We continue our #GamerGate 2nd year special interview series by interviewing some more developers from the games industry (we talked to Doug TenNapel in our previous #GamerGate interview). And this time we’re happy to chat with Brad Wardell, the CEO of Stardock, and the designer/producer of games such as the “Galactic Civilization” series, “Ashes of the Singularity” and “Sorcerer King“. So without any further ado, please enjoy the interview folks =)
When did you discover GamerGate and what was your opinion on it when you found out about GamerGate?
I started paying attention to GamerGate when I saw the coordinated “Gamers are dead” articles. That made me want to find out what caused the gaming media to circle the wagons.
Do you think GamerGate has brought some positve change to the games industry in the past two years?
Brad: A lot has changed since. For one thing, the social justice warriors no longer have a free reign online. Before #Gamergate, the SJWs would routinely make life hell for whoever their target of the week was. I had been consistently targeted by them for two years before #Gamergate doing real harm simply because of my personal politics (I’m libertarian leaning and reject identity politics).
Many people don’t realize just how toxic the environment was for developers. Once upon a time, game developers would actively participate on forums and social media to talk about their game. But over time, the SJWs would drive them away because, surprise surprise, most game developers have personal beliefs similar to mine (we just want to make cool stuff, we’re not making games to send some message and refuse to change our games to suit someone else’s political agenda).
The viciousness of SJWs and, as has recently been seen, their ability to coordinate their viciousness is rarely appreciated by casual observers. Let me give you an example:
So in this example, I wrote a book as a companion to one of our games. When it was released, these guys organized to savage it in the Amazon reviews claiming it was a racist book (it has Orcs). If you look at the 1 star reviews, none of them have the book. They reviewed it to punish me for my beliefs. If you look at the verified purchaser reviews, it’s about 4 stars. Putting aside the financial damage, it just makes the act of creation a miserable experience. It’s that kind of thing that has driven game developers out of social media and forums.
When gamers wonder why game developers no longer interact much with gamers publicly, it’s because the SJWs drove them off. With GamerGate, there’s a push back against the bullying tactics of SJWs.
Here’s an example from this past week to serve as the changes that have happened since GamerGate came out:
So this past week, Stardock had its annual Steam sale. In response, the SJW game site, “First Person Scholar” published an open letter to Soren Johnson, my friend and business partner who co-founded Mohawk Games with me. Besides complaining about the name of his company (naturally) they tell him they are boycotting his game because of his association with me. In other words, they sought to punish him and me for my beliefs (which, again, amount to me not having any discernible politics when it comes to games).
However, unlike in the past where we would have gotten dogpiled, we instead were vigorously defended by gamers who are now all too aware of the tactics of these social justice warriors.
Has GamerGate changed your view of the game industry and journalism in some way?
No, Gamergate hasn’t changed my view of the industry or journalism because I was already familiar with the issues. GamerGate is simply when gamers became aware of how journalists routinely punish those who have wrong think.
Only developers who are independent (or in your case own their own company) have shown a willingness in discussing GamerGate, why is that you think?
Developers who work for public companies aren’t really in a position to give opinions on this. Few developers have the authority to speak for their employers and thus really shouldn’t try if they’re not. I can publicly speak because I own one of the largest and oldest independent game studios.
The Gaming Ground
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