On March 16th, EA Origin Members who preordered the latest entry in the Mass Effect series were treated to up to 10 hours of gameplay until the game’s official launch on Tuesday March 21st in North America, and 23rd in Europe.
It wasn’t long after that concerns over bugs and glaring issues over animations ran rampant soon after PC players got access to the game. GIFs, videos, and images of strange character and facial animations popped up on popular media outlets such as reddit and Twitter, and was heavily discussed on gaming forum NeoGaf.
Suffice to say, fans weren’t quite happy with the quality of the work.
However some individuals went beyond and searched out a member involved with the animation and begun a string of attacks (via messages on social media platforms) regarding the quality of work.
Many believed the animator was not qualified for the work and made quick work to point it out. Not long after, BioWare issued a formal statement over their official twitter regarding the issue:
— BioWare (@bioware) March 18, 2017
According to EA and BioWare GM Aaryn Flynn, the former EA employee was not perhaps the role as indicated and their contribution to the latest entry are uncertain until full clarification.
And truly, that is not the issue here, nor the reason I’m posting this.
I am writing because of the deplorable act of singling out individual developers, animators, contributors, or anyone for that matter involved in a product that is facing criticism.
We gamers — enthusiasts, eSports professionals, or simple hobbyist — are a proud voice in this growing medium. We are also a particularly loud voice when discussing our love for that medium. Yet when the voices change from rallying cheers to outright toxicity, we diminish our own credibility and value as a medium that is meant to embrace everyone’s diverse backgrounds.
We should critical of the work that’s put in front of us. We should hold certain expectations and digest what we consume with a deeper and broader understanding of whether a game pushes us forward, or maybe sets us back. Games are an opportunity to discuss issues like race, diversity, mental awareness, or even sexuality. They are a chance to pursue technological heights and bring us into new horizons. Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we fail.
But when expectations aren’t met it is not a license to be mean-spirited and to go so far as to target people privately. Personal threats, toxicity, and utter asinine behaviour is not what the community of gamers and what our industry/medium needs in order to grow. Dissatisfaction with a product should not be reason to begin witch-hunts.
That mentality is beneath us. And that is not who we are. This outrage is unnecessary. It is vile, deplorable, and not what helps us grow as an industry.
I am a fan of the beloved Mass Effect franchise. And I do remain skeptical of the quality of work BioWare is releasing with this latest title. If I were to find myself unsatisfied with the final product come March 21st, I would respectfully critique the title and make note of those shortcomings in order for BioWare and its developers to know where things could be improved.
Singling out an individual will not accomplish that. It only drives a wedge further from what this community, this industry, and beloved past time of mine strives for.
Note* I feel it is important that I note a full story is available on news site Polygon, and being tweeted about by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier (whom I immensely respect for his writing style and journalistic integrity).
I had left the name of the presumed animator out, as I felt it was unnecessary to the overall message of this post (despite them being the focus of the issue), and because I do not want to draw any more attention to them.
In turn, I had also chosen to not mention an individual who is a key figure in forcing their agenda of singling out said animator. I briefly viewed the person’s body of work and found it to be of an opinion very different from my own that I believe does not contribute to the community of gaming. Not recommended…