"As a general plea, I wish everyone could be civil to developers."
- Ska Studios' James Silva, publicly asking (via Facebook) for a bit more civility in the game industry.
Back in March, indie game developer Ska Studios debuted its Dark Souls-esque side-scrolling game Salt and Sanctuary on PlayStation 4. Critics seemed to like it, and two months later the game was successfully launched on Steam.
But a promised Vita version of the game being developed by Sickhead Games (best known for porting games like Axiom Verge and TowerFall: Ascension to Vita) ran into development difficulties, and has not yet been released -- to apparently significant criticism. Recently, Ska Studios founder James Silva published a public plea for civility to Facebook in an effort to curtail a notable problem many developers are familiar with: online toxicity.
"In my nine years of professional indie game development, I've seen attitudes go from 95% supportive/5% meh to 50% supportive/50% angry, impatient, and downright hurtful," writes Silva. "Not only does it really turn a good mood sour fast, but I just hate to see the industry becoming such a toxic place."
Elsewhere in his post Silva expresses gratitude for shows of support Ska has received, and notes that from now on he'll be deleting "any post berating us for not having the Vita port done" for sanity reasons. Devs may also appreciate his reminder to readers that "yelling at either studio isn't going to speed up anything."
Silva's plea for civility comes after several years of increasing notoriety for toxic behavior in the game industry, including (but not limited to) toxic behavior between players in games and direct harassment of game developers.
Back in 2014 thousands of developers signed a public petition to stop harassment in the game industry, shortly after the IGDA issued a statement condemning harassment in the industry and shortly before a dev got into hot water for publicly broadcasting death threats against Valve.
Fast forward to today, and toxic behavior still seems to be a very real problem for Ska and other developers; less than two weeks ago, a Heroes of the Storm player was arrested by the FBI for making death threats against both fellow players and Blizzard devs.