When the GamerGate controversy broke, I was sure that Pro GamerGate had the right idea, that it was only about ethics in Game Journalism and nothing else. It’s funny how blinded you can be when you subscribe to a particular narrative, as I was back then, a mistake I realised only too late, however, not before I could pull myself out of the cesspool of hate and sexism Pro GamerGate had become.
There are still the idealists, of course, those who still believe that GamerGate is a platform for them to have their voice heard in favour of ethics in Game Journalism, but most of us have left. The fringe elements of the movement became mainstream, and if the last year and the recently concluded UP elections are anything to go by, fringe is the new mainstream, but I digress.
The reason I bought up GamerGate because, in our drive to call for ethics in Game Journalism, we forgot that there were people who were continually harassed, sent death threats and sexually explicit messages just for having different opinions. The ethics in game journalism was just a facade, a badge of ‘honour’ we could hide behind and pretend everything was perfect and that we were on the right side. Eventually, nobody cared about ethics anymore, it was all about harassing women, not even trying to understand how power structures worked, causing people to quit twitter, doxxing them, ruining their lives, to name a few, and yes, I know both sides of the camp have done incredibly foolish things, before you point that out.
Something similar is happening now, Allie Rose-Marie Leost, who’s profile, until recently, had ‘Lead Facial Animator at BioWare’, is right now being merciless trolled on twitter, with trolls asking her if he had done any sexual favours to get her position at BioWare, and the even worse ones asking if she’d sleep with them so they can show her how to make more than one facial expression. Keep in mind that BioWare has released a statement, without naming names, that Allie Rose-Marie Leost is not actually the lead facial animator.
These trolls believe that BioWare has some sort of a liberal agenda where they purposefully made the preset characters ugly, (and of course, the complaint about ugly characters is only about the Female Ryder, not the male one), completely missing the point that beauty is to the eye of the beholder, so what is beautiful to someone else might not be beautiful to them, but that is an issue that deserves it’s own post.
Allie Rose-Marie Leost, however, has been a target of vile tweets even after BioWare’s clarification that she is not the lead facial animator, so take that away and she’s just a woman who works at BioWare, a company which the alt-right thinks is pushing their liberal agenda through their games, again, in typical alt-right fashion, completely missing the obvious point that stories in gaming, and stories in general, almost always had a political subtext. So what does this tell you about the trolls harassing Leost?
Incompetence in making video games has never been blamed on a political or social movement, until today. By blaming BioWare of hiring people because they are feminist, they are disregarding the many feminists in the industry that have worked on successful games. The same alt-right will never praising a successful game made by feminists, because it doesn’t fit their agenda. Only when there’s incompetence, feminism is the easy boogeyman to blame, because BioWare makes games about a futuristic society where racism between humans and their gender identities are nobody’s business but their own and their partners.
“Witch hunts will never be about witches. To have a scapegoat, that’s the key” says Geralt of Rivia, in the Witcher 3, a game the alt-right seems to love (and so do I), while completely missing the subtext of the story, where racism between humans and non-humans is rampant, where the story is centred around helping refugees, and where one of the central characters is Bisexual, and yet The Witcher 3 was never called a game with liberal agenda, in fact CDPR has earned well deserved praise for their excellent work on the franchise.
Mass Effect: Andromeda’s facial animations and expressions are just an excuse, an excuse to attack the people behind it. Soon, it is not going to be about the animations at all, but just hatred against BioWare, and I hate to have to defend this company after they got acquired by EA. It is true that the facial animations of the game are atrocious and should have never seen the light of teh day, but that does not mean I get to send rape threats and worse to people who supposedly worked on the game, and accuse the company of having a liberal agenda.
It’s only a matter of time.