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Gears Of War Boss On Importance Of Diversity And Inclusivity

Gears of War boss Rod Fergusson has spoken about the importance of inclusive game design and diversity in the workplace. During his keynote address as PAX South, Fergusson said he was inspired by the Stephen Frost quote, "Unless you consciously include, you will unconsciously exclude."

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sampsonon31d ago ShowReplies(2)
AK9131d ago

Um okay try making the MP playable launch next time, I think that would help Gears 6 more.

Sciurus_vulgaris31d ago

It’s very odd that so many characters present in the campaign weren’t in the MP at launch. Some mismanagement scheduling with voice actors must of occurred. However, I think it was the inclusion of hero mechanics in horde, escape and arcade that stunted the games character roster. As a PvP player who plays competitive modes I care nothing for the hero mechanics. Hero mechanics weren’t necessary and I play competitive to avoid them.

General Shrooms30d ago (Edited 30d ago )

No, they're intentionally withholding them so they can be sold and drip fed later. The "Hero" excuse is transparent BS.

GottaBjimmyb30d ago (Edited 30d ago )

I'll be honest, I truly admire adversity of culture and ideas, but the idea that diversity=race, or specifically that diversity just means adding a black guy or a woman to content just make no sense to me. It would be like if black panther added white character to make sure there wasn't too much "black representation" in the movie, not because the actor was the best part for the role, or added to the product, it wouldn't make sense. While I would be adamantly against intentional removal or hindrance by race, that doesn't mean it should be a requirement. IDK, tough issue, but these kinds of statement just seem like they want brownie points for something basically everyone agrees with.

Gaming10130d ago

To be clear, there is absolutely zero evidence that including people of different races or genders makes games or movies magically better. Diversity of thought is true diversity, not skin colour, not gender, not sexuality or gender identity. Go to a liberal arts college you'll find a whole bunch of people who look completely different, but they all think the same. That's not diversity of thought, and it doesn't improve anything. You end up with group think and no one challenges the status quo of woke culture.

ArmyVetGamer30d ago (Edited 30d ago )

Can we leave politics, sex, race, and religion out of our video games... please.

This isnt edgy anymore... its annoying

When i see stuff like this i automatically know what side of the fence these people stand on politically, which is fine its their choice but its uber distracting to what should matter the most... the games!

I hope many of you agree so these practices can be left behind. Most gamers just want to play a great game!

Its crazy how if one speaks out against this YOURE the problem... good grief

Christopher30d ago (Edited 30d ago )

I love this reply.

Politics is in everything. Everything. It's in books, music, film, television, and games. Anything that tells a story is going to involve politics in some of them. To harp on not wanting politics in games and then play those exact same games that are reflective of politics and political thoughts? Talk about virtue signalling.

What is even better is that it's political now to say you want your games to represent more of the people who play their games who are not just men, let alone white. That this is a political statement is hilarious because it actually reflects their consumer base. Movies are changed to be marketable in various world regions, but, no, not games. They have to ignore every market out there.

And that people represent this line of thought with political parties is even more telling. You are actually defining the desire to recognize the diversity of the market as a political thing.

Talk about being accidentally self aware.

Edit: fastest downvote ever

zeuanimals30d ago

@Christopher:

I find it funny and kinda scary that so many people want to be insulated from real world topics when they're consuming media. Or how just adding more characters of different races and genders (I understand not doing that for historical accuracy like in Kingdom Come), or just changing a skimpy outfit to a non-skimpy one sets people off. It's so cringe inducing and embarrassing that I don't even talk about games anymore cause I don't wanna be associated with gamers. But most game devs know better and I appreciate the ones genuinely trying and that makes me want to continue with this waning hobby.

Septic30d ago

"I find it funny and kinda scary that so many people want to be insulated from real world topics when they're consuming media. Or how just adding more characters of different races and genders (I understand not doing that for historical accuracy like in Kingdom Come), or just changing a skimpy outfit to a non-skimpy one sets people off. "

This.

30d ago
UltraNova30d ago (Edited 30d ago )

Amen brother.

@return

If you are going to accuse someone in public you better provide facts IN public. Until then your comment/attack holds no water and should be flagged.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 30d ago
BabyYoda31d ago

This worries me, we don't need more virtue signalling, pandering to a tiny demographic of snowflakes is not the way forward, certainly not for something as predominantly masculine as Gears. If for example woman or the lgbtq want games that appeal to their sensibilities, then look elsewhere or make your own entertainment. For some reason it's not OK to be a straight white male anymore, for those that have a problem with that, you are the bigot, just so you know.

