It's been a rocky week for the team behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. After taking a hammering from fans over the timed PS4 exclusivity deal for Survival mode, talk of weapons being added to supply drops (loot boxes) began to spread online after a leaker claimed the drops would no longer be cosmetic-only, and it didn't take long for hundreds of complaints to appear on Twitter and the Modern Warfare subreddit.
Unfortunately (although unsurprisingly) it seems many of these complaints went too far. In a Reddit post, studio art director Joel Emslie appealed for fans to use calmer language on the subreddit.
"Take a second and think about who on the production side comes to this sub and reads through the comments," the post begins.
"We are a mixed bag of nerds, jocks, and everything in between. It's amazing but we all get along and come together every day to build something that we believe in. We've dedicated our careers to being the best at what we do and to making the best possible game we can make."
Emslie also emphasised the importance of the sub in providing thoughts and feedback, and regarding the current drama, assured players they are "being heard, all of it".
"I don't know why but on my daily scans of the sub, where I'm looking for useful feedback... I even read the ultra dark toxic comments that tell me how incompetent and stupid I must be and how I should go away somewhere where I cant harm people with my bad ideas and artwork," Emslie wrote. "We all have a pretty thick skin here but yeah it can kind of get to you. Believe me we keep it professional but of course people that pass by my office from time to time can hear me through the walls."
While Emslie feels players should continue to voice their opinions, he asked fans to "keep it clean and maybe even a little creative".
"Get it out of your system but remember there's a team of human beings here at IW and we have crappy days just like you."
The post concludes by distinguishing between official announcements and rumours, with Emslie asking players to "focus on information that is actually fact and not get thrown off by ill-informed people that want to make a name for themselves by spreading half-baked inflammatory rumours".
"Let's work real problems together and not fairy tales of boogeymen."
Earlier this week, Infinity Ward narrative director Taylor Kurosaki said the decision to make Survival mode a PlayStation timed exclusive was "above all of our pay grades", suggesting it was indeed a publisher-level decision. Seems like a rough deal for the devs who had no hand in the unpopular move, but who now bear the brunt of the criticism from fans.
Sadly, this incident forms part of a wider pattern of online abuse towards developers: back in 2013, Black Ops 2 developers received death threats over a patch, while more recently the Respawn developers faced a wave of backlash for the monetisation methods used in the Iron Crown event. And, given Activision's attitude towards the microtransactions in Black Ops 4, it's likely we could see this happen to the Modern Warfare devs again in future.