hi, asking as a transfem person, is there any way the mermaids could like.... not be Like That? i was having such a good time with the game and going into that area just made my heart shatter. i get that you say that your intentions were good, but like. the duck lips/sparkles/valley girl talk makes it come across as a really shitty "ha ha look how hard these freaks are trying" joke which uh.... really sucks!!!! and hurts a hell of a lot!!!! and im not alone feeling that way!!
We hear you!!!! I’m sorry for the hurt those characters caused you; I genuinely think their inclusion was a mistake, and I still reflect on that mistake often.
Especially in a story that is so even-handed in dealing out humor with seriousness, I totally understand why people mistook those characters as a joke. But the mistake I made is more fundamental than just the art or dialogue for a couple of characters; I think any kind of conversation about gender or beauty is going to be fraught because people are (understandably) very affected by those themes and I don’t think it belonged in Wandersong at all, and probably not from someone like me either. If I could go back and make it again, I’d rethink Act 3 from the ground up to be a completely different story about something completely else. As it is, that story hinges on the fact that the mermaids are an otherworldly beauty whose absence motivates all the main action, and that create a pressure on those characters with no good-feeling resolution. If they were just stereotypical gorgeous women or men then the takeaway would essentially be a reinforcement of the status quo; beautiful people are beautiful. It’s not something I really believe myself, so I would feel disingenuous to put that message in the game.
I know people who look like the mermaids, and are proud to be who they are, and I think that’s an exceptional kind of beauty and I wanted to celebrate that. It’s completely my fault that that intention didn’t come through, but changing or removing those characters after the fact would be as if to say that their form of beauty isn’t valid or acceptable, which would be its own kind of heartbreaking. It would also fundamentally change all the other characters attached to them; it changes what this game’s symbol of absolute beauty is. If there an “easy fix” for this that did more good than harm I would do it in a heartbeat, but as it stands I don’t see good choices.
I’m saying all this publicly not to defend myself, but so that others can see my mistake and learn from it. I learned a lot from it, myself. I won’t make it again. I’m sorry.