Blizzard President Says Studio Will Do Better to Create "More Diverse Heroes"

Mike Morhaime issues detailed response to fan who was upset over lack of diversity in Blizzard's games and marketing material.

In response to a fan's letter pointing out a lack of diversity in the company's games, including promotional material for World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard Entertainment president Mike Morhaime has responded (via WoW Insider) by pledging that the company will do better in the future to create "more diverse heroes."

"We know that actions speak louder than words, so we are challenging ourselves to draw from more diverse voices within and outside of the company and create more diverse heroes and content," Morhaime said in response to a well-stated piece of criticism from a fan going by the name of starcunning. "We are also actively looking at our story development and other processes to ensure that our values are fully represented. We've always believed that positive, lasting change comes from examination, discussion, and iteration, and this applies as much to story as to gameplay. There is no reason why inclusivity should come at the expense of an amazing game experience."

"This will be an ongoing process for us--it's likely that we will make mistakes again in the future, but we will continue to listen, learn, and grow" -- Mike Morhaime

Morhaime adds, "There have been times when we’ve been seen or painted as being uninterested in hearing feedback or making changes. I want to be clear that this goes against the philosophies and core values on which Blizzard has been built and continues to operate. We will always listen, and we will always work hard to make games that appeal to as many people as possible."

He went on to make it clear that Blizzard is always open to feedback and is willing to engage in discussions to help the company improve. He also acknowledged that there might be rocky times ahead. "This will be an ongoing process for us--it's likely that we will make mistakes again in the future," he said. "But we will continue to listen, learn, and grow. We care very much about what you think and what you’re getting out of our games, and we're committed to reflecting our core values in our words as well as our actions."

Blizzard most recently found itself in hot water over diversity issues when Heroes of the Storm developer Dustin Browder, in response to a question about the way in which some video games "sex up" female characters, said, "We're not running for president." Browder since apologized, saying that, "This is a serious topic and I don't want anyone to think that I, or anyone else at Blizzard, is insensitive about how we portray our characters."

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

77 comments
simon1812
simon1812

what is it with this "Soulcunning"??? is his/her videogame development team making better games than Blizzard's? do these games have better sense of diversity or whatever?? in general game devs have their plate full without this kind of crap. 


  I think Blizzard should just do its own thing, while keep pretending to listen to any random b!tch!ng that comes their way.

xonar2k3
xonar2k3

What.. the .. hell.

I just read the "open letter" by this "star-cunning" woman. "What.. the .. hell." was literally the first thing that came up in my head.


What a bunch of utterly incoherent, butch drivel this letter is.


This is what I got from the letter:


1. She's colored and pissed that colored people aren't respresented more in Blizz games, hence she dropped their games.

2. She's the exact opposite physique of the comicbook-/ videogame-style "perfectly shaped hot chick" models companies such as Blizz and many others use as their heroes. And pissed off about that.

3. She's butch as hell (if you catch my drift).

4. She's a lore addict, which makes me believe she hasn't quit at all.


Note that she got an invite to Heroes of the Storm alpha which she declined and that she has been playing Blizz games for 10 years prior to that.

NOW she decides to drop their games all of a sudden. A little too late to take your incoherent letter as valid in my opinion but anyway, moving on.


She blames honest comments from some of Blizz's designers who replied to questions such as:

1. Wai no colored people? (Are definitely in their games)

 2. Wai no ugly fat people? (Are definitely in their games)

 3. Represent the fan base in your games or gtfo. (No, the fan base is seperate from the virtual video game world, duh)

 

Blizz/ Rob Pardo for example replied:


“I wouldn’t say that’s really a value for us. It’s not something that we’re against either, but it’s just not something that’s … something we’re trying to actively do.”


Blizz/ Dustin Browder replied to the question of "costume choices for female characters":

“We’re not sending a message. Nobody should look to our game for that.”

I for one cheer these guys on. It's a video game ffs!

You want realism? Get your real-life friends (of properly mixed color-variety naturally!) together and play some cards, see a movie, go bowling, to the club, whatever. Grounded in reality, you and your perfectly ill-proportioned physique, politically correct band of equally-minded friends will have the time of your life I bet.


Apparently this cuckoo-cunnin' girl has no idea that video games are a break from reality. What would be the incentive of playing video games at all if they were an exact copy our reality? 


Props to Mike from Blizz for replying to that skidmark of a letter which I would have tossed in the trashcan the second after reading.



Jestersmiles
Jestersmiles

it's simple supply and demand. Man and Woman are sexualize  because that what the consumer demands. In magazine, TV ads, etc people eat up the "perfect image" of any sex up. That what sells.


So don't go crying when companies are simply giving the consumer what they want. If you really want to "fix" the problem start by changing what the general public views as "sexy"


GL with that. 

Jestersmiles
Jestersmiles

Not this s h i t again , I thought it was actually about Blizzard's lack of creativity , but it just some one crying over "sexism" in games. 


