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Note: The developer wanted to include a final thought. This was sent before before the developer had seen the article but not received until well after it went live. It has been amended to the end of the article. 

The gaming community has faced a great amount of turbulence over the last several months. As the industry has grown in popularity and size, it has fallen under the scrutiny of the public eye more and more. In the past, gaming was the target of groups who viewed the medium as Satanic, violent, and breeding everything from lazy and incompetent children to sociopathic killers. But gamers fought against that and won. This time though, players have noted that what was once a very unified community is torn. Gaming has, to some, become a target for accusations of supposed prejudice, not just in games but in the industry and userbase itself. In addition, there are accusations of collusion between those who make the social justice argument and many figures in gaming media, who promote it. From that, revolts like Gamergate have spawned, many gamers flocked to less formal avenues like YouTube or to user made content like Reddit. Meanwhile, the larger part of the industry has mostly remained silent, not wanting to poke the hive.

Until an anonymous AAA developer shared his thoughts on WordPress, in a blog with one post called “The State of Gaming.” His first official post, “The Oppressed Rulers of the Games Industry,” caught the attention of those associated with GamerGate. In his post, the developer begins saying he is a white, straight man, and details abuse he has experienced on social media, and how it has gone ignored. He describes an atmosphere in the gaming industry where he must hide his identity for fear he’d be labeled by gaming’s critics and attacked in such a way that it could endanger his employment as well as his company, games, and colleagues. The post was forward and direct, calling out some individuals by name. At the end, he offers a very unique insider perspective on the impact of publishers on these issues, and how they’re keeping developers and journalists silent.

TechRaptor got the opportunity to speak to this developer. By his request, no identifying characteristics will be given here, but TechRaptor editors have confirmed he is a AAA developer. This is to protect not only him, but the projects and people associated with him. When you read his blog and his words here, you’ll understand why. This interview was conducted in writing and some portions have been redacted by the authors request to preserve his privacy. 

TechRaptor: Would you like to start by giving a brief summary of what you do in the industry, similar to how you introduced yourself in your article I suppose? 

Developer: I’ve worked on many games, probably 10 or more during my career, a lot of them bad, a few of them good. I’ve been in the AAA industry as an employee of various levels of seniority, as well as running a games studio myself. That all said I’m not anyone particularly impressive and am genuine in my prediction that few would have a clue who I was even if I did go public, but I feel I’ve had more than sufficient AAA experiences […] to be able to defend it on the gender inbalance issues. No one wants more women in games more than the AAA industry, and that goes from the lowliest QA tester right to the top of management. I’ve been at several studios and never once heard a single person speak positively about the gender inbalance.

I firmly believe the way to heal any of the legitimate issues with the games industry (and yes, I still believe there are issues, even if the social justice narrative detracts from the credibility that these issues exist.) The solution is to be positive. Encourage more women into the industry. Show people how welcoming and desperate the industry is for them and their skills. Show that they WILL be made welcome, and their unique outlooks will help studios make better games. Put our money where our mouth is and support the positive female role models. Put the truly inspirational women on a pedestal and show female devs in the industry an ounce of respect, those who have worked hard to get where they are on their own merits then see these people representing their gender within the industry. Stop giving air time to these divisive apocalyptic people of who offer little more than politics and scandal.

TechRaptor: Have your colleagues frequently talked about what goes on on Twitter or Reddit regarding GamerGate, or any of the gamer related controversies? Or is it generally avoided?

Developer: Among close friends it seems pretty much unanimous that we all hold the same views. Some others care less about the situation, just roll their eyes and ignore the whole thing, where others are as angry and frustrated as I am. My game devs friends of whom I know their allegiances are somewhat pro-gamergate, and anti social justice, are more numerous than those who seem sympathetic to their views. It’s started to get to the point, like members of Fight Club, of looking for those giving knowing nods and realizing you’re not alone.

No one wants more women in games more than the AAA industry, and that goes from the lowliest QA tester right to the top of management.

There’s a tense barrier to finding out if someone is ‘part of the resistance’ or ‘part of the problem’, and the feeling of solidarity and relief every time you find another who feels the same way is a great feeling. It does feel like the barrier for discussing this is crumbling. It’s starting to feel like there are more of us than we feared when we felt more isolated and alone in our views. The problem with broaching it is the usual problem, the fear that the person you mention it to isn’t as aware of the darker elements of social justice and its champions, and they will make the same assumption that it’s a case of ‘I’m not a sexist, BUT… <sexist thing>’ – it’s a crappy situation that since these people project themselves as being ‘the side of good’, it encourages a knee jerk logical fallacy that any opponents are on the side of ‘bad’. As the veil lifts and you start to see through all this stuff, there’s a lot of external pressure to make you worry that you ARE a secret sexist, as well as appearing as such to other people.

TechRaptor: Do you think those “good guys” are the biggest reason there are few women in the industry, or do you think there are other factors at play in that? 

Developer: It’s a combination of things. Back in the day of Sega and Nintendo, Commodore and Spectrum, it WAS a geeky male pastime. That sucked too, for different reasons. Back then I was ridiculed for being a gamer geek. Now suddenly it’s a massive mainstream industry, and while it is (or was, rather) going the right direction with more women getting into the games industry, the sad fact is like tech or science, there is just not the inherent interest from women to maintain a good split within studios. Whether this is an issue with how the genders are encouraged or discouraged into specific careers, it does seem to be a pretty immutable fact that generally these industries don’t attract women as much as we’d like.

This sucks for those women playing games not having more representation in development, and I dare say this does have an impact on the believability of female characters, or developers falling victim to their own sexual ideals when designing characters, but the solution is NOT to drag AAA studios over coals and tell them they have got to (somehow) divine the female mind without access to enough talented female developers, but rather to try and encourage more women to go against whatever forces tend to move them away from these types of careers. As I’ve said before, the current climate social justice perpetuates is doing nothing to help this.situation. I honestly wonder if its really ever a feasible goal to get to 50/50, I think it’s more a case of just fighting for as high a ratio as we can.

