14 votes

Hogwarts Legacy lead designer used to run anti-social justice Youtube channel

25 comments

  1. [23]
    Adys
    Link
    Mmyeah, this is a trashy hit piece. Briefly browsing the guy's twitter, he seems like a run of the mill guy with his head a bit too far up his arse, but this article is just … bad. "A game whose...

    Mmyeah, this is a trashy hit piece.

    Briefly browsing the guy's twitter, he seems like a run of the mill guy with his head a bit too far up his arse, but this article is just … bad.

    "A game whose IP is from someone I don't like, has a lead designer I don't like on it. Here's why you should hate this person too." -- and then proceeds to just cherry pick a few things that look bad, and relying on how JKR's reputation is bad as well to draw the connection…

    Do people see how toxic this crap is? I talked a bit about this a few days ago here on Tildes. The fuck's the point of this article? To get some of the american left to not buy the game, and get some of the american right to buy it out of spite? Or is it just to pick one "bad guy" and make an example out of him?

    Seriously, someone explain to me: What good could possibly come out of an article like that?

    25 votes
    1. [11]
      dubteedub
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I mean, just looking at his videos one of them is "It's OK to be a Gamer", a clear reference to the altright slogan "It's okay to be white." In the video Troy talks about how he thinks the media...

      I mean, just looking at his videos one of them is "It's OK to be a Gamer", a clear reference to the altright slogan "It's okay to be white."

      In the video Troy talks about how he thinks the media are mislabeling gamers as being racist or sexist because half of all people that play video games are women now - as if the two can't both be true. In fact, a large reason why Gamergators and other anti-SJW folks rail about the game industry / media in general now is because game developers are trying to be more inclusive in their characters because they recognize more of their audience are diverse themselves.

      Troy also says that no one knows your race or gender when gaming unless you actively reveal it, which is also just not true. In most online games, the second a woman or black person speaks they got bombarded with harassment by other gamers. One of the TikTokers I follow is a black guy who plays a game called "how fast can I get called n****** on stream" and it's literally seconds every video.

      Troy then says that because black and hispanic people are more likely to identify as gamers, if you call gamers racist then his response is "what do you have against black people?" I am 9 minutes in and just going to stop there to not give him more views, but I think you get the point.

      I think it is impossible to separate a creative work from the creators and if there is a creator out there who is actively bigoted (like JK Rowling) or fighting against social justice (like Troy Leavitt) then I would like to be informed and use my power as a consumer to support other works.

      (edited formatting for readability)

      20 votes
      1. [10]
        Adys
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I don't want to defend the person. He doesn't seem like someone I'd particularly like. My question was very specific: What does this article achieve? What is made better by rebroadcasting this...

        I don't want to defend the person. He doesn't seem like someone I'd particularly like. My question was very specific: What does this article achieve?

        What is made better by rebroadcasting this guy's views? Why this guy? Because he's a designer on a game? Why that game?

        There's a huuuuuge chunk of the US that holds at least a handful of similar views as that person, views author would likely find distasteful. So: Now what? Pick a handful and write shitpieces on them?

        We do this with politicians, because politicians are people in power. People who hold power and influence over other people, states, countries. We sometimes do it with celebrities for similar reasons: Celebrities have followers, and thus influence over large swathes of people. If they start abusing such influence to push through views which are anywhere from gross to outright dangerous, there is benefit to informing others about the problem.

        But come on, the lead designer to some random video game? With zero evidence that the game is actually pushing any of those views?

        You're kind of proving my point above: The only thing coming out of this is, some people will be "better informed" and not buy the game, and some people will be "better informed" and buy it out of spite. I have a hard time imagining the studio giving a shit.

        Only reason it may become a problem for the studio is if the person becomes a PR nightmare. Which, once again, reeks of witchhunting.

        17 votes
        1. [8]
          dubteedub
          Link Parent
          It informs readers of this gaming hobby magazine about the shitty views of a game developer so that they can be better informed. He is a lead designer on a video game and has a history of ranting...

          What does this article achieve?

          It informs readers of this gaming hobby magazine about the shitty views of a game developer so that they can be better informed.

          What is made better by rebroadcasting this guy's views? Why this guy? Because he's a designer on a game? Why that game?

          He is a lead designer on a video game and has a history of ranting about how much he hates social justice and making a bunch of videos targeted at Anita Sarkeesian. That seems noteworthy to me, especially considering how far-reaching the Gamergate harassment campaign was towards folks in the industry and gamers that enjoy seeing more representation in their hobby.

