Gaming Press Fail: Daily Beast Claims E3 Heroines Prove GamerGate Is Dead

Alec Kubas-Meyer wrote an article titled “Gamergate Fail: The Rise of Ass-Kicking Women in Video Games” on Tuesday at The Daily Beast proclaiming that the prominence of games starring women at this year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3), the biggest gaming event of the year, was proof of the gaming industry striking back at the GamerGate movement.

Before getting into the heart of this article proclaiming, once again, that GamerGate is dead, a quick word from the author on his thoughts on journalistic integrity (archived here):

Let’s pretend for a moment that his position that GamerGate is against the inclusion of women in gaming is true. It’s not, as the overwhelming positive reaction to the games mentioned in the article, the prominence of female writers and commentators in the GamerGate movement, and the #NotYourShield movement (consisting of female and minority gamers supportive of GamerGate who have literally been dismissed as sockpuppets by the anti-GamerGate crowd) have demonstrated time and again.

But, in the interest of deconstructing the slack-jawed laziness of the argument being made in that article, let’s just pretend that GamerGate actually hates women and doesn’t want them in gaming. Even if that were true (IT ISN’T)Kubas-Meyer’s claim that the number of games shown at E3 starring women is a repudiation of GamerGate doesn’t stand up to even the most basic scrutiny.

Kubas-Meyer’s demonstrates either A) intentional dishonesty, B) ignorance of the industry he covers, C) the inability to do simple fact-checking, or D) all of the above. Every game he cites as proof of an industry-wide crackback against GamerGate has been in development since long before GamerGate started in August 2014:

  • Rise of the Tomb Raidehas been “well into development” since before 2013.
  • Metroid Prime: Federation Force has apparently been in development since before the New Nintendo 3DS was released (late 2014), as the game’s producer stated he “wanted Federation Force to launch when the New 3DS did and apologized for the wait.” Kubas-Meyer also seems oblivious to the fact that Federation Force does not star Samus Aran, the Metroid franchise’s female protagonist, a fact which gamers reacted overwhelmingly negatively towards (leading game publications that had previously accused gamers of being latent misogynists to now label them as “entitled babies”).
  • Mirror’s Edge Catalyst was first announced at E3 2013, denoting the game has been in development for at least the past two years.
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn has been in development since 2011.
  • ReCore has been in development for 14 months.
  • Dishonored 2 has been rumored to have been in development by Arkane Studios’ branch in Lyon, France since 2013.
  • Assassin’s Creed Syndicate has been in development since at least before July 2014, when Ubisoft announced that it’s studio in Quebec was developing the next Assassin’s Creed game.
  • Fallout 4 allows players to create a male or female character, which Kubas-Meyers admits “isn’t new for the series.”

The only game from Kubas-Meyer’s article that even has the potential to have started development after GamerGate began is the untitled new Nier project being published by Square Enix, which creator Taro Yoko teased was in development as of December 2014. Ironically, the new Nier was the only game that he singled out as “dress[ing] its female character up in a skimpy outfit designed to get the audience’s imagination going” for criticism.

So of all the games that Kubas-Meyer claims are representative of the gaming industry tacitly rejecting GamerGate, all but one began production before the movement even existed. The simple fact checking doesn’t stop there, as the author accuses Ubisoft of lying following its E3 2014 reveal of Assassin’s Creed: Unity when it claimed it didn’t include female playable characters for the game’s co-op after weighing the extra work it would require to model, animate, and voice female protagonists. His proof? A tweet from Assassin’s Creed III animation director Jonathan Cooper from 2014:

“To pretend as though each new character model requires a fresh start is a blatant lie,” Kubas-Meyer crows. Of course, he couldn’t be bothered to follow up on that claim. Cooper later stated on his own blog that his “day or two’s work” estimation was in reference to making only a few, targeted changes to animations like “walk/run/idle” for a female character. In an interview with Polygon, he admitted that such a strategy was not ideal:

“It’s not the best quality,” Cooper concluded. “It’s definitely a compromise in quality. But I think it’s more important that you can actually play as who you want to play as.”

Of course, accusing Ubisoft of lying based on a tweet taken out of context without doing the most basic due diligence to make sure that quote actually supports your argument shouldn’t be a surprise given the complete ignorance and sloppiness displayed throughout the rest of the piece. It’s par for the course for anyone who’s been paying attention to the quality of gaming journalism. I was able to find the information for this rebuttal to Kubas-Meyer’s article in about fifteen minutes, hardly a back-breaking experience. It’s almost like vetting the information you’re presenting when writing about GamerGate doesn’t matter for gaming journalists:

Caring more about narrative than truth makes you a pretty piss-poor excuse for a journalist. So does lying, being ignorant of the subject you’re writing about, and/or failing to do even the most rudimentary of fact-checking. Of course, as a reminder, this is Kubas-Meyer’s take on gaming journalism:

To be fair, Kubas-Meyer claims he’s “Not a journalist” in his Twitter profile. If only other games writers were so honest.

And these people wonder why GamerGate won’t just go away.

Follow Noah Dulis on Twitter @Marshal_Dov.


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