Abusers in the game-dev world
Tuesday, August 27, 2019 (updated 7 days later)
Two personal accounts appeared yesterday -- no, screw passive voice. Nathalie Lawhead and Zoe Quinn spoke out yesterday, naming two prominent game designers/musicians as abusers and rapists: Jeremy Soule and Alec Holowka. Nathalie's account; Zoe's account.
I hang around indie dev circles but I'm pretty peripheral. I don't think I've ever run into either of these men. I learn these stories when they go public, or when women tell them to me in confidence.
Sometimes, I hear a story along with a warning that the victim is still vulnerable to retaliation, that she does not want the story to go public yet. I know stories that are still not public and names that people warn each other about in private.
I cannot say anything else about those names. What I can say is: I believe Zoe and Nathalie. They are speaking up with courage to share what they know and help prevent future abuses.
I'll also note that this trail of terrible revelations is another aspect of crunch in the gaming industry. Nathalie's story, in particular, is about being rendered vulnerable by the desperation and insecurity of her "opportunities" in the game-dev world. Unscrupulous higher-ups in the industry are able to take advantage of workers -- particularly newcomers. Crunch is the public, "acceptable" face of this abuse: exhaustion, erosion of personal time and personal relationships. Inevitably, that is not the end of it. Sometimes it is assaulting people and then pressuring them to be silent about it.