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Farm Folks CEO On Boob Physics: ‘We Don't Want To Attract Nasty People’ [Update]

A bizarre post from an in-development indie game has sparked controversy and questions
<i>Farm Folks</i> CEO On Boob Physics: ‘We Don't Want To Attract Nasty People’ [Update]
Image: Kotaku / Crytivo / NinaMalyna / Stokkete (Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)
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On April 29, an in-development farm sim from Crytivo called Farm Folks shared a now-deleted post about breast jiggle physics on its official X/Twitter account that kickstarted a firestorm, emboldened gaming’s baddest actors, and wreaked havoc in the game’s official Discord. The team behind the studio has since apologized, but the aftermath lingers, leaving confusion and doubt about the company’s true intentions in its wake.

I spoke to the CEO of Crytivo, Alex Koshelkov, about the post, jiggle physics, bad actors, and more, to try and paint a clearer picture.

The Farm Folks breast physics controversy

The post in question, shared to Farm Folks’ more than 28,000 followers on X/Twitter and beyond, featured a paneled video of three versions of one of Farm Folks’ femme-presenting characters walking, with three different percentages displayed on each panel. The text accompanying the post read: “Alright, folks, it’s time for some serious game development talk! We’re tinkering with character physics in Farm Folks. Burning question: which version has the perfect breast jiggle physics?”

The percentages (30, 50, and 90) indicated the level of jiggle physics applied to the character. The official Farm Folks account replied to its own post, asking fans if they wanted to see “what 150% looks like.”

The Farm Folks social media post that was deleted.
Screenshot: Crytivo / Kotaku

The responses were less than positive, clearly charged by the culture war currently raging in games that’s seen a fifty-something former Blizzard employee rallying people against community managers, Pokemon GO changes, a narrative design company, and the perceived censoring of Shift Up’s new action RPG Stellar Blade. Members of the Farm Folks Discord took to the chat to demand clarity about the social post, wondering if it was fueled by misogynistic attitudes in games or was just very, very tone deaf. Bad actors flooded the comments on X/Twitter, and some bled into the Discord, as well.

After being tagged, Crytivo founder Alex Koshelkov joined the conversation, writing, “Sorry guys, I was going through morning calls. Let me check what’s happening here and I’ll respond.” He went back and forth with a few people, with some questioning Koshelkov’s alleged ignorance regarding the GG2.0 movement. He apologized several times.

One apology posted by Koshelkov in the Farm Folks' Discord.
Screenshot: Discord / Kotaku

“I’m not pretending; I’m explaining the reasoning behind this,” Koshelkov wrote in one apology. “Our goal is not to over-sexualize our characters; it’s the opposite. The goal is to achieve realistic physics and reactions to the world. We have ragdolls, we have inverse kinematics, hair moves with wind, and so on. It just felt natural to have tasteful breast movement on the character.”

Koshlekov promised that the original post would be deleted and an apology would be shared in its wake. That apology said that the team “crossed a line” and was “inappropriate” in its portrayal of in-game jiggle physics. It was jumped on by Mark Kern, the aforementioned former Blizzard employee.

Kern posted a statement on X/Twitter saying that “you should never apologize to cancel pigs” because “they were never your customers. They don’t buy games/comics. They will ask for more and will even blast you for your apology. They want to hurt you, and an apology only emboldens them to do more. You lose sales. Your real customers hate you for caving. You leave money on the table. You have an obscure indie game and it’s hard to stand out. You literally missed your chance to get 10x the support and visibility by doing this. It’s not too late @FarmFolksGame. If you delete the apology and put the jiggle physics back in, and tell them to pound sand, you can still rocket your game to marketing success.”

His post was one of many lamenting Farm Folks’ decision to apologize for the post.

A Farm Folks character stands in a forest.
Image: Crytivo

Farm Folks CEO on backlash, boob physics, and bad actors

I didn’t expect Koshlekov to respond to my request for comment, let alone talk to me via Discord video call for over an hour about Farm Folks, his dislike of “cozy game” labels, the game’s purposefully cheeky content (which you can see in some of its older social media posts), and American politics. (Koshlekov is originally from Turkmenistan.)

“The wording was silly,” he said when I asked about the original post, the response to which he said was “overwhelming” and “unfortunate” because “the internet is almost a one-sided court” where “no matter what we say, it doesn’t matter.”

“The original idea was—yeah we spiced it up with a joke, which was the problem—but the general idea was to make sure that we’re doing [breast physics] right…because our game is very immersive. It’s not that we’re fixated on women’s parts…our entire character body is full of technology…to me, breast movement was not controversial since it’s human biology.”

