Yes, I know. Trust me, I know…Because it’s been quite a while since we published a new interview (it’s been about a month since we published our interview with Running with Scissors). Well, the long wait is now finally over!
Because just recently, I got a chance to sit down and do an interview with KVLTGAMES. Well, we ended up talking about everything from “Heimat Defender: Rebellion“, ”Atomic Butcher: Homo Metabolicus”, censorship on Steam, to their thoughts on censorship and cancel culture in general.
So with that said, please enjoy our interview with KVLTGAMES 😉
Before we start this interview off, thank you once again for taking your time to talk to us =) And with that said, please go right ahead and introduce yourself to our readers.
Hello, thanks a lot for having me! My name is Roland Moritz, I am an Indie Game Dev from Austria. I made the original ”Atomic Butcher” in 2004 and the sequel ”Atomic Butcher: Homo Metabolicus” back in 2016 with a friend of mine under the name of ”Das Humankapital”.
I also was active in the Austrian indie Dev Scene organizing Game Jams from 2010 to about 2015. After working as a ”normal” software developer for a few years, I now teamed up with RetroRebel and a few others to form ”KVLTGAMES” and make ”Heimat Defender”.
Do you remember how everything started for you in terms of playing video games and wanting to create video games? (when, where, how, and why?)
That’s kind of hard to pinpoint, I started playing video games when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old, still back in the early 90s (yes, I am that old haha). It started with the Amiga 500 of my older brother, and to this day, I have a love for all things Amiga, that machine holds a special place in my heart. Pretty much immediately, I developed this dream of creating games myself.
Games really fuelled my imagination and I began doodling sketches of games I imagined making, coming up with stories in my head for them. I then got into Pen & Paper RPGs when I was around 13 and loved being the game master, this idea of coming up with scenarios and worlds which other people could explore and maybe come up with solutions for problems I haven’t even thought of was really fascinating for me.
At about the same time I decided to learn how to program, so that I could finally realize my dream of making video games. That was at a time when we didn’t even have an internet connection yet. So I just bought some books about BASIC and Turbo Pascal programming languages and started coding.
I had no idea what I was doing, but it was a lot of fun! I made little games that I would put on diskettes and distribute to my friends in school and really enjoyed hearing their feedback and reactions to them. Making games was always something I did on the side, sometimes more, sometimes I wouldn’t concern myself with game development for a longer time, but it was always a part of my life.
What’s the story behind how your indie game studio Das Humankapital came to be? And what has your journey been like from the start uptil the current year?
”Das Humankapital” was basically a friend of mine from school days, David, and me. We were both kind of nerdy and soon discovered that we are both interested in programming and especially in making games. So one day back in 2004 we holed up in a basement for a few days and just coded like crazy, the end result of that would later become the original freeware game ”Atomic Butcher”.
Since those early days I have also become a bit more, let’s say, politically aware of what is happening around us in the current day and age and I wanted to make a game that is specifically about the reign of political correctness, big tech censorship, ”woke capital” etc. I found some people who could help me with such a project such as RetroRebel and that eventually lead to the formation of ”Kvltgames”.
Wow…Now that I think about it. Time sure flies one by rather quickly, now doesn’t it? I mean, I/we did a review and giveaway for your game ”Atomic Butcher: Homo Metabolicus” back in 2016, and that’s over four years ago now. Anyways, could you perhaps tell us a bit about how the ”Atomic Butcher: Homo Metabolicus” game project came to be?
Time sure flies, it feels crazy to me thinking we made our first game back in 2004, 17 years ago. After making the original Atomic Butcher, David and I both went our ways, studied, got a job, etc. but always kept in contact and often talked about making games again. One day, we decided to just go for it, and well, ”Atomic Butcher: Homo Metabolicus” came out in 2016.
The thing is, actually earning money with indie games is pretty hard, so we both basically decided to just do it as a hobby and not go full-time which is also why ”Atomic Butcher: Homo Metabolicus” took 3 years to finish haha. After that again, we both went our separate ways, but who knows, maybe one day another ”Das Humankapital”-game will see the light of day ^^
And here’s a follow-up question on the same subject. Since ”Atomic Butcher: Homo Metabolicus” was released back in 2016, what has the response and feedback been like from the players and Gaming media from then the now?
The response and feedback from gamers and media has been overall very positive, even though some people were weirded out by the crass humor and subject matter of Atomic Butcher 😉 What can I say, we had a lot of fun making the game and just went with the most ridiculous ideas we could come up with, not caring for what others thought of it.
