If the past week has proved anything, it’s that the gamers really can affect change when they put their minds to it. First, Valve killed its paid mod program thanks to overwhelming pressure from the Skyrim community. Next, Silent Hill fans rallied after Konami cancelled Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming sequel. While Silent Hills hasn’t been revived yet, a petition on Change.org amassed well over 50,000 signatures – and the number’s still rising.
However, as passionate as gamers are, their stories don’t always have a happy ending. Case in point: a Killing Floor fan named Marphy Black recently abandoned his quest to bring back one of the series’ most defining features, nipple rings.
Obviously, some background is necessary. Killing Floor is a first person cooperative shooter developed by Tripwire Interactive, in which players are charged with fending off increasingly formidable waves of zombies. Killing Floor boasts a variety of different enemies; one of these baddies, an overweight, rotting character called the Bloat, also has pierced nipples.
Once he noticed them, the Bloat’s nipple rings became one of Black’s favorite things about Killing Floor. As he told Kotaku, “The in-universe logistics of how this obese, puking cloned specimen could end up with nipple rings was funny.” Black loved sharing his discovery with other players, too. “It proved to be a little detail that surprised us all and a laugh that we could share together and with others, and that was what enamored me to the concept.”
That’s why Black was concerned when screenshots from Killing Floor 2 arrived. Bloat’s nipple rings were gone. However, instead of sulking, Black decided to do something about it. He launched a campaign in the Tripwire forums called “BRING BACK THE NIPPLE PIERCINGS,” claiming that their omission would “tear the community apart” and lead to “rioting in the streets.”
It’s all very tongue-in-cheek, but Black says that the campaign took on a life of its own. Over the course of a few months, Black made a number of videos, forum threads, and even nipple-ring-themed DLC proposals. A survey that Black put together gathered over 200 votes, including five from actual Killing Floor 2 developers. His initial forum thread has over 13,000 views. Other Killing Floor forums answered Black’s rallying cry, and fans all over the world clamored for the nipple rings’ return.
Alas, all of Black’s efforts were for naught: Killing Floor 2 entered Early Access a couple of weeks ago, with nary a nipple ring in sight. For his part, Black’s still optimistic: if needed, the nipple rings can be added via player-made mods, and the game is technically still unfinished. As Black says, “Tripwire may yet have a change of heart.” Killing Floor and nipple ring fans will just have to wait and see.