By Anni Simpson on August 16, 2013 at 10:42am
UPDATED 4:27 PM
Hepler allegedly did not leave BioWare over death threats to her children, although her reason for leaving was family related. In an interview with Polygon, Hepler stated:
"...leaving Bioware was for family reasons. I am going to be working on a text book on narrative design among other game-related freelance projects."
ORIGINAL ARTICLE 11:42 AM
Jennifer Hepler, senior writer for BioWare, quit today for "family reasons." Hepler was made famous for death threats she and her family receievd in the past for her involvement in "Dragon Age 2", "Mass Effect 3", and "Star Wars: The Old Republic" but had not been made aware that users on EA’s forums also threatened to kill her children until just recently.
With regards to threats she received, Hepler said:
I was shown a sample of the forum posts by EA security … and it included graphic threats to kill my children on their way out of school to show them that they should have been aborted at birth rather than have to have me as a mother.
When “Dragon Age 2” was released, Hepler was blamed for stating she preferred dialogue in games to the actual combat:
Games almost always include a way to ‘button through’ dialogue without paying attention, because they understand that some players don't enjoy listening to dialogue, and they don't want to stop their fun. Yet they persist in practically coming into your living room and forcing you to play through the combats, even if you're a player who only enjoys the dialogue.
She was also lambasted for allegedly “forcing” same-sex relationships in “Mass Effect 3,” enraging players who believed she was pushing her own personal agenda on the game. In the past, same-sex romances were optional in BioWare games, but “Mass Effect 3” included a relationship that was “exclusively for same-sex characters." However, BioWare employees Patrick Weekes and Dusty Everman were responsible for the design decision, not Hepler. The decision received the full support from BioWare.
At the time, users gathered together to harass Helper by tweeting abusive comments, complaining in the EA forums, and even calling her at work in the hopes of getting her fired. Some players even threatened to kill and rape Hepler for being what one user called “the cancer of BioWare.” She earned the derogatory title “Hamburger Hepler” in another effort to demonize her.
Although she no longer works with BioWare, she highlighted a silver lining that resulted from the abuse:
The outpouring of support I received — large amounts from female and gay fans — was incredibly heartening … without the negativity, I’m not sure that I would ever have heard from all of these people confirming that there is a need for characters that tackle touchy social issues, for characters who are untraditional or even unlikeable.
Bioware: Same-Sex Relationships in Mass Effect 3 Polygon: