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North Carolina-developed LawBreakers will have gender-neutral bathrooms

They're a middle finger to North Carolina's government

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

LawBreakers is being made by the Raleigh, North Carolina-based team at Boss Key Productions, and CEO Cliff Bleszinski has been an outspoken critic of his adopted home state for passing controversial legislation allowing anti-LGBT discrimination. Bleszinski posted an image of LawBreakers on Twitter today to point out that Boss Key is making a subtle political statement with the game: It will feature gender-neutral bathrooms.

"Gender-neutral bathrooms in our new game," said Bleszinski, mentioning North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory in the tweet. "It takes place in the future, unlike the past you envision."

LawBreakers is set in the year 2105. A catastrophic event splits the moon, causing an earthquake that breaks gravity on the planet. By the time the game takes place, law enforcement agencies have teamed up to fight the gangs of "lawbreakers" that brought drugs and war to the world.

In the present day, Gov. McCrory signed North Carolina House Bill 2 into law in late March, after the state legislature convened a special session. HB2 is a two-pronged law that became known as the "bathroom bill" for a provision that forces people to use bathrooms and locker rooms based on the gender listed on their birth certificate. This prevents transgender individuals from using facilities aligned with their gender identity.

HB2 also contains broad language that, critics say, effectively legalizes discrimination against LGBT people. The wording of HB2 prohibits local laws within North Carolina that protect LGBT individuals from discrimination. In fact, the state legislature rushed to create HB2 as a response to the government of Charlotte, the state's largest city, which in late February approved an expansion of its nondiscrimination ordinance to cover LGBT people.

Dozens of corporations have publicly opposed HB2, and musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Demi Lovato have canceled planned performances in North Carolina as a result of the bill's passage. This week, the U.S. Department of Justice informed Gov. McCrory that the law violates multiple sections of the federal Civil Rights Act.

Bleszinski told EGMNow last month that two of the bathrooms at the Boss Key offices are now gender-neutral, and said he wants to build the studio as an inclusive, progressive workplace in the heart of the South.

"The N.C. GOP's just lost their brains, and if those of us who can be defiant here and do what we can to usher in the new South, and that's why I put my money where my mouth is and [why] the studio is here in the heart of downtown [Raleigh]," said Bleszinski. "We're gonna troll the crap out of Governor McCrory because he's an idiot."

LawBreakers is in development on Windows PC. For more, check out our hands-on preview from last month.

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