TechRaptor: In terms of media, what do you think about the “rise of YouTube” and how entertainment critics like Total Biscuit or Let’s Players have started to gain more influence than traditional gaming journals? Is the perception better there from triple A?

Developer: Oh that’s definitely the perception. YouTube is enjoying a golden age right now, though it’s probably getting to the point where new huge youtubers will need to wait for others to drop off. It’s obvious that the traditional games media are trying to get into videos more these days as they are so much better for getting the feel of a game, videos are more viral, and the impact of big YouTubers does rival the impact of the biggest sites. PewDiePie and a few others can make a game with a single video, their power far outstripping the games media.

However it’s important to note that at this time, YouTubers still get away with much less scrutiny upon them. It’s hard to floor any ethics criticisms toward TotalBiscuit since that is pretty much the number one issue to him, however there is the potential for corruption in YouTube as there is in traditional media, we’ve seen it already, and as time goes on I’m sure publishers will be setting up the same kind of red tape that currently strangles and compromises traditional media and that will hit Youtubers too. Preorders, review embargos and the like, are all designed to muddy the water and make it more difficult to honestly tell readers whether a game is worth their money. It’s easy to blame those compromised, but blame should also be thrown at those forcing the compromises. As I said in the original piece I do think there are issues with ethics in games journalism, there are always ways it can be improved and there are always compromises that are made likely to avoid getting blackballed by publishers, and there are always going to be cases where some personal bias may nudge ‘don’t do an article on this game’ to ‘do an article on this game’. But it works both ways, and there are good and bad people in journalism as there is in dev, and as there is in the gaming community.

It’s a tricky situation. But from my perspective the social justice stranglehold is the most important issue of GG as, if this escalates, the stakes to the industry are far more widespread than the risk of buying a game and feeling a review misrepresented it. I do feel that of course we should always be striving to improve ethics in journalism, and that’s an ongoing discussion that should neither begin nor end but be a constant calm dialogue and debate. But I feel people also need to remember to apply the same kind of scrutiny to all forms of games media lest we let others get away with things they shouldn’t while we all keep a watchful eye on what Kotaku is up to.

TechRaptor: Something GG talks a lot about is the inconsistent way sites like Reddit and Twitter enforce rules. When you received abuse on Twitter, how responsive was support in helping you? Did you ever get any justice there?

Developer: I didn’t try and get any justice. I just had the realization that I was only making things worse trying to defend myself or throwing back insults, I wasn’t going to win, I wasn’t going to convince people I was in the right, or that I wasn’t in the wrong. Also that my emotional situation at the time forbid me acting rationally, and all I’d do by staying on twitter is make the abuse worse, and get a bad reputation for my own twitter behavior. Whether I felt the trolling I got was unfair or not (I felt it was) it never even occurred to me to go on the warpath, or to bring twitter support into it. I just did the sensible thing and shut twitter off, and stopped antagonizing people. I didn’t reply to emails, I didn’t complain loudly about the contents of those emails. I just disabled twitter, and deleted troll emails by reading as little as possible just to make sure they were troll emails.

It’s easy to blame those compromised, but blame should also be thrown at those forcing the compromises. As I said in the original piece I do think there are issues with ethics in games journalism, there are always ways it can be improved and there are always compromises that are made likely to avoid getting blackballed by publishers…

The fact of the matter is, in retrospect, I rather suspect that it wasn’t quite as many people as my freaked out mind assumed it was. Similarly with people like Anita, Brianna or Zoe, it begs the serious question: When these people are trolled, how many actual independent human beings could reasonably explain the amount of noise they get on their twitter feed? How many actual people are we talking about here? No one knows, and that’s remarkable.  It seems like this has never been investigated, because somehow investigating claims is seen as disrespectful to these people. If we don’t even know even vaguely how many actual people are actually participating in trolling, how can we make any claims as to how these trolls represent anyone?

I can’t speak for the rules of places like reddit, but I do know that again, the way GamerGate discussions were so universally moderated across the internet, does make the conspiratorial mind start whirring. Again with this uneasy feeling that these people have the power to get opinions removed from any place on the internet. It only goes to demonstrate the power these so called victims have.

TechRaptor: Have any of the women you’ve worked with confided with you about the perception of women by the media or the rhetoric pushed by people like Anita Sarkeesian? Or if they’ve received anything they perceive as harassment because of their role?

Developer: I’ve never worked with a woman in the industry who held these social justice views nor been attacked by misogynist trolls. I can’t speak for their entire experiences, but as I said in my original piece most of them express dismay at how women are represented, and how the role models put forward by the gaming press are the worst possible people to represent them. 99% of game developers have no public presence on the internet beyond their own personal twitter feed, and thus the potential for them ever to get trolled or harassed by the internet is practically zero, unless they are a major marketing force behind the game, being interviewed and the like. Most people in the games industry don’t ever have the opportunity to be trolled.

And in terms of in-studio sexual harassment, I’ve never known one incidence of this. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, and I’m sure it does. But I wouldn’t honestly expect the amount of sexual discrimination within studios to be any better or worse than in any other industry (adjusting for ratio bias of course).

I will however say that on more than one occasion a female dev has told me that people like Leigh Alexander’s constant complaining about how they can’t leave the house without constant cat calls and unwanted attention from men has made them feel extremely self conscious about themselves and hurt their self esteem, that they don’t get that same experience whether they would want it or (more likely) not. This makes me sad too.

TechRaptor: On the other end, have you witnessed any colleagues being mistreated, either by other coworkers or by leadership, because they were critical of the social justice side of things?

