BioWare writer: Industry not made up only of straight white men

David Gaider says a false perception exists that the gaming business is composed of only straight white men, calls for greater diversity.

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The perception that the gaming industry is made up solely of straight white men is false, longtime BioWare writer David Gaider told Gamasutra in a new interview.

"There's a perception that the gaming industry is only made up of straight white men," Gaider said. "And while they're certainly the majority, that's not to say there aren't many other people comprising the industry as well."

Gaider said it's important for more developers to get "broader viewpoints" from within their own teams, and that process begins with those people applying for the positions.

"Perhaps it's a sign of the times that it's even a question, or one where the answer might be, 'yes, but it's important to speak up even so,'" Gaider said. "Someone who doesn't conform to the perceived norm might think they don't have a chance of getting into the industry--a gay person might think, 'oh, there's no point in applying. I don't want to work in a frat house.'"

Gaider pointed out that his team of writers for the Dragon Age series is made up predominantly of women. Dragon Age: Inquisition launches in 2014 for Xbox 720, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC. Morrigan will not be featured as a party member, though she will play a "significant" role in the game.

Discussion

694 comments
hystavito
hystavito

@Lazerproof Well in GTA4 you could clearly see what was going on :).

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

"The perception that the gaming industry is made up solely of straight white men is false, longtime BioWare writer David Gaider told Gamasutra in a new interview."

Indeed, there are also many straight, Asian men!  See?  DIVERSITY!

DaCriLL
DaCriLL

And we're back on this shit.

The "viewpoint" will never be wider than WHAT SELLS!!! 

Men want to play a male protagonist. With muscles. Men want women with big ***** to look at.  It's just biology. Stop trying to change human nature.

And no, one dude commenting -" herp derp You're wrong, i always play as a woman herp derp" doesnt mean it isn't so. 

Just get over it already.

Shanks_D_Chop
Shanks_D_Chop

Very tired of all these defensive statements...

I don't give a fuck where a writer is from and I don't give a fuck what they have or haven't got between their legs. I couldn't care less what their personal beliefs or opinions are.

The only thing I care about is how good a writer they are. Which has nothing to do with where they're from or what gender they are and everything to do with their ability to create and sustain a narrative whilst detaching themselves from too personal an involvement with their work.

GreyViper
GreyViper

Wait wait does that mean he approves,  actors of adult industry taking more active part in gaming industry? Like say Sasha Grey in Saints Row 3, if  so more power to them.

If  he means that we have to suffer another Andres from DA2 the F no. I mean in DA:O expansions he was funny. In DA2 he came of as creepy guy who you would never share room alone.

jackbrazil
jackbrazil

Bioware insists in sexual orientation! WHY ITS SO IMPORTANT IN A GAME? I want a good rpg story .. about evil , great wars and those fantasy awesomeness , nothing about orgys with woman , man , animals... Bioware those things u leave to our personal lifes , we dont need to fuck (added ur gender of choice here) in games. 

angryguy77
angryguy77

While i don't care what people are, I am sick of it being shoved in our faces. If the homosexuals want to be accepted and normal, then they need to stop letting their sexuality define them.

Jonno621
Jonno621

I fail to see how the colour of a protagonist's skin would change the premise of said character. You can make a black Commander Shepard - Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic - whatever, but the game plays exactly the same. Gender's a bit more complicated but only because it's under such scrutiny. No one can do it right, apparently. Ellie, Lara, Elizabeth - all contemporary examples of great characters that have been bashed because of <insert generic trope here>.

drytal
drytal

Things are changing all over. The entertainment industry is in disarray. Look at most of the movies and games that have been released as of late. They are no where near as big as they use to be. Movies use to last a whole year at the theatre. Now within a years time movies and games have fallen off the charts a lot faster. The cause imo is that people are tired of seeing the same thing. No matter the story its always a white male to save the day. People are craving more creativity and more diversity. Quentin Tarantino movies as of late are the best kinds of representation of diversity. We need that same kind of foresight and storytelling in gaming. To be fair games like mass effect that give you choice through customization and appearance is as diverse as it comes. I actually enjoy more female leads now more than ever.

Melchioruss
Melchioruss

Sorry to be blunt here but I don't give two shits about diversity when talking about gender/race/sexuality. What is important is diversity of thought. Diversity of ideas. To say those things don't contribute to diversity would be ignorant but what is more ignorant is saying that those things are the main component of diversity. Each person regardless of what they may look like and enjoy having sex with has a potential for new ideologies and pursuits in their artistic vision.

It's so ridiculous to me that we put so much effort into 'diversification' when these people are just a different race than each other. Find the people who have original ideas and don't be so focused on finding people who look a little different on the outside. 

Yamakoichi
Yamakoichi

Did this really need to be said?

Regardless ignorant people will be ignorant people. Who look for falsities to complain about.

No matter what a feminist will bitch about women in video games, because they like to create drama, they are attention seekers. I do not see anyone complaining about the millions of generic faceless men dieing/being abused in video games who are not even given a backstory.

tightwad34
tightwad34

So a gay person might not want to apply because they may see a dev studio as a frat house? That's one of the last things I would compare it to. Anyway, where did this "news" come from? Kind of outta the blue.

wavelength121
wavelength121

LGBT culture is here to stay and is something you are all going to have to get used to. Gaming included.

echolimaromeo
echolimaromeo

Fine, make games about gays and women... you'll just lose money and go out of business.  Let the games begin.

cirugo
cirugo

that's great but the highest priority should be making games that aren't shit

sonicare
sonicare

Maybe they should focus more on Dragon Age.  Hoping not to get a repeat of the disappointment that was DA 2.

Atrus00
Atrus00

I wish society would just judge people based on merit, and not on what they look like or believe. You're never going to have a perfectly even distribution of every possible racial/religious/gender/sexual orientation group out there.

lcrava
lcrava

"Gaider said it's important for more developers to get "broader viewpoints" from within their own teams".

"Gaider pointed out that his team of writers for the Dragon Age series is made up predominantly of women."


Whatever happened to getting the best candidate for the job? I guess no one told him but affirmative action is no longer legal.

PANZER1FARZAM
PANZER1FARZAM

Yea yea yea I prefer play games with straight white men you can make any game you want ......................

Gargus
Gargus

@DaCriLL 

Actually it has to do with no one wants to play games that realistically show people as they are.

Honestly, who the hell wants to play street fighter with what average men and women look like and are capable of?

The point of video games is fantasy, fiction, as in not being real. I don't want reality injected into video games. I want to play dragons crown as a insanely large chested woman burning a orc with lighting, I want to play a shooter as a tough ass good looking space marine, and I want to fling exploding birds out of a giant slingshot at helmet wearing pigs. I want to do those things because they are fun and they are not real.

I don't want all games to be made by the WB.

toffifee
toffifee

@jackbrazil Well there are a lot of people that thinks that it's all a part of the character you are playing.

Jonno621
Jonno621

@drytal I really don't think that's the case. I'm fairly sure the fact that a movie uses a white instead of black character - which, really, would affect the movie how much? Would they have to rewrite it? No, that'd create further differences. You can make Joel black but that doesn't change anything other than to appease people saying there's too few black protagonists. It's ridiculous. And again with the Shepard thing - look at my above post. Make your character as diverse as you want, nothing changes. I appreciate some people want to play as a representation of themselves, which is fine, but to make this 'issue' as big as it is.. well, it's ridiculous. 

gskywalker28
gskywalker28

@hiphops_savior what do you mean by your comment? are you saying the reason the game was trash is because it wasn't made by whites only?

Yamakoichi
Yamakoichi

@cirugo That is what all these liberal hippies and freaking feminists forget

Kraken422
Kraken422

@lcrava Your incredibly sexist assumption is that the women weren't the best candidates for the job.

Yamakoichi
Yamakoichi

@lcrava That is why all these minority groups make me laugh. There are not enough X in your business!

Well then, bring me an X that suits the fucking job!

wavelength121
wavelength121

@lcrava That depends on whether employers choose to continue treating minorities equally. Ball's in your court Zeke.

