Earlier this week, a man with “Game Dev @EA” in his Twitter contour wrote that he had accustomed afterlife threats from affronted Star Wars Battlefront II fans. His adventure was covered by annual outlets like USA Today, the BBC, and Yahoo. Vice wrote an beat about it, CNBC ran a banderole about it, and the cheep was retweeted by hundreds of people. There’s aloof one abiding question: Does he absolutely assignment at Electronic Arts?
With about 5,000 followers on Twitter, BiggSean66 doesn’t accept a decidedly huge admirers or platform, but back he tweeted Monday that he was “up to 7 afterlife threats, and over 1600 alone claimed attacks now,” he went viral. Gaming and boilerplate outlets best up his story, autograph about how the abuse over Star Wars Battlefront II’s microtransactions led to gamers aggressive BiggSean66’s life. Hundreds of developers and journalists additionally quoted him, beatific sympathies, and talked about the adventure on Twitter, accusatory those who acquainted the charge to beatific afterlife threats to BiggSean66.
Yet, afterwards speaking to several accepted EA employees, cross-referencing his capacity with Linkedin and Facebook pages, and extensive out to BiggSean66, I’ve become assertive that he does not absolutely assignment for EA. In fact, back I beatific him several letters bygone and this morning, he has afflicted his Twitter contour to aish all mentions of EA.
EA says it additionally has not been able to affirm that BiggSean66 works for the company. This morning, the administrator beatific me this statement: “We booty threats adjoin our advisers actual seriously. Our aboriginal affair is ensuring assurance and abutment for our people, and back the letters aboriginal alike we’ve been investigating this internally. At this time, we’re not able to verify this individual’s claims of application at EA, nor the threats fabricated adjoin him.”
When I aboriginal saw BiggSean66’s Twitter annual on Monday, I anticipation article seemed off. His tweets appeared too camp and amateurish to be advancing from a absolute employee, and he would about animadversion on capacity that I couldn’t brainstorm anyone at EA would anytime cartel talking about on the record. For example, in acknowledgment to my adventure aftermost ages about the collapse of Visceral Games, BiggSean66 wrote that the bearings was “clearly absolutely a bit added circuitous than a simple EA hates SP games”:
After digging into his old tweets, I became alike added skeptical. BiggSean66 would generally bell into added people’s conversations, cogent them he formed for EA and alms his perspective. He tweeted frequently about alive at EA, afterwards alms abounding specifics on what he did or what affectionate of position he had. Although he was consistently affable and arresting of the company, he had a addiction to allege on annual of EA in means that addled me as questionable.
He additionally had a addiction to get into aberrant fights with people:
BiggSean66 created his Twitter annual in aboriginal 2015, and about immediately, he began claiming that he formed for EA, cultivating relationships with admirers and alike some advisers of the company, like Battlefield association administrator Jeff Braddock. Some EA advisers accept additionally followed him on Twitter, abnormally in the deathwatch of his Monday tweets about afterlife threats. But out of 100,000 tweets, BiggSean66 didn’t arise to action abounding specifics about his character or role, except in one tweet, area he acquaint a photograph of what he said was him and his wife (which we won’t allotment here).
He would generally cheep at bodies cogent them to appear say hi to him on EA’s campus, in Redwood Shores, but afterwards analytic for several hours, I couldn’t acquisition any cases of him absolutely affair or interacting with anyone as an EA representative. Earlier this year, he tweeted frequently about EA’s June event, EA Play, but he again told others on Twitter that he had not been able to attend.
There were some contradictions on his Twitter feed, too. In July 2015, BiggSean66 said that he had started alive at EA “a few months ago” and couldn’t get time off yet.
But aftermost week, he said he was about to hit his four-year anniversary, which would announce that he started in November or December of 2013.
With no luck acceptance BiggSean66’s character on Twitter, I started aggravating to affix the dots elsewhere. He had a YouTube annual and Google profile, which seemed like a acceptable lead. In it, BiggSean66 said he did “Data Access & Assay at Electronic Arts”:
This was a start. I spent some time combing Linkedin and Facebook for bodies called Sean who formed in abstracts access and assay at EA Redwood Shores, but alone one being fit the bill, and his claimed capacity didn’t bout with BiggSean66’s photo or added advice I’d begin on the Twitter account. Again I begin this tweet, in which BiggSean66 said he was a QA analyst:
Again, no luck on Linkedin or Facebook. I advised that his name ability not absolutely be Sean, but I still couldn’t acquisition anyone who fit his capacity or whose annual resembled BiggSean66’s.
Contacting BiggSean66 additionally accepted difficult, but acknowledgment to a clamp abetment from the Kotaku Twitter account, I managed to get in blow with him via Twitter DMs. I told him I was alive on a adventure and absolutely bare to allocution to him, alluringly on the phone. He said Twitter DMs would be best, and that I was acceptable to ask him my questions, “as continued as it’s off the record.” I said OK, but his appeal wouldn’t amount much, because afterwards I beatific over this question, he chock-full responding.
BiggSean66 didn’t acknowledge to any of my aftereffect questions, but at some point afterwards accepting them, he afflicted his Twitter profile, removing all mentions of EA. He has additionally bound his account. He hasn’t tweeted back Monday.
The agitation about the abridgement of Star Wars Battlefront II has been ugly, and threats adjoin developers, players and anyone abroad are no trifling thing. (I’ve been there, too.) BiggSean66’s cheep resonated with a lot of bodies because it feels true. Anger tends to cool in gaming communities. Furious, accessory players do sometimes cantankerous the band and accelerate threats. Bold developers generally are brow-beaten for architecture decisions they made, sometimes for decisions over which they had no control. But it’s not generally you acquisition a d developer’s afterlife blackmail go viral—making its way not aloof to d sites but to ample boilerplate outlets—only for it to about-face out that he ability not be a developer afterwards all.
UPDATE (November 16, 6:30pm): In the day afterward this story, we accustomed a accomplished lot of reactions as able-bodied as some new advice about BiggSean66. I heard from and accomplished out to a few dozen people, including BiggSean66’s acquaintances and accepted and above EA employees. There were two developments account noting. The aboriginal was that BiggSean66 had a altered amusing media folio area he’d acquaint a few photos that appeared to be taken from central of EA’s offices in backward 2015 and aboriginal 2016. Problem was, three of those photos had been acquaint on the Visceral Amateur Twitter augment months afore BiggSean66 acquaint them.
One of BiggSean66’s photos, which we accept not apparent elsewhere, featured a assurance from central of EA’s Bold Lab, area the aggregation brings in focus testers to analysis out new amateur in barter for swag or allowance cards.
The additional development was that several EA advisers accepted to me that there is cipher in the agent database analogous BiggSean66’s abounding name, which an associate of his aggregate with me (and which, as I after found, he had tweeted to a few of his followers). One above EA developer who formed at Redwood Shores told me that, as far as they could tell, there had been cipher called Sean in the QA administration whose advice akin with BiggSean66.
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