Fans had been having some fun trashing Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s robotic, atrociously awkward facial animations–and then, just like they did with functioning democracy and civil society, the trolls had to destroy the joy. Spurred by a post on the right-wing site The Ralph Retort, garbage people across the internet began to harass a woman named Allie Rose-Marie Leost as the party “responsible” for these terrible animations.
The post, headlined “A Cosplayer With No Video Game Experience was the Lead Facial Animator for Mass Effect: Andromeda,” claimed that Leost was the lead facial animator for the game, based on screenshots from her Twitter and Facebook profiles. It also insinuated that her lack of experience and poor qualifications were the source of Andromeda‘s animation woes. This was enough to set off a stream of vile, misogynist social media abuse directed at Leost.
Entertainment Arts (EA) has since denied Leost’s involvement in Mass Effect: Andromeda, referring to her as a former employee.
— BioWare (@bioware) March 18, 2017
The employment situation is admittedly a bit murky. Either Leost lied or exaggerated, or Entertainment Arts is doing the same, or she was shuffled around to another development team. It’s very unclear. But honestly? “Murky” feels like precisely the level of information clarity that someone who runs a witch hunt on social media is entitled to.
Besides, Leost’s role isn’t really the point. Even if she were an incompetent lead facial animator–hell, even if she oversaw all of BioWare–harassing her would still be wrong. We’ve been over this.
Don’t like the look of a game and want to let the company know? Don’t buy it. Mock the footage with funny GIFs. They’ll pay attention when they see the PR and earnings reports.
Want to try and scare random women out of the video game industry? Act like these trolls did instead.
It’s almost like their motives are transparent…
Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!
—The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]