Attacking or abusing game creators online doesn’t make games better, BioShock creator Ken Levine has warned; in fact, it can be detrimental.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Levine addressed the recent torrent of abuse levelled at Treyarch design director David Vonderhaar over a Black Ops 2 patch, and the ongoing dramas which caused Polytron’s Phil Fish to leave the industry.
Levine said that he personally isn’t upset by online abuse, and has a pretty good life – but he worries about what knock-on effects gamer rage could have.
“It can end up being counterproductive for the gamers’ own interests,” he said.
“Like, for instance, Vonderhaar. Especially to start bringing your family into it. I’ve had people say threatening things to me. You know, it’s like, why would he want to get up the next morning and go try?”
Levine said he doesn’t know Fish and can’t speak for how much through went into the Fez creator’s decision to quit games development.
“But there are guys who I respect and like who walked away from the space because it’s just not worth the trouble any more,” he said.
“Especially if you’ve got families and got lives. Everybody’s entitled to do what they want to do, but just like the developer at some point is entitled to say, you know what? It just isn’t worth it for me any more.”
Levine said that while he personally stands strong against it, some developers are likely to make poor artistic decisions because they feel pressured by fan expectation.
“Say if it was someone besides me, the amount of pressure to get DLC out, I could say, fuck it, let’s cut half of it so we can get it out sooner. I’m used to the pressure, but there may be a guy who’s not like me, who doesn’t have the experience, who will give into that pressure and release something that’s not as good because they feel that,” he said.
“And that’s what I worry more about is how it affects games. As a gamer, game comes out, I hope it’s good, and if I like it I play it and if I don’t like it I don’t play it, and I think you can get in a strange space where it ends up being counterproductive for the gamers. But for me, it’s just part of the job at this part, but I don’t think it helps gaming.”