Jennifer Hepler writes for BioWare. She’s also under siege from an outstandingly large amount of douchebags across the Internet for a comment she made regarding working in the gaming industry. When asked in an interview what her least favorite things about the gaming industry was, she responded: playing the games. I have serious apprehensions about someone who feels this way about games writing for the medium, but a lot of responses were flat out bad news.
BioWare writer Jennifer Hepler is trying to delete her Twitter account as of yesterday after feeling the hate of gamers who are angry about what she apparently said in a 2006 interview.
She’s been called terrible things on the Internet, after a flame that was lit by a post on Reddit calling Hepler, as the “cancer that is killing Bioware.” She’s worked on Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age II, and Star Wars: The Old Republic.
The cause of this uproar appears to have been her response to a question about what her least favorite thing about working in the gaming industry was. Her answer: “Playing the games.” The original Reddit post featured a heavily edited version of the interview, which subtracted the fact that Hepler is expecting a child in the coming months, and therefore has a minimal amount of time to dedicate to gaming. She also mentioned that she finds it difficult to get immersed in a game that is not complemented by a good story: “While I enjoy the interactive aspects of gaming, if a game doesn’t have a good story, it’s very hard for me to get interested in playing it.”
Hepler also seemed to anger some gamers with her suggestion to add a fast-forward button to skip combat in games, similar to the skip button for dialogue and in-game cinematics.
The biggest objection is usually that skipping the fight scenes would make the game so much shorter, but to me, that’s the biggest perk. If you’re a woman, especially a mother, with dinner to prepare, kids’ homework to help with, and a lot of other demands on your time, you don’t need a game to be 100 hours long to hold your interest – especially if those 100 hours are primarily doing things you don’t enjoy. A fast forward button would give all players – not just women – the same options that we have with books or DVDs – to skim past the parts we don’t like and savor the ones we do.
The original screencap posted on Reddit included the words: Cancer, Infection, Sewage, Plague. These are not light comments. Reddit’s ohemeffgee also said that Hepler has been harassed with phone calls and emails from people echoing the statements made by Reddit user corporateswine, who uploaded the first Reddit post that spurred the witchhunt.
Man, what the fuck yo! I love me some BioWare, but good lord. She’s a human being. I actually can emphathize with people who are annoyed with her response. Maybe I’m incorrect (I’m off the cuff here, as usual), but I think that writing for a video game is writing for a very specific medium. It’s not writing a novel and then shoehorning it into polygons. So when someone doesn’t appreciate the medium, I can respect the idea that perhaps her writing isn’t meshing best with it. Maybe it doesn’t hurt at all.
Regardless, as usual, internet scum has proven capable of being internet scum.