The video game industry is currently not very happy with game developer ArenaNet after they fired two writers from the team of Guild Wars 2. ArenaNet fired writers Jessica Price and Peter Fries after the former writer replied to a Twitter user's criticism.
The user, named Deroir, happens to be a YouTuber and also a Twitch streamer. He disagreed with Jessica Price about the writing for MMOs versus single-player games. Price stated what Deroir said was "mansplaining," which is an issue that she has had to deal with as a writer for years. Peter Fries, one of Price's co-workers, joined the conversation on the micro-blogging site to show his support for her.
Since we've got a lot of hurt manfeels today, lemme make something clear: this is my feed. I'm not on the clock here. I'm not your emotional courtesan just because I'm a dev. Don't expect me to pretend to like you here.— Jessica Price (@Delafina777) July 4, 2018
The following day, ArenaNet fired both of them and it appears that the netizens are not very pleased with it.
"Recently two of our employees failed to uphold our standards of communicating with players. Their attacks on the community were unacceptable. As a result, they're no longer with the company. I want to be clear that the statements they made do not reflect the views of ArenaNet at all. As a company, we always strive to have a collaborative relationship with the Guild Wars community. We value your input. We make this game for you," ArenaNet's co-founder Mike O'Brien posted on the Guild Wars 2 forum while announcing that that Price and Fries have been fired.
The company then released another statement. "We strive to cultivate an atmosphere of transparency around the making of our games and encourage our teams to be involved in open, positive discussion with our community. Earlier this week, two of our employees failed to uphold our standards of communication with our players and fans, and they are no longer with the company."
Several members of the gaming industry have come out in the open to speak out against ArenaNet and support Jessica Price.
"By handling the situation the way they did, ArenaNet told-literally told-community members that their desires were more important than anything else," the International Game Developers Association's executive director, Jen MacLean tweeted after the incident.
"And yes, of-fu**ing-course this incident will impact how devs interact with the community. Why risk it? You're not just opening yourself up to personal attacks and abuse anymore. You're now putting your job-potentially your home, your health insurance, your life on the line," MacLean added.
1/ What happened to Jessica and Peter isn't about how someone replies to feedback from the community. That's not why so many developers are outraged about this.— Jen MacLean (@jenmacl) July 6, 2018
6/ And yes, of-fucking-course this incident will impact how devs interact with the community. Why risk it? You're not just opening yourself up to personal attacks and abuse any more. You're now putting your job-potentially your home, your health insurance, your life-on the line.— Jen MacLean (@jenmacl) July 6, 2018
The co-founder of Giant Spacekat and also a congressional candidate Brianna Wu stated that this controversial firing is one of the examples as to why gaming companies need stand behind their employees. "Comments like this are why game companies need to HAVE THEIR EMPLOYEES BACKS. Because this is a toxic field that is only getting more toxic. The outcome of firing Jessica Price is every woman developer will have to stay silent when receiving sexist abuse," Wu tweeted.
Comments like this are why game companies need to HAVE THEIR EMPLOYEES BACKS. Because this is a toxic field that is only getting more toxic.— Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) July 6, 2018
The outcome of firing Jessica Price is every woman developer will have to stay silent when receiving sexist abuse. https://t.co/k9ByCQeDL3
Wu also added that she has previously seen Price stand up against "some of the worst people working in game development."
Pete Stewart, another fellow writer and narrative designer for the Total War franchise tweeted that if this incident makes Price and Fries exit the industry, it would be "a profound loss."
The end result of today is that we might end up losing two extremely talented people from the industry. Like, not moving studios, but exiting the industry. What a result that would be; what a profound loss.— Pete Stewart (@Peter5tewart) July 6, 2018
Something has to give here.
"Something has to give here. You can't just let the mob win like that," he tweeted.
Katherine Cross, a noted sociologist and Gamasutra columnist, Vlambeer developer Rami Ismail and Steven Spohn, the chief operating officer of The AbleGamers Foundation, also criticised ArenaNet's actions.