Image in The Stanley Parable Deemed Racist, to be Removed

Offensive? The Stanley Parable?

The experiment in narrative lunacy is many things (many different things depending on how it’s played), but given the core off-the-wall experience it offers, it’s hard to believe anyone would find one of its gags offensive, let alone racist. But that’s just what happened when journalist and author Oliver Campbell (Rabbit in the Road) and another unnamed teacher played it, and now The Stanley Parable creator Davey Wreden says he will remove a controversial image with an in-the-works update.

As Campbell and Wreden told Polygon, the image appears when players view a slideshow titled “Choice” and are presented with two options: 1. Spend years improving the lives of impoverished children in third-world nations; 2. “Systematically set fire to every orphan living in a 30 kilometer radius of his house.”

At that point the slideshow displays the image below:

Campbell, a gaming journalist for sites like The Escapist and Kotaku, found the image racist and contacted Wreden directly to voice his complaint, a conversation both described as pleasant and civil. Wreden said the complaint took on greater weight when he heard from a teacher who said she didn’t want to share the game with her young students because of the image.

“Obviously these things are always 20/20 hindsight,” Wreden told Polygon, “but at the time it seemed too cartoony to identify as problematic.”

“I’m not exactly married to the visual gag there,” he continued. “It doesn’t make or break anything about that particular section, and we always wanted the game to be something that could be played by anyone of any age. If a person would feel less comfortable showing the game to their children then I’ve got no problem helping fix that! It’s really as simple as that.”

The gag will remain, but the offending image will be removed in an update Wreden says should be completed within a few weeks.

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6 Comments on Image in The Stanley Parable Deemed Racist, to be Removed


On October 24, 2013 at 6:31 am

Politically correctness wins again…



On October 24, 2013 at 11:07 am

LOL. Guess no one played Bioshock infinite which was 100 times worse than this.


On October 24, 2013 at 11:12 am

I can see how it could be seen as racist, but I think you’d have to be really, really sensitive to take actual offense at it.

Full disclosure I am about as white as you can get while still hating country music so it is possible that I lack perspective on this subject, however to me the gag seems to be directly at the expense of the alleged moral choice system in many games, and if anything the subject of race makes it more of a severe criticism of the sort of character people are normally restricted to playing (that of a white male messiah or Satan.) The joke is on the system that created it, not on anyone’s race.


On October 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I’m sure Oliver Campell would have had no problems if any race other than what appears to be a black being burned. What a pathetic hypocrite.

Another uppity black bringing out the white guilt of others to get his sad, delusional way.


On October 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm


Ok, I give up. What’s racist about the picture?

Is it supposed to be implying that all orphans are black? That black kids like cigars? Black kids don’t like shirts? That they’re more flammable? Is it supposed to be that the white guy thinks giving a cigar to a kid it a bad idea? That the white guy would set fire to an orphan? Is it the white guy’s hair? The black kid’s hair?

No seriously, I have no clue what part of those images could possibly be construed as racist.


On October 24, 2013 at 10:12 pm

So… setting fire to a child. And additionally, doing so in a game children can see. THIS is not offensive… but the ethnic background of the characters in the picture IS?? I’m not even living in the same world as you people. I don’t even know what to say.