BioWare writer quits after death threats to family

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

Jennifer Helper 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 game was unpopular with many hardcore fans and although Hepler was able to ignore most of the threats and abuse on the BioWare forums and Twitter she also received emailed death threats and threats against her children, as well as abusive phone calls.


Hepler's clarification as to why she's quitting:

“[L]eaving Bioware was for family reasons. I am going to be working on a text book on narrative design among other game-related freelance projects.”

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Phil322821d ago

As if we needed more proof that a lot of gaming culture wasn't already horrid.

majiebeast2821d ago (Edited 2821d ago )

No its not gaming culture its internet culture and 4chan more likely. Being anonymous makes people think they can say or do whatever they want on the internet.

My little sister is getting death threats over the phone by some freaking psycho and police dont do anything about it. I think anonimity should only go so far. If you harras people or send em death threats, then i dont give a shit about your privacy and all your information should be put on the internet for the world to see.

I never liked miss Helpers writing or her stance on videogames but i would never send somebody death threats over it.

zeal0us2821d ago (Edited 2821d ago )

I'm surprise she didn't quit sooner. I know after that last incident I probably would have.

With all that said threatening to kill a person's kids is going way overboard. I don't care how much you dislike a person, leave their kids out of it.

Gazondaily2821d ago

Completely agree majie. That's what I despise about the communities like 4chan who just think its cool to insult everyone/everything behind the veil of anonymity.

I make it a point to only post things I would be man enough to say to someone face to face. If only others could follow suit.

The_Klank2821d ago

I make it a point to put my Psn Id & Gamer Tag or some other way of contacting me on all my profiles, no matter the site, so if I say anything someone finds offense with they can easily contact me. I hate the fact that just because people are on the internet all civility goes out the window.

I would hope that all sites require some other way of contacting the person. Privacy be damned, as long as you're not out there posting CC details or other really personal info you have nothing to worry about imo.

cleft52821d ago

Either way this crap needs to stop and there needs to be real repercussions for this nonsense.

slimeybrainboy2821d ago

I still think death threats are overrated. I get that it doesn't feel nice and you're pretty strange if you're dishing out death threats over a video game, but nothing is really going to happen.

Of course the threaters should be prosectued and face heavy legal penalties, but they are empty threats. Think of all the hundreds of death threat stories we've heard throughout the years, and has any developer ever been murdered or even attacked? I've never heard of it.

I'm not saying devs should just lie down and accept it, but the responsibility should be with the police to find and punish the people making threats, the devs should know that these are empty threats despite how nasty or crazy they seem. Don't let them win.

SilentNegotiator2821d ago

Musicians, actors, etc get death threats all of the time.

It's foolish to think that this is gaming community specific.

RememberThe3572821d ago

It's funny, the biggest baddest dudes behind a keyboard turn out to be the smallest weakest dudes in the flesh. Some people just feel very weak and they grasp at anything they precieve as power (power that doesn't take any actual effort).

I've gotten death threat myself from the internet and I can't help but laigh; I got my piece and a bottle of J right next to me, I'll be here when you get here. It's so pointless and sad that I honestly just shake my head at this point. There are some very sad, very lonely people in this wolrd and instead of putting in the work to make their lives better they regress into the internet.

LordDhampire2821d ago

Everyone always blaming 4chan, take some responsibility you douchebag gamers

KazHiraiFTW2821d ago

That's really lame, who would ever believe some spineless fanboy making threats over the internet...

Whoever sent those emails to Ms. Helper is nothing more than some loser living in his mom's basement, 38 years old, never been laid, never even kissed a girl, still has zits all over his face, his parents bought shares in Kleenex and became rich from all the tissues he was using, he still wears tear-aways, and spends most of his time making mods for Baldur's Gate 2. Oh and his diet consists of almost 100% Kraft dinner and cheetos.

Nothing to worry about whatsoever let alone quit your job over.

pixelsword2821d ago (Edited 2821d ago )

LOL beat me to it Kaz!

2821d ago
darx2821d ago

No doubt that gamers are the sadest and lamest bunch out there.

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Gazondaily2821d ago (Edited 2821d ago )

I know right? Its infuriating.

Wretched keyboard warriors. We've had our second death here in the UK as a result of cuber-bullying.

I'm actually against anonymity on the internet. It brings out the worst in people and lets them think they're entitled to insult anyone and everyone under the sun.

These guys need to be held accountable.

"I was shown a sample of the forum posts by EA security,’ says Hepler ‘And it included graphic threats to kill my children on their way out of school to show them that they should have been aborted at birth rather than have to have me as a mother."

Absolutely despicable. Such cowardice. These oxygen thieves need to be dealt with so harshly.

cleft52821d ago (Edited 2821d ago )

The reality is that there is no anonymity on the internet, it's just that people feel like there is because they have a username they can hide behind and they haven't faced any serious repercussions for their actions. Eventually the laws will catch up with the times and these threats will be treated with the seriousness that they deserve to be treated with.

People might mistake this as a violation of their rights, but it isn't. In America every citizen has the right to the pursuit of liberty, happiness, and freedom on top of their Human Rights. If you threaten someone you are violating their rights and you can be put in jail for it. The problem is that the law hasn't recognize the threats received over the internet as serious concerns mainly because the laws are out of date with the current technology. That has begun to change and I think it will be for the best.

