A game developer has spoken out about why game developers do not candidly discuss the work that goes into their games, describing how “gamer culture is so toxic that being candid in public is dangerous.”
Charles Randall, a developer who previously worked for Capybara Games, posted a lengthy Twitter thread about the problems developers face when opening up about game development, with it garnering thousands of interactions on the social network.
The other day a friend commented to me “I wish game developers were more candid about development.” He was surprised when I said we are.
— Charles Randall (@charlesrandall) September 24, 2017
Randall pointed to a recent thread in which developers behind BioShock, Firewatch and more discussed hidden mechanics in their games designed to evoke certain feelings from their players, writing: “See that recent twitter thread about game design tricks to make games better — filled with gamers “angry” about “being lied to.”
He then described how many are quick to criticize decisions made by developers without possessing adequate knowledge about game development.
He continued: “Forums and comment sections are full of Dunning-Kruger specialists who are just waiting for any reason to descend on actual developers.
“See any thread where some dumbass comments how “easy” it would be to, say, add multiplayer or change engines.”
“Any dev who talks candidly about the difficulty of something like that just triggers a wave of people questioning their entire resumé,” he added. “Questioning” here being an absurd euphemism for “becoming a target of an entire faction of gamers for harassment or worse.
“There are still topics I can’t touch because I was candid once and it resulted in dumb headlines, misunderstandings, and harassment. So while I’d talk candidly about certain big topics right now — I know doing so would lead to another wave of assholes throwing shit at me.”
Randall then gave a message to those who embrace the more pernicious elements of gamer culture: “But here’s the rub: all the stuff you ever wanted to know about game development would be out there if not for the toxic gaming community,” he wrote. “We love to talk about development, the challenges we face, the problems we solve, the shortcuts we take. But it’s almost never worth it.”
He concluded: “Next time you don’t like a game, maybe consider just… moving on? What is the value of helping spread hate and toxicity?”
Randall’s thread has been liked by over 3,000 Twitter users, with many in the gaming industry sharing and echoing his thoughts. With gaming as a hobby more-or-less requiring its followers to be online, many are inevitably very active across social networks, forums and sites such as YouTube, which often leads to hysteria surrounding certain stories within game development. This, as Randall points out, is off-putting for those who wish to be more candid about game development, as speaking openly about what goes into making a game can lead to a negative response from those in the community who believe they know the ins and outs of the industry.
However, there are also examples of developers thoughtfully explaining their games prior to release and this being well-received, with many appreciating communication from creators without feeling the need to stir controversy. With that being said, it’s understandable why many developers would feel that doing so wouldn’t be worth the risk, so maybe Randall’s comments will resonate with those he believes participate in the “toxic gamer culture,” and who are eager to criticize those behind the creation of the games they play.