Players want more openness and communication from developers in order to understand the process of making games better. Many players are also willing to throw an obscene amount of abuse at developers, be it for dodgy animations, poor promises, or the mere existence of DLC.
In a Twitter thread this week, Charles Randall – a game developer with seven years at Ubisoft and several elsewhere – explains why that toxicity means developers can’t be candid with their audience.
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The full thread is worth a read, but breaks down rather nicely to this one tweet:
But here’s the rub: all the stuff you ever wanted to know about game development would be out there if not for the toxic gaming community.
— Charles Randall (@charlesrandall) September 24, 2017
In essence, Randall’s point is that game developers can’t be honest about the reality of game development. The decisions that lead to mistakes or the changes that happen over the course of making a game aren’t made public because they’ve learned that doing so will lead to death threats.
Responses to the thread have been varied. There is, as you might expect, quite a lot of “nope, game developers are just lazy,” and many a deleted comment over on Reddit. However, the most upvoted responses are the more thoughtful ones, mainly from other developers expressing similar feelings. None of them are defending bad games, they just wish they could talk about things as they happen without being dogpiled by ‘consumer advocates’ and, yes, ‘journalists’.
There are also plenty of regular gamers complaining about the toxicity of gaming communities in that thread. It directly effects multiplayer games every day when that anger is directed at team-mates or systems instead of developers. It is unlikely the two phenomenon are unrelated.