It’s time for fans to stop thinking they can be game developers


This Week In Games is a weekly column dedicated to the most important gaming stories. This week, Jake Tucker argues that players shouldn’t assume they know better than the people who make their favorite game, especially when harassment comes into play.

What makes game fans so zealously criticize the games they supposedly love? It sounds dramatic, but it’s always hard to watch how social networks are overflowing with a lot of armchair experts eager to declare that they have the only idea that the AAA gaming studio needs to fix its flagship product.

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These ideas, put forward by untrained players, who in many cases have no idea about the work that is going on behind the scenes, and even about what ideas could be experimented on behind the scenes, are often imperfect.

This week we were able to see not one, but two contradictions at once. After the first week of its beta testing, there were complaints that Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is too different/similar, depending on who you ask. Elsewhere on Twitter, Respawn Entertainment released a statement on social media asking fans to stop harassing their development team.

The apex of the legend.
The apex of the legend. Credit: Respawn Entertainment
There are several different issues in these various complaints, but they all boil down to one important thing: game fans seem to feel so involved that they can demand changes to the games they play. Several responses to Respawn’s tweet stated that if Respawn changed what they wanted to change, the harassment would stop. “Then put the scope back on the radiator and don’t sell the jet skin for $160,” one of the responses read. “You will get constructive feedback when you create a playable and enjoyable game,” said another.

Elsewhere, streamers and content creators have complained that Modern Warfare 2 has changed the mini-map of the series’ trademark, as it no longer shows small dots of enemies during shooting, which, according to developer Infinity Ward, is due to the fact that they don’t want to punish players for shooting. weapon. Which seems reasonable for a shooter. Others complained that the killing time was too different from previous games in the series, alternating between claims that it was too fast or too slow.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Provided by: Infinity Ward.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Provided by: Infinity Ward.
Personally, I think the changes to the minimap in Modern Warfare 2 are positive, but it’s not about whether these changes are good or bad, and not even in the reviews in general. Constructive criticism makes almost everything better — for example, journalists succeed in being edited — but constructive criticism is not shouting at someone to fix their game, or demanding that something more fit what you want.

Unfortunately, this is not a new problem. In March 2012, Mass Effect 3 was released. The ending of the game was perceived by some fans as so bad that the community staged a firestorm on social networks, harassing developers and even going so far as to create a petition demanding that Bioware change the game. Bioware changed the ending. People Make Games has a great video where the developers talk about how much this has affected them, and if you’re the type of person who might think about tweeting insults, maybe watch the video to see what impact it might have.

It would be easy to blame the Dunning-Kruger effect and write it off, if not for the fact that in games it is often such a toxic event — and so often leads to harassment of developers, disproportionately including those who identify as anything other than heterosexual white men — this is one of the biggest threats open and transparent communication between developers.

As game developers and publishers begin to take better care of their employees and their mental health, it seems less likely that this constant pressure will give fans what they think they want and instead lead to developers isolating themselves even more and being less transparent about upcoming events. This is bad news for the whole industry, so maybe if the angry fans would stop the insults, we could all just enjoy the games — what we should be here for — and just have a better time overall.


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