Tripwire Games president John Gibson, whose studio is home to such popular titles as Killing Floor and Maneater, has stepped down from his position after receiving a wave of backlash and criticism from his peers in the mainstream video game industry for his public support of the Texas Heartbeat Act.
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Gibson first voiced his support for the newly passed legislation on September 4th, writing to his personal Twitter account, “Proud of #USSupremeCourt affirming the Texas law banning abortion for babies with a heartbeat.”
“As an entertainer I don’t get political often,” Gibson continued. “Yet with so many vocal peers on the other side of this issue, I felt it was important to go on the record as a pro-life game developer.”
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Unsurprisingly, Gibson’s voicing of his opinion soon led to him being labelled the pariah du jour of the gaming industry, and shortly after he published his tweet, numerous individuals appeared in his mentions to inundate his initial tweet with vitriolic condemnation.
“jesus f–k, man. really? you are all about this f—-d texas bounty law that pushes us closer to some kind of Gilead dystopian religious state? Really???” asked God of War director Cory Balrog.
“I mean what the f–k, man,” he continued. “seriously, how can anyone be proud of claiming dominion over a woman’s personal freedoms?”
Gears of War designer Cliff Blezinski informed Gibson, “Yeah man, you can unfollow me now, thanks. SMH.”
“‘I don’t get political often, but when it comes to regulating what women do with their bodies, I take a stand!’” Gotham Knights and Star Wars: Squadrons writer Mitch Dyer mocked. “Deeply disheartening. You have players and probably employees this actively hurts.”
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The lead writer of Square Enix’s 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, Rhianna Pratchett, shared a quote from her late father’s I Shall Wear Midnight, “Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things,” and asserted, “I wish that this quote wasn’t so endlessly apt for the world over the last few years.”
“This law is barbaric and evil,” she added. “Being proud to support such a thing is utterly contemptable.”
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Gibson was further denounced by two of Tripwire Games’ studio development partners.
Torn Banner Studios, whose game Chivalry 2 was published by TripWire games, informed their Twitter followers that they “do not share the opinion expressed in a recent tweet by the president of Tripwire, publisher of Chivalry 2.”
“This perspective is not shared by our team, nor is it reflected in the games we create,” said the studio. “The statement stands in opposition to what we believe about women’s rights.”
Similarly, one of Tripwire Games’ long-time co-development partners, Shipwright Studios, announced both that “we cannot in good conscience continue to work with Tripwire under the current leadership structure” and that they would “begin the cancellation of our existing contracts effective immediately.”
Ultimately, following nearly two constant days of public outcry, Tripwire released a statement announcing that Gibson would be stepping down as the company’s CEO.
“The comments given by John Gibson are of his own opinion, and do not reflect those of Tripwire Interactive as a company,” wrote Tripwire on September 6th. “His comments disregarded the values of our whole team, our partners and much of our broader community. Our leadership team at Tripwire are deeply sorry and are unified in our commitment to take swift action and to foster a more positive environment.”
Tripwire then announced that, “Effective immediately, John Gibson has stepped down as CEO,” and revealed, “Co-founding member and current Vice President, Alan Wilson, will take over as interim CEO.”
“Alan has been with the company since its formation in 2005 and is an active lead in both the studio’s business and developmental affairs,” the statement continued. Alan will work with the rest of the Tripwire leadership team to take steps with employees and partners to address their concerns including executing a company-wide town hall meeting and promoting open dialogue with Tripwire leadership and all employees. His understanding of both the company’s culture and the creative vision of our games will carry the team through this transition, with full support from the other Tripwire leaders.”
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