If there’s one thing we gaming reviewers at LGG&F can agree on, it’s that there needs to be more diversity in video games. This isn’t some revelation I’m pulling out of my ass: we’ve been saying it since the start, whether it be more people of color placed in the spotlight, women being allowed to have characterization beyond the easy pitfalls of tropes, or any representation of the LGBTQ+ community. Basically any character that’s not a chiseled, cishet, 5 o’clock shadow-ed white dude. Cries for a wider cast of characters have echoed across the subculture for what feels like eons, but the fact remains that until the industry decides to take up the mantle, the opportunities for change will be limited to break-out indie hits. However, my conscientious readers, we may be on the precipice of a new dawn. That is to say, the industry may have just had a breakthrough.
Just a few days ago at the Games Developer Conference in San Francisco, Manveer Heir, a gameplay designer for BioWare Montreal, took the stage in front of a packed room to deliver a panel entitled ‘Misogyny, Racism and Homophobia: Where do video games stand?’. During the panel, Heir called out the Western games industry for clinging too closely to the AAA game formula of white straight dudes saving the girl and doing cool things, and called for a change in not only how the games industry forms their future stories, but also how they view their audience. In a wise move, Heir reassured his audience that his speech wasn’t made so he could waggle a disapproving finger at his fellow game devs; instead it was to be seen as a nudge to an industry that has grown all too comfortable in their safe little niche. It’s a nudge well-needed, however.