          Celebrities have followers, and thus influence over large swathes of people. If they start abusing such influence to push through views which are anywhere from gross to outright dangerous, there is benefit to informing others about the problem.

          From looking at his top performing videos, collectively this guy has had well over 1 million views on his channel. That seems influential to me.

          But come on, the lead designer to some random video game?

          It is not some random indie game we are talking about. The Harry Potter universe is the third highest-grossing media franchise of all time just after Star Wars and the MCU.

          16 votes
          1. [7]
            Adys
            Link Parent
            It sounds like we simply disagree on the futility of keeping people "better informed" as you say. Personally, I am acutely aware there's hundreds of millions of people out there with opinions I...

            It sounds like we simply disagree on the futility of keeping people "better informed" as you say. Personally, I am acutely aware there's hundreds of millions of people out there with opinions I may vehemently disagree with, and a lot of them that even threaten my health, well-being, or that of my friends/family/people I care about. Yet I don't actively pursue a quest to know every single one of them, and find out how their work or personal life impacts me somehow.

            Probably, some of them made my last meal, packed my most recent purchase, worked on software I use, or gave me directions in the streets.

            I was gonna write this in an edit because it seems futile to even have this discussion if you actively think this type of thing is useful at all. I don't want to turn this thread into a heated debate; I'd just like to invite people to really think through about the point of getting mad at the existence of people they, minutes before, didn't even know about.

            16 votes
            1. tempestoftruth
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              I'm inclined to be sympathetic to what you're saying here, because I agree there is this (relatively novel) assumption among people that being more informed is better, which I believe is misplaced...

              I'm inclined to be sympathetic to what you're saying here, because I agree there is this (relatively novel) assumption among people that being more informed is better, which I believe is misplaced at best (it's great for getting people to click and consume content for the sake of advertising revenue).1 If this was just some random right-winger as you suggest above, I might even agree with you. In that case, the article would be exploiting the attention generated by inflaming the culture war (using some random person whose influence on society is basically nil) to produce more value.

              However, in this case, the person in question is amplifying and legitimizing harmful right-wing views. That is distinct from the examples you provide in your comment (e.g. "maybe they made my last meal") where the person holds exclusionary beliefs but isn't acting on them in a way that has a serious impact. So I think it's fair for people to scrutinize this person more than the people in your examples. I still think the article is exploiting the culture war to generate clicks, but there's also value in exposing someone promulgating offensive beliefs and thus being "better informed" about them, especially since the knowledge of the right-winger in question is actionable (e.g. you might work to get this person fired for spreading these beliefs).

              1 This was me a few years back, I used to feel obligated to click on news articles out of this responsibility I felt I had to be informed about the world around me, even though most of the time the knowledge that was imparted wasn't actionable and made no tangible difference in my life. I realized how unhappy it was making me and stopped (tried to stop) consuming so much news media.

              edits for brevity, clarity, add'l comments

              14 votes
            2. [5]
              Gaywallet
              Link Parent
              This website is for linking and sharing things, is it not? I'm confused as to the purpose of starting a discussion in a thread about something as to why its relevant or what purpose it serves....

              This website is for linking and sharing things, is it not? I'm confused as to the purpose of starting a discussion in a thread about something as to why its relevant or what purpose it serves.

              You're perfectly welcome to not be interested in story pieces about the humans behind the design of things, but if it's not what you're interested in, maybe don't participate in the conversation? Coming in here and saying 'who cares about this' feels a bit like talking down to the people who are interested.

              14 votes
              1. cfabbro
                Link Parent
                This seems like a mischaracterization of @Adys' comments. Frankly, I also share some of their concerns about the potential toxicity that articles like this might contribute to. And IMO the...

                This seems like a mischaracterization of @Adys' comments. Frankly, I also share some of their concerns about the potential toxicity that articles like this might contribute to. And IMO the discussions/debate about that issue, and on the opposite side, the potential value of such articles, are ones worthy of having here.

                12 votes
              2. Adys
                Link Parent
                I didn't say "who cares about this". I posited that this article is actively contributing to toxicity.

                I didn't say "who cares about this". I posited that this article is actively contributing to toxicity.

                11 votes
              3. [2]
                Grzmot
                Link Parent
                Seems to me like @Adys identified the article posted as a trashy hit piece, which in his opinion might be below the submission standard on Tildes, which is supposed to be a place for serious,...

                Seems to me like @Adys identified the article posted as a trashy hit piece, which in his opinion might be below the submission standard on Tildes, which is supposed to be a place for serious, high-quality discussion. I think that's the point he's making. I don't know though, I can't see into his head.

