ArenaNet is in a lot of hot water, and it’s not just because of what a former employee said on Twitter. After Jessica Price attempted to call attention to some minor sexism, the company responded by letting her go. As for another employee who attempted to stand up for her? He was fired too.
Jessica Price was working as a narrative designer on Guild Wars 2. On Twitter recently, she explained some of the key differences between writing for an MMO and a more linear game. She has extensive experience in both worlds. Then, a Youtuber attempted to explain how she was wrong. So far, it looks like said Youtuber doesn’t have much experience in either field. Or, at least, not as much as Ms. Price.
After responding by calling this out – a man with zero relevant experience telling her how to do her job – Ms. Price was called into a meeting with management. According to Ms. Price, ArenaNet’s upper management vented at her and then promptly fired her. According to the company, it’s because she violated their social media policy.
Acccording to Ms. Price, it’s because they folded under a small bit of pressure.
Now, the IGDA is weighing in on the matter. After news of the firing broke, they released a statement calling for transparent social media policies from game developers. In their words:
“Two ArenaNet employees were recently fired because of their interactions with community members on social media. This incident makes very clear the perils of social media for game developers, especially when transparent and well-understood guidelines for staff members are not in place..However, with out clear information from an employer on social media use, interacting with people as a game developer can jeopardize someone’s job and career, and even their personal safety. The IGDA strongly encourages its members, both as individuals and as studios and partners, to clarify the guidelines and expectations around social media use, both in professional and personal accounts.”
So far, it looks like a lot of work needs to be done.