Shortly after the release of Steam prison break hit The Escapists 2, players flooded the forums with questions. “Who are these people with weird names and funny colored hair,” they wanted to know, “and why can’t I make them go away?”
The Escapists 2 is a sandbox game in which you try to escape from a series of increasingly ludicrous prisons including a Wild West train, a boat that’s gonna maroon you on an island, and Space Prison. When you begin a level, the game whips up a batch of semi-procedurally generated characters to populate each area. Players have been surprised to find that this sometimes includes a handful of popular YouTubers and streamers like JackSepticeye, DanTDM, and CinnamonToastKen. When the game first came out last week, these real people with fake names appeared a little too often for players’ tastes, garnering a deluge of complaints:
Some players feel like YouTubers and streamers are just a marketing gimmick that crashes through the fourth wall and shatters any sense of immersion. Sure, they figure, it’ll be fun for popular YouTubers to see themselves in prison, or for smaller time YouTubers to make videos where they torment famous YouTubers, but if it comes at the cost of regular players’ enjoyment, is the extra promotion really worth it? Others feel like their inclusion is an attempt at pandering to children, who players perceive as only a small part of the game’s audience.