Opaque Space Praised for Supportive Response to ArenaNet Firings

VR developer and NASA collaborator Opaque Space has been praised for its response to the recent ArenaNet firings, saying that it will continue to support its staff against online harassment. Opaque Space issued a statement on Twitter saying that “equality, equity and inclusivity are paramount to our objectives,” explaining that internal conversations had taken place following ArenaNet’s controversial actions.

ArenaNet, most known for developing Guild Wars 2, recently fired writers Jessica Price and Peter Fries after they were embroiled in a heated Twitter argument with other users of the social platform. Price’s dismissal came after she called out a fan who had offered his thoughts on her approach to MMO writing, sarcastically tweeting: “Allow me — a person who does not work with you — explain to you how to do your job.”

After Price’s tweet was shared on the Guild Wars 2 subreddit, many took to Twitter to criticize her for her response to the fan. She went on to tweet that she would be blocking “the next rando asshat” who attempted to “explain the concept of branching dialogue to me.” Fellow ArenaNet employee defended her, and shortly after the exchange, both were fired from ArenaNet.

Many developers have now spoken out against ArenaNet’s decision, calling the response an overreaction to Price’s comments and that it shouldn’t have been grounds for dismissal. As a result, games companies are holding internal discussions regarding how they will approach such online disputes in the future, and how they will protect their employees against harassment. One such company is Opaque Space, who posted the following statement to Twitter:

Opaque Space has been joined by the likes of Game Workers Unite, a labor rights organization that offered a damning response to ArenaNet’s decision. The group called ArenaNet’s decision to fire Price and Fries “startling,” adding that there was “an entire spectrum of responses” the developer could have taken. ArenaNet president Mike O’Brien spoke out about his decision, saying that the comments from Price and Fries were “attacks on the community.”