Return to Monkey Island, God of War Ragnarok… When fanaticism turns into harassment


If you survey the social differences around the field of video games, it will not have escaped your notice that this week has been particularly difficult for certain studios and creators. Between the reveal of Return to Monkey Island gone wrong and the non-announcement of the release date of God of War Ragnarokthe “fans” (put there the biggest quotes possible) completely let loose on the teams behind these games, sometimes even going as far as harassment. A grotesque and serious situation, which in fact already has repercussions on the future of communication around these two.

An artistic direction that awakens the worst in “fans”

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Let’s start with Return to Monkey Island. When the latter was announced in April 2022, there were no downsides. Everyone was happy to see the series again, and the fans of the first hour were delighted to see that Ron Gilbertthe creator of the series, was back in charge.

But that was before the first gameplay trailer, which aired during the Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase. This trailer has allowed us to have a better idea of ​​the artistic direction of this new episode, which, we can say, is quite different from what the series had accustomed us to.

That is. It is a choice, and this choice may not suit everyone, just as it is entirely possible to express your opinion on this subject. But the half-measure is not really the favorite sport of Internet users, and we could see it on the blog of Ron Gilbert himself, where the creator received hundreds of hate messages about the artistic direction of this opussometimes even going to personal threats.

By noticing this and by moderating these messages, Ron Gilbert then made a radical decision, namely not to talk about the game himself anymore. :

I close the comments. People are just being mean and I have to delete the personal attack comments. It’s an incredible game and everyone in the team is very proud of it. Play it or don’t play it, but don’t spoil it for everyone. I won’t be posting anything about the game anymore. The joy of sharing has been taken away from me. »

Dominic Armatothe actor behind the famous character of Guybrush Threepwood, also spoke about it:

I saw a lot of heated but polite or almost polite discussions, but the comments on Ron’s blog were a disgusting sight. Whatever you want Monkey Island to be, I’m going to take a chance and suggest that making it a chore rather than a joy for the devs is the quickest way to ensure it’s nothing for anyone.. »

A fine example of incivility on the part of the so-called fans. It goes without saying that waiting for this game for decades does not absolutely give the right to go and insult the work of the people behind this project, especially for a simple dissatisfaction about a direction artistic. Remember that to be a fan of Monkey Islandit is estimated that the average age of these people is logically at least above the twenties (to have known the first games), and that it is even more terrible to see adults behaving in this way.

Harassment… for a release date? Really ?

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But we’ve seen even worse this week with God of War Ragnarok. Several insiders and reliable journalists had agreed on the fact that a presentation of the game was to take place on June 30th. In what form, we do not know, but it is rumored that a post from PlayStation Blog was to announce the release date of the game, which crystallizes a lot of expectation.

However, it is now July 1, and nothing happened on June 30. Cory Barlogthe studio’s creative director, took to Twitter the day before asking people to be respectful to the team, since they don’t manage the communication of the game themselves, and if they could, they would share a lot more things.

A request which was obviously not respected, since it followed a flurry of rude, rude, insulting, not to say stupid messages on Twitter demanding to announce the date (as if they had the right to demand anything). A rather incomprehensible hatred which pushed some to harass the members of the studio, in particular the women who work there (no one is unfortunately surprised), like Alanah Pearce, screenwriter, or Estelle Tigani, cinematic producer.

The latter was even entitled to receive “dick pics”in other words photos of male sexes, in order to make her mentally crack in the hope that she communicates the release date sooner.

Yes, it is as surreal as it sounds, and highly condemnable. No excuse comes to justify this harassment, no matter how impatient one may feel about a game. We imagine that after that, the studio will be even less inclined to communicate about the game, as these behaviors can affect the mental health of people who develop gambling.

Should we blame the insiders and the press?

Already, no. No suspense here, the only culprits are the harassers, and no one else. But the subject was broached by Cory Barlog, given that the studio had never promised anything for June 30, and that everyone had put this date in mind following a tweet from The Snitch, an insider rather recent in the middle who had never been wrong until yesterday.

In response to someone on Twitter blaming The Snitch and Jason Schreier (Bloomberg reporter) for the whole thing, Barlog replies:

Don’t. The answer is not to find someone to blame or to focus hate on them.. Maybe just step forward and treat the people who make the things we love with some decency and some human respect. This is not a battle, we are not at war. we’re just trying to do more things together. »

A response supported by Phil SpencerXbox kingpin himself, who also comes to calm the hundreds of messages that still linger on a futile console war by placing God of War Ragnarok and Starfield at the heart of the debates. It’s time to move on.

Needless to say, you are not encouraged to participate in or condone this kind of nefarious harassment campaign, and that disagreeing or being eager to play a game absolutely does not entitle anyone to behave in this way, towards anyone, whether towards developers, journalists, insiders, or even content creators (as we have seen this week in the French environment). Let’s hope this happens again as little as possible in the future, even if we are not entirely confident about it.


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