Keep the Zebasi fruit unchanged
Keep the Zebasi fruit unchanged
The developers of The Battle of Polytopia decided to change zebasis fruit from watermelon to cantaloupe 2 years after the release of the tribe. The cantaloupe is objectively uglier than the watermelon. watermelon is not only more recognizable, it contrasts better with the yellow-orange ground. red contrasts better with yellow-orange than an orange and yellow fruit. and if you look closely, the green cantaloupe "skin/shell" has a smooth color gradient, which is the first sprite to stray from the original low poly aesthetic we know the game for. zebasi is also African inspired, and watermelon grows in Africa so it would make sense that zebasi would have an African fruit. WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY IT WAS THE ORIGINAL ZEBASI FRUIT. cantaloupe originated in South Asia and would make more sense to be the Yadakk or Luxidoor fruit.
so where is this change coming from??
Zoythrus, our only connection to the developer team, originally stated that:
1. it was a purely aesthetical change
1- well first of all that is just a straight lie. and even if it was, it was a change for the worse because the cantaloupe looks like objectively worse. It blends in with the ground, making it less visible while zoomed out in-game. Its smooth color gradient for the skin makes it look too shiny and different from every other sprite in Polytopia.
2. because they need to uphold their partnership with Trine, which gets a share of the profits from Zebasi tribe purchases
- this is also a straight lie. Trine is the one who gains the most from donations and will not change their interactions with Polytopia because of a watermelon. Trine is not a SJW club, it is focused on bringing clean energy to developing markets. they just happen to be doing business in Africa. furthermore, Polytopia has been partnered with them already for more than 10 months. since the share of money trine gets from polytopia is directly linked to zebasi sales, you would think that they would pay special attention to zebasi. and guess what, trine saw the watermelon and was completely fine with it because after all, its just a fruit. and they understand that better than midjiwan apparently.
3- the merchandise has already been changed to the new fruit and is currently being produced with the new fruit printed on it instead of the watermelon. it would be a shame to discard all of it
-first of all, thats a straight lie since the watermelon hasn't been replaced in the non beta tester version when the changed was announced. Also that argument could go both ways, since watermelon has been on the merch for 2 years now and has official lore listed on the store webpage.
I mean we all knew Zoythrus will always just lie to defend the poor decision making the devs make, but that still doesn't give us the true reason behind the change.
and then midjiwan himself spoke:
So you heard it from Midjiwan himself. The zebasi fruit is being changed because the polytopia devs think watermelons are inherently racist.
first of all, theres nothing inherently racist about a watermelon. the devs are scared that if zebasi- an african tribe- has watermelon, then people will eventually get upset because it was a racial trope in the 1900s in america due to americas history with slavery
although it is remembered, it carries 0 weight
so in the dev's mind, the watermelon is racist if it's zebasis fruit because in the 19th century african americans were enslaved on a different continent and just happened to grow watermelon.
because the first thing that comes to the polytopia dev's mind when they think of africa is the slave trade, which is stupid because theres so much more to the africa than the slave trade that happened centuries ago.
every tribe has a fruit. they pay 2 stars to harvest it and gain one population. there is nothing racist about watermelon being the fruit that happens to grow in the zebasi biome.no matter what stereotype is associated with it. The game doesn't even show them interacting with it, it just poofs.
if the watermelon was originally a different, non-african tribe's fruit, there would be no issue.
its only because the devs associate africa so heavily with slavery that only african tribes cannot have the watermelon as their fruit. and even if its with the best intentions, thats racial discrimination because they are treating the tribe differently due to its unique african inspired culture
which is why you need to advocate for keeping the watermelon unchanged
changing the watermelon does nothing to stop any racism in this world. Nothing good can come from politically charging a game which at its roots tried so hard to avoid any controversy with race and religion.
and the cantaloupe looks objectively uglier. zoythrus has to convince himself that the change looks fine. he doesnt say it looks beter/the same, he just says "im ok with it". and it will wipe out what little official polytopia lore that exists on the store page. Also, everyone who originally bought polytopia merch with the watermelon on it now has to throw it away.
And they might tell you that they were "forced" to change it because they were getting complaints about it. That is also simply not true. Trine accepted their partnership regardless of the melon and stayed partnered up until now for 10+ months.
On the official polytopia discord, there are only 155 messages containing the mention of watermelon before the change was announced. Of those, they all do not complain about racism, or theyre referring to someone with watermelon in their discord tag.
There were 0 complaints about the watermelon being racist. The polytopia devs were just scared that eventually, someone would get offended at a fruit and call them out for being racist, which just doesn't make sense.
The polytopia dev's need to keep focused on releasing steam version AT LEAST within the same year of it being promised, rather than go looking for something to get upset about.
Yes they can really feel the lasting impact of slavery in America during the 19th century all the way from Sweden.
There are in fact watermelons growing in Africa in real life, but you do not see anyone getting offended about that. There is nothing inherently racist about a tribe growing a certain fruit, as that fruit has no politics or historical tragedies directly linked to it. If the developers really end up changing the fruit from watermelons with the reasoning that they don't want to be racist, that says a lot more about the developers themselves and really does nothing to combat the real racism in this world. Treat the watermelon as a fruit and only a fruit. Give Zebasi their watermelons back #savethemelons #melonGateIsReal