Developer: Only on the internet, twitter, tumblr, Kotaku, and where these people tend to operate. I suspect the vast majority of actual developers either don’t care one way or the other, or don’t agree with the social justice rhetoric, but there is still that pressure to make sure before you can ever broach the subject with colleagues. It’s very easy just to skim the narrative and buy into it, and you never know for sure.

I imagine if I was as outspoken as I wish I could be on the issue, this would be more of a risk. It depends on the studio and the people though, of course. I can only speak to my own experiences.

TechRaptor: What do you think that the gaming media, particularly journalists, need to do to fix this perception they’ve given themselves and amend their relationship with gamers and developers?

Developer: It’s hard to say, because the solution would be risky. The solution is for a sudden bloc of developers and journalists to stand up and say they won’t accept it any more, so the misogyny label is diluted. One person alone will be tore apart.  It’s how to arrange such a thing safely that’s the sticking point though. No one wants to be the first to stand up. My insistence on anonymity is testament to that, as on any possible other issue I wouldn’t give a moment to worry about upsetting people with my opinions if I considered them important. I’m a pretty outspoken person, and the fact I’m cowed into silence on this particular issue only speaks volumes.

The solution is for a sudden bloc of developers and journalists to stand up and say they won’t accept it any more …

We need some kind of organization, some secret safe place to collaborate and organize a stand against these bullies. Sadly it’s not clear how many dont’ care, how many are on the other side, and how many wish they could speak out. It’s finding allies that’s the tough bit, which is why I wanted to speak out, and hopefully draw a few people together.

TechRaptor: You also talked a little bit about publisher influence in the industry, and how that has effected not only developers, but journalists. What do gamers, be it through Gamergate, or League 4 Gamers, or any other entity, need to do to hold publishers accountable?

Developer: Vote with your wallet. Stop buying games with review embargos on release date, or preorders. Sadly voting with your wallet is hard to do when likely 99% of people who buy games don’t keep up on games industry current affairs, or contribute to discussions on the internet. As well as micro-transactions, DLC, DRM and all the other horrid things publishers have foisted on the industry, I do honestly feel a lot of the ethics issues do originate from the fact that to do their jobs properly, games writers, game sites need a copy of that game from publishers. They also need to make money to pay their writers and hosting.

Especially with the rise of youtube, and the extra pressures traditional media is under, it’s difficult to see how they could possibly operate with complete 100% untarnished objectivity and ethics and not drive themselves into the ground. As well as defending the GamerGaters, I do feel the need to throw this in there because I feel it’s unfair not to consider this when condemning the games press.

TechRaptor: Now this next one is somewhat personal. If you could talk to someone like Anita Sarkeesian one on one, with no block lists and no fear, what would you say to her?

Developer: Anita. If you really want to help, tour schools and convince women to join the games industry, or to pursue university education on game development. Talk about the problems the industry has, but also talk about how they can fix them and how much the industry NEEDS them. Inspire them to be the inspirational and talented figures of the next gaming generation. That’s how you help. You’ll likely receive little to no trolls, little to no objections, and we’d forever consider you a huge positive force in the industry.

I will however say that on more than one occasion a female dev has told me that people like Leigh Alexander’s constant complaining about how they can’t leave the house without constant cat calls and unwanted attention from men has made them feel extremely self conscious about themselves and hurt their self esteem

TechRaptor: Lastly, to Gamergate, is there any one big change that could fix this atmosphere of fear that players like those in Gamergate could accomplish?

Developer: There are people I know who started the journey anti-gamergate, and are a gnats wing away from secretly supporting it. However these same people are terrified of the reputation of the GamerGate people on twitter, the angry mob, descending upon them and looking for conspiratorial stuff to string them up. A big problem with the Anti-GamerGate side is it seems that the moderate people are unwilling to throw the crazier elements under the bus and distance themselves from the more fundamentalist views they hold. This reflects very badly as it seems the crazier comments are accepted or condoned by everyone in that group. If there were more feminists distancing themselves from the likes of Wu, Quinn, Sarkeesian there may be more people willing to take those people seriously. The same holds true for the pro-GG people. GGers need to be better than the other side at policing those who speak in its name. It’s all about policing those who represent us the worst, vocally distancing ourselves from them, and since as we’ve learnt if anyone puts #GamerGate at the end of a tweet then the other side will be quick to accuse their thoughts of representing us all.

They seemingly haven’t figured out or don’t care that anyone in the world can write that hashtag at the end of the tweet, and that means nothing as to the true nature or goals of the majority of the movement.

It’s all about policing, knowing when to get behind someone and when to distance ourselves from them so as not to give the other side ammunition. We need to be a persistent, powerful, assertive, but moreover not a threatening group, so those that would paint us in a bad light need to be quickly condemned and thrown out. This is not specific to any person or people I’m aware of, just a general strategy I feel required to reduce the ammunition the other side has to sully GamerGate’s name and goals.

TechRaptor: Is there anything you’d like to end on?

Developer: Not particularly […]

TechRaptor: Thank you so much for your time!

The questions below were asked as follow up questions after this initial interview.

TechRaptor: Do you think that the move towards DLC and Microtransactions are harming the development process of games?

Developer: Less so DLC, or purely collectible and cosmetic micro-transactions as I think there are examples of this been handled really well and adding value to games. There are of course many many more examples of developers abusing this and nickle and diming the customer. Particularly on mobile and F2P. The biggest issue I feel with microtransactions is it’s pressure to alter the game balance for the sake of encouraging people to spend money on it. There’s a real incentive to make a game less fun for the sake of making more money, and any system that makes this the outcome is one we should be very skeptical of, even if particular uses of it seem pretty benign in themselves. There are certain things we should be united in saying this is not okay.