                10 votes
                1. emnii
                  Link Parent
                  It's weird how these sort of 'does this belong on Tildes?' discussions come up here but not on Hackernews blog spam or advertising like game and movie trailers.

                  It's weird how these sort of 'does this belong on Tildes?' discussions come up here but not on Hackernews blog spam or advertising like game and movie trailers.

                  11 votes
        2. emnii
          Link Parent
          There's no witchhunt. He put these views up on Youtube, presumably because he wants people to see them. He links to his Youtube on his Twitter. You saw this article and went straight to his...

          There's no witchhunt. He put these views up on Youtube, presumably because he wants people to see them. He links to his Youtube on his Twitter. You saw this article and went straight to his Twitter yourself, by which you judged him "run-of-the-mill dude". If there's a witchhunt going on, he's out here screaming "I'M A WITCH!" By definition, that's not a hunt.

          15 votes
    2. [9]
      kfwyre
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I don't know, when I take a look at the titles of the YouTube videos in the article, it seems to me that Leavitt was clearly and repeatedly stoking and riding the ongoing culture war in gaming,...

      I don't know, when I take a look at the titles of the YouTube videos in the article, it seems to me that Leavitt was clearly and repeatedly stoking and riding the ongoing culture war in gaming, and now it's coming back to bite him professionally.

      I'm in full agreement that this whole broader issue is toxic, but I don't think the toxicity starts with this article. This isn't an instance of one bad tweet taken in bad faith. If we're going to indict Kotaku here, we also have to indict Leavitt for his consistent contributions to that toxicity as well.

      16 votes
      1. Adys
        Link Parent
        Oh yeah not implying Kotaku "started" anything here. But I absolutely think it's perpetuating it. In effect, what they are doing is rebroadcasting this guy, giving him even more of a megaphone. I...

        Oh yeah not implying Kotaku "started" anything here. But I absolutely think it's perpetuating it. In effect, what they are doing is rebroadcasting this guy, giving him even more of a megaphone.

        I saw this exact thing happen in early GamerGate btw. Just a fuckton of rebroadcasting. People shouting over each other repeating what other people were saying and saying "see how bad they are?". The KIA subreddit was one of the worst offenders of that: you'd have rebroadcasts of random nutjobs with like, seven followers, riling people up and generalizing to say "see how crazy EVERYONE ELSE THAN US is?".

        This article leaves the exact same taste in my mouth.

        10 votes
      2. [8]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. kfwyre
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          This is a good question, but I think it's worth noting that it applies to Leavitt not just as a target of online mob justice but as a voice in that mob himself. Gamergate was a widespread...

          This is a good question, but I think it's worth noting that it applies to Leavitt not just as a target of online mob justice but as a voice in that mob himself. Gamergate was a widespread harassment campaign aimed at harming people's professional careers based on their personal conduct. "Where should Gamergaters draw the line?" is an equally valuable question but one that I never really saw asked.

          I think culturally, an overreach of ideological "cancelling" is almost always attributed to people on the left taking down people on the right, but instances of the inverse seem to exist in a cultural blindspot. If we're willing to address Leavitt on these terms, as a potential victim of this overreach, I think we also have to consider that Gamergate was by far the largest and most prominent instances of "cancel culture" the internet has probably ever seen, and questioning its boundaries and those of its offshoots is also valuable.

          I say that all as context, not as endorsement. Personally, I don't love crucifying people for their views and think the world could do with a lot less online harassment and dirt digging. I also think that we shouldn't hold necessarily hold outright awful past actions against individuals indefinitely, as that can create an unwinnable situation where people aren't able to move on and thus are incentivized to double down. In Leavitt's instance though, I don't have a great amount of sympathy. He willingly played with fire and is now getting burned by it.

          20 votes
        2. [3]
          kfwyre
          Link Parent
          I'm double responding to your comment because I don't want this to get lost in an edit. I feel like my last response was pretty unhelpful. I projected a lot onto your question that you probably...

          I'm double responding to your comment because I don't want this to get lost in an edit.

          I feel like my last response was pretty unhelpful. I projected a lot onto your question that you probably don't feel was fair, and my reframing there is basically a form of whataboutism. Ultimately, my previous answer was a dodge, so I want to answer your question directly, as it pertains to this topic:

          I think this article is another log on an already toxic fire. I think social media and the internet have created a space where conflict is constant and a product of that is a continual need for new enemies as cannon fodder so that flames can continually be reignited. Furthermore, I think that the internet as documentation has created a situation where people's lives are more blockchain than RAM -- where previous actions are locked into place forever rather than being able to be rewritten with time (note: I'm not super techy, so if I'm using this metaphor wrong, please let me know).

