Former BioWare Writer Plans to Work on New RPG

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT
 

Former BioWare Writer Plans to Work on New RPG

After receiving death threats, Jennifer Hepler moves on to work on a RPG that she says looks like a "Mass Effect rip-off."

Former BioWare writer Jennifer Hepler worked on character-driven, choice-based RPGs such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age. In her leave, she has chosen the independent game Ambrov X as her next project, a science fiction RPG with a system similar to the RPGs for which she's written in the past. However, as a part of the game's Kickstarter campaign, Hepler won't sign on to work on the game until it reaches independent game developer Loreful's $750,000 stretch goal.

Ambrov X focuses on a symbiotic relationship with the player's partner in the game. Player choice causes changes in the dynamic between the two main characters, a central facet of the game. The science fiction RPG takes place in Sime~Gen universe. Developed in the 1960s, this universe involves humanity being divided into two subspecies that coexist to survive.

The game will be developed episodically. Loreful plans to use fan feedback early on to tailor characters to players' interests. All five episodes will be available for $25. Each episode will be three to five hours long.

Hepler wrote on the Kickstarter page that she plans to continue make games that reach out past the "straight white male" demographic. "Players can play any gender and romance any gender they want. Because who am I to come into your living room and tell you how to play?"

Ambrov X's funding period ends Oct. 5. The game will be released in the second quarter of 2015.

Source: Kickstarter

Permalink

I can sort of see this having disastrous consequences for the Kickstarter in question.

Whether she deserves it or not (and she doesn't), Hepler is reviled by a large portion of the community. I think mentioning her means this thing is doomed to fail, just like how mentioning Dennis Dyack screwed any chance of the new Eternal Darkness being made.

Genocidicles:
I can sort of see this having disastrous consequences for the Kickstarter in question.

Whether she deserves it or not (and she doesn't), Hepler is reviled by a large portion of the community. I think mentioning her means this thing is doomed to fail, just like how mentioning Dennis Dyack screwed any chance of the new Eternal Darkness being made.

Too bad too, 'cause this sounds interesting.

Er... Calling the project you just joined a "Mass Effect ripoff" is not a good way to start.

I have a feeling we're going to see the same kind of stuff from Hepler that we saw from the ME series, and that's not really a good thing. It means her talent is as limited as some hack writers and those cheap romance novels you find, with the buff guys on the cover - I mean, just how important is romance in this game in the first place?

Genocidicles:
I can sort of see this having disastrous consequences for the Kickstarter in question.

Whether she deserves it or not (and she doesn't), Hepler is reviled by a large portion of the community. I think mentioning her means this thing is doomed to fail

Dr.Awkward:
Er... Calling the project you just joined a "Mass Effect ripoff" is not a good way to start.

I have a feeling we're going to see the same kind of stuff from Hepler that we saw from the ME series, and that's not really a good thing. It means her talent is as limited as some hack writers and those cheap romance novels you find, with the buff guys on the cover - I mean, just how important is romance in this game in the first place?

I definitely agree that what basically amounts to insulting (or at least deriding) the project is a really bad way to introduce it.

As for Hepler, I wish that the internet would just give her a break. I for one actually like her writing, and there are a lot more who do as well. There are definitely plenty who hate it, but she's stuck in the same crappy place a lot of game devs are now; damned if you do, damned if you don't. The fact that the mere mention of her name could (and maybe will) doom this other project makes me sad for humanity.

I'll back this if they'll actively refuse to hire her. While the blame for the sub-par writing rests mostly on Gaider's shoulders, we have her to thank for turning DA romances into Twilight.

mechalynx:
I'll back this if they'll actively refuse to hire her. While the blame for the sub-par writing rests mostly on Gaider's shoulders, we have her to thank for turning DA romances into Twilight.

Do you even know what Twilight romance looks like? :D

Also nice article "yeah, she called it a ripoff". Source please.

