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Tripwire boss voices support for Texas anti-abortion law, partner studio immediately cuts ties

"While your politics are your own, the moment you make them a matter of public discourse you entangle all of those working for and with you."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

September 6, 2021

4 Min Read

Shipwright Studios has cut ties with Killing Floor and Maneater developer Tripwire Interactive after company president John Gibson expressed support for a new Texas anti-abortion law.

Over the weekend, Gibson said he felt it was important to "go on the record as a pro-life game developer" and get behind the controversial new law, which will prohibit abortions in Texas from as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

"Proud of U.S. Supreme Court affirming the Texas law banning abortion for babies with a heartbeat," wrote Gibson on his personal Twitter account. "As an entertainer I don’t get political often. Yet with so many vocal peers on the other side of this issue, I felt it was important to go on the record as a pro-life game developer."

As explained by the Texas Tribune, the law came into effect earlier this month after the U.S. Supreme Court snubbed an emergency appeal tabled by Texas abortion providers.

It will now prevent people from having an abortion from the point a "fetal heartbeat" is detected, although some medical and legal experts have suggested such a term is misleading as embryos wouldn't have a heart during those early developmental stages.

Notably, the law will also empower private citizens to enforce the new restrictions by allowing them to sue abortion providers who allow someone to undertake the procedure.

Following Gibson's tweet, a number of Tripwire's partners have distanced themselves from the studio, with work-for-hire developer Shipwright -- which worked with the company on Maneater and Chivalry II -- choosing to cancel all of its contracts with Tripwire "effective immediately."

"While your politics are your own, the moment you make them a matter of public discourse you entangle all of those working for and with you. We have worked closely alongside the talented and passionate developers at Tripwire and your partners for the last 3+ years," reads a Shipwright statement.

"We know it is difficult for employees to speak up or act out in these scenarios, and they may not feel comfortable to speak their minds. It is regrettable, but we feel it would be doing ourselves, your employees, your partners, and the industry as a whole a disservice to allow this pattern to continue without comment.

"We started Shipwright with the idea that it was finally time to put our money where our mouth is. We cannot in good conscience continue to work with Tripwire under the current leadership structure. We will begin the cancellation of our existing contracts effective immediately."

Chivalry II developer Torn Banner Studios, which partnered with Tripwire to publish the title, also distanced itself from the company, and said it "does not share the opinion" expressed by Gibson. "This perspective is not shared by our team, nor is it reflected in the games we create. The statement stands in opposition to what we believe about women’s rights," commented the studio.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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