          Thus, it becomes trivial for people to continually datamine others in order to surface targets as a way of generating conflict, and there's no expiration on the evidence used. Furthermore, because conflict is the dominant paradigm, not engaging is seen as losing, and forgiveness is completely out of the question.

          I think this is toxic for a variety of reasons, but one in particular that I think needs to be seen for what it is, particularly by those on the left (and I say that as someone with both feet firmly in that camp), is that reducing someone to only their worst elements can be an abusive behavior. Interpersonally, this is often how abusers leverage control -- by hypermagnifying flaws or perceived shortcomings as a way of distorting their victim's sense of self and place in the world. Furthermore, insisting that people cannot ever move on from negative behaviors creates a perverse incentive for people to hold to them -- if they're not going to ever be forgiven and will always be blamed for what they did, then why bother changing anything in the first place?

          Accountability and forgiveness can and, in my mind, have to coexist, but the former is a conflict generator, and the latter is a conflict reducer, so it's the former that sucks up nearly all the oxygen online.

          Ultimately, I'm not cheering Kotaku on, and I think that journalism can do far better than pieces like this.

          17 votes
          1. [2]
            dubteedub
            Link Parent
            It's not datamining if the guy linked to the anti-feminist GamerGate YouTube page in the bio of his Twitter profile. The guy is quoted in this article saying WarnerBros Games knew about his...

            Thus, it becomes trivial for people to continually datamine others in order to surface targets as a way of generating conflict, and there's no expiration on the evidence used. Furthermore, because conflict is the dominant paradigm, not engaging is seen as losing, and forgiveness is completely out of the question.

            It's not datamining if the guy linked to the anti-feminist GamerGate YouTube page in the bio of his Twitter profile. The guy is quoted in this article saying WarnerBros Games knew about his GamerGate history and they still hired him.

            I also don't know why you are even bringing up forgiveness when Troy is not apologizing for his behavior or role in the GG movement.

            This article is informing people of who this guy was in the past and continues to be. I feel awful for his coworkers, especially women, who would have to be working alongside someone who has praised the hyper sexist MGTOW movement for instance.

            I think this article raises further questions about WB's hiring practices and work culture that go beyond this one particular anti-social justice figure.

            13 votes
            1. kfwyre
              Link Parent
              I fully agree! That's the real story here, but Kotaku is chasing individual-level conflict rather than applying any form of systemic accountability. I'm not supporting Leavitt in the slightest...

              I think this article raises further questions about WB's hiring practices and work culture that go beyond this one particular anti-social justice figure.

              I fully agree! That's the real story here, but Kotaku is chasing individual-level conflict rather than applying any form of systemic accountability. I'm not supporting Leavitt in the slightest (again, he made the bed he is now lying in), but this article exists for me in the domain that I feel that Gamergate normalized: a hyper-scrutiny on individual behavior as a stand-in for systemic issues. Yes, I know that was merely Gamergate's smoke screen, but I feel that normalizing this paradigm was one of its more insidious by-products. It can make it appear that the issue is Leavitt alone rather than a culture which supports and enables him.

              Also, my bringing up forgiveness was actually not relative to Leavitt specifically but the larger issue of cultural conflict in general, but I definitely didn't frame it that way in my comment. Sorry about that. Leavitt hasn't done anything (to my knowledge) to warrant forgiveness, and I also think the concept of necessitating forgiveness applies to him and others like him as well. It would have been trivial for people like him to offer some forgiveness and grace to, say, the feminists who they felt were "invading" their games, but they didn't and weaponized their grievance instead, which is a big part of why all this shit now so toxic in the first place.

              I said the left needs to focus on that in particular because I believe the left has a genuine moral center in this issue, which is why I believe it's our duty to consider when it's appropriate. I'm not saying it in this particular case but more as something to be aware of at large, because it's a calibration I feel is almost completely lost in discussions of this online. Unfortunately, much of the toxicity I see on the right relative to this is devoid of moral authority (e.g. the rampant rape and death threats Gamergate produced) so even considering the concept of forgiveness there is an ineffective one, as the correct method of dealing with stuff like that isn't one of correct alignment but of excising it in the first place.

