Last month there were reports that Sony first-party studio Insomniac, known for games like Spider-Man and Ratchet & Clank, was donating $50,000 to Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, but that the organization would be forbidden from mentioning Insomniac or Sony/PlayStation by name, and that PlayStation employees broadly were being told not to discuss the issue publicly. This led to Bungie, another first-party studio, saying it wouldn’t be silenced by a Sony “muzzle” after publicly advocating for abortion rights. However, in light of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, which protects the rights of those seeking an abortion in the United States, Insomniac has put out a public statement.
This morning, a post on the developer’s social channels reads as follows: “We are human beings who make games. Reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are human rights,” signed with the studio’s logo.
— Insomniac Games (@insomniacgames) June 24, 2022
It’s a succinct statement, but given the apparent issues Sony and PlayStation Studios have been having on this issue, one has to wonder what it took to get it through publicly. Insomniac isn’t the only Sony studio saying something about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as Bungie updated its original statement this morning with the following text:
Last month, we stated without reservation that all of us deserve to choose our own path and access the healthcare we need. The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade cuts off millions of Americans from that access and leaves open the possibility of even further restrictions on life-saving healthcare for all of us.
Bungie is committed to ensuring that every one of our employees and their families have safe and affordable access to essential healthcare needs. As we continue to expand our digital-first workplace to more states, we will now be implementing a travel reimbursement program for any employee to use when they or a dependent cannot get access to the healthcare they need where they live.
We remain undeterred in our commitment to stand up for reproductive choice and liberty.
The studio also added Trans Lifeline to its list of healthcare organizations to donate to.
Around the same time all of these reports were coming out about Sony studios being told they weren’t allowed to publicly advocate for abortion rights, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan sent out an email where he told employees to be respectful of all viewpoints on the issue, including the one that restricts the bodily autonomy of half the population to terminate a pregnancy they don’t want. Reactions to the email were reportedly negative, especially once Ryan transitioned into talking about his cat’s birthday.
Update: Naughty Dog, the PlayStation studio behind The Last of Us, has also published its own statement in support of abortion rights. That’s three Sony studios that have spoken out about this today, which raises questions about what/how things changed at the company that was reportedly being told not to talk about the issue. Naughty Dog’s statement reads as follows:
Naughty Dog believes reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are basic human rights and essential to the health and wellbeing of everyone.
We will continue to uphold those values and actively support all our employees in receiving the care they need and want.
— Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog) June 24, 2022
Update: It looks like Insomniac’s post has gotten the ball rolling over at Sony’s first party studios. Sony’s London Studio, which primarily works on VR titles, also released a short statement on its social channels, saying “reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are human rights.”
— PlayStation London Studio is Hiring! (@LondonStudioHQ) June 24, 2022
Media Molecule, the studio behind LittleBigPlanet and Dreams also posted a statement on its social channels.
— Media Molecule (@mediamolecule) June 24, 2022
Sly Cooper, Infamous, and Ghost of Tsushima developer Sucker Punch also came out in support of abortion rights.
— Sucker Punch Productions ???? Ghost of Tsushima (@SuckerPunchProd) June 24, 2022
And God of War developer Sony Santa Monica posted to its social channels.
— Santa Monica Studio – God of War Ragnarök (@SonySantaMonica) June 24, 2022
Update: Several of Sony’s first-party studios are also now accounted for.
— Bend Studio is Hiring! (@BendStudio) June 24, 2022
— Guerrilla (@Guerrilla) June 24, 2022
— San Diego Studio (@SonySanDiego) June 24, 2022
Reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are human rights.
— Haven Studios (@HavenStudiosInc) June 24, 2022
Clearly something happened within PlayStation to allow all these studios to finally come forward. Which I’m sure is a relief to those working at these studios that wanted to make public statements and were met with a shitty email from Jim Ryan.