An Injustice 2 Mobile Pride Month event, which tasks players with repeatedly beating up LGBTQ+ character Poison Ivy, is receiving heavy criticism. Though Poison Ivy is a villain in-game, she has been a prominent source of LGBTQ+ representation in the comics and other media, so the timing of this in-game challenge is wildly inappropriate.

The start of June heralds the start of Pride Month annually, and various gaming companies and groups have already been busy demonstrating their support for the LGBTQ+ community in 2021. Square Enix, the publisher of such massive franchises as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, recently unveiled its new Pride Month mascot. The adorable and colorful character was supposedly created to represent the company’s commitment to inclusivity and equality, and it is now up to fans to name Square Enix’s Pride mascot. Many other corporate and genuine grassroots celebrations are also underway, and benefitting LGBTQ+ charities that aim to eliminate LGBTQ+ discrimination and violence appears to be more popular than ever this June.

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A recent in-game Injustice 2 Mobile challenge has been criticized for having players repeatedly defeat Poison Ivy. The game’s Pride Global Challenge is meant to celebrate Pride Month, but requiring players to literally beat up an LGBTQ+ character a total of 400,000 times was found to be incredibly tone-deaf on Twitter. One notable reaction came from game critic Jim Sterling, who pointed out that hiring an LGBTQ+ consultant could have prevented the major misstep from happening in the first place. The celebratory developer tweet for the event has since been removed from Twitter (but Screen Rant kept the receipts), suggesting that the backlash finally caught the attention of responsible parties. Still, fans’ numerous criticisms are up for all to see.

Publisher WB Games and developer Netherrealm Studios have apologized for the Injustice 2 Mobile Poison Ivy challenge on Twitter late Thursday night. The game’s Twitter account states that the companies now “recognized associating [their] latest Global Challenge with Pride was insensitive and inappropriate” and that they “should actively engage in efforts to end LGBTQIA+ violence, not normalize it.”

While Injustice 2 Mobile‘s misguided Pride event encouraged violence against a queer character, other games and their communities are celebrating Pride in more suitable fashions. For example, Animal Crossing: New Horizons players have used the game’s customization tools to create a large variety of Pride-themed clothing and home decorations. The life sim’s Custom Designs feature allows for near-infinite players creations, letting players run around their islands in dresses, hats, and on garden paths that bear the rainbow motif of the Pride flag and other LGBTQ+ flags.

Pride Month is an extremely important occasion for the LGBTQ+ community, as it is an opportunity to preach inclusivity and freedom of expression. Injustice 2 Mobile‘s Pride event was clearly an inappropriate way to celebrate Pride Month, and the game’s developers obviously realized this once backlash began on social media. While the event itself has been rightfully criticized, hopefully WB Games  is able to learn from the experience and construct a more appropriate way to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

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Injustice 2 is available on iOS and Android.

Sources: Jim Sterling, AmazonFCVenom, klorophylkid, Injustice 2 Mobile

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