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Blizzard targeting 'more diverse heroes and content'

Studio wants new games to be more inclusive than some past releases

Blizzard president and a co-founder Mike Morhaime has said that the studio is challenging itself to make more diverse and inclusive game content.

Responding to an open letter complaining about under-representation of females and ethnic minorities in the studio's games, Morhaime said Blizzard is working make its future releases more inclusive.


"We'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," he 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.

"We take the topic of inclusiveness seriously, and we don't want any of our players to feel we are being insensitive in how we portray our characters.

"There have been times when we've been seen or painted as being uninterested in hearing feedback or making changes. I want to be clear that this goes against the philosophies and core values on which Blizzard has been built and continues to operate.

"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."

Last November, the game director of Heroes of the Storm apologised for "responding poorly" to an interview question about sexualised female characters. Asked if the game was going to address the MOBA trend of female characters being dressed in sexualised outfits, Dustin Browder had said: "We're not sending a message to anybody. We're just making characters who look cool. Our sensibilities are more comic book than anything else. That's sort of where we're at."

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot also said last month that the company is working to improve its creation processes in response to criticism about a lack of character diversity.

Speaking in an interview with CVG at E3, Guillemot admitted that the company is aware of the polarised opinions surrounding characters such as Watch Dogs protagonist Aiden Pearce, and is making efforts to improve its performance in that regard in future titles.


Ubisoft working to 'diversify' its characters, says Guillemot

Publisher aiming to rectify criticisms of bland characters in its major IPs