It’s one thing to report about developers getting fired over community outrage or over something silly you said in a public landscape. It’s another to somehow frame the whole story and narrative to make it seem like the fired parties are the true victims here, being oppressed by the very same fanbase who are toxic in nature.
Such is the case of ArenaNet, creators of Guild Wars 2, who recently fired two of its developers for breaking community rules: Jessica Price and Peter Fries. Right now, we have publications like Kotaku and Buzzfeed misrepresenting the current story by omitting certain details concerning the two.
Here’s a breakdown of what happened (via One Angry Gamer):
- Guild Wars 2 developers Jessica Price and Peter Fries were engaged in Twitter discussions with fans after Price made a public tweet thread about the game’s troubles of narrative design in MMOs. It’s a pretty lengthy insight but it’s worth sifting through.
- Twitch streamers and gamers engaged in a thoughtful discussion with Price. She responded with the following:
- Various Reddit threads popped up following the outburst. Check them out here and here. Currently, they’re getting quite a lot of upvotes from the Guild Wars 2 Reddit community.
- That was enough to prompt ArenaNet CEO Mike O’Brien to issue the following statement:
“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.”
- Game news publications like Kotaku and Rock Paper Shotgun wrote about the story. Some outlets chose to redirect the blame towards ArenaNet and painted Price and Fries as victims of a Guild Wars 2 community filled with “harassers”.
Our take on this? Well…
- Unless the developers had a torrid history of going out of line in public concerning community interaction and social media usage, firing the both of them seems a tad excessive.
- Remember: “my views are my own on my social media feed” isn’t a “get out of social network jail” card.
- It’s a sad state of affairs when your big gaming news sites love to focus more on stories that somehow bring gender into play as a way to get out of deep arguments and conversations about game design/game narratives.
- It’s good that developers speak up at times. But there’s a fine line between “arguing in a civil manner” and “shutting down people aggressively and in a patronizing manner”. We think that ArenaNet may need their PR guys to help bring Price and Fries out of this situation. Wait for the responses and feedback for a day or so, then come back with an insightful reply.
- If you’re representing your company and talking about your product, you still need to be professional about public interactions regardless. If, in an alternate timeline after Price said her piece and if INKS and Deroir called her nasty words and replied in a less polite manner, keeping your mouth shut and showing these replies to your more understanding colleagues and boss means that you come out the better person in the long run.