To be fair, Gears 5 had a good campaign, even if changing the lead to a female was forced and very much in keeping with today's radical feminist agenda (which is really about hating on men). Albeit it was handled better than most in the industry.

sampsonon31d ago

"This worries me, we don't need more virtue signalling, pandering to a tiny demographic of snowflakes is not the way forward"

that's why they are being more diverse.
it's time they stopped "pandering to snowflakes". lol get it?

sampsonon31d ago (Edited 31d ago )

so you think that all gay men aren't masculine? or that women can't be one of the boys? tell that to women soldiers over seas right now.
F-ck, this is what's wrong with the world. people follow labels without any understanding of society.
i know gay men that are masculine and love violence, and also know straight men that are feminine.

you need to learn that people are people bro.
and that you don't need to be the only one represented in media.

and another thing. you seem to think that straight white men are being mistreated because the rest of the world is finally being recognized in this century. It's called being "inclusive" which means you to man. you are still being represented in all media all the time. so you are saying only white straight men all the time? that's being selfish no?

OC_MurphysLaw30d ago

I am fine with inclusion and do think when companies look to be inclusive it can be powerful to a story when done right. I will however say, I want devs to be inclusive where it makes sense and to not just cram it in there "because". If you are doing a historical setting piece keep it more factual vs a fiction to meet a diversity desire.

Gunstar7530d ago

Totally agree. Unfortunately the vocal minority and the same type of people who put their pro-nouns in their twitter bios.

They need to shut the f*ck up a bit.. They dont speak for me

sampsonon30d ago

@OC_MurphysLaw:
Appreciate you honesty.

"I want devs to be inclusive where it makes sense and to not just cram it in there "because"."

Please explain this argument in more depth.
when does it make sense?

Christopher30d ago

***If for example woman or the lgbtq want games that appeal to their sensibilities, then look elsewhere or make your own entertainment.***

So, Gears 5 would have been better if they stuck to male protagonists? It would have been a new protagonist, but it shouldn't have been anything but male? How about Aloy? Completely new game, yet people complained about the same things there.

I do notice a trend that only AAA titles tend to get this recognition. I don't recall anyone complaining about the change in gender for Dishonored 2 and Death of the Outsider.

***For some reason it's not OK to be a straight white male anymore, for those that have a problem with that, you are the bigot, just so you know.***

I'm a straight white male. No one is telling me that's wrong. Not while I trip over every single male representation in life, I'm not bothered that women are having more of a representation in general. I'm not a fan of how some people do it, but I'm not a fan of a lot of male representation as well. I'm also not using crazy outliers on social media as a representation of what some people want. They don't represent the average woman, let alone consumer.

rainslacker30d ago

I think it wouldn't have been any better or worse with a male protagonist, or a protagonist of another sexual orientation. And that's the point. The inclusion or diversifying is shallow, because it is becoming more about a way for these devs to say they're being progressive, than doing anything meaningful to represent other groups of people.

In the mean time, people that want that kind of stuff in games should look for it where it exists, instead of trying to say these devs should just make it to include them, because all these groups that are making the most fuss make up a extremely small percentage of the overall population. Racial differences do have larger representations, and obviously women do make up more than half the population, but they aren't making as much of a fuss about inclusion, and the realities of female gamers is that most people who play the AAA high profile games are still predominately male, and the females that still play these games aren't as worried about representation as some groups are making it seem.

Personally, I'm not bothered by representation of any group in a game. I get bothered when it's lauded as something more than what it is, because more often than not, it seems less about being diverse, and more about looking good on the developers part. To date, there has been no evidence to support that it helps sales, and as we're moving forward, inclusion is having a negative effect. Hell, Disney has gone downhill the past decade because of trying to include everyone.

Gunstar7530d ago

Most gay folk are happy playing gears as it is. Not all gays require their own gay this or that....

I would prefer a characters sexual orientation to be ambiguous, unless there is a love interest important to the story.

rainslacker30d ago

"unless there is a love interest important to the story."

And that's where I think a lot of this fails on the developers part. A love interest, and the feelings that come from it are not based on their sexual orientation, or even if it's a fully intimate relationship. It's about the human connection that we can all empathize with, and people can do that regardless of if it's a straight or non-straight relationship. The biggest thing that gets ignored is that we're all the same at a base level, and it makes many of the inclusions such as what's being talked about shallow.

Atom66630d ago

Not everyone fits into the extremes you're using to frame your concerns.

