Guild Wars 2 studio fires two devs following Twitter exchange with streamer

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A hot potato: Two members of video game developer ArenaNet have been fired following a heated exchange with a Guild Wars 2 streamer and YouTuber. Writers Jessica Price and Peter Fries both lost their jobs after a twitter discussion with Deroir, who is part of ArenaNet’s content creator program, turned ugly.

The situation began when narrative designer Price posted a 29-tweet thread on the difficulties of writing player characters in MMORPGs. Denmark-based Deroir commented on the issue, suggesting that branching dialogue options could help overcome the genre’s limitations.

“Really interesting thread to read! However, allow me to disagree slightly,” he wrote.

Price didn’t take Deroir’s comments well, responding with, “thanks for trying to tell me what we do internally, my dude.” She then retweeted his comment with the words: “today in being a female game dev.”

“Like, the next rando asshat who attempts to explain the concept of branching dialogue to me — as if, you know, having worked in game narrative for a f**king DECADE, I have never heard of it — is getting instablocked,” she added.

Her response brought a backlash from the ArenaNet community, leading to co-worker Peter Fries defending her. “Here’s a bit of insight that I legitimately hope he reflects on: she never asked for his feedback,” he tweeted.

Deroir said was only looking for “dialogue and discussion,” and “meant no disrespect.” He also apologized for any offense his comment might have caused.

ArenaNet sided with the majority of Guild Wars players: it wasn’t happy with the way Price and Fries handled the situation and both were let go by the company. President Mike O’Brien said they “failed to uphold our standards of communicating with players,” and that “their attacks on the community were unacceptable.”

In an email to Kotaku, Price said “By the time that guy came along, I was so tired of having random people explain my job to me in company spaces where I had to just smile and nod that it was like, ‘No. Not here. Not in my space.’”

“The message is very clear, especially to women at the company: if Reddit wants you fired, we’ll fire you,” she added. “Get out there and make sure the players have a good time. And make sure you smile while they hit you.”

Price said ArenaNet knew about her reputation for being outspoken on Twitter—she made controversial comments about the death of TotalBiscuit in May—but the company “reassured [her] that they ‘admired [her] willingness to speak truth to power’” when hiring the writer.

The situation has split opinion. Price has been involved in plenty of controversy before, and some say she deserved to be fired for her rude response to genuine feedback from a partnered content creator, for which he apologized. The alternative argument is that this proves fans who shout loud enough have the power to fire devs using social media, and that ArenaNet appeased a small number of toxic community members.

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