“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,” ArenaNet co-founder and president Mike O’Brien said on the “Guild Wars 2” forum on Thursday.
“I want to be clear that the statements they made do not reflect the views of ArenaNet at all,” he added. “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.”
The spat began on July 3 when a “Guild Wars” YouTuber called Deroir responded to a Twitter thread by ArenaNet writer Jessica Price about crafting dialogue for playable characters in a massively multiplayer online game. Deroir disagreed with Price and offered his own opinions on how it should be done.
Price’s reaction to this criticism seems to be what led to her firing, along with the firing of another ArenaNet writer named Peter Fries, who defended her on Twitter.
“Thanks for trying to tell me what we do internally, my dude 9_9,” Price tweeted on July 4.
“Today in being a female game dev: Allow me- — a person who does not work with you — explain to you how you do your job,” she added. “Like, the next rando asshat who attempts to explain the concept of branching dialogue to me — as if, you know, having worked in game narrative for a fucking DECADE, I have never heard of it — is getting instablocked. PSA.”
Fries jumped in at this point to defend his coworker. “Here’s a bit of insight that I legitimately hope he [Deroir] reflects on: she never asked for his feedback,” he said. (The tweet has since been deleted, but here’s a cached version.) “These are our private social media accounts — imagine you’re an astronomer and you start sharing some things you’ve learned in the last few months since you began a research project observing Saturn, only to have observation techniques explained to you by a layman.”
When one Twitter user said he was being “embarrassing,” Fries added, “Today is a national holiday. It is our day off, after working hard for months on our most recent content release. If I’m being embarrassing and unprofessional, it’s because I’m enjoying a beverage in the sun in my backyard and this nonsense is being directed at someone I respect. Jessica is great at her job and deserves to be treated with respect, was the gist of what I was reacting to.”
“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,” Price said later that day. “The attempts of fans to exert ownership over our personal lives and times are something I am hardcore about stopping. You don’t own me, and I don’t owe you.”
In the midst of all this, Deroir commented, “In a world where discussions should be encouraged, and not belittled, yet the opposite becomes reality, I’ve apparently found myself in the midst of a war I never intended to partake in. Disappointed. That’s all. #IAmAFeminist.”
Variety reached out to ArenaNet for comment. A spokesperson gave us the following statement: “We are committed to fostering open, constructive dialogue with our community around our games. Earlier this week, two of our employees failed to uphold our standards of communication, and they are no longer with the company.”