A very wise female once said..."gag me with a spoon" 

Arushni
Arushni

I thought this article would be about something interesting, but I mostly just got some whining about race and sex.

nurnberg
nurnberg

Amazing how a single person can complain using the PC social justice card and everyone is scared and bends over trying to be PC.  This is a form of censorship.  Corporations need to grow balls.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

Want feedback Blizz? Bring wow to the consoles. Thank you.

armanmatevos
armanmatevos

There's a simple solution if you don't like games with sexualized characters. Don't play them. 

Hagan
Hagan

I wish Blizzard worked on new projects instead of attempting to continuing to milk WoW. Don't get me wrong I loved WoW back in the day from launch until the beginning of 2011. Great game, but its had its day.

I would love to see a WarCraft 4 or perhaps new details on the revamped Project Titan (which I suspect was side lined to continue to milk WoW - and draw more attention to Destiny.)

Suaron_x
Suaron_x

Maybe someone should write a letter asking Blizzard to work on more diverse gameplay?  I think all their characters play almost identically with different colored icons to click on.  

Mojira7
Mojira7

Interesting, that the " well-stated piece of criticism " and the featured comment above share that fact that they are better written than most of our compalints. Makes me wonder if more comments with proper spelling and punctuation, would stand a better chance of developers (and gaming websites) taking note and implementing change, rather than the zerg rush of poorly spelled and unstructured grammar comments.


I miss feedbackula :(

Martyr77
Martyr77

What's with the biased featured comment?

adders99
adders99

When I have the option to also play as an out of shape male with a beer belly and a terrible hair cut rather than a guy sporting an 8 pack and looks like he could snap a tree in half, I will start complaining about female characters in games... to put a stop to the sexism here is an option... create a gender neutral character that can be seen as a male or female character and change the voice to be either male or female and viola! cant complain then.

jurk182
jurk182

Blizzard can't make any more diverse characters until other companies start making more diverse characters for Blizzard to copy. 

Deano
Deano

Why has gamespot made a featured comment from someone with only 1 like, the comments with top likes are not being featured because they aren't agreeing with the standard pro-diversity ramblings that seems to be towed by GS staff. This type of subvert attempt to promote unpopular views as the norm, does nothing to give your point credence

spikepigeo
spikepigeo

ugh. I'm so sick of these social justice warriors. Just treat them like you would any whiny fan. Ignore them. Just because they want g a y orcs doesn't mean they have a more legitimate complaint than any one else that's dissatisfied with the game. How about you write a response letter to the legions of fans that complain about imbalance in the gameplay-- ya know, that stuff that really matters?


..and yes, I know this article was specifically about diversity amongst female characters, but are g a y orcs that far-fetched? No. That's the next letter, just watch.

deth420
deth420

i like to see blizzard doing all this scrambling to hold onto an deflating population.


That means we are getting closer to them releasing a warcraft 4(? its been that long, i cannot remember) 


Im going to throw a guess of, 5 years.

darkrayne
darkrayne

Don't see the issue. If people are offended by seeing attractive characters in films or games.. I just assume they are ugly. Women with good bodies tend to show them off.. in real life.. that's the reality. Women show more skin than men, it's real people.. real.

khankalili
khankalili

I read the letter and have to point out that while the writer thinks that lore and history are very important, they are not important enough to be faithful to. The lore and history of Warcraft is unfortunately filled with predominantly male figures. Even when Blizzard tries (admittedly badly) to insert female characters that isn't good enough. I wonder if anything will ever satisfy the writer of this complaint.

johnw1104
johnw1104

For all the talk about female characters being "sexed up", and the most assuredly are, it's a rare male character that isn't sporting twelve abs and popeye forearms.


I agree there ought to be more female characters featured especially as said demographic constitutes a very major portion of Blizzard's fanbase, but this problem with the female characters looking "sexy" seems rather silly, especially as the same trends exist amongst the male characters. Other options for less skimpy armor would certainky be ideal, but with limited character models it makes sense to favor good looking over homely. 


Who wants to see a bunch of pale, overweight people running around in armor? That's what Comic Con is for :D


...That's a joke btw, don't take it personally.

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

I'd rather them focus on making good games than "diversity" as a mandate. Not that diversity is a bad thing, but it should come from a more natural creative process and not shoe horned in due to demands of identity politics.

vadagar1
vadagar1

most of there games aren't really games any more 


only fat cash cows

finalkain
finalkain

Incoming Thrall goes G A Y in 6.1

jedicommand7
jedicommand7

People will always find something to complain about.

lunchbox2042
lunchbox2042

Just more vocal minority groups pushing their agenda down our throats.

Bubble_Man
Bubble_Man

Wonder how long until they pass affirmative action for video game characters...

ferna1234
ferna1234

i'll be amused if they manage to make a character that does not look like thrall or arthas. I the terran in starcraft 2 were green, thay'd be just as good as orcs.

nocoolnamejim
nocoolnamejim

I don't know why everyone automatically assumes it's always a bad thing to add more diversity into games. Why is it such a terrible thing, for example, that my female gamer wife might want to play a game and not feel like she's playing the character of a stripper looking for a pole to dance on?