I don't dislike Hepler because of her views and i'm certainly not a shit flinging neanderthal who thinks she should die because of something she said about a videogame.

I do however think her writing is mediocre fanfiction par at best, and thus will not be supporting this project while quietly hoping it goes away.

People who disagree and like her work are of course free to back her, and if the likes outnumber the dislikes it will be made. Democracy! And more power to them, hope they enjoy it.

Just don't claim afterwards, if it doesn't go through, that it failed because of some internet hate machine conspiracy

Well, I looked at the kickstarter, and frankly it looks like complete bullshit.

It promises 3D rendered full voiced cutscenes with indepth character and armour customization with English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Russian localizations with Mac, Linux and Windows versions with choices that actually matter (lol)... for $500,000.

I'll believe it when I see it. And at the current rate of funding, it seems like I won't.

You know, the whole Hepler thing leaves me conflicted.

On the one hand, the treatment she received from the "community" was absolutely disgusting. I feel ashamed to share a hobby with the people who threatened her.

On the other hand, every time she speaks, I become more convinced she's not the type of person we want in the game industry. For one, there's her statements gameplay and story segregation, which make it seem like she'd be more comfortable writing novels or screenplays than game scripts. Dismissing the importance of gameplay is not something a game writer should ever do. It'd be like a novelist dismissing the importance of word choice, or a film writer dismissing the importance of actors.

Now she refers to the game as a "rip-off" right away, and hiring her is supposed to be a bonus tied to a stretch goal?

Sorry, but that rubs me the wrong way. A lot.

While not wishing Hepler any ill at all, I remain convinced she'd be more comfortable and successful in a different industry.

While I particularly don't care or have an opinion of her writing, it's nice to see Hepler finding work after a deserved/undeserved controversy that got her fired. People being able to do what they want to do is (usually) a cool thing in my book. (Admittedly, I am assuming that Hepler wants to write game stories.)

mechalynx:
I'll back this if they'll actively refuse to hire her. While the blame for the sub-par writing rests mostly on Gaider's shoulders, we have her to thank for turning DA romances into Twilight.

Wait, she was responsible for Emo the Elf and Anders the Arsehole?

Damm, I was hoping Drew Karpyshyn was the ex-Bioware writer involved.

And now, based on the internet's reaction to her in the past, I'm now expecting a concerted effort by some in the gaming community to get this to make sure this never hits that goal.

roseofbattle:

After receiving death threats, Jennifer Hepler moves on to work on a RPG that she says looks like a "Mass Effect rip-off."

This might possibly be the dumbest lead paragraph I've ever read. Not only does it reference a non-related event as if it were a cause for what's happening, it also misunderstands what Hepler actually thinks about the project AND it treats the event as if it's a done deal and not a potential possibility.

Bravo, new low in internet journalism.

Rawbeard:

mechalynx:
I'll back this if they'll actively refuse to hire her. While the blame for the sub-par writing rests mostly on Gaider's shoulders, we have her to thank for turning DA romances into Twilight.

Do you even know what Twilight romance looks like? :D

Also nice article "yeah, she called it a ripoff". Source please.

I am not ashamed to say that yes, yes I do. And the first thing I thought of Anders was: "Hello, Edward."

Granted, I didn't romance Merril or Isabella, wanted a separate playthrough for that, but I only managed to finish the game once and the video discussing Helper on youtube convinced me not to.

Everyone was so fucking moody.

Also

Talk about taking a quote out of context to gin up page views. This is terrible writing and bad journalism.

Here's the quote from the kickstarter page: (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/aharon/ambrov-x-a-sime-gen-roleplaying-game/posts/589304)

"When Aharon Cagle first approached me about Ambrov X, I was skeptical, as I'm sure most of you are. Who was this little company making what looked to be a complete Mass Effect rip-off? And how were they possibly going to manage that on a Kickstarter budget? But then we talked, and I read the source material, and I started thinking... What if when Ash/Kaidan turn against Shepard in the Citadel coup, Shepard's own life literally depended on convincing them back to his side? What if Hawke could have used Anders's addiction to her life-force to keep him from turning fully Vengeance? How much more intense could your relationship be with your followers if they were more than friends, more than romances - if they were both a part of your soul and the greatest threat to it?"

