Electronic Arts drew the ire of gamers aplenty with a now-controversial decision to lock top-tier Star Wars Battlefront 2 hero characters behind a 40 hour playtime gate, a move which many believe was a less-than-subtle way to push gamers into spending money on the game’s loot crate system. The publisher justified the decision by explaining that it wanted players to feel a sense of pride for putting 40 hours towards the character unlock, but that explanation soon became Reddit’s most downvoted post of all time shortly before the thread was locked.
Unfortunately, the reason the thread itself was locked goes far beyond general consumer negativity: many consumers evidently thought the Star Wars Battlefront 2 controversy was a green light to personally attack developers of the game, resulting in at least one alleged Electronic Arts employee getting seven death threats and over a thousand personal attacks. One can presume this number only rose, as his Twitter account is now in private mode. Here’s one of his last tweets detailing the incident while his account was still public:
“So I’m up to 7 death threats, and over 1600 individual personal attacks now (and yes, for legal reasons I’m keeping track). And why, you might ask? Because of an unpopular feature in a game.”
It should go without saying, but in no circumstances is it ever okay to send death threats to anyone. It’s easy to look at Electronic Arts as a general entity, but it’s a business comprised of thousands of individuals with families and loved ones. The employee from above is tallying up the threats he received for legal reasons, which is a wise choice given that online threats and actions can lead to charges against those who made them.
It’s worth noting that while Electronic Arts did massively reduce the credits it took to unlock hero characters, it silently reduced the amount of credits players get for completing challenges, too. While the studio got positive headlines for listening to fans regarding the issue, the gesture was certainly less significant than it seemed at face value. While that’s a pretty sneaky thing for a publisher to do in the face of such communal backlash, it’s important to remember that no matter how upset one gets, death threats or personal attacks are never appropriate.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 will release on November 17th for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.