“Casts that look like the United Nations are more interesting”

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There are people that champion diversity in games, and those who wish for the status quo to remain. Me? I’m all for diversity, as long as it’s done right – because shoehorning anything in to any media just for the sake of it never really works. The whole point of including diverse character, I think, is for them to be relatable.

It’s something that really hit with me after playing Sleeping Dogs; the Cantonese and the familial interaction was concordant with much of my youth, and it really resonated with me far more than I thought it would. There was so much in that game that I genuinely identified with, that it boosted my own immersion in the game. It was a small thing, but it made me feel good – and that’s something I think games should be able to do for everyone.

Lawbreakers designer Clifford Bleszinski agrees – even if some of his own motivations for including a diverse cast in his upcoming shooter are capitalist in nature.

“I think casts that look like the United Nations are more interesting, as well as being more commercially viable,” he told Eurogamer in an interview. “My whole thing is, you’re not going to stop booby beach volleyball games from happening. You’re not going to change Japan. People have the freedom to make whatever they want. But some of us are starting to recognise that games have been about white dudes for so long, it’s really good to switch it up a bit.

At the end of the day, even if I didn’t like diversity, I’d still want everybody to feel represented in this game and to throw money at the damn thing. So from that small capitalist part of my brain, that’s why it makes sense to me.”

As I said, I’m all for character diversity in games, especially if it leads to more interesting protagonists than the sort of dull, homogeneous stubbled angry white men that, for a long time was the principal protagonist in most games.

Last Updated: May 3, 2016

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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