Insomniac Games, Bungie issue statements supporting abortion rights
This morning, the United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 to overturn Roe v. Wade. Shortly after that decision was announced, Insomniac Games and Bungie posted public statements opposing the move. Bungie’s statement was a follow-up to its April announcement in support of abortion rights, but Insomniac Games’ decision to speak up follows a reported previous effort by Sony to squelch the studio from making any comment.
“We are human beings who made games,” Insomniac’s statement reads. “Reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are human rights.”
Update: Insomniac Games has now been joined by PlayStation London Studio, which stated the following on its social media accounts: “Reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are human rights.”
The International Game Developers Association has also issued a statement condemning the ban: “We believe bodily autonomy and choice over one’s own reproductive and healthcare matters are pertinent to achieving this mission. One must be in control of their own health matters in order to successfully manage their career and life.”
“We are deeply concerned by increased government interventions undermining and limiting reproductive choice and access to care. We applaud and show solidarity with games industry and community leaders who are taking action to support all who are negatively impacted by these attempts.”
In early May, Sony staff at different ends of the company began agitating over an e-mail sent by Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan that urged employees to “respect differences of opinion” on abortion before attempting to “lighten the mood” by talking about celebrating his cats’ birthday.
In the days after, employees at Insomniac Games organized an effort to donate to the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, an abortion access nonprofit. Internally, Sony apparently agreed to match the company’s donation as well as donations made by individual employees. It also promised to support employees who might need to travel across state lines for reproductive care (said promises were reiterated by a source close to SIE’s parent company speaking to Variety this morning).
However, Sony reportedly told Insomniac Games that as a company, it could not make any statement in support of abortion rights. Insomniac CEO Ted Price reportedly told employees at the time that the company would “probably be severely restricted from doing important public-facing work in the future” if it chose to ignore that directive.
Today’s statement, however brief, seems to indicate a change of thinking at the company behind Ratchet & Clank and Marvel’s Spider-Man.
Insomniac and Bungie’s preparedness to make statements on today’s ruling is additionally interesting because Bungie is in the process of being acquired by Sony. In follow-up statements to its initial post, the company indicated that it would not remain silent on such issues in the future. The discrepancy between Bungie’s likely freedom to make such statements and Insomniac Games’ lack of ability to do so was puzzling.
Whether Sony has granted more permissiveness to its subsidiary companies, or if Insomniac’s workers chose to go against their corporate parent remains to be seen.
We’ve reached out to Sony for comment on this story, and will update this story when it responds.