Brianna Wu seeking equality in the video game world
Brianna Wu is the founder and head of development at the Boston video game studio Giant Spacekat. Last year, she was one of several female developers targeted with rape and death threats from members of a group called Gamergate, which is known for online hate speech against women. Wu still gets threats but is busy raising money, finishing a new version of “Revolution 60,” and tweeting prolifically as the self-styled “Godzilla of tech feminists.” She shared her digital habits with The Download.
What gets you up in the morning?
I use my phone, actually. I run with an iPhone 6 Plus, and I’ve already ordered the iPhone 6s Plus. The very first thing I do is grab my Apple Watch in the morning to measure my calories and activity.
So you’re into the quantified self thing? Well, I am an engineer. I love metrics. Like myself, you probably tend to sit at your desk too much, so I love my Apple Watch buzzing at me to say, “Hey, you haven’t stood up for three or four hours. It’s time to get a move on, Brianna.”
You love Apple products, but during the company’s launch event last week you were on Twitter poking fun at the steady stream of white male presenters. I do love Apple products, but it’s not my job to cheerlead Apple. It’s my job as an engineer and developer to give critiques. For example, Apple TV is a platform with a lot of problems for game developers who might want to use it.
You sometimes tweet at individuals, too — people who’ve insulted you online. Why not ignore them?
If you look at Twitter lately, I almost always just block or mute people. I’ve kind of taken a step back. My biggest career fear is that Gamergate is all I’ll ever be known for.
What can you tell us about the new game release? We got a lot of criticism about the costumes in the original “Rev 60.” People thought our characters were a little too sexy. We said to ourselves, “We can’t be considered a company that’s championing equality if we don’t listen to criticism.” Holiday, our main character, was in this spandex suit before. Now she’s wearing motorcycle armor that glows in parts. She looks more like a soldier and less like somebody on a fashion runway.