We consider the game a success, but let’s just say we didn’t exactly get rich from it. Despite people generally liking it, I think we made the classical indie mistake: Put all our efforts in developing the game and almost none into marketing, which is the reason why a lot of indie games end up failing commercially.
And while at it, I still listen to the super awesome ”Atomic Butcher” soundtrack to this very day. So, are you still in touch with the makers of the soundtrack? (Franz Enkner and Xarius Neminis from the Austrian Black Metal Band “Locus Neminis”).
I regret that I have to tell you this is a very sad story – Franz Enkner of Locus Neminis has passed away some years ago under tragic circumstances. He was an incredibly talented person, and despite never actually meeting him in person, from when we had contact online. I got the impression he was a very friendly guy who felt deeply passionate about his music. To this day I am very grateful and honored that he made the amazing soundtrack to Atomic Butcher.
I recall that you mentioned that you’ve just released a brand-new PC game called “Heimat Defender: Rebellion”, could you perhaps tell us what that game is all about?
With ”Heimat Defender” I wanted to make first and foremost a fun game of course, but I also wanted it to be a statement. Games, just like all aspects of culture, are being taken over by what some call ”SJWs”, adherents of ”woke” culture that inject their ideology into everything, have powerful organisations behind them and try to ”cancel” you by all means if you don’t agree with their views.
Sure, I understand people just want to enjoy games for what they are, free of political messaging and that’s fine, but the reality is that we live in a time where almost everything is being politicized, whether you want it or not. So I think it is only fair that there should also be some games that portray the point of view opposite from the liberal-left mainstream perspectives.
”Heimat Defender” is a retro-styled jump’n’run where you fight against a giant mega-corporation in a dystopian future – which is actually not that different from our dystopian present.
Everything is run by the all-powerful ”Globohomo Corp.”, the ”Corporation for Global Homogenisation”, which wants to turn the entire world into one big consumerist hivemind and turn all citizens into mind-controlled NPCs who get fed politically correct opinions directly into their brains.
All dissidents of this system are mercilessly persecuted. In ”Heimat Defender”, you take the roles of real-live patriotic activists from Germany that were transported into this future and have to fight this evil corporation.
I could be wrong now…But I also have a slight memory of you telling me that “Heimat Defender: Rebellion” got banned from Steam because of ”political reasons”…So, could you perhaps fill me/us in on what happened? And why?
You are correct, ”Heimat Defender” was removed from Steam before we could even properly release it. The game was already undergoing the review process and listed as ”coming soon” on Steam. In the beginning, everything went just fine, because obviously, the game did not contain any extreme violence, etc., it is pretty tame by all sane standards.
When the game was announced, however, german media conjured up a big shitstorm about the evil ”right-wing extremist” game that was about to come up, they obviously called it ”racist” (which is very funny considering you are only fighting robots and there aren’t even any ”ethnic” characters in the game) and so on, just throwing all the bad words at it in the hope that something would stick.
Everyone went nuts and apparently some really big pressure must have been put on Steam. At first, we got a message that they suddenly want an age rating for Heimat Defender due to ”the nature of the game”, really funny considering they never wanted a rating for ”Atomic Butcher: Homo Metabolicus” which is full of violence and gore and all sorts of gross humor.
But we went along with it and we were planning to get that age rating, when one day all of a sudden our developer account was deleted, and the game was removed without any comment and that was the end of the story. No explanation was ever given…
So I really want everyone to let that sink in – a retro-platformer that is about as violent as ”Mega Man” has been deleted from Steam purely because it made fun of globalism and ”wokeness” while not having any calls to violence, hatred against ethnic groups or such things in it.
Even though Steam supposedly has this reputation for almost never deleting games.
However…Apparently for Steam, ”Heimat Defender” is in the same category as ”RapeLay” and a lot more dangerous than ”Hatred” which is still on it (as it should be, of course). Everybody can check out Heimat Defender by downloading at www.heimat-defender.de/en and see for themselves if this makes any sense!
Based on what I’ve seen from “Heimat Defender: Rebellion” so far, the game seems to be more based on reality than fiction…I mean, my own nation (Sweden) and many other nations in the West, are now full-blown 1984 police states…
So I take it that you took quite a lot of inspiration from what’s going on in the world right now? And from what I understand, Germany isn’t much better off than any other given nation in Europé at the moment.
You are correct, Germany (and Austria) are just as bad in that regard. Heimat Defender obviously pokes fun at that. As I mentioned I wanted specifically to make a statement about the current dystopian state of the West.
