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Blizzard working to improve inclusivity - Morhaime

Blizzard working to improve inclusivity - Morhaime

Thu 10 Jul 2014 7:17pm GMT / 3:17pm EDT / 12:17pm PDT
PeopleDevelopment

Co-founder of World of Warcraft company pledges "to draw from more diverse voices" and "create more diverse heroes and content"

Blizzard has come under fire on a number of occasions for its stances on diversity, whether it was preventing players from recruiting for an LGBT-friendly guild in 2006, showing a video with (bleeped out) homophobic slurs at BlizzCon in 2011, or brushing aside complaints about over-sexualized character designs last year. The final straw for one long-time fan came in May, when then-chief creative officer Rob Pardo said in an MIT Media Lab event that diversity wasn't one of the company's values.

Last week, that fan wrote an open letter to Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime explaining why she wouldn't be supporting the company until it changed its ways. Morhaime saw the letter and has since responded, acknowledging that the company can and will do more to make its games more inclusive.

"There is no reason why inclusivity should come at the expense of an amazing game experience."

"[W]e're grateful to have such a diverse and passionate player base, and we want everyone to feel welcome, safe, and included in our games and communities," Morhaime said. "We have made some mistakes in how we've communicated about this and how we've reflected it in other ways, but we are working to improve."

He later added, "We are very conscious of the issues you raise and are discussing them more than ever, at every level of the company, in an effort to make sure our games and stories are as epic and inclusive as possible. Blizzard's employees form a broad and diverse group that cares deeply about the experiences we are creating for our players. And 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. 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."

Morhaime admitted it would be an ongoing process with mistakes made along the way, but insisted the company would be open to feedback on how it can do better.

2 Comments

Andreia Quinta
Creative & People Photographer

200 476 2.4
The final straw for one long-time fan came in May, when then-chief creative officer Rob Pardo said in an MIT Media Lab event that diversity wasn't one of the company's values.
Now that this message from Mike Morhaime pops up I'm thinking; mayhaps the chief creative officer who was actually involved in Warlords of Draenor (among others) didn't enjoy so much having to change creative design to accommodate new policies and 'shoehorned' LGBT characters that we might (not surprisingly) start to see during future content patches and unreleased games.

And mayhaps he decided to part ways with the blues? Who knows, I'm just thinking under the light of these recent news that 2+2 is starting to make sense.

Posted:16 days ago

#1

Andrew Ihegbu
Studying Bsc Commercial Music

436 146 0.3
It's terribly divisive when people are told they must write stories with LGBT individuals and prominent females in order to allow the company to remain PC. Many people will turn and say, "Great!", others will turn and say "But I've already written my story and it doesn't have any but it's a great story!". The latter is where I really sympathise as if I was painting and as told there was not enough red in my masterpiece, it would sicken me to have to start painting over the completed tapestry just to appease the PC crowd.

The issue for me is that I think the industry does want to reflect that it has more than learned it's lesson, but at the same time, the pro-LGBT/feminist lobby want's everything yesterday, and it appears that that is making many people have to shoehorn new characters into their worlds instead of being given the time to truly craft new stories with prominent LGBT/Female leads present by design.

I don't get it. I just don't.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Andrew Ihegbu on 16th July 2014 5:23pm

Posted:12 days ago

#2

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