Clearly Miss Helper does not think this game is just a rip off. Far from it. Shameful that the Escapist lets this kind of writing pass on the site. Shameful.

Gaider wrote Fenris IIRC, but yeah she took over Anders from Awakening. Also Merril.

Dr.Awkward:
Er... Calling the project you just joined a "Mass Effect ripoff" is not a good way to start.

What she said was taken way out of context.

From the kickstarter:

When Aharon Cagle first approached me about Ambrov X, I was skeptical, as I'm sure most of you are. Who was this little company making what looked to be a complete Mass Effect rip-off? And how were they possibly going to manage that on a Kickstarter budget? But then we talked, and I read the source material, and I started thinking...

EDIT: Ninja'd

roseofbattle:
"Players can play any gender and romance any gender they want. Because who am I to come into your living room and tell you how to play?"

...the writer? We have to play the way you tell us to; we might want to be invisible wolves who only have sex with watermelons, but if the only options we're given are gay, straight, bi or asexual then that's the way we've got to play if we want to play the game at all.

Usually I would say when you can make any character and do anything with that character, those decisions becomes generic and unimportant to the over all plot by necessity.

However, you could choose any gender in mass effect and romance just about any character. While it didn't have much impact, it also didn't feel generic. Male and female Shepard feel different and I cared about the romance options, so maybe she can do it.

mechalynx:
Gaider wrote Fenris IIRC, but yeah she took over Anders from Awakening. Also Merril.

Merrill was done by Mary Kirby. The whole "Gigglesquee" crap didn't even involve Jennifer Hepler, it came from a message board conversation between Mary Kirby and Sheryl Chee.

The death threats and harassment against Hepler was a shitstorm of epic proportions, and nobody deserves that. For one thing, unlike say Jonathan Blow, I don't think Hepler ever actively antagonized her critics. I think the worst thing she said was in a twitter post claiming that people were jealous of her for having a job in the games industry and a vagina.

That said, I am worried about her involvement in this project. She sounds awfully abrasive in her comments, dredging up the Straight White Male debacle from BSN, and then following it up with a snipe at the people who were outraged over he "not enjoying actually playing games" interview from years ago.

Right now I think she should stay quiet and just work on the game she wants to work on. Because if not fighting with forumites got her into a shitstorm, actively calling them out on a kickstarter project is going to end badly.

Oh, the shitty writer who likes Twilight but doesn't like LoTR is making another game? Well, allow me to not give a shit.

I don't really feel that her quote was taken out of context at all because she never actually follows up with how it's not going to be a Mass Effect clone. All she talks about is relationships but there was alot more to Mass Effect then that. If she is already thinking of it as a Mass Effect clone with better relationships then that is how she is going to write it.

I already told the people making the game, if she is on the project I won't donate to the Kickstarter because is obviously is already planning on writing for it as if it was Mass Effect. This is a shame because I would love to see them hit more of their stretch goals but if they do I won't want to play the game because of her writing in it.

Also if it took a game like this to see how she could have done the relationships in the other games better, she is a bad writer.

I know I am a bad writer and thought of better things to do with those relationships.

Hey guys, remember how a few weeks ago the internet traffic around the name Jennifer Hepler was inexplicably revived from like, 2009 or whenever the fuck that whole thing actually happened? Remember that? Few weeks ago? Someone else was shat on so Jennifer Heplers name came up and everyone remembered she was a thing?

And now she's selling something?

Ain't that some shit.

"Terrible author vows: get ready for stuff that's both awkward to say and listen to."

In other news, politicians are still corrupt and Hollywood is still full of pretentious assholes.

