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The variable name that could get someone fired

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This story in its entirety annoys me to my core, mainly because it’s filled with a pile of things that aren’t okay but specifically because someone is going to pick up on this as proof of how childish gamers or developers are and run with it.

The story itself really is a non-entity and goes something like this.

Techland, the developers behind Dead Island, accidently sent the wrong version of their code to steam and this code was then released. It wasn’t  a final build and one of the variable names in the game was offensive.

For non-developers a variable is simply a placeholder for some data and often is the only place that developers can express some light entertainment inside their code. Management always frowns upon it but since it never gets seen it’s not a problem.

However in this case someone managed to crack open the code and found a variable named FeministWhorePurna. It was the placeholder variable for a skill in Dead Island where the character receives a 15% damage boost against men.

So the story is that we have an offensive variable name that cannot be seen by anyone not cracking into the code (what was the guy doing anyway?) and now the Internet is abuzz with anger and people demanding answers.

Techland has already posted a grovelling apology and has promised to look further into it which annoys me more as the developer responsible is now most probably going to lose his/her job for putting an ill-thought out joke into the code for his/her team to see.

It’s in bad taste but really that’s all it is. This isn’t some hidden attempt to push us back into the 1950’s and revoke the right of suffrage from our fairer sex – nor is it an essay posted on the Internet about how all women are the devil and we should be chaining them to the kitchen.

It’s a hidden variable name that was removed in the release version of the code, if this is what works you up and gets you frothing then I am sorry for you. We have bigger problems in the world than bad jokes so seriously just get over it.

And to Techland, if you fire this developer over this we’ll start an Internet petition against your company. There…that’ll teach them! Stupid story is stupid.

Oh that apology

“It obviously violates professional and ethical standards at Techland and should never have happened,” Blazej Krakowiak, international brand manager, told Eurogamer. “We’re investigating this right now and we’ll issue a statement later.

“For now, I can only express my sincerest apologies for this incident and assure you that whoever acted so irresponsibly did not represent the views and opinions of Techland.

“I’m equally sure that aside from the author of that unfortunate line of code, everyone at the office is as disturbed by this as you are.

The best possible outcome from this would be for Techland to announce that the developer responsible had already left the company so no further action will be taking place.

Also I do not see this in the same light as what Darryn Scot recently did as that was in a public place and therefore entirely different.

Source: Steam Forums via Eurogamer

Last Updated: September 9, 2011

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