No matter the gender or race, Kait's story has been built as the most interesting part of the new plot line. It's not an attack on anyone to tell that story, and it shouldn't "worry" you that this is the story being told in Gears 5. I don't understand why female lead = forced. Good stories are good stories.

Rod's just discussing implicit bias here. It's something we all have. Recognizing those things, and looking at your actions and work from a different perspective isn't a bad thing. From a storytelling context, it can lead you to new experiences you may not have considered had you not. If they had given Kait's story to Dell (and made him white), I think it would have lost a little bit of its appeal, but not much. More importantly though, I don't think anything would have been gained.

I understand the crazies out there who scream sexism and bigotry for every little "offense." But we shouldn't be so sensitive that we can't just ignore them. The back and forth between these extremes has grown beyond tiresome at this point.

I didn't love Gears 5 or HZD or soon TLoU2 because of the gender of the protagonists. I love the good stories being told. If we got those stories because devs and writers broke out of their personal comfort zones a bit, all the more power to them.

So I would ask, what do we lose from Ellie being gay or Kait being the tortured hero of Gears? If the answer is nothing, than why be worried?

Sciurus_vulgaris30d ago

Playing as Kait was not forced as Gears 4 set up that she would be major focus of its follow-up title. Gears 6 will probably split the lead character playtimes more than Gears 5.

30d ago
medman30d ago (Edited 30d ago )

@wannabebabyyoda
If you are still calling people "snowflakes" in 2020, odds are that you're a loser. Odds are also good that the "snowflakes", would in reality whup your tail. Facts.

The developers refusing to pander to your type of ignorance upsets you. Take a good long look in the mirror and realize that you are the one who has been bamboozled. You are an entitled infant, who thinks games should be made to satisfy your own personal perspective. Wake up. The irony is, you say, and I quote... "If for example woman or the lgbtq want games that appeal to their sensibilities, then look elsewhere or make your own entertainment." You should take your own advice, and seek out developers with limited means and minds, who make games that pander to dinosaurs such as yourself. Don't offer advice to others unless you yourself are willing to listen to your own advice. Good luck. You're going to need it.

30d ago Replies(5)
rainslacker30d ago

I don't think it's the actual inclusion that has people annoyed. I do believe its the extra attention that it garners as if it really matters, and some going on about how a character is special because they happen to fall within the guidelines of being an under-represented group. Best example I can think of is the new Lara Croft being elevated as a good and strong character, when she was about as shallow and annoying as they come. Just because she was a female, and they didn't give her rediculous proportions, and she overcame an assault....even in the most shallow of ways.

30d ago
rainslacker29d ago (Edited 29d ago )

My point was that with the new Lara, there was nothing remarkable about her character. She got a lot of praise for her progressive design, and a obstacle she had to face in the original game, but the character was shallow, not very interesting, and IMO not really a good example of a strong female character. I felt her weakness as a character came because she didnt grow as a character, and anything she had to overcome was done so quickly it was hardly worth including in the first place. He character design I had no problem with, just the pedestal she was put on to represent a good representation of women in gaming.

I'm not bothered about it to the point that I'm losing sleep. It was just and example to illustrate a point of how the media, and some within the community lack the ability to even know what they should be expecting or asking for, because all they focus on is the most shallow of things. Then they get upset when people call them, or the developers out for delivering a lackluster character. One cant dislike a character because they're poorly realized, because anyone who wants to stand fast to being diverse or inclusive just fall back on the critics being sexist bigoted misogynist...like you did here.

+ Show (7) more repliesLast reply 29d ago
bluefox75531d ago (Edited 31d ago )

Diversity of ideas? No? You don't care about that? Oh? Just diversity of skin color, genital, and genital preference? How is this obvious pandering popular with anyone? Imagine thinking so little of someone that you think they need to see other people that look like them to enjoy a game.

sampsonon31d ago

so if they are inclusive they are pandering? so what if they weren't being inclusive, wouldn't that also be considered "pandering" to a certain demographic? lol
strange.

medman30d ago Show
rainslacker30d ago (Edited 30d ago )

Pandering is when they come into interviews or tweets and talk about how progressive they, or their work are, and talk about how it's what people want, or should want. That elevates the rather small group of vocal people to feel important and that their cause is just.

Hence, pandering.

Just being inclusive, not making a big deal about it, and making it natural or better yet, unrelated to the plot and just another part of the character which has no real signficance but isn't a deterrent, is not pandering. That's what's called character design, and good character design isn't based on specific representations of different groups, except where it's culturally or socially relevant. A good character, most of the time should be able to have any single aspect of their surface level characteristics changed, and still remain a good character. Their sexual orientation should be moot, even if it's made known within the game, with the rare exception where that's actually part of the story....which doesn't happen in games much, but can be witnessed in some movies or TV.