TechRaptor: Inside the industry, what is the biggest change that developers would like to see with journalists in general?

Developer: It all comes back down to distancing itself from social justice, to me. We can all hold different political views on any issue you can think of, but what unites us and makes us gamers is our shared hobby, career, life, and that is what is important. A conservative gamer has just as much right to read about their favorite hobby as a liberal gamer does, and it may be that the games press just generally leans in a liberal direction, but it still feels awfully unfair and out of place to me that this… ultra-liberalism is so prevalent in gaming media. I feel developers and the gaming media are there to service our audience: Gamers. It’s not the other way around, and while we can hold whatever political views we like, and have blogs and places to discuss those politics, the vast vast majority of people from any political alliance are going to your website because they love games. It used to be Sony vs Microsoft. It used to be Sega vs Nintendo. Something changed and now it’s ‘Man vs Woman’, ‘Gay vs straight’, ‘cis vs trans’, ‘white vs black’. Ask yourself honestly: Who really is responsible for constantly encouraging people to put others into these categories, focusing on their differences, insisting that everyone communicate with these people in a very specific way with an ever expanding rulebook, which in my experience discourages people from daring to communicate with these people and risking marginalizing them further. I’m willing to accept that a limited amount of political correctness and education is useful, but we passed that point years ago, and all I see these days is more divisive rhetoric turning groups of people against each other. This may not be the intended consequence, but it’s certainly the result, and we’ve got to stop signposting the differences between people, be that race, sexuality or gender and just play and talk about games.

That’s all anyone wants.

We can all hold different political views on any issue you can think of, but what unites us and makes us gamers is our shared hobby, career, life, and that is what is important.

TechRaptor: How has the backlash of the Internet on large projects such as Mass Effect 3 impacted the industry, if at all?

Developer: I’m not entirely sure I can offer anything particularly interesting on this as I’ve never had any experience of working on a big budget trilogy nor any of the lessons that would be learnt from it, and really it seemed to me that the expectation built up over 3 games and a long period of time that exacerbated the controversies around the endings. I’m not sure a single standalone game with that ending would have attracted a fraction of the outcry. It’s hard to know what lessons could be learned except ‘put lots of time and money into the finale and make sure it climatically sufficient for the length of the time people have been working toward it’.

Again, TechRaptor would like to thank this developer for their time.

The below was sent as a final comment that was not received until after the article was published.

I’d like to make a final point I’m not sure if it goes anywhere but I’ve been checking through links / comments to my post, and on the whole they are positive and pro-GG

The few places that are anti-GG are quite telling to me:

“Has anyone who says “SJWs are ruining [thing]” ever given evidence of something they feel was negatively affected by an agenda?

“What’s hilarious is that once you get tired of reading his repetition of all the usual transparently bollocks nonsense that has been endlessly repeated by GamerGaters ad infinitum, and can be dismissed with the merest application of logic and sense, you scroll down and the comments are full of people asking to interview the guy, and congratulating him on his insight.

They are so fucking stupid it’s unreal.”

There are hundreds more on the anti-GG areas that I could quote from all day. This is what people are saying about a frank admission that I spend a good portion of my online life scared about zealous feminists attacking me, censoring myself, censoring my game, and this is extremely unpleasant to me and affects my life adversely. They roll their eyes. They laugh. THEY LAUGH, snort, mock me and call me a moron. Some social justice progressive kind souls here huh? It’s disgraceful. Whether they think my logic is full of shit or not, they should be VERY concerned that their ideology makes some people even from their own political corner feel so rotten and it should be a case of making steps to make it clear that discussion is allowed. They are not though, because in real terms they don’t really care about individuals emotional well beings, just their own ideology.

The developer expanded on this on his blog.

Kindra Pring

Staff Writer

Teacher's aid by day. Gamer by night. And by day, because I play my DS on my lunch break. Ask me about how bad my aim is.

  • ArsCortica

    I really enjoyed this interview, even if there’s one thing that bugged me off – namely the idea of ‘throwing people out of GG’. It doesn’t work like that. There are many pro-GG people who use the #GamerGate hashtag whom I personally can’t stand and of whom I’d wish they’d go away, but – you can not remove people from a hashtag – . Period.

    Even if you could, this entire “PR thing” would do absolutely nothing. If GG had absolutely no people who did or said questionable things, anti-GG would just make up shit as per usual. Muh harassment, etc, etc. Hell, big players like the ABC plainly admitted they used biased information when portraying GG. Meanwhile, a fucking bomb threat in Washington DC on a pro-GG meeting more or less got zero coverage. Can’t threaten the narrative, can we?

    Finally, attempting to tone-police others is virtually guaranteed to lead to what could be considered an allergic reaction – nascent GamerGate first and foremost was (and imho still is today) an anti-censorship revolt, so if you tell others they mustn’t say this or that because “muh feelings”, it will backfire. And badly so.

  • Oh nice, and when I was reading the original blog post I did immediately bring up that one of the best ways to enforce a change would be for the staff of a major game to strike.

    Now here he goes suggesting they all stand up together, That’s a good lad!
    Well, he didn’t SAY strike, and while the execs that handle money aren’t the problem, HR presents a nasty barrier between. A strike would essentially be calling their bluff, forcing them to shoot themselves as well as the strikers. Money men would come in like “What in the fuck is even going on here? We’ve got deadlines, stop screwing around!”
    And then you get to find out who’s disposable and who isn’t. I reckon if faced with cleaning out HR or firing a large part of the project and potentially ruining the game, the execs would take their ‘misogyny’ lumps and kick all the HR and PR out of there.

