Recent times have seen some gaming companies, and most notably Bungie, step up their efforts to shield staff from the more unpleasant elements of fandom. In Bungie’s case the studio’s taking action (opens in new tab) against not only cheaters, but serial harassers of its staff who have issued violent threats. Now Respawn, the Vince Zampella-led studio behind Apex Legends and Titanfall, has felt it necessary to warn elements of its community about their behaviour.
“Recently, we have seen increased harassment towards members of our development team,” reads a statement posted to social media. “We welcome community input, however, the line between constructive feedback and the harassment of our dev team cannot be crossed.”
The studio goes on to basically say: chat shit, get banged.
“We want to remind our players that we have a zero tolerance policy for threats and the harassment of our developers. We will take appropriate action to ensure the health and safety of our team.
“We love hearing feedback and will continue to work alongside our community to foster a respectful, collaborative environment, and uphold the competitive integrity of our game.”
There’s no indication of what specifically triggered this (yet), though it says everything that Respawn decided to go public with such a statement. It is of course ridiculous that anyone involved in the making of videogames should be subject to harassment or threats, but unfortunately we live in a world where a substantial number of folks take games—and it does seem particularly acute when it comes to live service games—far too seriously indeed.
Shortly after the statement was posted, good old Bungie came in with a message of support:
Standing against toxicity and harassment takes all of us working together to build healthier communities. We are with you in that effort @respawn.September 22, 2022
In an almost perfectly comic illustration of the way the internet works, Respawn replying to this with an orange heart emoji instantly had some random speculating “Collaboration in the works?!?!?!”
I sincerely doubt that Bungie and Respawn have chosen to announce a collaboration over statements saying ‘don’t harass our staff’, but that’s the kind of over-analysing obsessiveness so common online (albeit in this case with no bad intent). In any event, we all love games but some folk maybe love them a bit too much: Respawn really shouldn’t have ever had to issue a statement like this, that should go without saying. Sadly, it had to.