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343 Industries: We have a personal responsibility for how our games come across

343 Industries head Bonnie Ross on sexism online and in the industry

Bonnie Ross, the general manager of Halo studio 343 Industries, has spoken about the duty of developer to combat sexism in the gaming industry.

"As developers, we have a personal responsibility to think about how our games come across," Ross told GameSpot.

"With Halo 4, we were very deliberate in thinking about who should be female and who should be male in the game, and if we came off stereotypical, we went back to question what we were doing and why."

Bonnie Ross has been a general manager and studio head with Microsoft Studios since 2005, but that doesn't stop her role in the Halo franchise surprising some people.

"Most people look at a franchise like Halo, and automatically assume it's run by a guy," Ross continued.

"People are surprised to learn that it's a woman who's running the Halo 4 show. When Microsoft created 343 Industries to take over Halo, I was given first choice to run the studio because I had proven myself. My gender played no part in it."

She and Halo 4 executive producer Kiki Wolfkill also tackled the issue of the online abuse female gamers can face online.

"I've seen many of the sites that have documented some of the more gender-specific slanderous comments," Ross said.

"This is behaviour that is offensive and completely unacceptable. I'd like to think most of our Xbox Live players don't support this kind of behaviour."

Those curious about the type of abuse they're discussing can see examples at the shocking and depressing Fat, Ugly Or Slutty.

"It can be dangerous to give adolescents a broadcast mechanism," Wolfkill added.

"There are always going to be jerks out there, and if you give them a way to express that side of their personality without being seen, you're going to see this type of behaviour manifest itself."

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Rachel Weber avatar
Rachel Weber: Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.
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