  • Mark Samenfink

    Everything was great except I think this guy has missed a trick on one point.
    Anti-GG (The SJWs and corrupt journos/mods) Care only about PR. It’s all that matters to them, it’s their impetus for all public statements, and is their greatest weakness because they, as authoritarians, assume they can control each other when they cannot.
    The community formed (labeled GamerGate to make mass-libel easier) cares nothing for PR. We accept that we have neither the power nor the right to police what others say, beyond clear violations of a site’s TOS or threats of violence. This is also why collectivist accusations and guilt by association reasoning in order to cause shame, and submission, are useless against us, as we are each responsible ONLY for things we personally do. We can celebrate things that we have as a group endorsed and accomplished, but WE decide what those things are.

    Because of these 2 very different sets of baseline principles (collective resp/shame+authoritarianism vs Individual resp/no shame+libertarianism), we render the strongest weapons of our detractors useless, and we are (generally) not so stupid as to think we can kill an idea. GG’s goal has been to stop corrupt practices in games journalism, because an ideology of bullying and “justified” evil vs wrongthink gained undue power through collusion and nepotism, far beyond the merit of those wielding said power. When corrupt acts are the only way to get your radical, hateful bullshit the power to harm others, what happens when the path of corrupt behavior is taken from you, and policed relentlessly?

    If anything, GamerGate is like a massive-scale science experiment, showing how corrupt narcissists with power react when they must scamble to retain even the barest flicker of said power through merit, when the weight of facts and their permanence slowly crushes them under their own cognitive dissonance.

    TL:DR GG is winning because we give no fucks about PR which ruins the only weapon SJWs have. Some may fear us because of this, but SJWs fear us far more than you do.

  • AStereotypicalGamer

    I think the pro-GG devs all WANT to come out and say they’re tired of corruption, but no one wants to be the first and set the precedent and face the wrath of the Anti-Gamers alone. So, if I might offer a suggestion?

    Network. A lot of devs have their friends in other studios, and those friends have their social circle. You’ve found supporters and increasing the size of your individual group will encourage those ready to jump ship from the harassment narrative to join you and find safety in numbers.

    SPJ Airplay is a few weeks away. It’d be an ideal time to announce -even anonymously- dev support. Make a few Bro Team Pill style videos with devs in shadow and vocal distortion. Have everybody participate. Get as many unique voices as you can. And show it to the world.

  • Kitten Mother goes:

    I can tell y’all from experience on my side of the fence as to what’s going on at least where I went to school ( born and raised in the Southern US, went to school in South Mississippi in a public school and supposedly one of the best ones at the time…and they didn’t follow going into wearing uniforms like other school were, so we were one of the very few that were still allowed to wear what we wanted within reason ). I graduated high school in 2005 but didn’t go any further because of how expensive schooling was going to be and having no idea what I wanted in life.

    Now, with that out of the way —

    In what I can remember, ( grades 5-12 ) we had very little “computer science” and before those grades we just worked on basic math, science, reading tests and the like. I think that actually started when I was in middle school.. and even with that, it was more focused on science part of it than coding from what I can remember. Using computers to figure out and learn about other sciences like biology. Another computer class I recall had us toying with a sort of paint program to learn to make shapes. Very basic stuff but was difficult to learn since it was pretty confusing how roundabout ways you had to learn to make basic shapes. They timed you and you weren’t allowed much space to play around with things. That was a big problem to me. They didn’t leave you enough time to just…play around.

    Put it this way: I learned more from my dad that knew very little about computers than I did with anything useful in school. While learning about other things are what computers were helping us with, we didn’t have so much we could do about computers themselves. Computer classes weren’t exactly high up on teaching interests from what I understood of the situation and they just wanted ( in most classes ) to stick some notes in front of you and make you do tests and that was it. Study and tests was most of school life as we got older. We didn’t even have language classes until later years and even those were just Spanish and French. Once had a German teacher but they quit before I got to high school at that point.

    Finding how to teach people that learn differently wasn’t something that actually happened when I went to school. You either did studying, taking notes and testing for most of your grades or you were looked at as mentally slow and put in classes for trials of different ways of being taught…but they didn’t help all that much. Damn reading class… I was and still am a good reader but was put in it because I didn’t do well with the tests so I was made to feel like a fucking child and spoken to slowly like I didn’t understand English. It was demoralizing.

    The one thing I could take away from any of my experiences with computers in school…was more from my dad that knew so little about the stuff. He helped me and my sister learn some basic html ( that is now outdated from what I’m told… ). We also were very poor so we couldn’t keep up with how computers kept getting better over the years. Only the past few years now have I been able to even KNOW there were so many different types of computer languages, so many things to learn, so few places that I could learn and actually learn something from because they all seemed to teach the same way. I don’t know how I learn, I just poke at things and ask a LOT of questions and it usually makes people tired around me because I constantly need someone to talk to to keep the mind going and on track.

    Going to school, I wasn’t treated differently because I wanted to learn different things for my gender. I was treated differently because I couldn’t learn the same way the schools expected me to and usually failed tests and had a lot of catch up work to do just to pass each grade. I’ve failed some in my time as well. I had family that backed us up when we wanted to ask questions about how something worked, what we wanted to try if they could afford it…there was still the awkward silences because they weren’t sure how to react at first but it was never “You can’t do this because you’re female”. From what I could see, my family on both sides ( even though my parents split when I was five ) were very much feminist. They believed it was a great time to be alive because of what feminism has accomplished over the years. That we had the right and the freedom to be able to pursue what we wanted. …but this new wave feminism is all wrong. It’s horrible. This isn’t what I was raised on at all. It sickens me.

    There’s still so much I want to say but I don’t know how to put into works still…but I wanted this to be seen…and hopefully by the developer that raised this talking point to know at least when I was in school, and in that area, it wasn’t keeping women specifically down. It was the schooling itself that really, really was lacking. I hear this “Common Core” is even worse. :/ …thanks for your time if you’ve taken all this bit to read my rambling.

