“Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan recently gave a speech at DICE on the importance of creating games that are inclusive. Following his speech, I sat down with him to talk some more about this subject. I wanted to hear about the process and the challenges of creating games that step outside video gaming’s character confines of overwhelmingly white, straight, male heroes.
Game making is a creative process, an amalgamation of individual ideas and biases into a collective consensus. Games are consumed by people with their own passions, frustrations and desires. These games are also subject to international censorship laws and the conservative media’s outrage machine.
We’re told that it’s impossible to please all the people all the time, but this has turned out to be a thin excuse for gaming’s lack of diversity. For a long time, developers and publishers have satisfied themselves with pleasing the small slice of humanity they feel comfortable portraying. Not coincidentally, this male, white and East Asian demographic is also dominant in development, retail, publishing and, yes, journalism.
“There’s always going to be someone upset with things that we do,” Kaplan says. “We know we’re not always going to get it right. But it’s about trying to be welcoming to a lot of people and thinking about others…”