Hydralysk2821d ago (Edited 2821d ago )

You'll probably be waiting a long time for that.

You aren't talking about just passing a law for the US, this is something that plagues the internet instead of a single country.

How are you supposed to prosecute someone talking to you from another country which doesn't have a ban on this subject? It wouldn't be long before the 'but they don't have to respect me, so why should I follow this law' gets started. Furthermore, even if both countries have similar laws, which country will actually be prosecuting the offenders? That's not even considering the sheer volume of cases that would pop up.

I agree we need to do something like this, but it's going to have to start with individual organizations and communities putting in the effort, not by government legislation.

2821d ago
Shadowstar2820d ago

@Hydralisk: Yeah, but that's what treaties are for. There just needs to be political will to stop it. It does have to start with individual countries starting to take it seriously though. I think we'd be better off prosecuting people who threaten to kill kids than nonviolent people who take drugs.

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Anon19742821d ago (Edited 2821d ago )

While Dragon Age II didn't live up to the original, it was still a perfectly entertaining and serviceable action rpg that I thoroughly enjoyed. If we didn't have the first to compare it to, chances are no one would have said a word.

My heart goes out to Jennifer Hepler that she has to endure such abuse from these petty cowards when all she's doing is trying to entertain. I know the abuse was only part of the reason she left, but no one should have to go through that. I don't know why they aren't tracking down these people and placing charges as threats of violence online or otherwise are always illegal. It's time we started holding these people accountable for the constant state of fear their bullying forces good folks to live in every day.

Edit: I agree with Septic above. Internet anonymity is toxic and brings out the absolute worst in some people.

IcicleTrepan2821d ago

So one or two sick people make death threats and this becomes 'proof that a lot of gaming culture is horrid'.

Gazondaily2821d ago (Edited 2821d ago )

No it doesn't but it does expose a worrying trend of increasingly toxic behaviour by some members of the gaming community. The few always ruin it for the many and bad publicity is the last thing this industry needs.

Deadpoolio2820d ago

To a certain extent yes...Look at XBL and the absolutely wretched crap people say on there to people over the stupidest crap, I actually know girls who wont play anything online with a headset cause they don't think it's worth hearing the crap morons spew because derp derp a gurl is playing a gaem, and somehow that means you have to be as vile as possible right off the bat..Nevermind that a couple of them are better than the douche nozzles

Timesplitter142821d ago (Edited 2821d ago )

Gaming culture is literally the worst entertainment-related culture ever. And it's not just because of anonymity either. Music and movie fans on the internet are nowhere near as immature as "gamers".

And god do I hate that expression. "Gamer". People who like novels don't call themselves "Hardcore Readers" and people who like movies don't call themselves... whatever I dunno.

There's just something about gamers that makes them worse than everyone else. Maybe it's because games are more likely to appeal to dumbasses than any other media. Don't get me wrong here; I believe videogames can grow as a medium and become something fantastic, but right now there definitely is no reason to be proud to be a "gamer"

xxBiG_BoSSxx2821d ago

If you think people like this don't exist amongst movie or music fans, then I invite you to browse over to any music or movie forum and see the vile things being said there. Or better yet, read the comment section of anything, anywhere on the internet. Terrible, immature people are everywhere, not just in the gaming community.

Actually, now that I think about it, despite a few trolls, N4G has the one of the most intelligent respectable communities I've seen. I rarely see commenters here hurling vile hateful speech at each other. Or death threats.

I don't think its the word gamer you have a problem with, but rather the stigma attached to the word. When a small percentage of us act inhuman, and it makes the news, it sticks to all of us. The same can't be said for cinemaphiles(what movie lovers call themselves) when one of them makes death threats against a director or actor. That's always on the individual, as it should be.

I think the only solution is to just keep being good people, and not tolerating behavior like this. Eventually, maybe, others will see that gaming is something we do, something we can be proud of doing, but not something that defines us as people.

SonyPS3602821d ago

I just want the names and addresses of the people who do this kind of thing.

Deadpoolio2820d ago

You could actually do an IP trace IF you had the software, but that's not really something everyone just happens to have laying around....And It all depends on where the little douche is sending it from

come_bom2821d ago (Edited 2821d ago )

People making death threats should go to prison... and that's that.

Gaming blind fanboys (or any kind of blind fanboy) are among the worst kind of scum.

SonyPS3602820d ago

People willing to make death threats over a game really need a reality check.

3-4-52821d ago

Well, she shouldn't have to quit because of that, and it's a shame if that person isn't jailed for a few years.

You have the right to freedom of speech, but people have the right to their own personal safety first, and if your free speech infringes on their ability to pursue happiness and be free, then you've crossed the line.

Whoever made those threats, most likely is a useless human being.

TwistedMetal2821d ago

dude you don't quit your job just because people make threats. you need money to survive. he should know they aren't gonna do what they said they are or he should said sorry for whate he did wrong and will never do it again.

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mii-gamer2821d ago (Edited 2821d ago )

wow this is shows pathetic certain people in the community are!

GarrusVakarian2821d ago

This is the kind of story you hear about that get used in an anti-games speeches and makes the rest of us completely normal gamers sound bad.

GarrusVakarian2821d ago

This is the kind of story you hear about that get used in anti videogames speeches and makes the rest of us completely normal gamers sound bad.

GarrusVakarian2821d ago (Edited 2821d ago )

My bad on the double post, N4G is acting up.