  • doofus

    Agreed. Seen people try it and it never works or goes well. Ever. All you can really do is just unfollow the crazies and move on.

  • This was my only niggle, too (easy, SocJus, I said niggLE). I can understand the ‘muh PR’ angle people are coming from, but anyone who has spent any time on the internet knows that asking people not to shitpost only begets more shitposting.

    I’m right behind reporting users who openly threaten/dox aGGros or anyone else, whether it’s under the GG tag or not, and distancing ourselves from that sort of stuff, but I’ve seen too many examples of people jumping into discussions shouting ‘Derail! Derail! Send more e-mail!’ to support this kind of policing in general.

    At the end of the day I don’t think GG is ever going to be culturally accepted through PR because it’s the media who reports on this stuff that we’re waging a war against. This is a long game and all we can do is let neutrals check out GG for themselves and they’ll quickly see it’s nothing like how the media protrays it; five seconds in the tag will make that clear.

    As I’ve said from the start though, our greatest weapon is SocJus’ own arrogance, which I genuinely believe will be their undoing. They’ve gotten pretty cocky over the last few years because they had success with some online slacktivism, but now they’re trying to take that show on the road and fucking with normal people in real life and that’s the rock they will perish on, I guarantee it.

  • LenLovecraft

    This was a really great interview, thank you guy for
    sharing. And thank you anonymous developer for expressing your thoughts on this
    whole ordeal and for having the courage of speaking about it I know you must
    have been incredibly nervous.

    It is my utmost wish
    to someday see a bunch of developers stand up together against these bullies
    that have made you all live in fear of wrong think. Know that you aren’t alone though, and that
    there have been developers that have trail blazed supporting GG for you. Off
    the top of my head there is Daniel Vavra of Warhorse Studios who stood up and
    said no more to corruption, no more to censorship, and no more to these moral ideologues
    trying to force their beliefs onto devs. You have Running with scissors, one of
    the first devs to take the side of the gamers, GG’s plight of being against
    censorship resonated with them since they have been under fire since creating
    their first game Postal which was deemed a murder simulator. You have Denis
    Dyack of Silicon Knights whose work was dragged through the mud by corrupt
    journalists trying to cash in on fact free sensationalism. And finally Mark Kern who came to GG after the
    catastrophe that was the Law and Order episode, who saw a group of gamers
    libeled by the media meant to protect them, eventually joined and even started
    a pro-consumer watchdog group.

    These are just some examples, what I’m trying to say is that
    you are not alone, I know you have everything on the line but I just want you
    and any of your colleagues to know that the gamers will always be on your side.
    You are one of us, and ultimately a lot of us just want you to have the freedom
    to create what you want without fear of being labeled something you are not.

    There was mention of distancing ourselves from bad actors
    using the hashtag.

    While we could never ‘kick someone out’ from a hashtag I
    agree that we can distance ourselves from them and for the most part we are
    pretty good at telling people when they’ve messed up. I believe that we as
    individuals are the leaders of GG so what we say under the hashtag reflect on
    it. So believe me a lot of us use it wisely, and I hope more people will in the

  • Walter Heisenberg

    Good article, thanks TR and anon dev!

  • doofus

    I guess the flaw I see here is he seems to be under the impression that these people actually want to help the industry, that they care about it, and that they want to create positive change. They don’t. They offer no solutions and they don’t want any. They harvest an environment of fear so they can say “see, I told you this was a problem!” They only care about being right, and they will do and say anything, ANYTHING, for that validation. Even if it means creating the horrible environment they bemoan. They WANT that environment to exist.

  • wcg

    I think he brings up a crucial point: It’s not really the developers that are the heart of the corruption and ethics problem it’s the publishers and media. It’s critical to understand that for AAA titles, the developers produce the game to the publisher’s spec and the publisher does all the promotion and PR. It’s a high stakes game and there is no ethics in PR from the publishers side. If they can influence a review, they will. As it relates to GG – it’s all bad PR from their point of view and their motivation is to placate the loudest voices.

  • wcg

    Feminist Frequency would be without a cause (and donations) if things got “better.” Much of Sarkeesian’s public speaking now is about the abuse she received from her video game critiques. The cause is the cause.

  • WhichDoctah

    God it makes me fucking crack my teeth when I see people say “I can’t say this because I FEAR…”. It makes me livid to see people understandably afraid of backlash from speaking earnestly.

    What makes it more fucked is that these people do not have a shred intolerance….But for their understandable and experienced experiences they are rendered void and WRONG by people with an agenda and a cult-like backing from radicals.

    It’s noon and I am reading this and I feel like I need a drink already.

  • hurin

    GamerGate cannot distance itself from anyone, because it is a leaderless movement and thus anyone (including Baphomet) can claim to be part of it.
    But since it is leaderless, it also makes no sense the actions of a few trolls should define the entire movement.

  • RandomDev

    Pretty good interview even if this dev has a poor understanding of human nature, still worth the read.

  • Paganator

    That’s my main problem with the SJW: their incredible negativity. They consider themselves a force for good, but they only ever act negatively. It’s no surprise they get resistance when saying things like “Dead or Alive has sexy girls in it, so everybody who likes this game is a misogynist pig”. Gamers feel attacked and so they defend themselves. Instead of improving things, it just creates conflict.

    If instead SJW said “Everybody should play Telltale’s Walking Dead game because they feature believable characters of varied ethnicity and genders”, then nobody would feel attacked and developers of games that match their ideology would make more money, encouraging more development. Positive statements would avoid conflict and create positive change.

    But feuds and controversy is what attracts most attention online, so that’s what we get even though it helps no one.

