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Fired Guild Wars 2 Writer Says Former Employer Was 'Highly Unprofessional'

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Fired Guild Wars 2 Writer Says Former Employer Was 'Highly Unprofessional' by IGN

“The wounds from GamerGate had just started to heal”

Less than a week after being fired for a Twitter dispute with a partnered streamer, a fired Guild Wars 2 writer is speaking out.

In an interview with Polygon, Jessica Price addressed Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet’s decision to fire her and fellow writer Peter Fries.

“I was given no opportunity to argue my case,” she told Polygon. “[ArenaNet President Mike O’Brien] spent some time insisting that developers must be friends with the company’s customers, and that it was unacceptable to say that we aren’t, even when we’re not on the clock. He told me I’d look back and regret this, because we were doing great work and I’d ruined it. The whole thing was highly unprofessional.”

Exit Theatre Mode

After a Twitter thread last week in which Price outlined some of the difficulties crafting unique MMO characters, a Guild Wars 2 streamer, with whom ArenaNet partners to make content, offered her his own opinion about narrative solutions. She retweeted his reply saying, ““Today in being a female game dev: ‘Allow me — a person who does not work with you — explain to you how you do your job.'”

She followed that up by tweeting “the next rando asshat who attempts to explain the concept of branching dialogue to me–as if, you know, having worked in game narrative for a [f******] DECADE, I have never heard of it–is getting instablocked.”

The following day, she and Fries, who had defended her on Twitter, were fired by ArenaNet. Speaking to Polygon, Price said that she was never given official guidelines on social media conduct.

“I was told during my interview and subsequent hiring communications that ArenaNet respected my willingness to speak up on issues in the industry and had no desire to muzzle me,” she said. “I had, in my time there, zero warnings about my social media use. Everything I said on Twitter was consistent with what I’ve been saying for years and how I’ve been saying it. There were meetings in which executives promised us that they wanted us to speak up about the ugly things, the harmful things, and that we wouldn’t be punished for doing so.”

She spoke of her disillusionment with what she thought was an inviting and open work place.

“And so it’s devastating that a company talking all that talk folded like a cheap card table the first time their values were actually tested,” she said. “Doing the right thing is hard, sure, but doing it regularly makes it easier to keep doing it. And the corollary to that is that capitulating makes it harder to stop capitulating.”

ArenaNet President Mike O’Brien issued a statement to Polygon, saying “Whatever Jessica and Peter felt internally about the situation, this was objectively a customer engaging us respectfully and professionally, presenting a suggestion for our game.

“Any response from our company needed to be respectful and professional. A perceived slight doesn’t give us license to attack… It’s not acceptable that an attempted interaction with our company — in this case a polite game suggestion — would be met with open hostility and derision from us. That sets a chilling precedent.”

Peter Allen Clark is a freelance writer. Follow him on Twitter if you want to complete the whole set. 

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