologetic for the previously published essays.
"Ion Game Design has the right to say no to publishing the coming games if [an] agreement is not reached about the content in the game.[...] Again, I want to say I am sorry for the past games. We were wrong to include some of the footnotes and essays without giving a voice to alternative viewpoints."
As of right now, it's not 100% clear if this situation has been fully resolved. Ion seems determined to, at the very least, allow opposing viewpoints to stand against Eklund's essays in the future. If the two parties cannot agree then this issue may rear its ugly head once more.
We have approached Ion Game Design for clarification on their exact stance towards essays in future games not bearing the Sierra Madre games name, but after several days they have failed to reply to our request for clarification.