  • Italy GG

    Let’s not pretend cannibalization hasn’t always been rampant in GG since the start.
    There are people obsessed with PR who will attack anyone who falls out of line, it went so out of control it even spiraled in that ethics-only crusade thing.
    Been in GG since the start and there always was a little group of e-drama mongers ready attack anyone if that meant they got some attention.
    SJW-esque people are not limited to anti-GG, and trying to defend/hide what they do just to keep a parvence that all GG has dindu nuffin is just working against GG.
    Trying saying something remotely politically incorrect in the tag and see how quick they’ll try to bury you so that they can keep up a PC image of GG.
    Anti-PC has gone so far that some people in GG have unknowingly started playing by PC’s rules, “spite identity politics” just validated SJW rulesets.
    I wish GG played by its own rules (libertarianism and all) instead of being scared into PC ideology without even realizing it.
    Say what you will but GG validated identity politics forced onto gaming instead of countering.
    Reminds of that image “I gave up my rights but least I’m not being called a racist!”.
    I don’t blame GG for having fallen for the huge, unprecedented wave of fearmongering, but I blame you for denying it. You were scared into ideas you don’t believe in.

  • Italy GG

    This phenomenon in gaming is just a mirror of rampant political correctness moral panic going on in the US lately. First it was Hollywood, then books, now games.
    Authoritarian ideologues and their media always target the entertainment sector in an attempt to convert it to their agenda so that it can become a tool of propaganda.
    “If you don’t pander to our agenda we’ll have the media call you a racist/sexist” is a great form of control. On one hand, I don’t blame gamedevs for being afraid to speak up, they know that the first to oppose PC will be getting a wave of attacks from the media and SJWs, but on the other, if you want to keep the right to be free of doing what you want, you must fight for it.
    It’s not ok that your customers are fighting your battle for you.
    The passivity of game industry in front of obvious political coercion is a sign few people really care about gaming at large, or at the very least that few are so passionate of gaming that they would risk their status quo for it.
    Brad Wardell, Mark Kern, Daniel Vavra all opposed political enforcement and they are still alive, successful and employed – all the fear you have is just vapor, threats, not a reality. You just have to stand up and say “I’m free to do what I want”. If you don’t, if you sit there with your fear of reprisal and obey everything they are forcing onto you, then don’t complain about it: you allowed it.

  • Niche’s Commenting Regulars

    To make matters worse, any company truly accepting SJW no matter how big will be basically be painted as the penultimate villain and Sarkeesian’s pegging bitch. You have seen Bioware and Inquisition’s pandering to SJWs and look at how much praise it got from SJWs at the cost of basically be on the permanent shitlist of every GG members. So anyone who makes Sarkeesian’s game will only be able to make games for Sarkeesian and nobody else after that

  • Niche’s Commenting Regulars

    Japan has already opposed the PC movement and look what happened? Shunned in reviews as they no longer get the raving reviews. Shit has gotten so bad most have departed for mobile gaming or gaming altogether.

  • boag

    GGers need to be better than the other side at policing those who speak in its name.

    These things raise immediate concern flags on my part, but other than that i agree with a lot of what he has to say.

  • Batata Potato Patate

    What, you guys can’t tell the obvious bad trolls and death threat senders to screw off and try to reduce their exposure? I thought that was one of the things you do.


    Given the eagerness in which verifiably fabricated stories of harassment from GamerGate supporters are paraded around, I don’t see a positive PR angle working. That and the false flags during the first few months where people bragged about making false flag attacks followed by selective screenshots posted on Twitter by Wu.

    I’m investigating the dynamics of what’s going on with this perverse variant of social justice being pushed so aggressively. But it’s so difficult to frame research on this appropriately. Social Justice existed long before the Internet, so research needs to separate the broader movement from the small split that’s attacking gaming in such a bigoted manner. Even then, how does one tell the difference between a True Believer and someone who has simply been deceived? And is this part of the big women-in-tech push from the White House and parts of San Francisco & Silicon Valley and if so, how much of a part?


    It was never “ethics only”, it was “not your personal army to fight your gender politics war outside of vidya”.

    Wu? Okay. PRNewswire? Ok. Anna Anthropy? Ok. Mattress girl? Fuck no.


    Great writeup! And if you do manage to find the words that accurately represents your thoughts, I’d be interested in hearing more! I know how difficult it can be framing one’s thoughts into words at times ~.~.


    I don’t hate Inquisition. Few GamerGate supporters do because of any SocJus nexus. Personally I find myself relatively disinterested in Inquisition because of the rushjob DA 2 was and because I consistently heard the gameplay was rather easy and not very engaging.


    There have been devs that said they’ll completely bow out of GamerGate if there are attempts to “go after” publishers. Largely because of fears of potential antitrust violations.

    Combine that with a desire not to have publishers join in the anti-GamerGate brigade, and you have folk wary of criticizing publishers right now. But I’m sure that could change if there were publicly verifiable ways to observe l publishers doing this.

  • Inquiring

    Completely agree. GG needs to keep itself from becoming a twisted narrow ideology of group-think like social justice by allowing anyone who is pro-gaming and pro-gamer to say what they want.

    That is how GG became a force to be reckoned with in the first place: many voices that did not agree with anything more than stopping the unjustified and corrupt attacks against the hobby they love, and all had a different way of expressing it.

    I think it is good that some in GG police to expose non-GGers or those aGGros who pose as part of GG to give ammunition to the SJW hordes, but I also think sometimes you need the actual GG members who are willing to call a cunt a cunt publicly and loudly.

  • Kain Yusanagi

    He’s not talking the shitposters, but people like ItalyGG, I think.

  • Robert Grosso

    I honestly think it is a bit late for that, regardless of the direction the movement goes at this point. But that’s me.

  • Ah, well in that case I would agree, but I think the point should have been clearer because it did come across, to me at least, like he just meant anyone not using the tag for it’s one true purpose.

    I think the term ‘policing’ just sets off my bullshit alarm, now.

