hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

BioWare writer's vagina versus the Internet

7:30 AM on 02.20.2012 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

Jennifer Hepler is hated by people on the Internet, as Destructoid reader Ben recently informed us. That's not unusual in itself, as there are few public figures who aren't hated by a significant cross-section of the online population. However, when you consider what Hepler did -- or didn't do -- it certainly is a puzzle as to why she's despised with such pure, unfettered venom. She wrote for Dragon Age and Star Wars: The Old Republic

Hepler is a BioWare writer and woke up one day to discover the entire Internet hated her. A number of online communities recently started dogpiling on the lady, accusing her of "ruining" BioWare games with her writing. She's also received a lot of heat for admitting that she doesn't like to play games -- certainly a requirement if your job is to craft narrative (sarcasm). 

By far her greatest "crime" was suggesting that games should let the player skip combat, stating: "Games almost always include a way to "button through" dialogue without paying attention, because they understand that some players don't enjoy listening to dialogue and they don't want to stop their fun. Yet they persist in practically coming into your living room and forcing you to play through the combats even if you're a player who only enjoys the dialogue."

Whether you agree or disagree, it's not like she cut a toddler's achilles tendons with a rusty scalpel. Still, however, this is the Internet. 

Everything came to a head a few days ago. Hepler decided to join Twitter, but within fourteen Tweets she has already asked support if she can delete her account. It seems that gamers caught a whiff of her Twitter presence, and everything went to shit. 

Hundreds of messages have been sent to Hepler, as a simple Twitter search shows. Many choose to attack her writing and ability to craft characters. A staggering number focus on her physical appearance, choosing to call her such delightful names as "fat bitch" and "obese cunt." Some want to know why she's "obsessed with shoehorning homosexual relationships down gamer's throats."

Poor Hepler did not exactly help her case, publicly stating: "I just figure they're jealous that I get to have both a vagina AND a games industry job, and they can't get either." Unfortunately, that opened the doors for even more spiteful commentary, because everybody knows you can't defend yourself on the Internet -- especially if you mention that you have a vagina. 

Everything seemed to come to a head with studio GM Aaryn Flynn getting involved. After one user called Hepler "the cancer that is killing BioWare," Flynn retorted by calling him a "fucking moron." So now BioWare is accused of treating customers disrespectfully, and the moron in question is going on a crusade and talking about his hurt feelings. Nevermind that he started the insulting tone of the conversation.  

Because that's what gamers do, if this behavior is to be believed. Attack individuals en masse, forgetting they are people, and then acting betrayed when their victims have the nerve to bite back. It's all very well expecting "professional conduct" from a developer when a customer is angry, but when anybody's being demolished by a rampant tsunami of abuse, I don't think there's any amount of professional expectation that makes it unacceptable to lose one's cool and say something in return. 

It is the height of entitlement to believe you can say whatever you want, as hurtful as you like, and expect not a word of a retort. Those gamers now acting butthurt because Flynn and Hepler responded to the abuse are as cretinous and pathetic as one can get. The fact that this surrounds BioWare -- a studio known for making more adult games -- makes it all the more sad.  

Whether you like Hepler or not (I've not been a fan of most of BioWare's stories, period), this level of treatment towards a single person is never warranted, and it should make the gaming community utterly ashamed of itself. This is the kind of behavior that justifies the FOX News stereotype of the basement dwelling, antisocial nerd. This is the kind of behavior that makes the Spike VGAs look like the perfect gamer show -- because it's crass, immature, and it sports the emotional depth of a wet paper towel. That's how gamers look when something like this happens. 

You know what, though? Having a vagina and an industry job is a pretty sweet two-punch. I'm pretty jealous myself.



Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Just got an email from Nintendo saying that my Club Nintendo reward has been shipped and is on its way. Now it's the end of an era. *pours one out for Club Nintendo*
wutangclam avatarwutangclam
I've been thinking of starting up a criticism-minded "game of the month" type podcast. Would anyone be interested in something like that? If you'd wanna be part of it, let me know, I'm generating ideas and looking for contributors
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Playing the most difficult strategy game ever: trying to figure out what order to beat your backlog in.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Transient Ryu stays ripped by riding the rails and throwing other transients off of his rail cars - [IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b321/Felth/homeless%20ryu.jpg~original[/IMG]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I'm so, so sorry everyone. :(
kolten2 avatarkolten2
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJCiF5dBSpweeStTjOqu-uA/videos
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I'm pretty sure you guys know what game I'll be playing tomorrow. One of THE hottest games of the season. That's right, I'm talking about Lunch Truck Tychoon. Kojima ain't got shit on me, mukkas!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Playing Project Zero 2 on Wii. One should hope PZ5 got more sensible controls - twisting the Wiimote left/right to turn the camera does not make sense.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
"When you are not playing the game or choose not to join the defense, your FOB will be defended automatically by your Security Team and security devices." Yeah, I think I'll just avoid the FOB functionality in MGS V
Snaveage avatarSnaveage
PSA: If you're picking up Phantom Pain tomorrow, put the kids down for a nap, turn off your phone and tell your partner to pipe down - the opening hour deserves your undivided attention. Enjoy!
extatix avatarextatix
If you like your hentai VNs [url="https://groupees.com/vn3"]cheap.[/url] Or even [url="https://www.indiegala.com/manga"]cheaper[/url].
VeryImportantQuestion avatarVeryImportantQuestion
Just read that SquareEnix have applied some weird mutation of crowdfunding mechanics to the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided preorder. I know the last blog I wrote mentioned how big publishers try to pervert these systems, but to think it's already this far gone.
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
First in line to grab MGS V tomorrow. Close to my house, so it looks like I can eat and sleep comfortably. No one else seems to be waiting at my mailbox. Neighbors are getting suspicious.
The Travisionist avatarThe Travisionist
[img]https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CNwHpCTVAAA0jLp.png[/img] Sometimes, life is good as a ghost.
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
You know what, I'm just gonna come out and say it. I hope MGSV fails. It won't train wreck by any means, but I hope it's a huge financial failure. Nothing against Kojima, but #fuckonami
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
MGS V unlocks for me tomorrow at noon.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Since my blog using this is basically useless, I still wanted to share it. [img]http://i.imgur.com/a33WM5Q.png[/img] CAN YOU DIG IT!?
Manchild avatarManchild
I don't think you should be able to say #Fuckonami if you are deciding to support their product anyways. I don't often agree with boycotting and am not condoning that, but get your story straight and show a little consistency.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
When the band began to play the stars were shining bright. Now the milkman's on his way and it's too late to say good night. So, Good Morning! Good Morning!
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
I'm guessing all rock bands in the world must have stopped making music videos this year, since I read fall out boy's "Uma Thurman" won for rock video of the year. I can only assume there were no other nominees.that's the only rational explanation.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -