AAA Game Dev To Frustrated Fans: ‘We’re Human Beings’


In recent years, developers have faced more and more harassment and toxic behavior from people who say they love games but seem more interested in yelling about how studios are lazy or how everything is “woke” in 2024. And one Sony studio developer has a message to all the gamers out there, telling them to relax and not suspect the worst, adding: “We’re just human beings.”

While people being shitty online is nothing new, in recent years it has become more and more common for developers and people involved in the video game industry to be harassed or treated poorly by angry, frustrated players or bigots. It’s something we’ve seen over and over again. Women and people of color are targeted more often by angry gamers and mobs spewing insults, slurs, threats, and other toxic garbage.

In the most recent installment of Game File from former Kotaku EIC Stephen Totilo, one developer had a message to fans about how hard game development is and reminded them that the people making your games are humans.

“Everything is difficult,” said Ramone Russell, product development and communications strategist for Sony’s popular baseball franchise, MLB The Show. He spoke briefly backstage at the 2024 DICE Awards.

“And if we haven’t done something, it’s because we haven’t figured out the right way to do it. We want to do everything.”

Russell also pushed back on angry gamers raging over games including (or not including) specific features.

“Nobody comes to work in video game development trying to make anyone angry,” said Russell, “We want to give the fans everything, but we can’t. We have a release date. We have a finite amount of resources. So when we miss the mark, it’s never because of a lack of effort.”

The developer also made it clear that while devs aren’t perfect, they are working hard to make stuff you love, so treat them with some respect.

“We’re human beings just like everyone else,” added Russell. “And sometimes we hit that mark and sometimes we miss the mark. But when we do miss the mark, it’s never because we weren’t trying hard enough.”

There’s a big difference between being critical of a game, a publisher, or a decision and harassing people. You can dislike the wave of live-service games that have flooded the industry and also feel empathy for the developers making these games and losing their jobs. You can hate the rise of battle passes and microtransactions without hunting down the people behind the game online to stalk and harass them endlessly. Criticism is fine. Toxic assholes treating devs like shit is what needs to stop.

At the end of the day, all of the people making stuff you like or hate are humans who deserve to be treated as such. And while it’s a shame devs have to keep saying this, perhaps a few folks will be swayed to not send that nasty email to some overworked community manager after hearing Russell’s words.


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