Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
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 community fisters, 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

Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
So, SMT IV: Final looks like it'll make fans of the older games happy. Especially fans of SMT 2.
Flegma avatarFlegma
Do games go in cycles like style? I mean, I think I can just as well play my 1993 Space Hulk (PC CD) instead of getting the moderately new Space Hulk instead.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Well, Nekro's going to do a randomised Pokemon Emerald Nuzloke run. This'll... be horrifying, I'll bet. Especially if I make moves and abilities random, too. Yeah...
Occams avatarOccams
Naruto 4 installs on my PS4 and it updates. Game says it can't run story mode during installation. Nothing's installing though. Restarted PS4. Reinstalled. Nothing. Fucking dumb.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
This plays in my head every time I tell myself to stay determined.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Tonight, I learned what Flanx and MrNovember sound like in discord, listened to the best idea for a movie ever, and learned a little more about the depths of human depravity. A night well spent. Fuck us all.
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
So, the artist that they used for Street Fighter 5's story mode(the arcade one) is kinda...not good. Go look up Laura's CGs. Colors are pale, and proportions sometimes end up kinda bonkers. Like, "extreme hourglass figure" level of bonkers.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Justin Timberlake blasts Kuma in the ass and dies.
ooktar avatarooktar
I'm loving these fighting game elitists trying to give me shit because I criticized Street Fighters Fight Money business model.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Thanks to Dtoid I now have this gif in my life, and I can't stop laughing. I seriously can't get over it.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Finished SOMA today , was able to do a second run without enemies with the "Wuss" mod, found it actually more frightening has you get more time to think about what is really going instead of doing hide-and-seek with the AI (Alien Isolation I miss you)
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
I stayed up late last Saturday writing a Dead Space 4 proposal outline. Solved every plot hole, had plenty of badass moments. This is the state I live in, people.
Torchman avatarTorchman
WHY DO THEY GET SOUNDS BUT PIKACHU AND CHARIZARD CAN'T. WTF
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Finished my Storge set and 4/5ths of that was on the clock today o_O I also got a dragonlord eyepatch, which is totally practical covering the right eye when Cyndel's hair covers up the left eye.
Lawman avatarLawman
So Zack Furniss told me I should play Dying Light on Hard. Guess who's never listening to Zack Furniss again? :-/
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Deadpool spoilers: He gets cancer.
beargreasey avatarbeargreasey
So Kanye just announced his new game, Only Once. It looks beautiful and personal. It's just a shame that I still have no idea what it is.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I dunno why people are getting so huffy about Windows Store / XbOne Quantum Break crossbuy. It means double the gamerscore for me, and AW and AW:AN are rereleasing on the One so I'll have owned them 3 times over. Great games.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I once considered pitching an idea for a Dtoid Australia podcast, but then I realised it'd probably just be Zyk and I getting drunk on Foster's and complaining about Atlus for half an hour each week while incessantly calling each other cunts.
Parismio avatarParismio
New Splatfest is Pokemon Red vs Pokemon Blue. Im Blue Team bitches!
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 -