Read The Version Of The Harassment Story Folks Are Buzzing About

Read Polygon's Version Of the Harassment Story Folks Are Buzzing About

Did you hear the one about the ex-BioWare writer who supposedly quit her job because she was being harassed? Hopefully not, because that's wrong, despite it being today's supposed hot news.

That "fact" is wrong, but it's been ricocheting all around the internet today thanks to a writer for a publication called Metro getting a story by our pals at Polygon a bit turned around.


The senior writer on Dragon Age II has decided to leave developer BioWare after 'graphic threats' were made to kill her children.

Technically, Metro is writing "after" and not implying causality, but we've seen causality widely inferred on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere online today.

They also wrote:

Jennifer Hepler was working on sequel Dragon Age: Inquisition but is quitting BioWare this week to go freelance, in large part thanks to threats she and others of the team received in the wake of Dragon Age II's release."

The actual story, as originally reported by Polygon:

Jennifer Hepler left BioWare this week to begin work on a book about narrative design and do some freelance work. Her most recent job title was senior writer on Dragon Age: Inquisition. But it was Dragon Age 2 that led to the death threats, the threats against her family and children and the harassment.

That bit above is part of a much longer article about harassment of game developers by gamers. As it was published yesterday, it continued into an explanation of how Hepler, the BioWare writer, dealt with fallout from the online abuse she was subjected to in early 2012. As Polygon reports, Hepler's story actually has a surprisingly happy ending, as she seems to have managed to avoid some of the worst abuse directed at her and channeled a lot of the negativity she did experience into positive developments for her and her family.

Today, Polygon added this quote to their story in order to make things ultra-clear:

When asked if the harassment led to her departure, Hepler told Polygon "No, leaving Bioware was for family reasons. I am going to be working on a text book on narrative design among other game-related freelance projects."

Unfortunately, the world loves a more sensational version of events (we had no idea about that here at Kotaku). And so Metro's story, which has been read as "threats-cause-writer-to-leave," has been spreading around the Internet at the expense of the subtler, more nuanced original Polygon take.

People, read the Polygon version. They did the hard work and wrote the better story. We recommended as much last night.


    What ever the reason it's great Hepler quit. She only got the job because of her husband is a high up at bioware. Her "talent" is far below most fan fic writers.

      I'm a firm believer that the average gamer cares more about getting what they want instead of actually understanding story. What's your background in writing? Obviously you're quite well-educated in the craft; judging by the uncanny insight you display towards modern interactive story development, also have a genuine eye for critique. I'm glad we've got people like you around to show us how simple things really are. Thank you but please, no death threats this time.

      Meh, Hepler was just a link in the chain. All her orders came from David Gaider and his dislike of the high fantasy aspects of the original Dragon Age like the Darkspawn.

      Y'know, the bits the fans liked.

        Speak for yourself. I quite liked the personal, more intimate, small-scale take that DA2 took, instead of relying on boring, tired old, "YOU ARE THE SCION OF DESTINY, TASKED WITH SAVING THE WORLD," bullshit that gets trotted out in every fantasy game ever.

          Dragon Age 2 had a pretty awesome story, and the dialogue was quite entertaining. Hawke was a great character, the roleplay elements were fun. The thing that sucked the life out of it was lack of level and world design, the gameplay itself was bad when it came to getting around, but the in person action was fine for the type of Bio-RPG it was. I felt the same way about Origins too.. the tiny non-open world map sucked badly while the story was worth playing through. I know many people don't agree, but who cares, they're wrong. and I'm right.

            Yeah. The story and characterization was fantastic, and if I could play a DA2 'lite' which skipped half the mindless, button-mashing combat with token, bland skill trees, I would be more inclined to explore more playthroughs.

            But the mechanics of the thing were torture. The level design was just openly, unashamedly lazy - carbon-copied dungeons with the layout 'changed up' by adding some of the most obnoxious 'fake' doors and walls. Not to mention the 'waves of enemies' popping out of nowhere, over and over again until you had hit some arbitrary iteration signified by some background quest counter, instead of DA:O's slightly better smoke and mirrors for where these things were coming from.

            I enjoyed DA2 despite the mechanics of it.

    This kind of stuff just reminds me of Fox News doing a piece on the fact that there are Female Gamers!! When they filmed some at E3 or whatever it was. They seriously started with "games aren't just for men"... :-/

    that polygon article is not their finest... but anyway, the stories upon stories that at some point are concerned with insane kids on xbox live is becoming silly, i'm actually coming to think MS is fostering all this rubbish by not getting trigger happy with the ban button

    Gaming journalism, everyone!
    Don't let the truth get in the way of those pageviews. Play that victim card, even if the victim isn't!

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