Can't we all just get along?
You wouldn't know it just from looking at the surface, but game developers put their lives on the line every day they go to work. It's not because the work place is hazardous; programmers and game designers don't have to wear hard hats at the office or anything. No, it's worse than that. Some gamers--oftentimes the developers' most passionate fans--sometimes feel the need to threaten the developers' lives with violent acts. Because of a game. And in the age of social media, offenders like to hand out death threats like candy.
There haven't been any serious incidents outside of empty threats, but it would definitely be scary to be in the developer's shoes in that situation. And the crazy thing is that these violent verbal explosions happen for no logical reason, it's absolutely ridiculous. Of course, the vast majority of gamers wouldn't threaten someone's life over a game (let alone kill someone)--but when the threats do come out, the situation can get off-the-walls crazy. Just look at these instances in which some lunatics lashed out at game developers...
Robert Bowling makes Call of Duty suck. He must be executed
When you're the liaison between the development team and a notoriously rowdy gamer community surrounding a title like Call of Duty, you might expect to see some immature comments surface from time to time (judging on my own personal experience with online matchmaking). But getting publicly threatened on Twitter on a regular basis probably isn't in the job description.
Creative strategist for Infinity Ward Robert Bowling did an interview (opens in new tab) with Kotaku on just this topic, citing numerous cases in which series fanatics threatened to do things like shoot him with a sniper rifle and perform other unpleasant things (I'm talking about necrophilia right now) just for making community announcements about the Modern Warfare games. Sure, it sucks that Modern Warfare 2 didn't support dedicated servers, but holy crap, when did murderous intent become the answer?
Notch decides not to give Minecraft away for free? Notch must die
God forbid you start charging money for a project that took months and months of hard work. When gamemaker Markus "Notch" Persson first decided to release a beta version of his now extremely popular game Minecraft to the public, he was giving it away on a site that allowed gamers to download and play it for free. Naturally, the game became a huge hit, was ported to Xbox 360, and had a full release on PC which people had to pay for.
Obviously, Minecraft couldn't be free anymore, so every site giving the game away needed to be shut down (including some illegal ones). That's just common business sense. But some gamers apparently thought they should be able to play the game for free, forever. So, when an illegal free site shut down, the death threats began to flow. Notch later responded on his Twitter, saying, "Ive received several death threats after the site giving out Minecraft for free shut down. That is seriously not cool." Agreed, Notch. That's definitely not cool.
David Vonderhaar makes minor CoD weapon tweaks. We can't let you live Dave
This situation has to be one of the most ridiculous of all death threats in this article. David Vonderhaar is the lead multiplayer designer on Treyarch's Call of Duty team. His job is to make sure the multiplayer portions of the games run smoothly and to iron out any balancing issues players might run into during online matches. So, when Vonderharr and his team decided to change the reload times and firing rates for a few guns, then announce those changes in a community update, some gamers called for his head.
Maybe a little non-lethal anger might've been warranted if these changes dramatically affected gameplay, broke the game, or basically did anything of significance. But the changes were so miniscule that, if they weren't mentioned in the patch update, it's likely that no one would've noticed. This is how Vonderhaar explained the changes on Twitter: "The DSR fire time was 0.2 seconds. It's now 0.4 seconds. "The rechamber time was 1.0 seconds. It's now 1.1 seconds." So, the gamers calling for his death can pick up a tenth-of-a-second discrepancy? They're clearly overestimating their skill levels.
Flappy Bird guy pulls game from app store. Dong dies tonight
Unfortunately, for Flappy Bird developer Nguyen Ha Dong, taking down his simple, globally famous game from Apple's App Store wasn't the solution to the endless criticism and attention he wanted to avoid. Nope. Apparently, when you pull a beloved mobile game from the app store, you can then add death threats to your collection of troubles. That and, some people also claimed they'd kill themselves if the game was removed.
Look, I understand that flying this little bird through ripped-straight-from-Mario warp pipes can be fun (I guess?), but death threats over this? It's a game that you'll play for a week, tops, before you find something else to obsess over. Also, once you have it downloaded, you can still play it on your phone even if it isn't on the App Store. So why the angry words? I mean, the creator did at least give some warning that he would be taking the game down.
Oculus Rift can't be friends with Facebook! Defriended and beheaded
In March, the guys behind the innovative VR headset Oculus Rift got an offer they couldn't refuse from Facebook, the biggest social media company ever. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg came into the Oculus offices, dropped a couple billion on the VR company founder Palmer Luckey's desk, and said "You know what's cool? Two billion dollars." Then they both trotted off to do a bunch of well-funded, holodeck science (at least, that's how I imagine it happened). Anyway, Oculus fans weren't too happy about the buyout, hence, death threats.
And that extreme online negativity ran rampant. People from all over the company were getting negative emails and hostile phone calls describing all kinds of graphic ways the fan would introduce the Oculus employee to oblivion. Nothing ever happened to anyone, but it sure was enough to piss off Luckey, who stated, "We know we will prove ourselves with actions and not words, but that kind of shit is unwarranted, especially since it is impacting people who have nothing to do with Oculus." But let's face it, even if Oculus is an absolute success in the future, some psycho will still find a reason to be angry and send out a few more death threats--because Facebook, and stuff.
BioWare writer is a "cancer" to Dragon Age. Kill her family
You've got to hand it to Jennifer Hepler. This now-former writer for the Dragon Age series has dealt with a heap of verbal abuse on the Internet by enraged fans, and still managed to maintain a positive attitude. Hepler is credited for bringing LGBT characters to Dragon Age 2, which didn't fly with some of the more closed-minded commenters on publisher EA's forums. Some community members even blamed her for the unpopular combat changes in the sequel, based on an interview in which she said she didn't enjoy combat in games.
But some of the most disturbing comments came from community members calling her a "cancer" to Dragon Age and making threats to kill her children. You know, comments that make you want to barf just from how disgusting they are. But despite the abuse, Hepler is still working in the industry, albeit no longer with BioWare. Despite some loathsome human beings in the userbase, Hepler said the online negativity hasn't affected her career decisions.
DmC Dante doesn't have white hair? Welcome to die
Dante went through a few changes as part of the Devil May Cry series' reboot last year. His white hair was gone, he had a rough look over the previous manifestation, and his personality in the initial footage had him acting a bit like a guido juicebag. Hardcore DMC fans hated the new hero, so you can probably guess how they responded (especially if it's an entry in this feature).
What makes this story interesting is the response from the Ninja Theory's Tameem Antoniades. Besides mentioning his surprise at how creative some DmC fans were in expressing their hatred, he also said he "didn't expect death threats in comic book form or anti-DmC death metal songs." At least Antoniades could get something out of the situation. I suppose nothing paints a picture of your violent death better that an illustrated comic or death metal. Tip of the hat to you, violent DMC fans.
Be nice, people
Gamers are a passionate bunch, but some of us need to take a chill pill when it comes to publicly threatening people on the Internet. Anyway, you're more likely to get an actual response if you leave some constructive criticism. Have you beared witness to any of this online insanity? Leave your example of how not to act online in the comments below.
Check out some or our other articles like 6 hilarious, must-see builds for Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls and Video game secrets that were almost never found.