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Hocking critcises "Viking" culture of dev studios

LucasArts creative director says "we can do better", calls for more female developers

LucasArts creative director Clint Hocking has challenged the industry to improve the working environment at its development studios.

In a column for Edge magazine, Hocking compares the culture at most studios to that of the Vikings, "Minus the literal rape and killing, of course."

"Game development studios and their teams are largely staffed in the same way that Viking longships were crewed. Consequently, the culture is overflowing with beer and pent-up aggression, and a very significant portion of our overall cultural output is fart jokes. I think we can do better."

Hocking points out that the Vikings were ultimately defeated by a "better-balanced" culture in 1066, and suggests that establishing a more balanced culture within the games industry is the key to both future stability and reaching a "truly mass market audience."

The top priority, as Hocking sees it, is to bring more women into game development, so that studio culture better reflects the structure of society as a whole.

"This means that we need to better position the industry as a desirable workplace, one in which female artists, designers, programmers and project managers would want to be employed. It involves reaching out to universities and colleges to help them attract more female applicants to their programmes, enabling us to benefit from a greater number of female graduates."

"Like the Viking expansion itself, this transformation probably needs to be driven from the bottom up. Like it or not, the culture onboard your ships is the culture you're exporting. Fart jokes have their place in culture, but when fart jokes become your culture you have a problem."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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