broke a story about an executive producer for zombie MMO The War Z who took to his game's forums to rant about gankers in the beta test. The developer, Sergey Titov, used a homophobic slur to describe those beta testers, which caused some commenters to erupt in a fury. He later altered his comments and issued an "apology" for the rant, expressing astonishment that anyone would take his homophobic slur as a homophobic slur. "I don't know where they [are] coming from," he wrote, "but I used it as a curse."
The sad thing is Titov's probably right: Far too many gamers think nothing of careless insults based on gender, race, and sexual orientation. But to see it from a developer and then see it dismissed by the game's supporters as something trivial and all good in fun between bros is embarrassing for the community. I'm glad he (or more likely, the game's PR) rescinded the slur, but I also know that subconscious and conscious bias seeps into gaming at the design, culture, and corporate levels, and I'm far less likely to pony up for a game whose developers just don't seem to get that the MMO demographic stretches beyond the privileged straight white male 20-something stereotype.
So today I'm wondering how you hold devs accountable when they say something that exposes their prejudices or blind-spots or just poor business sense. Do you expect heads to roll? Do you vote with your wallet and pick games where customers aren't subjected to unprofessional tirades by devs, or are you resigned to the suspicion that most studios are saddled with this mentality?
Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!
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