One of the lead level designers for the first-person shooter game Wolfenstein: Youngblood, MachineGames’ Mitja Roskaric, was apparently harassed off Twitter because of player outrage over the game’s use of microtransactions.
Roskaric wrote in a tweet on Sunday, July 28, “Had to lock my profile, because gamers are mad at me for MTX [microtransactions] in Youngblood. How is your day going?”
As of today, July 31, it appears that Roskaric has deleted his Twitter account.
Microtransactions in this context refer to the sale of inessential bonus content for a game like cosmetic items, usually for a single-digit price. In Youngblood, you can pay real money for a premium in-game currency called “gold bars,” which are used to purchase “new power armor and weapon skins,” according to Youngblood’s Steam page. Other purchases in the game can be made using its free currency, “silver coins.” But as a Polygon report notes, for a few days after release, players of the PS4 version of the game were able to buy “boosters” like “Max Health Boost” and “Ammo Loot Boost” with both premium and free currency. These boosters were not available to PC Youngblood players, and were eventually patched out of the PS4 release, as well.
Microtransactions have become a common feature in videogames, even in titles that have an up-front price for purchase. But as Kotaku points out, the Wolfenstein series, which dates back to 1981, was seen by fans as a bastion of traditional game design principles. While the implementation of microtransactions in Youngblood is conservative and doesn’t include controversial Skinner’s Box mechanics like loot boxes, the inclusion at all of the new-fangled mechanic might have enraged purists. The confusion over exactly what microtransactions were available on each platform also fanned the flames of player anger.
Games journalist David Milner noticed a fan backlash to Youngblood’s microtransactions on Metacritic’s user reviews, as well as anger at the game’s two female protagonists.
Gamers having an extremely normal one in the Wolfenstein user reviews. pic.twitter.com/AFeU79Soit— David Milner (@DaveMilbo) July 27, 2019
Game developers on Twitter condemned the harassment of Roskaric.
@MitjaRoskaric is a great dude, He’s always positive and helps new LD to reach their potential.People, you should be ashamed to make him lock his account. He’s honestly one of the best gamedev on this platform. https://t.co/mcKeoqaWZP— Kevin Pinson (@huitmottes) July 29, 2019
Secondly, it is never ok to target abuse at individual developers because you don’t agree with decisions on a game or don’t like its content.— Simon Cooper (@scoop_cooper) July 29, 2019
Ubisoft developer Simon Cooper said that in Roskaric’s role as lead level designer, he was unlikely to have any control over the implementation of microtransactions.
Now, firstly Lead LDs will have pretty much zero influence on Micro Transactions and their implementation within a game.Anything being directed at @MitjaRoskaric is totally misplaced.— Simon Cooper (@scoop_cooper) July 29, 2019
Paste has reached out to Roskaric for comment and will update this post with any we receive.
You can watch the trailer for Wolfenstein: Youngblood below.