Brianna Wu is an American video game developer and computer programmer. She is also a popular blogger and podcaster on issues related to video games. She co-founded the game development studio Giant Spacekat in 2010, with Amanda Warner. She became well known during the 2014 online reactionary movement Gamergate, when she opposed both Gamergate and online harassment. She ridiculed Gamergate advocates for "fighting an apocalyptic future…” in a tweet. As a result, she became a target for rape and death threats, leading her to flee her home. She also started a legal defense fund for women targeted by Gamergate. In early 2017, FBI closed the investigation, after it had identified four men who sent threats and obtained confessions from two of them. However, US Attorney for Massachusetts declined to prosecute them, giving no reasons at all. Wu stated that FBI didn’t take the investigation seriously and let off the harassers with just warnings. She was the co-host of the Isometric gaming podcast from 2014-16. Currently, she is planning to run in the elections for a seat in the House of Representatives in 2018.
Brianna Wu had a strong interest in entrepreneurship and did a number of jobs related to technology. She started a business of modifying cars and computers at the age of 15 from her parents’ garage. When she was 20, her parents gave her $200,000 to start an animation business. She rented a house and turned it into a production studio. However, the project was unsuccessful.
By the early 2000s, she was already an expert in writing applications for Palm OS and developing websites with programs like Dreamweaver and GoLive. She loved to work with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. She also did reporting and investigative journalism jobs. At the age of 23, she moved to Washington, DC to work in politics for the Republican Party. She also found a job to do constituent services and fundraising. By 2004, she was extremely frustrated with the Bush administration, and started campaigning for John Kerry.
In 2010, after the launch of mobile Unreal Engine for iOS, she started Giant Spacekat, a company to make games with the new technology. Although she had no experience in using Unreal, she built a team and arranged the capital. She spent most of 2011 learning 3D programs like Maya, Unreal, Kismet and visual scripting. She wanted to develop games with strong female characters, as she was frustrated with the “boys club” mentality in the games industry. So in her first game—Revolution 60—she featured an all-female cast. Many experts described the game as having strong feminist overtones. In 2013, she wrote an article—‘Choose your Character’—for ‘The Magazine,’ which highlighted her thoughts about what women experienced in the game industry. The article was appreciated and opened for her the opportunity to speak at technology conferences across USA.
Revolution 60, launched in 2014, received critically acclaimed reviews from Macworld, Gamebreaker, Kotaku, and many others. At Pax East, a renowned conference on technology, it was listed as one of the 10 best indie games of the conference. Throughout the year she continued to write critical articles, and speak at conferences about women and technological issues. Her article for Polygon, ‘No Skin Thick Enough,’ about the harassment of women in the game industry was well received by the industry.
In 2014, she launched ‘Isometric,’ a games podcast with many women voicing their views. The games podcast was recognized by 5by5 network, and it became one of the most listened-to podcasts on games. On April 18, 2016, the ‘Isometric’ podcast was discontinued, and Wu started a new podcast called ‘Disruption’ on Relay FM, which covers technology and culture.
In 2016, after the American presidential election, Wu decided to fight for a Congressional seat in the greater Boston area. Her 2018 election policy will emphasis on women’s rights, and she will highlight the gap between supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and left-leaning candidate Bernie Sanders. She will challenge Rep. Stephen F. Lynch of the 8th District. Wu has cited failures by Congress Party regarding technology as the reason for her shift from game development to politics.
You May Like
Continue Reading Below
Brianna Wu was born on July 6, 1980 in Portsmouth, West Virginia, USA. She was adopted by a couple who raised her in Mississippi, where she lived a privileged life. Her father was a retired US Navy doctor, who opened his own clinic after retirement, and her mother ran a number of small businesses.
Her father could recognize her aptitude for technology when she was young and supported her interest by enrolling her in different classes and by buying her expensive hardware. At a very early age, she learned how to program and modify computers. She had a prototype, Sony’s Net Yaroze PlayStation, that helped her develop games and upload them to a PlayStation hardware.
She started studying journalism and political science at the University of Mississippi in 2003. However, she left the university midway as she moved to Washington DC to work. Later she returned to college to finish her degree in investigative journalism. In 2008, Wu married artist Frank Wu, four-time winner of the Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist. She had a pet dog named Crash.
According to some sources, her parents disowned her in 2005 as they had differences with her over political issues and her beliefs on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights. So she left home and was homeless for some time. It is also claimed by certain websites that Brianna was born a boy and had undergone a sex reassignment surgery in 2008. However, these claims are unverified.