Yamakoichi
Yamakoichi

@PANZER1FARZAM As  straight white man, I would prefer a game full of bi Asians......... maybe even lesbian Asians........ and I mean the oriental kind <.<'

DaCriLL
DaCriLL

@toast_burner @DaCriLL because you cant appeal to a wider audience than the majority of the market.  

if you're try to appeal to a wider audience thats means you have to change things. often things that will make you lose customers from the majority. you see thats the thing about the majority, it's just that. the majority. 

If you change a few things in a game to appeal to say, 10 more consumers from outside the majority, you will most likely lose 50 consumers from said majority. 
Not a very good business plan. 

The thing is they want US, the consumers to change our way of thinking. What we like and dont like. The problem is that so much of what we think and like, consciously AND subconsciously are routed in our biology. 

Get what im saying?

Yamakoichi
Yamakoichi

@96augment @echolimaromeo Personally when playing any game from 3rd person or that has heavy panting, as a male I prefer to play a female character.

I would much rather stare at a woman's ass and listen to hear breathing heavily over a man any day.

musalala
musalala

@96augment @echolimaromeo According to SE tomb raider was a financial disappointment and most people according to bioware used male shepard ( 80%). The unfortunate reality is the straight white male is the holy grail as far as money is concerned, you ignore them at your own peril. If the industry was not so profits oriented we probably would get a lot more diversity, but since its not they will continue to make games that maximize the chances of success and minimize the chances of failure.

Kmangamer
Kmangamer

@wavelength121 @echolimaromeo You didn't prove him wrong. You are one person out of a very very large potential market. Not saying he's right either, but you didn't prove him wrong by any means.

lcrava
lcrava

@wavelength121 @lcrava What minorities? The group that cry wolf the loudest? There's a trend among employers to overcompensate to satisfy the "minorities" who then turn into the majority and still victimizes themselves. Whatever happened to the best idea, the right attitude, the best way to do the job at hand? That's what we should worry about, not how many of which group do we need to hire to be diverse and then overcompensate like its the case at Bioware.

96augment
96augment

@Yamakoichi  @echolimaromeo I never played as a woman. It's not that I don't want to. I just never really saw the point. But I'll eventually try it out, one of these days. 

96augment
96augment

@Lazerproof @musalala I thought Tomb Raider made a profit. It just wasn't what Square Enix was expecting. The same can be said for Sleeping Dogs and Hitman: Absolution. 

Anyway, the point I was trying to make was that a good game will sell (whether the main character's a man or not). I'm in the same boat. I'm an Indian. I doubt I'll ever see a game with an Indian as a main character (unless it's like Mass Effect or Elder Scrolls). 

Lazerproof
Lazerproof

@96augment @musalala Yeah Tomb Raider sold pretty well like 3.5 million or something? I'm not sure. But the issue was they budgeted that thing poorly they would have needed to sell 6million copies to make a profit on that game according to them. THAT's a different issue entirely based on the improper budgeting of games and how they're playing all or nothing now a days. but it does show that people will play a female protagonist.

I will say tho I did play male shepard...but that's because i'm black and it's rare as fuck for me to get the chance to play a black guy in games. And yes...you can bet your sweet ass I played a Redguard in Skyrim.

Kmangamer
Kmangamer

@96augment @musalala The white male is a tried and true demographic that many companies are comfortable with. It's arguably easier to appeal to the straight white male than say women. Basically the stereotype that the industry is full of straight white males and that the largest focus group is the straight white male is there for a reason, that being that it's been that way for a very long time and while there are other groups who are rapidly gaining a foothold in the industry, the safest bet for any company looking to maximize profits is to stick with what you know, that being catering to your oldest consumer group. Like them or not, stereotypes are born for a reason.

96augment
96augment

@musalala Tomb Raider sold millions. Square Enix just overestimated how many units it was going to sell. I don't know how many people used a female Shepard. So, I can't talk about that. All industries are profit oriented. Diversity is a problem in a lot of businesses. 

Lazerproof
Lazerproof

@Yamakoichi @R3aperWolf @sonicare Fourth. I liked a few things about it for sure, but it wasn't a great sequel to a game as great as Dragon Age: Origins. And if you're wondering...yes played a black guy in that one too! Thank you Bioware!