A Farm Folks character model stands naked holding a card that says "Costume Design" over their genitals.
Farm Folks’ social media presence has historically been somewhat cheeky.
Image: Crytivo / Farm Folks on X

Koshlekov insisted that “he wasn’t even following” the Stellar Blade discourse. “I learned more about it recently, so that’s why we really wouldn’t gaslight [and pretend we didn’t know].” He then talked at length about how Farm Folks wasn’t just a cozy game, that it has elements of immersive sims, PvP and PvE modes, and was overall “a bit more mature” than other games in the genre.

“We’re apologizing for the wording…and there’s people saying ‘you guys shouldn’t apologize, not cool, you should stand up to the crowd.’ No, we fucked up. We’re happy to apologize.”

But the bouncy boobs will stay in some capacity: “Regarding elegant, tasteful [breast physics] implementation, I still think that we’re going to do it.”

More than once in our conversation, Koshlekov referred to “both sides,” suggesting that there were bad actors involved on either end of the spectrum. I asked if he wanted Farm Folks to court the kind of players that joined the Discord in bad faith, or those who believe that boobies should be bouncing at 150% physics. This was his response, edited for brevity and clarity:

We don’t want vulgarity. Because like, it can be fun. It can be a little bit goofy, it can be meme-y, but we’re not gonna go after, like over-sexualization goofiness in the ways like Conan Exiles, where you can like modify penises and things like that. We’ve listened to our community, we heard that sometimes we talk about, like, implementing, like, that jiggle physics, right? Which, again, like, we obviously have tons of settings for any kind of physics, like the body parts, just like we can, we can do it with soft spots like the butt, we can do it with chest, shoulders. Anything’s like we’re just assigning it—it just makes it immersive.

But to answer your question—No, we don’t want to attract nasty people, we don’t want those. We will have some limits—like as much as we want to give it, but it’s so controversial—I want the player to choose how they want their character to look. Like, if you want, for example, the breast to have a little more movement or not. But like again, it’s not going to be like you scroll [the physics slider] up and then this is just like all over the place, and it’s like, goofy...We are definitely not tailoring our game for little kids…We want to spice it up for people to have action, to have fun.”

Here, he digressed into talking about GTA and the team’s plans for PvP elements before asking my opinion on the issue. I told him that I had been the subject of a harassment campaign since early March. I said that I felt not pigeonholing his game in the cozy genre was smart, before bringing it back to the discourse, and the harassment that has often followed suit.

“The issue is political…some groups of people don’t agree with this, and some groups of people have no limits,” he said. “I think we’re in the crossfire, and the question goes to if [the post] was intentional or not—like, no, not really…We’re not using any kind of gross tactics where it’s enraging our community. That’s stupid, right? I’ve been hearing a little bit about the, I don’t really know the game name, the Blade game, I’ve seen the screenshots [of protagonist Eve’s outfits and body] and they’re crazy to me…it’s not even almost fitting to the game.”

I asked how he felt about some people, Kern included, saying that Farm Folks will miss out on support from because of its apology.

“Fuck that. I don’t care what he thinks,” Koshlekov replied. “I’m apologizing for structuring it badly…if we were to rewind the times, we would skip that.” He confirmed that some of his Discord responses were formulated really quickly, and there were some language barrier issues because of the swiftness in which they were written. “But I don’t want to use that as justifications, if we fucked up with that, we fucked up that.”

“We don’t want to be a part of [the culture war]. We don’t want [Kern] to give us any recommendations, we prefer to evaluate it from what we consider human character…we want to be sincere with our fans and do good…we don’t want to get into that kind of dirt,” he said. “I see this as the biggest problem in the United States [Farm Folks’ 20-person team is based in Dallas, Texas, nine of which are women], all the people are very divided. There’s two camps and everybody’s throwing stones at each other. I’m more on the side of like, we need to—it sounds a little bit silly—but I think it’s about uniting and finding a language between each other.”

“The goal is for players to properly represent themselves in the game. We’re not aiming for over-exaggerations,” Koshlekov insisted. “The goal is to make it very elegant and very sensitive to women and their bodies…You have to be a very poor person to kind of sexualize this…like the internet is full of sex right now. There’s some crazy things that you can find, if you’re having problems with our characters, like, look for help. Maybe go and date a woman or something like that. Because this is not our goal, we don’t want to attract people that are attracted to only these body parts.”

