Statement by Daniel Vávra and Martin Klíma regarding racism/nazism accusations (Gamestar.de)

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Paul

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Oct 27, 2017
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http://www.gamestar.de/artikel/kingdom-come-deliverance-die-reaktion-auf-die-rassismus-vorwuefe,3324854.html

Read the whole article, google translate is decent enough, although not perfect of course.

Disclaimer: I am czech, and I know that Dan Vávra is not a racist nor nazi with 100% certainty. He is stubborn and an asshole from time to time, that I do not deny.

Vávra's statement:

The complete statement from Daniel Vavra

Right now I should actually sit down to realize together with our international team our dream of a game in which we all work together for years. Unfortunately, in the past few days, a discussion has developed that relates to my person and things that I have said or done. It's run by people I've never met in person or who've never had a chance to catch a glimpse of Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

In the past, I communicated things badly or did not think carefully enough about my comments. Especially in social media like Twitter, something - I've learned that - can be very dangerous. These comments can be taken out of the context and reassembled.

If the discussion were only about me as a private person, I would still find the allegations and the wording vicious, but would refrain from accepting and accepting it. But now we have reached a point where not only alone is I concerned, but more than 150 people who have nothing to do with my mistakes and decisions. People whose hard work and future are endangered. People who have invested hundreds of hours, crunch-time and heart and soul in a vision to create a game whose success is now jeopardized by the exaggerated discussion.

I can not accept that people who place me at the center of any discussion generally lump all the team members here at Warhorse. Or condemn our game based on their assumptions about my person or worldview.

I apologize for my lack of care and thoughtlessness in my personal communication, which has led to misunderstandings in the past. Should I hurt feelings or give the impression of propagating a kind of ideology, I apologize for that. I would also like to take this opportunity to talk about the issues that are currently in dispute.

Ethnic composition of the population of Bohemia in the Middle Ages and Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Probably the most serious allegation of the current debate revolves around the accusation that we would actively deny the presence of people of other skin color or ethnicity in our game and thus promote a racist worldview. That's wrong. I personally do not deny this fact, nor does Kingdom Come: Deliverance limit itself to any ethnic group. In the course of history, based on our knowledge of historical events, there are, besides Czechs, Germans and Jewish residents, the largest grouping in the game, the Kumans (in German also Kipchak) a Turkic tribe from the Eurasian steppe Migration and the displacement by the settlements of Hungary found its way to Bohemia at that time.

The nationality of other characters reflects what we know about Bohemia around 1403. Thanks to intensive research, this knowledge includes entire family trees and property rights. As already mentioned, the plot of Kingdom Come: Deliverance is limited to a limited area of today's Czech Republic (16qkm), an area that lies far inland from the European continent. Based on our sources, the region was mainly populated by people whose regional origin is in present-day Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Belgium (Walloon). In addition, the sources speak of a few people of Italian origin, who worked mainly as stonemasons and architects in the big cities and a Jewish community.

Of course, the situation at the time looked more heterogeneous in some other countries. Countries whose coasts have been heavily traveled, for example, through maritime trade. The people of Bohemia were certainly also aware that there are people of other skin color or descent, not least thanks to the representation of biblical persons or other works of art, however, it is more than doubtful that under their normal living conditions in rural areas, in the KCD is authoritative, ever had direct contact.

We have already dealt extensively with historians and historical sources while preparing for the work on the game. When the first allegations were made, I reiterated and intensified this discourse to make sure that we do not portray history in any altered form.

Most of the available literature is in Czech, but here are some quotes:

German translation in Prague is the second half of the 12th century, but the Privilege notes that they have been in Prague since the time of Vratislaus II Romance settlement (Walloons, possibly Italians).

We know about no settlements of other nations in Prague. Outside of Prague it was individual Germans or Jews settled along the trade routes or small groups of foreigners in monasteries and chapters. (Klápšt ?, 2005: 354; Žemlička, 1997: 211-217).

Overwhelming majority of the male population is biologically rooted in Central Europe for about ten thousand years. It is clear that the difference between the linguistic identity and the biological identity is that it is in the middle of the world. In laymen terms, these people "came from nowhere". (Between life, death and identity: Archaeology and genetics about the origins of Southern Czechs in Netolice, Jaromír Beneš, Emanuel Žárský, History and Present ( Díjiny a sou? Asnost) 7/2011)

Politics and GamersGate

Another point raised by critics of my person is their interpretation of my political world view and behavior in the GamerGate discourse. I see myself as a liberal person, whose highest good is the maximum personal freedom of all people, as long as this freedom does not affect the rights and the integrity of other people.

I grew up in a country dominated by a communist regime after being occupied by the National Socialists. The Nazis killed over 300,000 people alone in the territory of today's Czech Republic. My grandfather was imprisoned in a labor camp from which he luckily escaped. After the war, the Communists confiscated my family's home and business and repressed our freedom for another 40 years. I am not a friend of any kind of totalitarian rule and consider the accusation that I am a Nazi or close to any ideology that even remotely goes in that direction, therefore as absurd, even personally offensive and offensive. Anyone who follows me on social networks will know that I cherish the antifascist movement of our past, and the people who follow me always remember our past or honors for our ancestors who were fighting against this regime , I do this to remember the history of our country and its fight against two unjust regimes so that my fans - especially young people - will not forget them.

