ArenaNet President Speaks Out: Fired Devs Could ‘Have Chosen Not to Engage’

The ArenaNet president and the studio has been hit by a wave of anger from the industry this week over the firing of developers Jessica Price and Peter Fries. Frankly, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as many felt that this decision only gave into the toxicity that lives in various communities on the internet, such as Gamergate. And while the studio stated that the two narrative writers had “failed to uphold [ArenaNet’s] standards,” more than a few developers and journalists disagreed with them.

However, thanks to an interview with Polygon, Jessica Price has now been able to talk about her side of the story and what she thinks of her’s and Fries dismissal from ArenaNet. She also mentioned more about ArenaNet’s president, Mike O’Brien’, who mentioned in his statement that firing the two developers was necessary due to their sarcastic comments being ‘attacks on the community’.

Yet, Price has been nothing but attacked since her dismissal from the studio, with a group of individuals taking to Reddit to celebrate that the two developers (mainly Price) were fired thanks to them. The reaction, to put it bluntly, was disturbing and set a chilling precedent for developers in other studios: that their jobs may be at risk due to fan engagement.

But what is more disturbing is that, when asked by Polygon to comment, O’Brien only had this to say: “[Price] was representing the company. The expectation was to behave professionally and respectfully, or at least walk away. Instead, she attacked,” O’Brien continued. “We want to hear from our players. It’s not acceptable that an attempted interaction with our company — in this case a polite game suggestion — would be met with open hostility and derision from us.”

Some would argue that this is where the root of the problem lies. While the suggestion may not have been intended as a slight against Price, it shows a lack of understanding from the ArenaNet president on the struggle many women developers face at not being taken seriously. What’s more, it shows a response from O’Brien that, essentially, blames both Price and Fries for not being silent and instead taking a stand.

You can read the rest of Price’s interview with Polygon (as linked above) to hear more about her side of the story.