Levine: gamer rage “counterproductive for the gamers”

Thursday, 1st August 2013 00:18 GMT By Brenna Hillier

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.”

Thanks, GamesIndustry.



  1. fearmonkey

    Those COD gamers disgust me with their twitter insults and threats to Vonderharr, it’s not typical of gamers to be that way. It seems COD is full of those types, more than any other game.

    It’s one thing to talk trash but the entitlement of those twitter posters is unreal. That poor kid that talked trash who played league of legends that got arrested wasnt as bad as what these guys posted to Vonderhaar.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. FrankWhite

    yup, it is pretty common knowledge, the worst part of video games are the people who play them. that is not to say all gamers are bad, but the gamer community is incredibly toxic and juvenile.

    i am not sure why people think it is okay to behave like jerks because they are unhappy with a video game. clearly their parents did not raise them right, so they don’t know how to behave like civil adults in civil society. so they behave like gorillas, thumping the ground and throwing shit.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. salarta

    It depends on the game and what the creator is doing with/to it.

    I’m not saying personal threats to safety can ever be justified. They can’t. There is absolutely no point at which a video game would ever justify someone doing physical harm to someone else or even threatening it.

    But there are definitely points at which an angry or even hateful response is justified. Brand new IPs are completely exempt, but some of the “creators” out there working on existing IPs don’t give a single solitary shit about the IPs they’re working on or showing respect to the past. Most of them take the opportunity to ruin characters by remaking them into something they personally want to see, and in so doing, writing little more than officially sanctioned fanfiction. They don’t grasp or care about the characters as they were, and in many cases these people downright hate some of the characters they’re working on.

    Have a strong female protagonist you hated for overshadowing your favorite? Make her into a pathetic damsel in distress that your favorites get to save. Want to get rid of a character you don’t like from a series? Force them out and replace them with brand new fanfic characters you made up. Got a tough iconic protagonist and you personally hate characters that serve as powerful symbols like that? Drag her through the mud to make her more “human” because doing that caters to your personal whims.

    In cases like those, “gamer rage” isn’t just well-earned, it was basically asked for the very instant these people decided that their personal desires have more value and importance than the source material. When you show no respect toward the source material, you can’t walk away from the damage you’ve done expecting nothing but praise and parades. You’re going to get anger and hatred from the people that value the things you so callously tore down and threw away.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. Hellhound30x

    Well, I do believe in “voicing your opinion,” but threatening a persons family is waaaaaaay over the line.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Beta

    I feel that voicing an opinion is fine, but threats of violence or rude abusive behaviour is rarely/never acceptable.

    People should be able to voice an opinion without resorting to raging or threatening behaviour. Otherwise who’s going to give a damn about what you think?

    #5 1 year ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    Hahahaha. Salarta is still beating the Tomb Raider horse.

    Anyway, few people on the Internet can distinguish the difference between genuine criticism and “gamer rage”, so it’s largely irrelevant.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Ali

    I remember a guy wishing me bad because I tweeted something like it is good for MK9 to have most of the characters unlocked at the beginning. It left a sour taste in my mouth. I was just disgusted by how stupid a community can get. Insults abd flaming are considered to be a genuine part of criticism by some idiots self claimed hardcore gamers.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. bradk825

    He’s absolutely right. Devs could be tempted to take shortcuts, or change what they are writing into the characters to give in to the ragers, and end up taking away from the quality or artistic integrity of the game.

    My hope is that most devs will seperate criticisms from ragers. If someone is complaining but doing it properly, they should still be listened to, even if it comes at the same time as a wave of ragers, who should all be ignored.

    #8 1 year ago

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