Update 3:30PM PT: The list of video game companies speaking out against the reversal of Roe v. Wade now includes Devolver Digital, Respawn Entertainment, Niantic, ArenaNet, and beyond. Most either vocally support equal reproductive rights or directly name support for access to abortion.
Some, like Electronic Arts, are promising support for employees without naming the medical procedure at the center of today’s decision.
Our original story follows below:
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.”
Insomniac Games was quickly 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.”
Sony-owned subsidiary Naughty Dog has also issued its own statement: “Naughty Dog believes reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are basic human rights and essential to the health and wellbeing of everyone,” the studio wrote. “We will continue to uphold those values and actively support all our employees in receiving the care they need and want.”
Sony’s Santa Monica Studio has also now weighed in, stating that “We believe that bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom are funadmental human rights. Santa Monica Studio will continue to uphold these values and support our team members in receiving access to the care they need.
Ubisoft has also weighed in with a statement that reads “We fully support our teams in the U.S. Today and every day, we believe that reproductive rights are human rights, women’s rights are human rights, trans rights are human rights, and equal rights for all are essential to a world where everyone can be their authentic selves and thrive.”
Among Us developer Innersloth has joined the chorus of companies, saying that the company “supports reproductive choice and liberty.” “The ending of the constitutional right to abortion is a gender, racial, economic, and human rights disaster for both present and future generations,” it wrote. The company also shared links to nonprofits providing reproductive and transgender healthcare access.
Indie developer Future Club, the studio supporting Skullgirls, also issued a short statement. It reads “Reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are human rights.“
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.