My point of view to GamerGate I have stated in various interviews, among others, at Kotaku. In summary, I would like to say that for me at heart it was always about the freedom of speech and the freedom of opinion and thoughts. The freedom for artists to create art, free of political influence. For me personally and I speak only for myself, should the artwork initially always be seen free of political or ideological views, unless the art clearly and aggressively communicates racism or any form of discrediting of minorities. Such messages can, do and will not be good, not only me, but our entire team.

Today I see my comments in a different light and would like to apologize if my points of view in individual discussions should have been better communicated by me. I'm sure I should have used a better word choice or form of communication in some cases. I wanted to contribute with my view to the above-mentioned freedom of speech and my desire to make artists work without being influenced by the opinion of other people. This is my personal opinion.

The T-Shirt

That was stupid. Without ulterior motive or hidden message. I listen to a variety of music styles, but I'm a big heavy metal fan at heart. To underline my passion for this music, I had decided to wear a T-shirt every day at gamescom 2017, which is another less well-known album. One of these shirts was printed with the artwork of the Burzum album Filosofem. This album is still regarded as a milestone in the development of Scandinavian Black Metal and is widely regarded as a classic of this genre. By wearing the said T-shirt I wanted to emphasize nothing more than the artistic meaning of the album.

The album itself is apolitical, largely instrumental and deals with topics such as loneliness, darkness and loss in his texts. It is still available for sale or streamed by all major vendors, and still appears on many lists listing the best black metal albums.

Most important to me personally is that my conscience is pure. I do not support any form of extremism, on the contrary, based on my personal life experience, I strongly oppose it. I have two daughters, to whom I wish nothing but the best for the future and that they can lead their lives in freedom.

In fact, I wrote about ten percent of the quests in the game myself, and the rest was contributed by the seven other designers who, as individuals, may see and judge many things in life differently than I do. We live and work together because we are tolerant, rational people who accept other opinions and communicate in open exchange.

I know that Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a great piece of entertainment for the realization of which is a large international team. I am very grateful to be part of this team.
And co-founder of the studio, Martin Klíma:

The complete statement from Martin Klima

I would like to comment on the recent discussions surrounding the acceptance of a particular world view of my colleague Daniel Vavra and historical aspects of our game Kingdom Come: Deliverance, in which we have been working together for over six years.

I want to start playing. We are accused of malicious intent and under the influence of us - otherwise rejected - ideologies, all non-white people who may have existed in medieval Bohemia, we have removed from our presentation and replaced by blond super-Aryans. Here you have to look at different levels. To make it simple and to say it clearly: that is not true. In the game, there are people of different ethnic backgrounds, so come next to people from today's Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Jewish descent, the Kuman, a nomadic people from the steppes of Asia within the plot.

Now comes the argument of the critics, but what about black people? After more than four years of intensive research, it can be stated that there is no proof that there were no dark-skinned people in Bohemia and vice versa. There are many things that we can not prove, otherwise we would have to assume, for example, that lions would have lived in the forests of Bohemia - after all, the coat of arms of the ruling house is adorned with a lion. Where else could people have had this portrait?

However, in my opinion, that finding misses the core of the allegations. We do not play a game about medieval Europe, but tell a story that is located in a very small part of medieval Europe. Our game does not focus on the "big story", not on wars, kings or popes, but on the story of ordinary people. Our main character is not a Chosen, Dragon's Blood or Savior, at the end of the game he will not become king or ruler. The players are not carried away by world-changing events, they do not even travel Prague or even Rome - the power centers of the time, whose population composition was certainly massively different from that of rural Bohemia. Therefore, the question of the possibility of ethnic minority existence in the game world did not matter to us.

I would also like to comment on the person Daniel Vavra. Since this will be a very personal statement, I think it is appropriate to first say a few words about myself. My father, Jan Klima, spent his childhood in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, together with his parents and his brother Ivan Klima, who later became a well-known author. The rest of her family was killed in the gas chambers. Parts of my family (Viktor and Otto Synek) were executed as resistance fighters, after them today a place in Prague is named. I apologize if I'm boring with this background to my person, but I want to underline how offensive I think it is for me to be accused of having worked and spent the last six years of my life with a man whom you have assumed a closeness to racist or neo-Nazi ideas.

I have known Daniel for many years and do not necessarily agree with all his views. I disagree with his strict liberal view of the world that competition is the motor of society, on the contrary, I believe that society is and ought to be more than just the sum of individuals. And honestly, Heavy Metal does not interest me at all. But strong views on freedom, a passion for outdoor activities, paintball or listening to certain music do not make someone a Nazi.

Daniel is always quick with words, sometimes too fast and I know, sometimes he wishes for himself, he would think more about things before he pronounces them. He never shies away from communicating his views, no matter how unpopular they may be. But these characteristics also make him the important person he is for our project. Someone who does not avoid a confrontation, someone who does not settle for mediocrity or consensus on mediocrity. Daniel is a man who reminds everyone of the vision we work for and motivates people to do their best - that's exactly what you need in the development of such a gigantic project as Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
 
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