Over the last few days, BioWare writer Jennifer Hepler (who wrote much of the dwarven storyline in Dragon Age: Origins and worked on characters like Anders in Dragon Age 2) has come under attack from a lot of people on the vile underbelly of gaming. The reason for these attacks stem from comments that she made in an interview in 2006, where she suggested that games companies should think about introducing a way to skip combat sequences in the same way that they can skip dialogue.
As a writer, Hepler was more interested in the story than the combat, and she obviously thinks there is a huge potential for games to be developed as interactive stories as well as hack-and-slash fests. This opinion has never been touted to be anything other than Hepler's own personal feelings, but any discussion of the idea's relative merits or flaws were quickly lost beneath a tirade of hatred and abuse—accusing Hepler of being a 'cancer', calling on her to kill herself, using every misogynist slur in the book, and attacking her for promoting stories that are more inclusive of women and minority groups.
BioWare have developed a reputation for being progressive and inclusive in their games, and have benefited from relatively good relationships with many activists working for social equality. This miserable state of affairs presents an opportunity for the company to stand by their convictions, come out publicly in support of Jennifer, and take a stand against the idea that sexism, homophobia and misogyny are acceptable within the gaming community.
We call on BioWare to release a statement that makes their position on the matter clear: That they are prepared to take a stand against prejudice and discrimination, and that they will stand by any members of their staff who are subject to harassment and bullying on grounds of gender, sexuality, or anything else.
You can also contact BioWare directly by email (email@example.com) and telephone (US 780-430-0164) about the issue.
Come Out Publicly in Support of Jennifer Hepler
We, the undersigned, call on BioWare to come out publicly in support of Jennifer Hepler in light of recent attacks and threats made to her by a minority of people within the gaming community.
We believe that BioWare cares about promoting social equality within the video games industry, and feel that they should stand by their convictions: Making it clear that they do not tolerate prejudice and discrimination, and that they will stand by any members of their staff who are subject to harassment and bullying on grounds of gender, sexuality, or anything else.