GamerGate Interviews
Crowned Daemon Studios GamerGate Interview

The Escapist Staff | 10 Oct 2014 16:30
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Crowned Daemon Studios is composed of four friends with a passion for story-telling, video games, and smooth jazz. With origins based in machinima, they are now working on their first game, Freak. We interviewed Crowned Daemon Studios over email.

Editor's Note: Although included in this list and not in the article published previously, Crowned Daemon Studios includes both genders.

What is your definition of "gamer"?

Anyone who considers themselves to be a gamer.

The gamer label means so many different things to different people.

Do you make games for gamers? (I'm using "gamer" here to mean "core game enthusiast")

If you're saying that we're making our game for people who play a lot of games, then yes. Our games are definitely for an audience that plays a lot of games.

Do you think gamer culture more toxic than other enthusiast cultures on the web (political enthusiasts, fashion enthusiasts, car enthusiasts, gun enthusiasts, etc.)? (I'm using "gamer" here to mean "core game enthusiast").

I don't think gaming culture is any more different than any other culture that has mass media appeal - for example: comics, movies, TV, music, etc.

What is your reaction to this sentiment, expressed in Gamasutra: "Gamers are over. That's why they're so mad."

It's an absurd sentiment because the gamer label means so many different things to different people.

Briefly stated, what is your opinion of GamerGate?

It's an important ongoing conversation about the role that journalists should play in our industry.

What is the root cause of GamerGate? Do you see it as part of a larger "culture war"?

The lack of willingness among journalists to investigate potential conflicts of interest was the catalyst. The fact that a lot of cultural elements influence the discussion gives it the semblance of a culture war.

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Do you feel there is corruption among the game press? If so, is it primarily mercenary corruption (pay to get a good review) or primarily ideological corruption (toe the party line to get a good review), or a mix, or something else?

There's definitely corruption among the game press, not unlike journalistic corruption in other forms of media. What makes the gaming industry different is that the consumers feel empowered to react partly because the industry is young enough that they've seen it unfold over the past few years. Much of the gaming community is based in social media and other forms of instant information, so there's a lot of discussion and the ability to react to something in real time. The fact that the industry is so young and malleable makes it capable of being changed and gives people the motivation to want to change it.

What are the primary concerns that developers have, vis a vis the game press?

We depend on their coverage to get games sold. Even though in recent years this has been changing through social media and YouTube commentators, journalists still have a lot of power over a consumer's first impression of the game.

What are the primary concerns that developers have, vis a vis gamers?

That gamers won't like our game, potentially. We certainly hope that won't be the case and we're working hard to make that not be the case but it's a fear that all creators have.

I believe GamerGate is a situation that has been brewing for years. Do you agree? If so, when did the situation begin brewing?

A lot of people will point to the firing of Jeff Gerstman in 2007 as a starting point but personally, we think the first step in the conflict was the Mass Effect 3 ending controversy because it first showcased the sort of "contempt" that journalists seemingly had for gamers.

Are you or developers you know changing their interactions with gamers or press as a result of GamerGate?

We haven't really communicated with gamers much before this point because our company is still in its infancy but GamerGate has shown that gamers react well to being treated with respect, as obvious as that statement might seem.

If you have concerns with the press, what could the press do to improve relations with you?

Be more willing to communicate with developers about perceived problems with their games before they launch articles openly condemning them.

If you have concerns with gamers, what could gamers do to improve relations with you?

As a company, we feel that we were all gamers before we were developers, so we don't really feel that we have any issues with gamers directly. That being said, from experience we can say that it's better to approach these issues with a level head and try to get all of the information before casting any judgment.

Some developers have expressed concern over being blacklisted or stonewalled by if they side with gamers on #GamerGate. Are you concerned by this? Do you feel this is a legitimate concern?

Yes. As we indicated before, gaming journalists don't necessarily have the exclusive power to promote games but they do have the power to potentially end careers. Developers rely in some part on journalists to spread the word about their games and obviously it would be a large blow to a game's profits if major media outlets refused to even mention the game or simply condemn it for a variety of reasons.

Some developers have expressed concern over being attacked by gamers if they side with game journalists or do not support #GamerGate. Are you concerned by this? Do you feel this is a legitimate concern?

I think so long as people treat consumers with respect and just opt to respectfully disagree then they won't have too much objection. People may disagree with them but it would not mean the end of consumers purchasing their games or organized harassment.

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