Heartbeat Developer Accused of Transphobia and Online Harassment

Players of the Pokemon-inspired RPG game Heartbeat have accused one of the developers, Shepple, of listing the game at a discount to mock trans suicide rates.

A thread posted on Retsera included screenshots of the tweets made by the developer’s girlfriend, Nikotine.


Backlash resurfaced recently when the developers added a 41% discount for the game and soundtrack, and some have said that this number was explicitly used to mock trans people. According to a study conducted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute, 41 percent of transgender individuals attempt suicide at some point in their lives. Chumbosoft, the development company, hasn’t explicitly confirmed why the game is discounted at that specific percentage, but a few of the devs have stated that they disagree with Nikotine, including artist Sil and composer Trass.

Despite the negative attention the game is getting, some have taken this as a sign to purchase the game. One user on Steam wrote: “Retsera made me want to buy this game. Now what. I’m buying it as soon as I get home.” Other players have written encouraging statements and letters to the developers. Nikotine also stands by her statements, and has shared fan art that she received via Discord.

This is not the first time that gamers and Twitter users have spoken out in regards to the game. Back in August, Jolyne Gremory, another game dev, said that she had to end her friendship with Shepple due to a series of transphobic statements she made in Discord. Other developers and gamers have spoken out about this as well on Twitter, and have shared screenshots of conversations between themselves and Shepple.

Players continue to speak about the game on Twitter and have discouraged others from buying the game. They have also encouraged people to leave negative reviews on the game, and to report the game to Steam as well. The community page for the game also hosts a number of transphobic comments.

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