My first thought was that Gaijin must be changing their name because they share it with the War Thunder lot in Russia - a fact that can make tagging hell. But the problem is actually the word itself - a Japanese term for ‘foreigner’ which rings alarm bells in some quarters.
So they’ve become Choice Provisions. but proved they’ve still got a way with a name by announcing two new games: Laserlife and Tharsis.
US indies Gaijin Games named themselves in honour of the games they played growing up - many of which were developed in countries other than America.
But the word holds pejorative connotations in Japan, where it tends to be avoided by TV broadcasters afraid of its ambiguity. And so the Bit.Trip gang have cut ties with it.
“No matter how you may feel about the word ‘gaijin’ personally, I think it’s fair to say that some people out there view it as a negative term,” said associate producer Dant Rambo.
“Being the upbeat, positive folks we are, the last thing we wanted was for people to be offended by our name. We are but humble purveyors of video games, and the end goal of all the work we do is to make people happy.”
Sensible. The legal and domain name implications aren’t particularly tricky, apparently, and Gaijin will henceforth be known as Choice Provisions - while their back catalogue continues to be sold under their old name.
The Bit.Trip series will keep the Gaijin name - presumably so that it doesn’t lose its fans somewhere in the recesses of Steam - but two new games will feature Choice Provisions splash screens.
Those two are Laserlife - a “metaphysical journey of euphoric sights and euphonic sounds” about guiding beams of light through space in search of the memories of a lost astronaut - and Tharsis, a game of luck about tiny decisions with massive consequences.
“It uses regular six-sided dice to model emergencies, repairs, research, collaboration, futility, and the madness that can only be achieved three days from the red planet with low air, no supplies, and an electrical fire in the greenhouse,” said Rambo of Tharsis. “Oh, and if you run out of food, you've agreed to eat Zach Gage.”
They’ll both be on Steam - like Choice Provisions' next thing, the imminent score-chaser Woah Dave! Are you lot familiar with the Bit.Trip series at all?