Developer addresses ‘real threats’ leveled at employees
Bungie has been proactively dialing back its interaction with social media and public forums in the wake of constant harassment, abuse, and threats leveled at the studio and its employees.
Speaking in a conversation on the Destiny Reddit, community manager Dylan “dmg04” Gafner confirmed that steady streams of abuse from community members — many of which went beyond “rude replies on Twitter or vague comments” and into the realm of “real threats” directed toward both individual employees and the company as a whole — has led to the studio putting up a new wall, so to speak, in order to prevent the physical and mental welfare of its staff.
“I will be very clear in saying that I appreciate the studio in the amount that it’s helped me personally after some serious harassment towards me and my family,” continues Gafner. “I’m taking time off in part because of this. Just because you can’t see it directly in a given tweet or forum reply doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.”
“None of it is meant to be a punishment to the people who can leave clear and respectful feedback for our developers, mind you. There are no instances at Bungie where people actively look at a conversation and plan retaliatory actions towards our playerbase via hotfixes, updates, or comms strategies […] I agree – it’s a bummer that we don’t have as much interaction here as of late. The team is planning ways in which to communicate with you all.”
The statement comes just weeks after Bungie filed suit against one Destiny player for repeatedly cheating in-game, before delivering threats to studio employees and suggesting that he might “burn down” the Bungie offices after being repeatedly banned from the sci-fi shooter.
Bungie’s completely understandable decision is just the latest story in a seemingly never-ending litany of cases where video game developers have received online abuse, harassment, and even death threats over all manner of complaints — from delayed patches to the lack of a port or release date. As I mentioned during the recent God of War ugliness, this sad trend is almost entirely a product of the connectivity-meets-anonymity of the modern internet, combined with a frightening lack of general human decency.
Hopefully, in time, this baffling trend in threatening human beings over video games, movies, music, and other media will pass on to obscurity. But, pessimistically, it doesn’t look likely to subside anytime soon.