Jennifer Hepler is reviled because her writing is shit and she doesn't actually like video games. Which I think are pretty good reasons to hate a video game writer. It's basically the same reason everyone hates Uwe Boll.

I like the idea of the game. I might not necessarily like the writing, but I love space opera ARPGs.

As for Jennifer Hepler: why do people think she's that much of a problem? If she isn't let near the main storyline, everything will be fine.

Matthi205:
I like the idea of the game. I might not necessarily like the writing, but I love space opera ARPGs.

As for Jennifer Hepler: why do people think she's that much of a problem? If she isn't let near the main storyline, everything will be fine.

I suppose people would rather the developers not waste money by hiring someone who isn't actually useful for anything. We know that any characters, dialogue or plot she writes will be awful. Any design input she has will be bad. Why spend money hiring someone you know is terrible at their job?

Ah boy, here we go again. I swear the woman's name just needs to be mentioned before people start making pretty extreme claims that I feel warrant a massive "CITATION NEEDED"

Well, considering that I LIKED the writing in the Mass Effect and Dragon Age games, I put them a little bit closer to their goal.

Calling the game a ripoff isn't a very good way to sell your game. If that's how the game's writer is dismissing it, I don't see why I should care about it.

Too bad she could say much about anything other than romance in the game. Is this game about romance?

Phrozenflame500:
Well, I looked at the kickstarter, and frankly is looks like complete bullshit.

It promises 3D rendered full voiced cutscenes with indepth character and armour customization with English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Russian localizations with Mac, Linux and Windows versions with choices that actually matter (lol)... for $500,000.

I'll believe it when I see it. And at the current rate of funding, it seems like I won't.

I don't know that much about game development but they already have a working build (even if it is "pre-alpha"), so it looks like they're just asking for money to polish it up (or whatever the term is for moving through the alpha and beta phases) and expand certain aspects.

As for Hepler, I really don't care either way.She's written stuff I've liked and stuff I've hated, just like every other writer. DAO: Most of the Orzammar NPCs, the whole Anvil of the Void questline (including Branka and Hespith), the Dwarf Commoner Origin. DA2: Anders, Bethany, Leandra, Elthina, Cullen, Sebastan, and the majority of the Legacy DLC. That's all her work (DA Wiki) and while I don't agree with Hepler's views on game design, I have enjoyed a good portion of that list up there and at the end of the day, that's what matters.

Krantos:
You know, the whole Hepler thing leaves me conflicted.

On the one hand, the treatment she received from the "community" was absolutely disgusting. I feel ashamed to share a hobby with the people who threatened her.

On the other hand, every time she speaks, I become more convinced she's not the type of person we want in the game industry. For one, there's her statements gameplay and story segregation, which make it seem like she'd be more comfortable writing novels or screenplays than game scripts. Dismissing the importance of gameplay is not something a game writer should ever do. It'd be like a novelist dismissing the importance of word choice, or a film writer dismissing the importance of actors.

Now she refers to the game as a "rip-off" right away, and hiring her is supposed to be a bonus tied to a stretch goal?

Sorry, but that rubs me the wrong way. A lot.

While not wishing Hepler any ill at all, I remain convinced she'd be more comfortable and successful in a different industry.

This is the same position I took during the "kill her kids" thing caused her to leave, and everyone supporting her just roped me in with the psycho-trolls that threatened her.

I have no personal vendetta with this woman, I just don't want her working on my games because she's only ever been involved with things I disliked.

Well I guess it's free publicity, but devs do be warned when you are signing up with someone that describes your work as "rip-off" it means they don't give two shits about what you are doing... and I can't possibly imagine how that can end well for you.
I understand you need writers, but you might want to first find someone that understands your work.

Hey~ the Hepler Hate Brigade's already showed up and started spewing unsubstantiated bullshit about her writing abilities and taking the word of a random news headline of a website known for picking the most attention-grabbing headlines it can over the words that she actually fucking said!

Keep up the good work guys; you're making us all (sniff) so proud.

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here