I make no secret of my political alignment and consider myself a patriot. The main reason why everybody got so triggered was my use of real-life political activists such as Martin Sellner in the game, who is being labeled as an ”evil Nazi” by the mainstream.
I know him personally and I can say that these are slanderous lies, he is against extremism of any form. The man has not committed any crimes and always calls for democratic, peaceful, legal activism as everyone should be allowed to do in a supposedly free society.
Sadly, speech doesn’t seem to be so free anymore…I mean look, I understand my views are considered ”controversial” and I don’t even care if people disagree with me. As a patriot, I know my views are supposed to be a total no-go, even though I don’t consider myself ”extreme” in any way. What I believe are things that essentially were completely normal up until some time ago and still are to this day in most non-European countries.
I respect all cultures and demand the same respect for my own…And I want the native citizens to be able to have a say in who comes into our countries and who shouldn’t. That’s it, I think those are sensible enough views. Democracy lives from a free discourse of different opinions.
You are free to think I am full of shit and tell me that, whatever. But this here is clearly a case of a completely hypocritical double standard: For instance, the game ”Tonight We Riot” is still on Steam without any problems.
This is an Antifa-game that openly advocates communism and in it, your goal is basically the communist world revolution. And you know what, fine. I don’t think this game should be kicked off Steam either, but then I don’t see any reason why Heimat Defender shouldn’t be on it.
Of course, in the current year, such a wish is naive: The power structure by now is such that the guys in favor of globalism, endless migration, and political correctness call the shots, they are sitting in all the corporations and have the political power to push through whatever they want.
They don’t give a shit about ”fairness”, for them it is about power and control. So I want people to understand this power imbalance and double standard, but I think there is no further use in only just lamenting this fact.
You need to take (peaceful!) action yourself and get creative, which we did: We just put the game for free on our website and it got downloaded over 50k times by now over less than half a year, which is imho decent for a game that got de-platformend and completely ignored by gaming media.
Of course, that means we didn’t actually earn anything with the game but what can I say, it was a labor of love for me. Anyway, I am optimistic that we will find ways to finance further projects through crowdfunding or similar means.
I just found out that RetroRebel made the whole soundtrack for ”Heimat Defender: Rebellion”, and, well. I really like the game soundtrack a whole lot. So, just out of pure curiosity. How did you end up working with RetroRebel? And are you happy with how the soundtrack for ”Heimat Defender: Rebellion” turned out in the end?
I already was familiar with RetroRebels work before making Heimat Defender, I just always really liked the whole Synthwave aesthetic, obviously, I am a sucker for all things retro and 80s-nostalgia haha.
I loved ”Hotline Miami” and watched ”Drive” more times than I can remember 😉 I just thought Synthwave would be the perfect soundtrack for such a game, and since I knew RetroRebel has similar political views as me, I just hit him up and asked him if he wanted to do the soundtrack.
He was immediately enthusiastic about the project and well, what he eventually came up with was far more than just Synthwave, including such diverse genres as Future Pop, Industrial Metal, Classical orchestra, and Dubstep. Hats off to the man, he’s an incredibly talented musician!
You know…Now that I’m talking to you about ”Heimat Defender: Rebellion”, the game’s soundtrack, and the current state of the world at large. I just can’t help to feel like there are a lot of revolution-like winds blowing all over the place.
I mean, we have now reached the point where we have gone wayyyy beyond what went down in movies/books such as ”1984”, ”Brave new world”, and video games like ”Syndicate”, ”Deus Ex”, and ”Papers please”.
Simply put, 1984 is already here thanks to COVID-19 and the global elite who are using the ”virus” as a fear porn weapon to get the masses to give up the little rights and freedom that they once had…
So I guess that my question to you would be this, do you feel the same way about all of this as I do? (Sweden is a very scary place in the year 2021, we are now 1984 on roids, we’re also a Communist/Islamic tyranny/dictator state where ”wrong” think could get you jailed, fined, and have your whole life destroyed).
I completely agree. Censorship is running wild, cancel culture, now this whole fake pandemic, who knows what ”crisis” they will conjure up next to take away even more freedoms. When I think back to Deus Ex, back in the early 2000s, all of that was just funny ”conspiracy theories” and ”just entertainment”.
Now, every time I look at that game I am baffled by how accurate a lot of it actually was. The state is pursuing any dissidents with brutal repressions and things are overall escalating at a breakneck speed. Fake media narratives can be created at will and sold to people as reality. But I have some hope that this will also create a counter-reaction, people getting fed up with living in a more and more totalitarian world.
