Xbox One owners have access to a system they're probably mostly unaware of. It was only really fully brought to my attention today by something that absolutely shouldn't have advertised the system in the first place. In the Xbox store is a section dubbed the “Creators Collection.” This is essentially Microsoft's attempt at a self-publishing platform for indie developers. That's all well and good on paper, but in action, it's clearly not a perfect system. The main reason I can say that with definitiveness is because of one specific title that has gone viral.
That title in particular was created by Felipe Orion and is called Logan Paul in the Suicide Forest. I'll just let that sink in for a minute here. I could hardly believe it myself when I first saw the headline. A game has been not only created, but also published, based on that god awful video Logan Paul made of his visit to the Aokigahara Suicide Forest. That video was a massive mistake to begin with, but here's a video game being created on someone else's failure, stupidity, and inability to be even a decent human being. What in the world does that make the creator of Logan Paul in the Suicide Forest if it's just a recreation of what is already essentially human trash incarnate?
If you dig into the story further, you'll find interview answers from Orion mostly blaming the invisibility of indie game designers. This is not an acceptable excuse for creating something like this game. In Logan Paul in the Suicide Forest, you literally just wander around the Aokigahara Forest in search of a dead body that you then DANCE in front of while your viewer count on a cell phone goes through the roof. The original Logan Paul video was insensitive, but this is quite frankly unbelievable. If you want people to recognize your games as an indie developer, then you do what it takes to get your name out there. “What it takes” absolutely should not be this.
I agree that indie developers are often shouting into the proverbial void when they create games. Unless it somehow manages to go viral or gets recognized by a big name in the industry, your game will often find a small cult following and that will be that. It can be incredibly difficult for indie game devs to get their title noticed by the majority of the video game industry. That does not in anyway mean that you should resort to tactics this low. If you want to get people to recognize your company or your game, then do what it takes in a positive way. Get out to conventions, get on Reddit as often as possible, find other ways to make your game a viral sensation in a positive way. There are so many outlets and options out there.
Especially with systems like the Creators Collection in the Xbox store. Indie developers have lots of different ways they can self-publish in this day and age, which is a huge step up from how it has been. Those opportunities should not be squandered like this. As you can well imagine, Logan Paul in the Suicide Forest has been noticed and removed by Microsoft now. The fact that something like this was published through that system most likely means that some major changes will be incoming. Needless to say better procedures need to be had for what games are given a green light. That of course means that some great games might have troubles now though because of one idiot.
It pains me to know that something like this happened because I'd like to have faith in humanity. I like to believe that most people are good. Sure there's always going to be some bad apples, but I think most everyone can be decent in their own way. When something as mental as Logan Paul's video goes live, I lose some of that faith. Tack on the fact that someone made a video game based on that video and I can't help but feel incredibly disheartened. At the very least these two catastrophes are downplaying the seriousness of suicide. And that is something that I can never forgive.