- Apr 16, 2015
Ecumene Aztec is slated for a 2025 release and had a relatively low key reveal recently, with a good old fashioned trailer on the internet rather than a showcase or at Summer Game Fest. It looked intriguing, but since then everything has unraveled quickly.
The premise of the game is (perhaps what should ‘was’ - more on that later) relatively simple. Taking obvious inspiration from Ghost of Tsushima, you play as an Aztec warrior who protects his land from the invading Spanish conquistadors. The early gameplay footage looked a little janky, owing to the fact this is a small team working on its first game that won’t be ready for at least two years, but there was promise. It was Ghost of Tsushima with an Aztec skin, but then many called Tsushima just Assassin’s Creed with a samurai skin when it was revealed, and this was a fresh perspective.
While there were potential pitfalls with being so heavily influenced for a first game, and the attempts to look and feel like a triple-A game without the budget, it was intriguing. Unfortunately, it piqued the interest of the wrong people. Though history is rarely black and white, in the battle of ‘the people who live in a place’ and ‘the people who invade it for adventure and riches’, there’s a fairly clean ‘good guy’ and ‘bad guy’. Some, however, don’t see it that way.
As reported by The Verge, shortly after the trailer went live a site appeared under publisher Giantscraft’s name. This site is not affiliated with the publisher themselves, so presumably was set up in the wake of the trailer as some form of revenge. On the site, there is a quote from famous conquistador Hernán Cortés, an emblem of the Cross of Burgundy, and various Spanish imperialist memes. The Cross is used in the modern day by far-right South American groups.
The negative reaction from the loudest, most toxic parts of the internet did not stop there. In the wake of the trailer, Giantscraft has announced it will be changing the game to allow you to play either as the Aztec warrior repelling the violent white invaders, or as the violent white invaders themselves. This change was accompanied by a PR statement to The Verge:
“It was not planned. However we saw that about 40 percent of [the] audience says that [they] would like to have [the] choice to join [the] conquistadors, so we might actually try to give this possibility. The game is not political in anyway[sic] and never will be, it is history FICTION.”