Everybody who doesn’t agree should start speaking their mind and act according to their possibilities – of course always peacefully! Organize, form ”dissident” companies, create networks.
In my case, I am doing my part with Heimat Defender, it is my contribution as a game developer to signal to people out there that they are not alone, a lot of us are not willing to just take it silently!
What I basically see happening is that a coalition between politics, NGOs, and Big Tech is pushing for a completely globalized world in which all existing cultures must be removed and replaced with rootless, easily controlled ”consumers” so that our technocratic overlords can rule over us and use for the realization of their ”utopia”, which actually sounds more like hell on earth to everyone who isn’t completely brainwashed yet.
People like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Klaus Schwab, and George Soros want to completely reshape the world in their image, like Bob Page from Deus Ex, to fulfill their globalist, transhumanist dreams and crush everyone who might not agree with their desires.
They control all our means of communication and can silence dissident voices at will. This is essentially what the ”Globohomo Corp.” represents. The main ”villains” in their eyes are all the people who still have some positive connection to their own cultures, who have independent thoughts and value freedom, which is why they most brand them as ”extremists”, ”Nazis” etc.
The ”Great Reset” and the ”pandemic” they use as a pretext is only the newest incarnation of this, and the brains behind those plans are not even making a secret out of it. Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum quite openly said that the ”pandemic” is a ”window of opportunity” for realizing their visions of a new world where everybody lives in a pod, is monitored 24/7, eats insects, has zero social contact and gets everything delivered to them from Amazon.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this or not…But not so long ago Top Hat Studios made a public statement about their and Suzaku’s waifu-themed 2.5D cyberpunk/horror/ adventure game ”Sense” we’re they stod up against censorship, cancel culture, and the SJW/PC madness.
I have read your article, but I gotta admit I haven’t played the game – In all honesty, it’s not my cup of tea, but that’s not even the point here. I applaud the devs for standing up against censorship and for artistic freedom, in any case, it is good to see that there are still devs out there who won’t just take it and in that sense, props and more power to them!
And speaking of censorship, cancel culture, and SJW/PC madness…Not so long ago Inti Creates and PQube announced via Twitter that their lewd rail shooter “Gal Gun Returns” won’t be coming to the Xbox nor Playstation platform at all..
So, what’s your take on that and censorship, cancel culture and the SJW/PC madness in general? And do you think that it’s about time that people (especially game developers and game publishers) take a stand for creative and artistic freedom?
Oh absolutely! I think devs, publishers, all kinds of content creators need to speak out about this, but most importantly, they must organize. Alone you are vulnerable, you might get ” canceled” and lose your job, but if let’s say you work at a company that doesn’t give in to the demands of the ”woke” crowd or you have a good network of other developers that can get you a new job easily, you are not so easily controlled anymore.
There’s a lot of talented people out there that don’t like the way things are going but they feel isolated, it’s important to show them that they are not alone!
For starters, my attempt to help with this will be the ”Heimat Jam”, a regular game jam for non-politically correct devs where they can create prototypes and minigames over the course of a few days and hopefully find likeminded people – if you want to participate and for more info on the Jam, check our telegram channel https://t.me/kvltgames or our Gab profile https://t.me/kvltgames!
Do you have any plans at all to release ”Atomic Butcher: Homo Metabolicus” and “Heimat Defender: Rebellion” to other formats than just PC? (consoles and mobile) If so, is it likely to happen anytime soon?
There are currently no such plans. I am already in the planning phase for my next project, which I actually do plan to release for mobile as well as PC. I plan to keep on making ”politically incorrect” games, however, so I understand that de-platforming will be an issue, especially for mobile where you depend on App stores. However, the next project will be less explicitly political than Heimat Defender, so let’s see how that will go 😉
As for my final question to you for this time. What are your plans, hopes, and expectations for the rest of the year? And is there anything else that you would like to say to our readers?
I hope that people will resist censorship and de-platforming and instead start building up feasible, working free-speech ”alt-tech” platforms. I hope they will not simply accept the attempts of corrupt politicians and tech-billionaires to live out their god-complexes anymore and find ways of organizing and resisting. But I expect things to still get worse for the foreseeable future first, I am realistic enough for that.
Apart from that, my message to all devs and gamers out there: Connect and form companies, media, collectives, etc. that still value freedom of expression!
Jonas “O.J” Ek
The Gaming Ground
More by Robin Ek: