When I was younger – in my late teens and early twenties – I did a lot of stupid and embarrassing things. I wrote a lot of whiny posts about feeling lonely, having no self-confidence, and worrying that I’d never have a girlfriend. When I streamed video games, I would often yell at my viewers and throw temper tantrums at games. I was immature, cringey, and embarrassing in just about every way imaginable.
As I entered my mid-twenties, I realized that I wasn’t proud of any of my behavior, and did my best to change myself and turn my life around. I got a job at a video game company, I made friends, I stopped basing my self-worth on my relationship status, and I did my best to drop all of the habits that I was ashamed of. I became a much happier person. In 2013, I realized that I had acquired the skills necessary to independently develop video games, so I left my job to become an indie dev.
Around 2014, I pitched the idea for Yandere Simulator on 4chan’s “/v/”, a message board about video games. Everyone who posted in the thread loved the idea of the game, so I began working on it. For a few months, everything was wonderful – we were having fantastic threads and having a great time planning out every aspect of the game. But eventually, people realized that “YandereDev” was actually that cringey guy from back in 2009 who was always either whining or raging.
Slowly, the focus of the threads stopped being about my current project, and started being about my former self. Instead of discussing game design, game mechanics, and gameplay, the threads became exclusively about ridiculing me for who I was in the past. /v/ no longer wished to support me or my project, even though I had spent months building a game for them. It was incredibly disheartening, especially when I had put so much effort into improving and rebuilding myself.
Around that point in time, Yandere Simulator was discovered by big YouTubers like Jacksepticeye, Markiplier, and PewDiePie. The game got a new audience, and I got a fresh start. I continued developing Yandere Simulator, but the entire time, I was fearful that the past would repeat itself. I was worried that one day, my new audience would learn about all the stupid cringey things I did in my youth, and turn on me just as the 4chan audience had.
There are people in this world whose hobby is shaming and ridiculing other people. Digging for dirt in other peoples’ lives is their favorite past-time. Humiliating their victims is like a recreational activity for them. They’ll go as deep as they possibly can into your personal life and look for absolutely any quote, screenshot, or chat log that can be used against you. They’re not doing it for any noble reason; they just enjoy the cruelty of it.
These people heard about me, and decided that I seemed like the type of person who would provide them with lots of entertainment. They get amusement from shaming and ridiculing people, so they choose to perceive me as a shameful, ridiculous person. They judge me based on things that I said over a decade ago, and use ancient chat logs and out-of-context screenshots to convince themselves that I’m a cartoonish caricature of who I actually am.
I’m a human being with emotions, I’m frequently put into very unpleasant and stressful situations, and sometimes my judgement is clouded by frustration and anger. As a result, there have been times when I was be short-tempered and rude; these moments account for less than 1% of my interactions with other people. These people judge me exclusively on those 1% of regretful moments; it validates what they want to believe. They’re not interested in truth or reality; just shame and ridicule.
They want to maintain a mental image of me as a pathetic, whiny, cringey loser, because it facilitates their hobby of mocking and humiliating other people. They want to cling to a warped and twisted perception of me, because an exaggerated caricature is much more fun than a boring person with normal flaws. They grasp at straws, make mountains out of molehills, jump to conclusions, believe people without evidence, and convince themselves of things that never happened.
Imagine that there was a time in your life when you weighed 500 pounds, but then you went on a diet and achieved a reasonable weight. Now, you only eat a candy bar once a month. However, some weird people stalk you and take photos of you whenever you eat a candy bar, and try to spread a narrative that you’re a fat pig who is constantly stuffing your face with junk food. That’s the situation that I’m in, except instead of portraying me eating candy, they portray me as my old self from the past.
It wouldn’t be a big deal if some weirdos wanted to gossip about me quietly in their little corner of the Internet…but instead, they sought to colonize as many sites as possible. They created blogs about me on Tumblr, threads about me on Reddit, videos about me on YouTube, etc. They’re committed to spreading Anti-YandereDev propaganda as far as possible, and convincing my fans that I’m a lazy slacker, or a scam artist, or a pedophile, or whatever other fantasies they believe in.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been constantly worried that one day, their propaganda would spill out into the mainstream and begin to change the hearts and minds of my followers. I knew that some of my fans were aware of the propaganda, but I didn’t know how many, or if it was the sort of thing that people actually cared about. I didn’t know if the propaganda was going to spread slowly over time, or if it was going to spread rapidly as the result of some controversial event.
On June 1st, I uploaded a video about the Photography Club. I saw the usual comments – jokes, memes, constructive criticism, etc – but I also observed that a significant number of the comments were insults coming from people who had been brainwashed by Anti-YandereDev propaganda. I realized that this nonsense was starting to poison peoples’ minds, and that I would have to start addressing the issue. I decided that my next video would be about Osana.
When I uploaded the Osana video, the comment section was invaded by the Anti-YandereDev crowd, determined to turn fans into haters by bashing me and describing me as a twisted caricature of who I actually am. There were also lots of people asking about tinyBuild and spreading ridiculous theories about why the partnership had ended. Every other comment was either an insult, ludicrous misinformation, or questions about tinyBuild that I was afraid to answer for legal reasons.
I didn’t want the Yandere Sim fanbase to see all of that nonsense, so I started deleting abusive comments, and removing comments about tinyBuild. When fans noticed that comments were vanishing, they accused me of “censorship” and “not being able to handle criticism” – even though I was only deleting insults and misinformation. I realized that I was in a lose-lose situation; I didn’t want propaganda and misinformation to poison anyone’s mind, so I simply disabled the comments altogether.