              13 votes
        3. [3]
          dubteedub
          Link Parent
          Do you mind explaining what group of people you are referring to here? Do you mean conservatives? I will just add that most of the gamergate movement was intended to harass individuals and wreck...

          Should 40 percent of Americans, simply be unemployable?

          Do you mind explaining what group of people you are referring to here? Do you mean conservatives?

          I assume we all agree that fascists have what's coming to them, but where is the line drawn on attempting to wreck people's lives over their political views?

          I will just add that most of the gamergate movement was intended to harass individuals and wreck their lives. Troy made several videos targeting Anita Sarkeesian in particular.

          I think the views of a lead designer for a game company are relevant when his views are about the game development industry and other game devs / game journalists.

          11 votes
          1. [3]
            Comment deleted by author
            Link Parent
            1. [2]
              Cycloneblaze
              Link Parent
              You already know he's not a random nobody; he contributed to the harassment campaign that was GamerGate and continues to contribute to the kind of toxicity from the right wing that has done so...

              This random nobody, and let's be clear, "lead developers" are absolutely "nobodies", doesn't have any influence.

              You already know he's not a random nobody; he contributed to the harassment campaign that was GamerGate and continues to contribute to the kind of toxicity from the right wing that has done so much damage. I don't see anything to say that he'll stop just because he got a new job. Why are you so ready to excuse him, and minimise his actions?

              I don't know, I'm not going to call for the guy to be unemployable for the rest of his life. But I do know not to support him now. I found value in this article to help me make that decision. I don't see anything wrong with that.

              9 votes
              1. [2]
                Comment deleted by author
                Link Parent
                1. Whom
                  Link Parent
                  Honestly I think it'd probably be a better discussion. For as much as I support this article's existence and making personal decisions based on it, this is not a case where ethical consumerism...

                  With that said perhaps the other hundreds of developers working on the game probably shouldn't be hurt for this shitty guys opinions either, but that's a different discussion altogether.

                  Honestly I think it'd probably be a better discussion. For as much as I support this article's existence and making personal decisions based on it, this is not a case where ethical consumerism really does anything (if it ever does, when I avoid supporting shitty artists that's for my own conscience, not any belief than things can be changed through consumption habits), and games on this scale are so broadly collaborative that there's almost certainly a ton of the exact people that this lead designer targets in the development team.

                  6 votes
    3. Whom
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Of course it's going to seem silly if you frame it as "some people will make this choice, some people will make the opposite". The good that comes of it is individual: some of us do care and can...

      Of course it's going to seem silly if you frame it as "some people will make this choice, some people will make the opposite". The good that comes of it is individual: some of us do care and can now make our choices with more information. Some may want to avoid it to not support them, as seems to be the case for @dubteedub, and some may have a creative concern. As much as I like plenty of things by shitty people, I've learned that I am more likely to have a fulfilling experience with art made by people who have a worldview that isn't repulsive. My life is meaningfully (though admittedly only slightly) better when I know things like this.

      This person has openly and publicly been a piece of shit very recently, I don't see why we shouldn't listen to them when they tell us exactly the kind of person they are.

      13 votes
    4. TheJorro
      Link Parent
      Ultimately, I'd rather know if someone is a hateful wingnut than have that hidden. In a post-GamerGate landscape, it's become important to not tolerate some things.

      Ultimately, I'd rather know if someone is a hateful wingnut than have that hidden. In a post-GamerGate landscape, it's become important to not tolerate some things.

      13 votes
  2. dubteedub
    Link
    Interesting, I saw someone posted about this on r/GamerGhazi (social justice anti-gamergate subreddit) a few days ago and was pretty surprised that it was not a bigger story. Glad to see an outlet...

    Interesting, I saw someone posted about this on r/GamerGhazi (social justice anti-gamergate subreddit) a few days ago and was pretty surprised that it was not a bigger story. Glad to see an outlet picking this up.

    I already was planning on avoiding this game as I don't want to have any more of my money given to JK Rowling after her insane descent into TERFdom over the last couple years as it is, but having GG people deeply involved in the game design is making that a sure thing for me.

    14 votes
  3. emnii
    Link

    “Some of you have expressed that, due to my commentary on some game industry controversies and my sympathies for the Gamergate movement, that I might have a difficult time should I ever want to return to professional game development,” Leavitt said. “I’m happy to say that, even though I disclosed my YouTube channel to WB Games, it didn’t appear to be an issue for them. Not that they endorse anything that I’ve said, of course, but at least they seem more concerned with making good games than with pushing some kind of a social justice agenda, so there is hope.”

    6 votes