On Saturday, John Gibson, president of Tripwire Interactive (best known for games like Killing Floor, Chivalry 2, and Maneater) posted on Twitter, supporting a recent Texas legislation.
“Proud of #USSupremeCourt affirming the Texas law banning abortion for babies with a heartbeat. As an entertainer I don’t get political often. 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.”
The law in question references recent legislation put forward by the Texas Supreme Court that both bans abortions, and allows for any citizen to “sue” someone that got an abortion for up to $10,000. There’s a great deal wrong with this system, but we’re a games site, so we’ll focus on the game industry part of all this.
While Gibson’s opinions were taken very poorly by the general community, it didn’t stop there. Not long after, Shipwright Studios responded to this tweet, declaring that they do not agree with this position and would be cancelling any current and future work with Tripwire moving forward.
“While your politics are your own, the moment you make them a matter of public discourse, you entangle all of those working for and with you. We have worked closely alongside the talented and passionate developers at Tripwire and your partners for the last 3+ years.
We know it is difficult for employees to speak up or act out in these scenarios, and they may not feel comfortable to speak their minds.
It is regrettable, but we feel it would be doing ourselves, your employees, your partners, and the industry as a while a disservice to allow this pattern to continue without comment.
We started Shipwright with the idea that it was finally time to put our money where our mouth is. We cannot in good conscience continue to work with Tripwire under the current leadership structure. We will begin the cancellation of our existing contracts effective immediately.”
Not too much later, Torn Banner Studios (Chivalry 2) also made a statement, making is clear that they do not agree with Gibson’s words.
“We 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. The statement stands in opposition to what we believe about women’s rights.”
While Shipwright is making an active business separation, it does not appear that Torn Banner will be separating from Tripwire at this time.
Between Activision/Blizzard being overrun with misogynistic and sexist lawsuits, and Paradox Interactive now being reported as a business with gender discrimination, this is a terrible time to be making statements against women’s rights, especially when you’re in a position of power at a game company.
While nothing has been said at this time, we would not be surprised if a change of leadership was to occur at Tripwire in the near future.
UPDATE (9/8/2021): Gibson has stepped down as CEO of Tripwire Interactive in response to the backlash. Co-founder and Vice President Alan Wilson will step in as interim CEO. The studio issued the following statement.
"The comments given by John Gibson are of his own opinion, and do not reflect those of Tripwire Interactive as a company. 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."
We told ya.
In truth, however, we hold little faith that this will lead to meaningful change. Gibson and Wilson founded the company together 16 years ago. We can't help but think that if anyone knew about Gibson's political perspective, it would be Wilson. It's quite possible they even share the same opinions. You don't run a business together for over a decade without getting along with a person. Additionally, while Gibson may not be CEO, he very likely will still profit from the company's success in the future, he does own it after all. This makes it hard to support the studio until we know more. We admit that this is cynical speculation, though. With any luck, the new leadership will lead to a more accepting environment for women in the games industry (and in general).