This weekend, one Electronic Arts employee came under fire from purported Mass Effect Andromeda fans offering insults and attacks over what they believed was her contribution to the game. Allie Rose-Marie Leost is an animator working at EA's motion-capture studio in Vancouver. The Ralph Retort, a site one probably shouldn't be using for actual news, accused Leost of being the lead animator for Andromeda. The blog further implied that she used her cosplay celebrity status and sexual acts to get a job at EA.
Kotaku saved a small sample of the tweets sent to Leost. Many of the attacks are harsh and a number of them are outright misogynistic. And they're based off of faulty, incorrect information peddled by a rumor-monger.
Bioware stepped up to defend Leost with a statement on Twitter.
"Recently, a former EA employee was misidentified as a lead member of the Mass Effect: Andromeda development team. These reports are false," said Bioware general manager Aaryn Flynn. "We respect the opinions of our players and community, and welcome feedback on our games. But attacking individuals, regardless of their involvement in the project, is never acceptable."
Online abuse has become depressingly common these days. There's is no need to harass someone online for any reason. Even if Leost was the lead animator for Mass Effect Andromeda, there are ways to make your feelings known without harassment. Social media is there to allow people to have a conversation, not to allow you to hurl invective at whoever you choose. The connection is supposed be a conscientious one, not a divisive one.
We're all passionate about games and the work that goes into them. Unfortunately, that passion is increasingly being turned towards anger and hate, over what? Nothing and nonsense. We literally just wrote an editorial about the anger thrown in Jim Sterling's direction because he gave The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild a 7/10. USgamer had to ban a number of folks hurling horrible comments in Caty's direction over her Horizon Zero Dawn review.
You can dislike something without unloading on its creator. I think Batman v Superman is a bad adaptation of two great characters, something I've talked about at length online. That said, I wouldn't go yell at Zack Synder about it, even if I did have the chance. It's better to have a conversation. It's better to ask questions. Or alternatively, it's better to just distance yourself from whatever is causing you issues. If any of these had happened here, even with the false information at play, this wouldn't have been a problem.
We are better than this. We should act like it.