Though Koshlekov toed the “both sides” line, he did make it clear that the goal of Farm Folks is to “be diverse.”

“I’m not afraid of that word. I know those guys can pick it up and start shaking it like crazy like monkeys in a zoo, but we are after diverse gameplay. Everybody’s welcome. Doesn’t matter what your gender or your preference is, everybody’s welcome.”

I felt more than a little bit of whiplash while talking to Koshlekov—in one breath he’d say something like “everyone is welcome” and in another he’d bemoan the existence of radicals on both sides. He told me he was talking to me with an open heart, but made a comment about the press twisting words. In our over hour-long conversation, he spoke about saving bugs in his house, how young I looked (thanks Botox), and Turkmenistan politics. But ultimately, it felt like he was open to having a discussion and against bad actors using Farm Folks as a battleground for their culture war, even if he was hesitant to make sweeping, politically charged statements.

Only time will tell.

Not long after we concluded our interview, I was told that one person who was speaking out against the boob physics post was kicked from the Farm Folks Discord, ostensibly after asking about past Kickstarter campaigns. “We’re not banning anyone if they have questions or constructive criticism,” Koshlekov said in a Discord DM.

Update 05/02/2024 at 5:30 p.m. EST: After several posts of Koshlekov’s were sent to me in which he stated that one of the above quotes misrepresented him, I reached out via Discord DM and asked what he felt was misrepresented. Below is the complete quote from our original conversation, unedited, as well as his statement.

To the politics where it’s like there’s almost no way of winning any of them right, but like I don’t really want to win any of them. In a way—If you don’t understand and if you’re being radical about it is there’s not much we can do about that but the message with the game to like the fans that would like to enjoy the game, so the goal is to properly represent themselves in the game. We’re not aiming for like over-exaggerations, we want to be delicate and elegant with this, right, so we want to have it like some immersive elements in our games, but we’re not for some goofy disrespectful things like over-exaggerating things that can offend, and as I told my team I was like even like offending or hurting like five people in our, in our community base, we have no problems apologizing for that, right like, so we will try to tailor towards everyone it’s like they call it as our weaknesses is like ‘all you guys tailored towards your fan base,’ it’s like no, it’s like we are making a game, we want to make sure that like everybody likes it, you know, it’s like, of course, there’s a little bit of people, as you mentioned on both sides, like no matter what we do, but the goal is to make it very elegant and very sensitive to to women to their bodies. And if, again, I just feel like, like, of course, it doesn’t need to be over-exaggerated, but it can potentially exist in the game. [AM: Yeah] At the same time, we have no problems, like disabling it, but I feel like that’s a little bit of loss in the way that like, again, I don’t think that there’s any kind of sexual emotions attached to them. Right? Like, it’s just like, you have to be a very, very poor person to, to kind of sexualize that was like, like, like. The internet is full of sex right now. Like, there’s some crazy things that you can find, then if you are having problem with our characters, like, I feel like that’s, like, look for help. [Both laugh] Like, I think like maybe go and go date the woman or some things like or something like that. Because it’s like, this is not our goals. Like we don’t want to attract people that, like, are attracted to only these body parts. And we wanted to make it immersive and nice and kind of, because it’s hard for me to use word ‘realistic’ because, like, people will call us like ‘your game is not realistic’. But it’s style. Stylistically realistic. [AM: Yeah] Right. And always, like we’re paying attention to little details like realism, but it’s stylized, you know, it’s like so it’s still we’re trying to do realistic, right, like, character is reacting things. So like, they’re gonna get cold, they’re going to get warm, you have to wear cold, cold, cold jackets during the winter, like snow pants and everything is like we’re paying a lot of attention. And it’s just like, this particular piece, people are just like, get very attracted to it was like, in a ways like I still want to treat it as, we clearly fucked up with the message right? Like, but like I feel like having the mechanic like that, as you said as well as like, I think it’s okay, as long as it’s like, tastefully implemented. [AM: Yeah]. Without any craziness.

Kolshekov’s statement, sent via Discord DM:

“Hi Alyssa, I strongly believe that this sentence was taken out of a context to support a specific narrative and goal. I believe it’s part of a larger context where you and I agreed that having a breast physics in the game is acceptable. The quote that you shared was my response to people that are offended by the breast movement in the game. I’m clarifying what I meant since it seems it was taken out of bigger context and I probably didn’t choose the best words to express it. I didn’t intend to hurt anyone or call names, but it’s being interpreted this way now.”