343 Industries have said that sexism and abuse on Xbox Live is “unacceptable,” and that developers must do whatever they can to prevent it in the industry and culture.
Halo 4 executive producer Kiki Wolfkill and 343 Industries head Bonnie Ross have reiterated the serious nature of online abuse, with lifetime bans from Xbox Live being the penalty.
“This is behaviour that is offensive and completely unacceptable. I’d like to think most of our Xbox Live players don’t support this kind of behaviour,” said Ross.
“It can be dangerous to give adolescents a broadcast mechanism,” Wolfkill added. “There are always going to be jerks out there, and if you give them a way to express that side of their personality without being seen, you’re going to see this type of behaviour manifest itself.”
Wolfkill and Ross emphasised the importance of developer responsibility when it comes to the perception and stereotypes attached to particular games.
“As developers, we have a personal responsibility to think about how our games come across,” Ross said. “With Halo 4, we were very deliberate in thinking about who should be female and who should be male in the game, and if we came off stereotypical, we went back to question what we were doing and why.”
Ross also mentioned the stereotype that the games industry is a male-dominated area.
“Most people look at a franchise like Halo, and automatically assume it’s run by a guy,” Ross said. “People are surprised to learn that it’s a woman who’s running the Halo 4 show. When Microsoft created 343 Industries to take over Halo, I was given first choice to run the studio because I had proven myself. My gender played no part in it.”
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