Donut County was finally released today after six years in development-- but it was originally supposed to be an entirely different game.
Initially a game centered around Hopi culture titled Kachina, Donut County developer Ben Esposito discusses why he decided to switch gears and center the game around Los Angeles instead.
It's common practice for developers to create games that draw inspiration from the histories, stories and cultures of people around the world, however, there's a delicate balance.
Respecting those people's feelings while exploring their cultural touchstones is incredibly important, and as a game maker it can be easy to make mistakes, especially as a solo dev.
Esposito actually gave a talk as part of the Failure Workshop during GDC 2015, which addresses the mistakes he made working on Kachina, which drew from Hopi folklore, and his journey to understand and learn from what that really meant.
Developers interested in learning from Esposito about important issues underlying cultural appropriation in game development can watch his portion of talk here.