It's the spectacle of inclusion and diversity which is more the problem than the actual act of being inclusive. When the spectacle no longer exists, then these creators will have achieved what those who make the most fuss about it should want to achieve.

Christopher30d ago

***Imagine thinking so little of someone that you think they need to see other people that look like them to enjoy a game.***

As someone who moderates, the number of people who complain that they would have to play as a female protagonist in games like HZD were really prevalent at times. Same thing is happening with TLoUP2, even if you play as Ellie for a section in the first game and Joel is old as heck.

So, if male gamers can't accept the occasional female protagonist in a new IP, why is it a problem that some female gamers, who have less protagonist representation in Western games by a very large factor, want to play as a female character because they feel weird always playing as male characters?

rainslacker30d ago (Edited 30d ago )

So, his point is rendered moot because a rather small subsection of gamers can't get past their ability to play as a different gender? I mean, H:ZD sold something like 10 million copies didn't it? That's COD level sales right there. It sounds like a good portion of the community, or even those not active in the community, didn't have much issue with a female avatar.

I think the belief among game designers and investors that male protagonists will appeal more to the general market place is long dead. The 25-35 male gamer may still be the most predominate target market for high profile games which we mostly talk about here, but the main protagonist gender is usually picked for story purposes. Some developers just prefer female characters, and getting them into games nowadays isn't really a fight like it was back in the 80's and 90's.

I'm going to be 100% honest with you. When I look at who has a problem with playing characters with certain physical or social traits, it seems to be the ones that have the most to say about games NOT being diverse or inclusive that have more problems with it than the community at large. They're saying that they want games that represent them, because they can't make connections, and it's by far their most common underlying argument that doesn't involve shaming the community. If we're going to be judged because we aren't willing to play certain characters....even if it's a extremely small group that may feel that way, shouldn't these same people be judged for not being able to connect with characters that aren't like them? It seems they have a harder time finding the commonalities between all of us, than the average gamer does.

Sono42130d ago

Sales, and the fact many men who can choose their gender in RPG's intentionally chose to play as women shows that your anecdotal evidence means squat. The most idiotic myth in our current generation is that men don't want women in gaming, whether it be playing them, or being in them, when in all actuality it is the complete opposite. Anyone who plays online games will see that if there is a girl in the lobby she immediately becomes the center of everyone's attention and they all try to get her attention.

"*Imagine thinking so little of someone that you think they need to see other people that look like them to enjoy a game.*"

This couldn't be more accurate, I literally couldn't care less about what skin color, or gender the protagonist is, I loved HZD, I loved Uncharted, I loved Tlou, I loved Halo, I loved Bioshock, and my love for all of those series has absolutely NOTHING to do with any of their skin color or gender, if you're whining about "oh there isn't any female representation, or any african american representation" You are saying you literally can't enjoy the game because of character's gender/race, how is that not racist/sexist?

Since you brought it up Christopher let's go by this majority rules idea you brought up, you seem to be making it out as if so many people are complaining about a female lead like it's such a huge problem, well sales prove you wrong so no point beating that to death, but by a vast majority there are way more articles complaining about lack of diversity than not right? You are choosing the majority but act like you're in the minority, it's absurd.

If you even try to bring up Battlefield V as an example of people being upset by women in games then it is clear to everyone here you are being intentionally dishonest or just so stuck in your negative mindset no matter what is said to you, you will perceive it negatively because you either have a victim complex or are just a naturally negative personality.

bluefox75529d ago

@rainslackers Exactly, the angry vocal minority always have a disproportionate influence on anything. The rest of us just don't care, but we're constantly bombarded with this idea that representation matters. I don't think it does to most people. If I'm reading a story, I don't care if the protagonist has the same skin color as me or the same genitals. I just want it to be a good story, and I'm against anything that puts itself in competition with that. Games that have an overt focus on diversity just feel contrived and condescending to the very people it claims to appeal to. When I was a kid, one of my favorite shows was Fresh Prince. It never occured to me while watching the show that I can't enjoy it because they have a different skin color than I, it was just funny, and that was all that mattered. Identitarianism is killing society, be it racial, gender, or otherwise.

30d ago
Gameseeker_Frampt30d ago

Pandering is a big part of video games, it only has become a problem since the white male is no longer the one being pandered to. Did you really never notice the decades of Japanese video game developers making games staring white males?

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31d ago