  • ArsCortica

    Threats can be reported to Twitter as a form of ToS violation. As for Trolls – what are people supposed to do about them? If they’re intend on shitting up the hashtag, telling them to sod off will only encourage them.

  • Meteor

    Thanks for this interview dev! Let’s hope many other devs will join against these bullies that are invading our hobby. Take care.

  • Robert Grosso

    I disagree.

    That perception more or less tarnishes the actual goals of the movement, regardless of validity.

    If you had someone on the forefront playing the PR game and showing how much of an upstanding person they are, those claims have less validity, and those trolls then get axed for just trolling. Kind of like how Martin Luther King more or less criticized black preachers in Birmingham for allowing segregation because of their inaction, and not stepping up or speaking out against those who were violent in their actions against segregation.

    Those preachers were more or less enabling behavior at that point. Even if it’s not the intention, GamerGate does the same more or less; you can report and censure bad behavior all you want, fact of the matter is you need someone to be that rallying point to more or less make those decisions, be out there promoting and fixating the agenda of the movement, and dealing with the riff-raff. Then, people outside of GamerGate might take it more seriously, or at the very least, might reconsider their stance or the rhetoric heard from other sources.

  • Smoky_the_Bear

    Yep and things such as the recent failure and following closure of the devs of Sunset show that pandering to SJWs does not equal success. Mostly because lots of these people don’t care about playing games, their hobby is complaining online, not gaming. Make a game that they approve of and they will nod at you appreciatively then won’t buy your game because they aren’t interested in playing it.

    They just aren’t a sustainable demographic for a developer to aim at despite how much they cry from the rooftops what they “want” from gaming.

  • Smoky_the_Bear

    Execs are the people least worried about any form of branding by the SJW brigade tbh. Their goal is to sell as much stuff to their core audience as possible. SJWs are neither there core audience or a large enough buyer demographic for them to worry about losing any money by pissing them off.

  • They know they control the media though. That’s practically the only rationale you can make for things like BMW temporarily pulling leather seats back in the 90s, and similar events.

  • Cari

    Thank you anonymous AAA guy, and thank you Techraptor <3

    Here's hoping this starts an avalanche of more industry folks and journalists speaking out.

  • Cari

    Rule #1 of the Internet: don’t feed the trolls.

    They thrive on attention, especially negative attention.

  • Cari

    This interview really hammered home the concerns Vávra and others have raised in relation to their experiences in their home countries with censorship.

    In some bizarre twist, we have devs in The Land of the Free, fearful of saying anything to anyone, lest the secret police shop them to Mother SocJus for badthink.

  • GEhotpants101 .

    “I wasn’t treated differently because I wanted to learn different things for my gender. I was treated differently because I couldn’t learn the same way the schools expected me to…”

    The school system in the south needs a lot of help. It’s not perfect here in the midwest, but I’ve heard pretty much this about the system in more than one southern state. I had the same problem, to a degree, but it didn’t hold me back so much I didn’t pass grades. Now it’s even worse than when you and I were in school, (judging by your graduating class, you’re a few years older than me) and I’m quite frankly scared for the future.

  • Arbitrary

    “…from my perspective the social justice stranglehold is the most important issue of GG as, if this escalates, the stakes to the industry are far more widespread than the risk of buying a game and feeling a review misrepresented it.”

    YES, for fuck’s sake.

  • ThatDragon

    I had the (dis)pleasure of splitting my basic education between the west (Utah) and south (Florida.) Both had their shortcomings and almost nothing positive. Back in Utah, at least the teachers allowed me to work at my own pace most of the time. But that was far faster than my classmates, and the district would not allow grade skipping. If it weren’t for a well stocked city library, I don’t know what I would have done with myself.

    Florida was a whole other mess, not only was I not allowed to work at my own pace, I was punished any time showed signs of being ahead of things. Add in that it was considered uncool to be smart… My grades suffered a lot due to my inability to cope with such a backwards system. Technology also wasn’t much of a priority at the schools I went to, even in the poorly named Technology class, where we pretty much only watched old PBS clips and as the final project, made a bridge with sticks. Almost never touched a computer. High school wasn’t any better, except for classic latin and art, the only classes I was allowed to work at my own speed (And latin only because I was the only 9th grader in a class full of juniors and seniors.) That didn’t last long though, as a sub in art ruined my final project and proceeded to blame me for having cheap tools (which have always worked well for me.) I walked out during that class and got a GED a week later because I just couldn’t stomach such a wrecked system any longer.

    I’ve learned and forgotten several times more since then than I ever learned while I was in school. All from self-study. I wanted to go to college, but the price tag and fear of it being just a repeat of my previous experience kept me from that. Though I’m currently considering a trade school, I just would like to be able to do a sit-in and talk with the staff first.

    Tl;Dr: The school system was/is almost completely broken. It’s only focus is test scores and the status quo. Also nowhere near enough teachers that really care about the students anymore. It’s going to take some big changes for it to be of any real value again. Add that college is so expensive now, that’s hardly even worth the debt anymore either. Though as always, YMMV.

  • jack

    “In his post, the developer begins saying he is a white, straight man, ”

    No he doesn’t. How hard is it to read what he actually said?

    He said he’s “a white cis male.”

  • webkilla

    Great write-up. I hope that whoever it is reads the comments here: As a gamer, as a consumer, then I support you whole-heartedly.

    I can also tell you, mister game-dev, that the pro-GG people have on multiple occasions thrown bad actors out – or at least marked those who turned out to be liars and trolls appropriately. The SJWs on the other hand… they can’t seem to get enough of their bad actors.

    And your final thoughts were also quite telling. Indeed, experiences like that seem to be par for the course for SJWs: You’re a subservient ally they can boss around, or you’re a fool who’s ideas can be dismissed and reputation can be tarnished.