I don't think it's ALWAYS an overreaction to ask for a bit more effort being put in to make the characters GOOD characters and not just SEXY characters. Granted, Blizzard hasn't traditionally been Soul Caliber in regards to this sort of thing, but using Kerrigan as an example, she WAS a better character in previous Starcraft games than the rather lazily written and bipolar version from Heart of the Swarm. 

I definitely got the impression playing that game that more attention was paid to getting her ass and cleavage JUST RIGHT than was paid to getting her character right. Nothing saying you can't have good female characters that also just happen to be sexy, but it isn't like the industry isn't guilty at times of choosing the latter over the former.

Having read the interview in question, it did look like Browder was a little eye-rollingly dismissive to me. I get that some folks feel Gamespot has a bit of a tendency to cry wolf on these issues, but the interviewer's point that comic books have a...questionable...track record is pretty valid and may not be the greatest place to draw inspiration from where female characters are concerned.

Rooten
Rooten

"But we will continue to listen, learn, and grow. We care very much about what you think and what you’re getting out of our games, and we're committed to reflecting our core values in our words as well as our actions."


So how come panda and tauren's female still have boobs, still didn't listen to me to remove them haha!

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

Hmm, they have a point.  I don't think a single ogre in that promotional picture above is packing a vagina.  Slap some make-up on one of the orgres and that would be good enough.

JimmyFrost
JimmyFrost

I don't know why they even responded to a diversity complaint. Makes zero sense. You would hope they ignore this and just let the writers do what they do, instead of forcing some unnecessary quotient of fiction creatures.

gix47
gix47

lol, no they won't.

Kickable
Kickable

@nurnberg lol yea that's exactly what we need, corporations don't disregard customer complaints enough already.  getting scolded by your boss and apologizing to an offended customer isn't censorship either.

jako998
jako998

@Kinguard73  I would like that to happen, but than again, how would that work with the Xbox one and PS4 controller ?

Arushni
Arushni

I would rather they dropped their current IP's altogether. Blizzard has talent, and I think it's being wasted by rehashing the same crap from 20 years ago. They practically only have 3 IP's; Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo... two of them being almost identical, and with damn near every iteration being less impressive than the one that came before it. It's kind of sad to see a giant like Blizzard, known previously to be innovative, releasing a generic copy of another game with their boring, overused content.

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

@Mojira7 It is very true, I have been on here in arguments and giving some rather extreme opinions for a while and I only ever made it onto Feedbackula one time, and that was when I spat some garbage into the comments without care and didn't make any effort at all. I was probably tired or something.

Seems when people go on the internet they think their native language doesn't require as much care. I don't speak anything other than English but I'm sure it is the same in most languages. 

What really annoys me is when people say stuff like "I could of got a PS4 but....", that drives me INSANE! How people can think "of" as a replacement for "have" is beyond me!

nurnberg
nurnberg

@Deano Political correctness was never democratic.  It was always forced on people since the beginning.

spikepigeo
spikepigeo

@johnw1104 Ironically, SDCC is one of the premier places to find skimpily clad, attractive females. Seriously, they are everywhere at that place. I'd like to see CCI respond to someone's complaint about that.

Jestersmiles
Jestersmiles

@nocoolnamejim stop making something out of nothing........ If you are trying to fix sexism try to fix at point .......SOCIETY!!! 

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@nocoolnamejim  To reply to this post's content, I will simply say, do you not notice how extremely sexualized men are in movies, games, comics?  Not an ounce of fat, arms as big as their heads, veins everywhere, those muscle buldges over the rib cage (whatever those are).  Men are often more sexualized and more unrealistic than the women in these media.  Not saying the women aren't sexualized, but to say they are more sexualized than the men is just selective observation.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@nocoolnamejim

Why is this comment "Featured"?  I've never even seen that little flag before.  Is that the same thing as "Gamespot likes or agrees with this comment" or "A staff member at Gamespot wrote this comment"?  

Hardly anyone has even "liked" this comment, so the "Featured" flag must be based on someone at Gamespot's opinion.

simon1812
simon1812

@Kickable @nurnberg disagree, Browder shouldn't even apologize for anything. I mean why? isnt this game been around for about a decade now? oh and all of the sudden "oh why they sex up female characters" oh hello??!!! SEX SELLS, if somebody feels offended by something like that, I think that person should find another game or get a new hobby.

Kickable
Kickable

@Dannystaples14 @Mojira7 it's likely kids who make that mistake. which we all know make up a huge portion of the gamer community.  if I can understand what someone's saying i'm not going to stress over their grammar. mine's not perfect either.

Mojira7
Mojira7

@Dannystaples14 @Mojira7 When I read words spelt "could of" I tend to imagine a person with an accent from a city or urban neighbourhood somewhere from the UK. When i read words spelt "coulda" or "shoulda" I imagine someone with an American accent :)

Mojira7
Mojira7

@Kickable @Mojira7 Probably, it's just that even in official game forums I see developers and/or official moderators often address a comment that is better written even though prior to that one there have been many similar comments about a particular issue, just not written as well with proper language rules.