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Boyfriend Dungeon's Content Warning Is Causing An Uproar

"Boyfriend Dungeon," a dungeon crawler-dating sim where the protagonist dates their anthropomorphic weapons, seems lighthearted at first. Players get a glimpse of an Orlando Bloom-esque sword man, a flirty, brunette dagger lady, and more, all enveloped in an upbeat, purple-pink color scheme. However, Kitfox Games' dungeon dating adventure took a darker dive than expected when it came to triggering topics.

"Boyfriend Dungeon" warns its players at the beginning of the game: "This game may include references to unwanted advances, stalking, and other forms of emotional manipulation. Play with care." However, this content warning didn't specify that these references would be so significant to the game's story. "Boyfriend Dungeon" features a character who aggressively messages and stalks the protagonist, touching on the aforementioned nonconsensual attention and emotional abuse. Some thought that maybe the references in the content warning would be limited — like in some dialogues or optional quests — but they're an unavoidable part of the plot. 

Content warnings, sometimes called trigger warnings, inform affected parties about potentially triggering content so that they can avoid reminders of trauma. Victims, especially those with PTSD, can suffer emotional harm, like rumination spells, when they encounter triggers. 

So some argued that "Boyfriend Dungeon" used misleading promotional materials and unspecific content warnings that could be harmful to victims struggling to recover from related trauma. Others defended the developers, saying that the original content warning should have been enough because it mentioned the problematic content up-front. However, Kitfox itself also chimed in on the discussion, speaking to players directly about its plans for future game updates.

How Kitfox responded to the backlash

In the end, Kitfox acknowledged the concerns of its player base and agreed that the current content warning didn't detail the extent of the stalking and emotional manipulation in "Boyfriend Dungeon." The developer promised an update to more accurately describe the content.

"We'll update the game next week with a more accurate CW," Kitfox Games tweeted. "We apologize for any hurt inflicted by our mistake."

However, Kitfox's apology didn't quell the discourse on its initial content warning. The discussion also brought up the double standard placed on indie developers to right gaming wrongs when some AAA games feature equally disturbing plotlines without any content warning at all. For example, "Persona 5" involves sexual assault and attempted suicide in the first few hours of the game — something that understandably bothered some gamers but didn't cause the same amount of controversy as "Boyfriend Dungeon."

Some players weren't satisfied with an update to the content warning and urged for an option to not engage with the triggering content at all. As the conversation continues online, the soonest solution will likely be the content warning update Kitfox promised. 

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.