It seems the game development world is just as sexist and fucked up as other industries. There are more and more examples of this arrogant sexism coming out as time passes.
First it came to my attention is the departure of Amy Hennig from Uncharted. Of course there’s an industry and mainstream media downplaying of the way she was bullied out. The gaming media might throw out a few liberal articles about ‘rumours’ but are they going to bite the hand that feeds it and tell it like it is? Hell no.
As for any talk about artistic differences – well to any rational person, that’s a load of bollox. After all, why get rid of someone who has a proven track record in delivering a top-notch AAA quality game story just because a couple of other guys also came up with a different, but also good, story?
It’s clear, sexism trumps money – as usual and as always. Rumours said she was “forced out” by The Last of Us creative leads Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley, both of whom took over creative duties.
Then there’s the departure of Dear Esther dev Jessica Curry, who, in her blog cites health, toxic publisher relationship, industry’s treatment of women as reasons for stepping away from the medium
“Working with a publisher made me extremely unhappy and very ill,” Curry said. “In the end I didn’t even recognize myself anymore- I had turned from a joyful, fun-loving, creative, silly, funny person into a short-tempered, paranoid, unhappy, negative heap. So much of the stress that I experienced was caused by what I see as the desperately toxic relationship that I was in.”
“On a personal level I look back at my huge contribution to the games that we’ve made and I have had to watch Dan get the credit time and time again,” Curry said. “I’ve had journalists assuming I’m Dan’s PA, I have been referenced as ‘Dan Pinchbeck’s wife’ in articles, publishers on first meeting have automatically assumed that my producer is my boss just because he’s a man, one magazine would only feature Dan as Studio Head and wouldn’t include me. When Dan has said ‘Jess is the brains of the operation,’ people have knowingly chuckled and cooed that it’s nice of a husband to be so kind about his wife. I don’t have enough paper to write down all of the indignities that I’ve faced.”
Here’s an extract from Bloomberg Business Nov 2014
One night in October, before the media critic Anita Sarkeesian was scheduled to give a speech at Utah State University, someone e-mailed the school, threatening to commit mass murder. “This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history, and I’m giving you a chance to stop it,” the message read. “I have at my disposal a semiautomatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs,” it went on. “I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America.” The message mentioned Marc Lépine, a man who shot and killed 14 women at an engineering college in Montreal in 1989 before killing himself.
Sarkeesian had been invited by the university’s Center for Women and Gender to give a talk about sexism in the video game industry, which has lately become the kind of topic that generates death threats, in large part because of Sarkeesian’s work. As her plane made its way toward Salt Lake City, school officials quickly discussed the e-mail with police and decided it was safe for the talk to go on—it wasn’t the first time someone had promised to create havoc at one of her appearances, they reasoned, and nothing too terrible had happened before. The “terror threat,” as it was called, was reported in a local newspaper, and Sarkeesian learned about it after she got off the plane and checked Twitter. Her friends were e-mailing: “Are you OK?” She was too scared to leave the airport and called the school. After learning that the event staff couldn’t screen for weapons because of Utah’s concealed-carry laws, she canceled her talk, got back on a plane, and returned to California.
“Harassment is the background radiation of my life,” says Sarkeesian. “It is a factor in every decision I make. Any time I tweet something, or make a post, I’m always thinking about it. When I post our videos, it’s a consideration. It affects where I go, and how I behave, and how I feel walking down the street every day.”
The strange part is that Sarkeesian is essentially an academic who has spent the past two years putting together a scholarly criticism of video games as a medium, through a series called “Tropes vs Women in Video Games,” published on her website Feminist Frequency. Here’s the first of her videos
Sexism sells, but that doesn’t make it right. It’s time the industry grew a pair and acted with integrity.