Viral fallout: PokeRogue community set ablaze by transphobic allegations as lead developer resigns

Drama has engulfed the PokeRogue community following the resignation of a senior dev earlier this week, with community members and outsiders alike accusing the game’s devs and mods of transphobic comments and policies.

The resignation of Samuel “FlashfyreDev” on May 16 came as a shock after the title became a viral sensation overnight. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, the developer stated his various reasons for stepping down, citing “scope creep” and that “a project like this ultimately isn’t compatible with my intended trajectory in life,” aiming to focus on his family and faith rather than a fangame.

Community members immediately began discussing the announcement, and a firestorm of controversy engulfed the Pokémon fan game and its developer. Receipts posted on X from a user on May 17 purportedly showed a conversation between Sam and another Discord user. They included comments where FlashfyreDev said he was “far from pro-trans” because of his “biblical view of the world.”

A statement from the official PokeRogue Discord, produced by moderator Lost In Thought on May 17, explained how fans could expect to engage with the official community space for the foreseeable future. This was written in response to Sam’s unveiled comments, which allegedly “do not speak for [the remaining PokeRogue developers] as a community.”

The Discord message from the PokeRogue development team in the midst of the lead developer leaving the project.
Restructuring seems to be on the cards. Screenshot by Dot Esports

The announcement also covered the “unchallenged” transphobic remarks left on Discord, citing an overworked moderation team as the cause. As a result, they hired a community manager who, in what they call a “severe abuse of power,” banned several mods. The server was shut down as the development team began the search for “a new community leader.”

However, despite the comments from the developers affirming the opposite, the community continued to post screengrabs of transphobic comments. A user posted Discord receipts through their X account with purported messages from Lost In Thought stopping talk about “trans topics” since “there are people that are not comfortable with the subject” in the community. They also included a document with several other images of Discord posts containing slurs and bigoted comments from developers.

Another user also alleged such behavior from the moderation team on Discord, stating that “moderators deleted messages of trans support” while leaving “transphobic messages unmoderated.” Yet another user posted a screenshot of an announcement from the mod team that stated, “there will be no discussions of any kind regarding one’s gender, political affiliation or religious beliefs in this server any longer. To compound this, any discussion of the previous discourse will also result in warnings at best and bans at worst.”

Clearly, the controversy has fully set the community ablaze, and the fires will continue to rage long after FlashfyreDev moves on from his creation.

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