This turned out to be one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made. A lot of fans were absolutely pissed about comments being disabled; it was interpreted as an attempt to “silence criticism”, rather than shut down abuse and misinformation. Rather than protecting my audience from propaganda designed to make them doubt me, I unintentionally gave my audience a good reason to doubt me. I’d never been in such a situation before, and I was at a complete loss for what to do.
When YouTube comments were no longer available, the conversation continued on my blog, now with more accusations of censorship. I panicked and closed comments on my blog. This left the fanbase with two choices for where to discuss Yandere Simulator: in the comment sections of videos that are bashing me, or in subreddits/Discord channels operated by people who explicitly dislike me and are delighted to see people talking trash about me.
As a result, a huge portion of my audience has now been exposed to content from people who think I’m a villain, who are trying their best to convert fans into haters. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, it’s probably the worst thing that possibly could have happened. I’ve had a few days to think everything over, but the next course of action still isn’t clear. This is primarily because…there’s no easy way to confirm how many people actually care about any of this.
My most recent video has 68k likes and 8.5k dislikes. If we attempt to use these numbers to determine how the Yandere Simulator fanbase feels right now, then approximately 12.5% of the audience has turned against me, and the remaining 87.5% of the fanbase is still on my side. (We also have to consider the fact that many of the people leaving dislikes on the video were never fans to begin with; those dislikes are just coming from the crowd of people that ridicule others for fun.)
Over the past few days, I’ve received a countless number of supportive and encouraging messages from fans, assuring me that they don’t care about any of this dumb drama and that they’re still on my side. (I’m extremely grateful to everyone who e-mailed me with kind words!) The ratio of fanmail to hatemail has been 95% / 5%. Perhaps this means that all of the hate and ridicule is only coming from a very vocal minority; perhaps only 5% of fans are susceptible to being converted by propaganda.
Of course, if you check subreddits or Discord servers operated by people who strongly dislike me, then you will see a lot of people shredding me to pieces, because the people operating the subreddits/servers love seeing it. However, that wouldn’t be a very accurate way to gauge the overall sentiment of the entire fanbase; it’s obvious that you’d see a lot of hate and ridicule in places that encourage it, operated by people who want to see me torn down.
Some people are immune to drama, gossip, and rumors; it bounces off of them like bullets bounce off Superman. They simply don’t care. There are fans who think it’s absolutely absurd to judge me based on cringey things I did a decade ago. There are fans who would never judge me based on an out-of-context screenshot from a previous phase of my life. There are fans who can be understanding and forgiving with me for losing my temper during times of intense stress. There are fans who don’t have any interest in stupid rumors and character assassination propaganda.
Let’s say that there are two types of fans: “Type A” and “Type B”. (This time, I’m staying away from biased terminology like “Chill” and Heated”.) Type A would be the crowd that doesn’t care about drama, doesn’t care about gossip, doesn’t care about rumors, doesn’t care about ANY of this, and just wants me to get back to work on the game. They simply want to see me make progress, and aren’t going to give a second thought to any stupid propaganda. Type B would be…the opposite.
“YandereDev streams video games for 3 hours a day!”
Type A: So? There are 24 hours in the day. Even if you play video games for 3 hours, there is still plenty of time to be productive and get lots of work done.
Type B: Wow, what a lazy piece of shit!
“Development is taking a long time!”
Type A: That’s to be expected. Most ambitious indie games made by small teams take around 5 years to be completed.
Type B: Wow, he must be a scam artist who is intentionally dragging development out for as long as possible because he’s trying to milk his Patreon!
The question is: what percentage of the population is Type A, and what percentage is Type B? Is it 95%? 87.5%? 50%? If the people who care about stupid rumors are the majority, then I may actually have to go through the trouble of publicly debunking every stupid accusation that has been leveled at me. But if they are actually just a very tiny minority, then I can simply ignore it all and get back to work on the game. Right now, I’m not actually sure about the best way to determine this.
Instead of focusing on what I don’t know, all I can do is focus on what I do know. First, I know that this entire situation could have been avoided if I had simply been more transparent about tinyBuild much sooner. So, the first lesson to be learned here is that I should do a better job of communicating important facts like this to the fanbase, to avoid situations where rumors and misinformation are flying around.
Second, it has become apparent that if there is not an official place to discuss the game, then people will go to unofficial subreddits and unofficial Discords that might be operated by spiteful people who hate me, where they will be unable to have meaningful or productive discussions. I need to create an official place to discuss the game; an environment where people can talk to one another with civility, respect, and dignity, instead of having drama and trash-talk dominate every thread.
With this blog post, I hope that I’ve clarified the situation for a lot of people – people within the fanbase, and people outside of the fanbase who are wondering what all the controversy is about. My next course of action will probably be to set up an official subreddit for the game, followed by getting back to work on Yandere Simulator. I apologize for everything I’ve done that made this situation turn out as badly as it has.
If you’re still interested in the game after everything that’s happened, then I’d like to thank you for following the development of Yandere Simulator.
EDIT: I regret suggesting that there are only two categories of people, “A” or “B”. I acknowledge that there is an entire spectrum between the two opposite extremes. It wasn’t my goal to portray this as a purely black-and-white situation, but that’s definitely how it came off. Another mistake made, another lesson learned. I’m sorry.