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KO_OP and Goodbye Volcano High have been fighting alt right harassment since 2020

When KO_OP, the development collective behind GNOG, showed off their next game Goodbye Volcano High during a 2020 Sony digital showcase, they got a lot of attention, but not all of it was positive. The game prominently features a nonbinary protagonist and its story leans heavily into LGBTQ+ themes and stories, which has drawn the ire of alt-right people on the internet, primarily on 4Chan.

There have been many conversation threads dedicated to Goodbye Volcano High and KO_OP on the conservative forum site, which eventually led to some who frequent these conversations to create their own rival version of the game. Developed by anonymous 4Chan users under the name Cavemanon. Snoot Game is a parodic version of Goodbye Volcano High that used modified and repurposed art assets from KO_OP’s game to create an alt-right “fan” game that is extremely anti-queer and delights in other alt-right memes and talking points. It released well before the original game, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has not gone gold yet.

“This game was developed as a critique of Goodbye Volcano High’s characters,” according to a statement at the bottom of Snoot Game’s website. In the 4Chan version, the genderqueer protagonist is depicted as being confused about their identity and later detransitioning with the help of the player. There is also a playable ending where the teenage dinosaur characters commit a school shooting, which is based on a 4Chan meme about the original game’s title.

KO_OP told Kotaku that they have been receiving harassment since the game was revealed in 2020, and have since had to make their community Discord server private and accessible only via invite and an application questionnaire. In July, they informed their community that this was to limit “Discord raids,” from bad faith actors trying to infiltrate the community. Because of the similarity in appearance between the characters of these two games, it has also become more difficult for fans and the developers to distinguish which fan work is about Goodbye Volcano High and which is about Snoot Game.

“When Goodbye Volcano High was announced,” the studio told Kotaku, “it reached a lot of people, many of whom decided to create their own fan works in response to it. Some of these creative responses were made to mock and attack us and our work. As a result, the team at KO_OP experienced a significant amount of direct transphobic and homophobic harassment that persists to this day.”

“We are not interested in attacking fan work,” KO_OP also said. “However, we want to make it clear that those works and the subsequent response to them has taken a toll on the individual people—many of whom are queer and trans—who are working hard on Goodbye Volcano High.”

Goodbye Volcano High is supposed to release sometime in 2022, but no set release date or window beyond that has been revealed.

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