Polaris and Maker Studios, the multi-channel network organization, had planned a reality TV-style game jam a while back. It all fell to pieces for a number of reasons, but part of it was in deliberate sabotaging by a few of its participants, including Zoe Quinn from Depression Quest fame, Tom Jackson from Surgeon Simulator and Davey Wreden from The Stanley Parable, assuming statements made in a chat log are to be believed.
Citizen journalists released chat logs from a private Skype group for Crash Override Network, which contained individuals like Zoe Quinn, a game developer, Chris Kluwe, a former football player, and a former advocate for Feminist Frequency, Katharine Cross.
The logs were captured between December 22nd, 2014 and January 5th, 2015 and one of the members who were part of the group have verified the veracity of the logs. Some of the chat logs have also been appearing on the Twitter account BroTeamPill.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) August 25, 2016
In one section, Zoe Quinn describes how she and her fellow teammates, Davey Wreden and Tom Jackson, sought to sabotage the Polaris and Maker Studio production… a production that cost Disney (the parent company of Maker) $400,000 according to a report from Eurogamer back in 2014.
Explaining the situation to Chris Kluwe and someone named Peter Coffin, Quinn states in the chat logs that she did not enjoy participating in the reality show and was contractually obligated not to speak ill of Mountain Dew…
“The most humiliating moment in that game jam reality show we walked out on was that the guy who made nidhogg was one of the judges for the embarassing challenges they made us do […] so i got to meet one of my heros while being forced to fingerpaint with jon tron’s in the background asking the british member of my team to say words that sounded funny with his accent” […] “also I contractually could not make fun of mountain dew for several months” [sic]
Kluwe responds saying that before signing any sponsorship deals he would oftentimes tell people if the product sucks he would make fun of it, to which Quinn responds…
“[…] dude that was totally my plan going in […] so I did it cause I was the only woman they asked and because I’m a competitive person I wanted the only girl to win and they clearly had no idea what they were doing or what jam games were so I was like “ok how can I game this system” “comedy. everyone gets comedy.”
“so I brought on davey wreden from the stanley parable and tom from surgeon simulator for my 2 people I could choose for my team with the arrangement that if it was a we openly mock it and troll the entire thing.” [sic]
According to Quinn’s post on Gamasutra from March 31st, 2014, Maker and the production crew allegedly forced them to hold cans of Mountain Dew and perform in front of the camera in ways that made Quinn feel it was “wrong”. In her own words, she wrote…
“[…] it’s hard to have gone through something so surreal and emotionally difficult and be forced to stay quiet. About as difficult as smiling dead-eyed at a camera with a soft drink in your hand (label facing outwards, of course) when everything in you is screaming “this is wrong, run away”.”
While on the surface it appeared as if the producers were forcing Quinn and crew into doing things they were uncomfortable with, according to Quinn in the Skype chat logs, they were the ones choosing to dead-eye the camera and forcibly keep putting Mountain Dew cans in the shots in order to “troll” the production.
Quinn explains to Kluwe and Coffin…
“we kept sneaking cans into shots and deadeyeing the cameras and I kept switching glasses between shots and we were slowly holding mt dew cans and bringing them up closer to our faces constantly till they screamed at us to stop.”
“Davey [Wreden] jumped in with both feet and was constantly chugging till he got sick like actually sick. I snuck into everyone’s trailers and hid cans everywhere like in the toilets and under their pillows (this was before everyone else arrived cause I got there first).
“yeah but it went too far into “total” territory”
The chat then devolves into a spat that Quinn had with JonTron, where it was claimed that he was “impossible to work with” and that he “hated” everything Quinn came up with. Unfortunately I was unable to get in contact with Quinn for comment because she has me blocked on Twitter.
You can read some of chat logs through the pastebin.
We’ll have up more stories regarding the full chat logs and the discussions therein, including some individuals within the Crash Override Network group doxxing those within #GamerGate.
[Update 8/27/2016:] TotalBiscuit, one of the YouTubers who was part of the Polaris Game Jam, was asked about his involvement with Quinn on a Kotaku In Action thread. He made a brief comment about his involvement with the Game Jam at the end post, simply stating…
“Oh yeah and as it turns out, the time when I put my job on the line to criticize my own employer and defend her and the other participants of the GAME_JAM, she and her cronies at the event were around acting like rank amateurs and deliberately sabotaging the sponsor spots that were paying for the whole thing, not to mention insulting my friend.”